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What do homebuilders have in common with developers?
by Angie Hirata

Angie Hirata, August 3, 2011

When we speak to ISVs, aerospace/defense contractors, or hardware manufacturers that have software interfaces - many of them like to use languages like Perl, Python, or Tcl to build or provide some functionality in their applications. However, some also ask "why should I use ActivePerl/Python/Tcl if open source options are free?"

So we put together a few case studies that showcase typical scenarios of why companies (large and small) have chosen to bundle and redistribute our languages within their applications. Based on some recent conversations around OEM that I've had, here are the top reasons:

  1. Let your developers focus on what they do best - code YOUR product: leave the building, compiling, and testing of the language behind your coding to experts like us. Home builders don't try to chop down trees and make floorboards... they simply buy the pre-made beautiful floor components that are needed to lay floors to spec. So "why should I use ActiveState products in my application if open source options are free?" is like a home builder asking "why should I pay for floorboards if I can just go into the forest and chop down some trees"? Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. BUT...don't waste time with the behind the scenes work on Perl, Python, or Tcl - it's often more time-consuming than you think. Especially if your application runs on multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc... where you want standardization across those platforms.
     
  2. Make sure 3rd party components are always available to your customers: some companies have chosen to let their customers download the community (free) editions of our ActivePerl/Python/Tcl from our website. However, we are not able to keep all versions for free forever. We're a business too! So with most of these, we keep only the 2 latest versions (ie - ActivePerl 5.14, 5.12) for free, then we put old versions (ActivePerl 5.10, 5.8, 5.6) into paid products. If you've decided to stick to a certain major version of Perl, and you don't want your engineers to have to re-code every time we remove something from the community edition, then you can guarantee that your customers can get the version that's been tested with your product by bundling it in.
     
  3. Reduce legal risk: languages like Perl, Python, Tcl are great because of the thousands of additional, valuable modules that are available with them. However, these modules are created by 3rd party developers in the open-source community, and each one of them has a separate license. Many large companies that work with us don't want to pay an open-source specialty lawyer to review each one to ensure their company is doing the right thing. Moreoever, alot of companies have policies to have indemnification protection to reduce their risk (the bigger the company, the more this is likely)... while customers' also demand that all components in an application are indemnified. Using an open source version doesn't satisfy this requirement. But OEM licensing from us gives you options for different levels of indemnification.

To read more details, check out the white paper which features stories about Parallels (makers of Plesk), Rockwell Collins, and CA and how they worked with and selected ActivePerl/Python/Tcl to bundle and OEM with their applications.

To discuss your situation, give our OEM team a call! 1-778-786-1101 or tell us more about your project and request a quote here.

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Category: perl, perl, python, tcl
About the Author: RSS

Angie Hirata is our VP, Sales & Marketing. Before joining ActiveState, Angie worked at several start-ups and large organizations including Maximizer Software, JustSystems, Eyeball Networks, Seagate Software, and SEI Industries. She holds a B.Comm from the University of British Columbia and a leadership certificate from the New York University School of Business.