[geo-discuss] Oracle 10g Express Edition licensing terms

Roger Longhorn ral at alum.mit.edu
Thu Apr 27 17:01:54 UTC 2006

I must say, I like the opening screen when you download the new *free* Oracle 10g Express Edition database software:

Those who download the software are first faced with this statement which they must accept:


- You are not a citizen, national, or resident of, and are not under control of, the government of Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Libya, North Korea, Syria, *nor any country to which the United States has prohibited export*.

- You will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Programs, directly *or indirectly*, to the above mentioned countries *nor to citizens, nationals or residents of those countries*.

- You are not listed on the United States Department of Treasury lists of Specially Designated Nationals, Specially Designated Terrorists, and Specially Designated Narcotic Traffickers, nor are you listed on the United States Department of Commerce Table of Denial Orders.

- You will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Programs, directly or indirectly, *to persons on the above mentioned lists*.

- You will not use the Programs for, and *will not allow the Programs to be used for*, any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, for the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.


You agree that U.S. export control laws and other applicable export and import laws govern your use of the programs, including technical data; additional information can be found on Oracle®'s Global Trade Compliance web site (http://www.oracle.com/products/export).

You agree that neither the programs nor any direct product thereof will be exported, directly, or indirectly, in violation of these laws, or will be used for any purpose prohibited by these laws including, without limitation, nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons proliferation.


Now, I wonder just how many people who will download this package, from across the globe, and then use it to develop a new program, will be able to truthfully answer all the questions above with "no", things like "nor any other country to which the United States has prohibited export" - which are where, please? Or "will not allow the Programs to be used for, any purpose prohibited by United States law ..." - and these "purposes" are described where, please? I'm supposed to check the various "persons denied access" lists mentioned in bullet 3 above before sending or sharing my work with anyone globally, as required by bullet 4? What about those in teaching environments, where their distance learning pupils could be located just about anywhere.

And don't look for too much instant help from that nice URL link provided in the Terms panel. It takes you to a single page on an Oracle site which basically just repeats the statements already in the Terms and Conditions panel, plus four more links to US government sites - United States Export Administration Regulations (http://chaos.fedworld.gov/bxa/ear.html) [and no, I did *NOT* make up that URL domain name - "chaos.fedworld.gov"!] and U.S. Commercial Encryption Export Controls at the Bureau of Industry and Security (http://www.bis.doc.gov/), plus BIS's Denied Persons List, the Office of Foreign Assets Control's Economic and Trade sanctions list, (http://www.treas.gov/ofac/),and the Office of Defense Trade Controls (http://www.pmdtc.org/) to see if any of these other potential restrictions do apply to you or anyone else who may use this programme via you.

Am I supposed to go visit these sites at time of downloading, just in case, to find out if I'm 'prohibited' for some reason. Are these lists available in multiple languages?

If you DO take the time to look into export restrictions (which we had to do for the CGIAR-sponsored primer on legal issues in geospatial data and tools in 2002), you will find a bewildering list of types of restrictions, exceptions, plus exemptions, etc. And these change over time - depending upon what mood the government of the USofA feels itself to be in at any one time.

I assume that our GIS colleagues in Syria, who attended a recent conference in the UK, where they presented their vision/plans for introducing a national SDI, won't be encouraging anyone there to use Oracle, will they? For the rest of you, I hope you know what clicking that "I ACCEPT" box really means, legally, just in case your use of Oracle 10g is being monitored by, well, someone.......

Actually, you are probably much better off just sticking to MySQL 5.0 (or new 5.1 beta) now with embeded spatial components, from the open source community and leave the 'free' commercial software to those who have full-time legal advisory staff.


Roger Longhorn
ral at alum.mit.edu

p.s. What *is* a "Specially Designated National", anyway? As a native English speaker (well, almost), the term sounds to me like someone who has just won a major civid award!

More information about the geo-discuss mailing list