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posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 08 2015, @11:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the when-the-system-doesn't-work dept.

Iron Speed, a firm which provided a rapid application development tool for creating .NET apps, is shuttering itself thanks to "litigation with a patent troll", according to a letter sent to customers by co-founder and chairman Alan Fisher.

The Iron Speed designer enabled developers to create applications for web, cloud and mobile using a point-and-click interface. Customers include AT&T, Cisco, DHL, Disney, HP and the US Army, according to the company's website. Yet all this is no more, writes Fisher:

There are several reasons for this, one of which has been the ongoing expense of litigation with a patent troll who has challenged our intellectual property. While we feel this is baseless, patent litigation is generally a multi-million dollar exercise. This has put a drain on our resources we can no longer afford, and coupled with excessive cracked key use and license sharing, our product sales have been severely impaired.

We will continue offering Technical Support through December 31 2015, but it is unlikely that there will be future software releases.

Because we are unable to issue any refunds, any customer with current software update or technical support subscriptions has been issued an additional perpetual license in his account.

A thread on the Iron Speed forums confirms the situation and provides more details.

The patent issue seems related to the way the Iron Speed designer generates applications automatically based on a database schema, removing much of the gruntwork in building applications that are essentially forms over data.

Microsoft has its own tool which does this, called LightSwitch, but this has not been updated much in the latest edition of Visual Studio, causing developers to doubt its future. Another issue with LightSwitch is its reliance on the deprecated Silverlight for desktop applications, though it can also generate HTML and JavaScript.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Jiro on Wednesday September 09 2015, @03:55AM

    by Jiro (3176) on Wednesday September 09 2015, @03:55AM (#234073)

    In order to open-source a program, you need to audit it. You need to remove anything that you don't have the rights to open-source because you used someone else's libraries or you used code under an agreement that doesn't give you the right to open-source. You need to sanitize the comments in case someone confessed in the comments to something that could bring you legal liability. You need to run everything by the lawyers (what if the code reveals some kind of violation that could not be easily proven just by examining the code's behavior? What if the comments contain text about something you're not legally allowed to talk about, such as explanations of why someone left the company, internal company documents, or just libel?)

    Doing this isn't free.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday September 09 2015, @04:23AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 09 2015, @04:23AM (#234081) Journal

    On the other hand, most code that is opensourced after being written gets no where near a lawyer.

    Its just put out there, maybe after a cursory look by the original coders, probably after a GPL license statement is inserted.

    We've done this at my day job. We've open sourced previously proprietary software that we wrote from scratch.
    It literally involved copying in the new license statement in the comments, zipping the source along with a text copy of the license, and putting the whole thing on the company web site. Since we wrote it, we knew there was no patented code in it, and the subject matter couldn't''t be patented anyway. We were selling source licenses as well as compiled applications. Our source was already clean.

      There was never a lawyer.

    In the current case, they are complaining about patent litigation, but also "cracked key use and license sharing" (piracy).
    I rather suspect it was the latter that really drove them out of business.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09 2015, @06:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09 2015, @06:10PM (#234327)

    Do you need to do any of that if your company is going bankrupt anyway?