Questions & Answers — Commercial Licensing
- Q1: Is Mibble "commercial" software?
- Q2: How can Mibble be available under several licenses?
- Q3: Are the commercial versions identical to the free versions?
- Q4: How many licenses are required for our organization?
- Q5: What does the standard commercial license provide?
- Q6: What does the standard commercial license exclude?
- Q7: Where can I find the standard license agreement?
- Q8: What are the alternatives to the standard license agreement?
- Q9: What is sublicensing? How does it work?
- Q10: How does version upgrades work?
Q1: Is Mibble "commercial" software?
Yes, the Mibble software is sold under a commercial software license. The standard license allows broad usage of the library for various commercial purposes, see Q5 below for details. Other commercial licensing options also exist, see Q8 below for more information.
Apart from the commercial licenses, Mibble can also be freely downloaded and used under the GNU General Public License (GPLv2). See the GNU GPL licensing FAQ for more information.
Q2: How can Mibble be available under several licenses?
A software license agreement is a legal agreement between the copyright holder(s) for the software and a licensee. Different such agreements can be met with different licensees. As Mibble currently has a single copyright holder, establishing new agreements is a straightforward process with a minimal legal overhead.
Please note that Mibble is not associated with the Free Software Foundation or its GNU project. Mibble only uses the same free software license.
Q3: Are the commercial versions identical to the free versions?
Yes, the source code in the commercial Mibble versions is identical to the one used in the free versions.
No, as the packaging is slightly different for the commercial and free versions. In particular the differences are the following:
- GPL license not included — Obviously, the GPL license is not applicable to a commercially licensed version of Mibble.
- JAR file names are different — To easier separate between the two versions, the JAR file names are different.
Q4: How many licenses are required for our organization?
The standard commercial Mibble license is a distribution license, meaning it covers the distribution of Mibble software (or parts of it) when included into products. Development or internal usage of Mibble is not limited to any particular developer, product or department.
A single standard commercial Mibble license is normally sufficient for most organizations. The standard license covers the organization as a whole, in an unlimited number of products (see Q5 below for details). Large organizations are sometimes split into several legal entities, in which case each legal entity is required to license Mibble separately (if distributing products including it).
Additional Mibble licenses are normally only purchased to enable usage of additional versions of the software. See Q10 for more information.
Q5: What does the standard commercial license provide?
The standard commercial Mibble license provides the following:
- Full Source Code Availability — The full source code for the Mibble library is available and permission is granted to make proprietary changes.
- Permissive Distribution — Software based on, using or containing code from Mibble may be distributed in either binary or source code form. Third parties (i.e. customers of your software) are not licensed for further distribution, however.
- No Royalties, No Expiration — The license is perpetual, contains no further royalty payments, and does not restrict usage to any particular product, purpose or developer.
Please note that any software bundled with Mibble is covered by their own respective license. See Q6 below for information about license restrictions.
Q6: What does the standard commercial license exclude?
The standard commercial Mibble license currently excludes the following:
- No Reselling — The Mibble library may not be resold to third parties without being bundled into an application or another library.
- No Sublicensing — The commercial Mibble license grants are not extended to third parties. That is, your customers are not legally permitted to redistribute your Mibble binaries or source code further.
- No Additional Agreements or Paperwork — The standard license is purchased online without any additional legal agreements, signed printouts, non-disclosure agreements, software supplier contracts or otherwise.
- Single Version Only — All licenses are valid for a single version of Mibble only (e.g. "2.9"). See Q10 below for information about version upgrades.
If these restrictions are problematic, see Q8 below for more information.
Q7: Where can I find the standard license agreement?
The Mibble standard license agreement is available from this web site and is used as the base for all commercial licenses.
Please note that other commercial licensing options also exist, see Q8 below for more information.
Q8: What are the alternatives to the standard license agreement?
If the standard license agreement is not suitable or is too restrictive, an enterprise license agreement can be negotiated. There are reasons to prefer this over the standard license:
- Sublicensing — In order to include Mibble code into a library or toolkit product, a permission to sublicense Mibble must be added to the license. See Q9 below for details.
- Additional Contracts or Legal Agreements — If your company requires additional contracts or legally binding documents to be signed, an enterprise license is required.
- Modified License Text — Although the standard license agreement is quite permissive, there are situations where an even more liberal approach is needed. There might also be cases when the license agreement text needs clarification.
The enterprise license option bundles most of these (excl. sublicensing) into a fixed price package. Please note, however, that enterprise licenses are also charged a higher version upgrade fee than the plain standard license.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or enquiries regarding enterprise licensing.
Q9: What is sublicensing? How does it work?
Sublicensing is a license permission for your company that permits other parties (i.e. your customers) to further distribute Mibble. This is normally only required if your product is a software library or toolkit used by your customers to build their own solutions.
A sublicensing license agreement is available from this web site that includes an additional §2(d) for sublicensing. This license agreement takes effect if the Mibble license is purchased with the additional sublicensing option.
Please note that sublicensing also affects the price of subsequent version upgrades, as the sublicensing agreement will also be renewed (at a similar discount as the main license).
Q10: How does version upgrades work?
All commercial licenses are valid for a single version of Mibble only (e.g. "2.9"). Bug fix releases are sometimes issued as a patch-version (e.g. "2.9.4"), in which case they are also included in the existing license.
New versions of Mibble requires the purchase of a new license. These license "upgrades" are available at a 50% (or more) discount compared to the list price for a new Mibble license. Access to upgrade pricing is available at the bottom of the customer license and download page (in the Mibble Store).