Proprietary software

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Proprietary software, also known as non-free software, or closed-source software, is computer software for which the software's publisher or another person retains intellectual property rights, usually copyright of the source code, but sometimes patent rights. Proprietary software_sentence_0

Types Proprietary software_section_0

Proprietary software_table_general_0

Proprietary software_header_cell_0_0_0 Free and open (software must have source code provided)Proprietary software_header_cell_0_0_1 Non-freeProprietary software_header_cell_0_0_4
Proprietary software_header_cell_0_1_0 Public domain & equivalentsProprietary software_header_cell_0_1_1 Permissive licenseProprietary software_header_cell_0_1_2 Copyleft (protective license)Proprietary software_header_cell_0_1_3 Noncommercial use only. May be combined with share-alike.Proprietary software_header_cell_0_1_4 Traditional use of copyright; no rights need be grantedProprietary software_header_cell_0_1_5 No information made publicProprietary software_header_cell_0_1_6
SoftwareProprietary software_header_cell_0_2_0 PD, CC0Proprietary software_cell_0_2_1 MIT, Apache, MPLProprietary software_cell_0_2_2 GPL, AGPLProprietary software_cell_0_2_3 JRL, AFPLProprietary software_cell_0_2_4 proprietary software, no public licenseProprietary software_cell_0_2_5 private, internal softwareProprietary software_cell_0_2_6
Other creative worksProprietary software_header_cell_0_3_0 PD, CC0Proprietary software_cell_0_3_1 CC-BYProprietary software_cell_0_3_2 CC-BY-SAProprietary software_cell_0_3_3 CC-BY-NCProprietary software_cell_0_3_4 Copyright, no public licenseProprietary software_cell_0_3_5 unpublishedProprietary software_cell_0_3_6

Origin Proprietary software_section_1

Until the late 1960s computers—large and expensive mainframe computers, machines in specially air-conditioned computer rooms—were usually leased to customers rather than sold. Proprietary software_sentence_1

Service and all software available were usually supplied by manufacturers without separate charge until 1969. Proprietary software_sentence_2

Computer vendors usually provided the source code for installed software to customers. Proprietary software_sentence_3

Customers who developed software often made it available to others without charge. Proprietary software_sentence_4

Closed source means computer programs whose source code is not published except to licensees. Proprietary software_sentence_5

It is available to be edited only by the organization that developed it and those licensed to use the software. Proprietary software_sentence_6

In 1969, IBM, which had antitrust lawsuits pending against it, led an industry change by starting to charge separately for mainframe software and services, by unbundling hardware and software. Proprietary software_sentence_7

Bill Gates' "Open Letter to Hobbyists" in 1976 decried computer hobbyists' rampant copyright infringement of software, particularly Microsoft's Altair BASIC interpreter, and reminded his audience that their theft from programmers hindered his ability to produce quality software. Proprietary software_sentence_8

According to Brewster Kahle the legal characteristic of software changed also due to the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Proprietary software_sentence_9

Starting in February 1983 IBM adopted an "object-code-only" model for a growing list of their software and stopped shipping much of the source code, even to licensees. Proprietary software_sentence_10

In 1983, binary software became copyrightable in the United States as well by the Apple vs. Franklin law decision, before which only source code was copyrightable. Proprietary software_sentence_11

Additionally, the growing availability of millions of computers based on the same microprocessor architecture created for the first time an unfragmented and big enough market for binary distributed software. Proprietary software_sentence_12

Legal basis Proprietary software_section_2

Further information: Software law, Software copyright, Software patent, and End-user license agreement Proprietary software_sentence_13

Most of the software is covered by copyright which, along with contract law, patents, and trade secrets, provides legal basis for its owner to establish exclusive rights. Proprietary software_sentence_14

A software vendor delineates the specific terms of use in an end-user license agreement (EULA). Proprietary software_sentence_15

The user may agree to this contract in writing, interactively on screen (clickwrap), or by opening the box containing the software (shrink wrap licensing). Proprietary software_sentence_16

License agreements are usually not negotiable. Proprietary software_sentence_17

Software patents grant exclusive rights to algorithms, software features, or other patentable subject matter, with coverage varying by jurisdiction. Proprietary software_sentence_18

Vendors sometimes grant patent rights to the user in the license agreement. Proprietary software_sentence_19

The source code for a piece of software is routinely handled as a trade secret. Proprietary software_sentence_20

Occasionally, software is made available with fewer restrictions on licensing or source-code access; such software is known as "free" or "open-source." Proprietary software_sentence_21

Limitations Proprietary software_section_3

Since license agreements do not override applicable copyright law or contract law, provisions in conflict with applicable law are not enforceable. Proprietary software_sentence_22

Some software is specifically licensed and not sold, in order to avoid limitations of copyright such as the first-sale doctrine. Proprietary software_sentence_23

Exclusive rights Proprietary software_section_4

The owner of proprietary software exercises certain exclusive rights over the software. Proprietary software_sentence_24

The owner can restrict use, inspection of source code, modification of source code, and redistribution. Proprietary software_sentence_25

Use of the software Proprietary software_section_5

Further information: Copy protection, Damaged good, and Price discrimination Proprietary software_sentence_26

Vendors typically limit the number of computers on which software can be used, and prohibit the user from installing the software on extra computers. Proprietary software_sentence_27

Restricted use is sometimes enforced through a technical measure, such as product activation, a product key or serial number, a hardware key, or copy protection. Proprietary software_sentence_28

Vendors may also distribute versions that remove particular features, or versions which allow only certain fields of endeavor, such as non-commercial, educational, or non-profit use. Proprietary software_sentence_29

Use restrictions vary by license: Proprietary software_sentence_30

Proprietary software_unordered_list_0

  • Windows Vista Starter is restricted to running a maximum of three concurrent applications.Proprietary software_item_0_0
  • The retail edition of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 is limited to non-commercial use on up to three devices in one household.Proprietary software_item_0_1
  • Windows XP can be installed on one computer, and limits the number of network file sharing connections to 10. The Home Edition disables features present in Windows XP Professional.Proprietary software_item_0_2
  • Traditionally, Adobe licenses are limited to one user, but allow the user to install a second copy on a home computer or laptop. This is no longer true with the switching to Creative Cloud.Proprietary software_item_0_3
  • iWork '09, Apple's productivity suite, is available in a five-user family pack, for use on up to five computers in a household.Proprietary software_item_0_4

Inspection and modification of source code Proprietary software_section_6

See also: Open-source software and Damaged good § Anti-features Proprietary software_sentence_31

Vendors typically distribute proprietary software in compiled form, usually the machine language understood by the computer's central processing unit. Proprietary software_sentence_32

They typically retain the source code, or human-readable version of the software, often written in a higher level programming language. Proprietary software_sentence_33

This scheme is often referred to as closed source. Proprietary software_sentence_34

While most proprietary software is distributed without the source code, some vendors distribute the source code or otherwise make it available to customers. Proprietary software_sentence_35

For example, users who have purchased a license for the Internet forum software vBulletin can modify the source for their own site but cannot redistribute it. Proprietary software_sentence_36

This is true for many web applications, which must be in source code form when being run by a web server. Proprietary software_sentence_37

The source code is covered by a non-disclosure agreement or a license that allows, for example, study and modification, but not redistribution. Proprietary software_sentence_38

The text-based email client Pine and certain implementations of Secure Shell are distributed with proprietary licenses that make the source code available.Some licenses for proprietary software allow distributing changes to the source code, but only to others licensed for the product, and some of those modifications are eventually picked up by the vendor. Proprietary software_sentence_39

Some governments fear that proprietary software may include defects or malicious features which would compromise sensitive information. Proprietary software_sentence_40

In 2003 Microsoft established a Government Security Program (GSP) to allow governments to view source code and Microsoft security documentation, of which the Chinese government was an early participant. Proprietary software_sentence_41

The program is part of Microsoft's broader Shared Source Initiative which provides source code access for some products. Proprietary software_sentence_42

The Reference Source License (Ms-RSL) and Limited Public License (Ms-LPL) are proprietary software licenses where the source code is made available. Proprietary software_sentence_43

Governments have also been accused of adding such malware to software themselves. Proprietary software_sentence_44

According to documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA has used covert partnerships with software companies to make commercial encryption software exploitable to eavesdropping, or to insert backdoors. Proprietary software_sentence_45

Software vendors sometimes use obfuscated code to impede users who would reverse engineer the software. Proprietary software_sentence_46

This is particularly common with certain programming languages. Proprietary software_sentence_47

For example, the bytecode for programs written in Java can be easily decompiled to somewhat usable code, and the source code for programs written in scripting languages such as PHP or JavaScript is available at run time. Proprietary software_sentence_48

Redistribution Proprietary software_section_7

Further information: Shareware Proprietary software_sentence_49

See also: Freely redistributable software Proprietary software_sentence_50

Proprietary software vendors can prohibit the users from sharing the software with others. Proprietary software_sentence_51

Another unique license is required for another party to use the software. Proprietary software_sentence_52

In the case of proprietary software with source code available, the vendor may also prohibit customers from distributing their modifications to the source code. Proprietary software_sentence_53

Shareware is closed-source software whose owner encourages redistribution at no cost, but which the user sometimes must pay to use after a trial period. Proprietary software_sentence_54

The fee usually allows use by a single user or computer. Proprietary software_sentence_55

In some cases, software features are restricted during or after the trial period, a practice sometimes called crippleware. Proprietary software_sentence_56

Interoperability with software and hardware Proprietary software_section_8

Further information: Interoperability § Software Proprietary software_sentence_57

Proprietary file formats and protocols Proprietary software_section_9

Further information: Proprietary format and Proprietary protocol Proprietary software_sentence_58

Proprietary software often stores some of its data in file formats which are incompatible with other software, and may also communicate using protocols which are incompatible. Proprietary software_sentence_59

Such formats and protocols may be restricted as trade secrets or subject to patents. Proprietary software_sentence_60

Proprietary APIs Proprietary software_section_10

A proprietary application programming interface (API) is a software library interface "specific to one device or, more likely to a number of devices within a particular manufacturer's product range." Proprietary software_sentence_61

The motivation for using a proprietary API can be vendor lock-in or because standard APIs do not support the device's functionality. Proprietary software_sentence_62

The European Commission, in its March 24, 2004 decision on Microsoft's business practices, quotes, in paragraph 463, Microsoft general manager for C++ development Aaron Contorer as stating in a February 21, 1997 internal Microsoft memo drafted for Bill Gates: Proprietary software_sentence_63

Proprietary software_description_list_1

  • The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead.Proprietary software_item_1_5

Early versions of the iPhone SDK were covered by a non-disclosure agreement. Proprietary software_sentence_64

The agreement forbade independent developers from discussing the content of the interfaces. Proprietary software_sentence_65

Apple discontinued the NDA in October 2008. Proprietary software_sentence_66

Vendor lock-in Proprietary software_section_11

Further information: Vendor lock-in Proprietary software_sentence_67

Any dependency on the future versions and upgrades for a proprietary software package can create vendor lock-in, entrenching a monopoly position. Proprietary software_sentence_68

Software limited to certain hardware configurations Proprietary software_section_12

Proprietary software may also have licensing terms that limit the usage of that software to a specific set of hardware. Proprietary software_sentence_69

Apple has such a licensing model for macOS, an operating system which is limited to Apple hardware, both by licensing and various design decisions. Proprietary software_sentence_70

This licensing model has been affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Proprietary software_sentence_71

Abandonment by owners Proprietary software_section_13

Main article: Abandonware Proprietary software_sentence_72

Proprietary software which is no longer marketed, supported or sold by its owner is called abandonware, the digital form of orphaned works. Proprietary software_sentence_73

If the proprietor of a software package should cease to exist, or decide to cease or limit production or support for a proprietary software package, recipients and users of the package may have no recourse if problems are found with the software. Proprietary software_sentence_74

Proprietors can fail to improve and support software because of business problems. Proprietary software_sentence_75

Support for older or existing versions of a software package may be ended to force users to upgrade and pay for newer versions (planned obsolescence). Proprietary software_sentence_76

Sometimes another vendor or a software's community themselves can provide support for the software, or the users can migrate to either competing systems with longer support life cycles or to FOSS-based systems. Proprietary software_sentence_77

Some closed-source software is released by their owner at end-of-life as open-source or source available software, often to prevent the software from becoming unsupported and unavailable abandonware. Proprietary software_sentence_78

3D Realms and id Software are famous for the practice of releasing closed source software into the open source. Proprietary software_sentence_79

Some of those kinds are free-of-charge downloads (freeware), some are still commercially sold (e.g. Arx Fatalis). Proprietary software_sentence_80

More examples of formerly closed-source software in the List of commercial software with available source code and List of commercial video games with available source code. Proprietary software_sentence_81

Formerly open-source software Proprietary software_section_14

See also: List of formerly proprietary software Proprietary software_sentence_82

Some formerly open-source software was made proprietary later. Proprietary software_sentence_83

Sometimes for commercialization reasons, sometimes as security or anti-cheat measurement (Security through obscurity). Proprietary software_sentence_84

Pricing and economics Proprietary software_section_15

See also: Commercial software Proprietary software_sentence_85

Proprietary software is not synonymous with commercial software, although the two terms are sometimes used synonymously in articles about free software. Proprietary software_sentence_86

Proprietary software can be distributed at no cost or for a fee, and free software can be distributed at no cost or for a fee. Proprietary software_sentence_87

The difference is that whether proprietary software can be distributed, and what the fee would be, is at the proprietor's discretion. Proprietary software_sentence_88

With free software, anyone who has a copy can decide whether, and how much, to charge for a copy or related services. Proprietary software_sentence_89

Proprietary software that comes for no cost is called freeware. Proprietary software_sentence_90

Proponents of commercial proprietary software argue that requiring users to pay for software as a product increases funding or time available for the research and development of software. Proprietary software_sentence_91

For example, Microsoft says that per-copy fees maximise the profitability of software development. Proprietary software_sentence_92

Proprietary software generally creates greater commercial activity over free software, especially in regard to market revenues. Proprietary software_sentence_93

Proprietary software is often sold with a license that gives the end user right to use the software. Proprietary software_sentence_94

Examples Proprietary software_section_16

Examples of proprietary software include Microsoft Windows, Adobe Flash Player, PS3 OS, iTunes, Adobe Photoshop, Google Earth, macOS (formerly Mac OS X and OS X), Skype, WinRAR, Oracle's version of Java and some versions of Unix. Proprietary software_sentence_95

Software distributions considered as proprietary may in fact incorporate a "mixed source" model including both free and non-free software in the same distribution. Proprietary software_sentence_96

Most if not all so-called proprietary UNIX distributions are mixed source software, bundling open-source components like BIND, Sendmail, X Window System, DHCP, and others along with a purely proprietary kernel and system utilities. Proprietary software_sentence_97

Some free software packages are also simultaneously available under proprietary terms. Proprietary software_sentence_98

Examples include MySQL, Sendmail and ssh. Proprietary software_sentence_99

The original copyright holders for a work of free software, even copyleft free software, can use dual-licensing to allow themselves or others to redistribute proprietary versions. Proprietary software_sentence_100

Non-copyleft free software (i.e. software distributed under a permissive free software license or released to the public domain) allows anyone to make proprietary redistributions. Proprietary software_sentence_101

Free software that depends on proprietary software is considered "trapped" by the Free Software Foundation. Proprietary software_sentence_102

This includes software written only for Microsoft Windows, or software that could only run on Java, before it became free software. Proprietary software_sentence_103

In India, one and a half million laptops were pre-loaded with screen savers of political minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Proprietary software_sentence_104

The author of software developed for these laptops included a malicious feature that would "crash" the device if the laptop's owner attempted to change, remove, or modify this feature. Proprietary software_sentence_105

See also Proprietary software_section_17

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: software.