RGraph changed license type so always download your tools
This is not a how-to article to describe some development techniques. It’s just a reminder to always download the full package of any external tools you use!
Reason for this blog post is the changed license of RGraph.net: Previously it was free for everyone to use, both personal and commercial. That’s why I used it and also wrote a blog post how to Create HTML5 Charts using ASP.net and RGraph. But now the license has changed! It’s still free for personal projects, but if you want to use it in commercial projects your have to pay 99 £ (currently around 130 € or 150 US-$). I was surprised to discover this because I did not find any announcement about the license change. I would expect some information somewhere. Maybe on the start screen so everyone is informed. At least on the license page or on the previous donation page (which does not exist anymore). Maybe also on their facebook page. Or on Twitter? They have 419 followers so they might be interested in a license change. But nothing found.
So I checked the internet archive. According to their archives, the change has been made between 02. August 2014 (saying “Truly Open Source and Free to use”) and 28. August 2014 (where it’s “Open and free for non-commercial”). I also checked their facebook and twitter accounts for this time range, but no information found 🙁
I’m a bit sad that the license change is not published anywhere. Of course RGraph is a great tool, and for sure they deserve the money. It seems that donations were not successful, so the switch to another license type is of course completely ok. I fully support this. But I regret that there is no information to the current users. Why do they want to hide the change? Why not be more open and explain the change? I guess most users would understand that switch.
So now I’ve discovered the license change by coincidence. So what about my current license? I’m using a version which was free. Am I still allowed to use it for free? I think so, because you could change the license for new versions, but not for published ones (as far as I know). Additionally I have in mind that the RGraph project is not developed anymore? I thought I’ve visited the site maybe 2 months
Several other projects show much better how to switch a license type: Explain to the user, clarify what is allowed with old versions, maybe still offer the old free code to download, explain why the license is switched and what advantages users would have from the new version.
So what I’ve learned from this: Always download the tools you are using! Content-Delivery Networks (CDN) are great and easy to use, but if the license type changes unexpected you might have problems to use the previously free version. Having a local copy would always help, also in legal cases.
Update from 02. July 2015:
I just received an email from Richard that the license of RGraph has been changed again. Now it has 2 license types: GPL or purchase. Please have a look at RGrpahs License page for all the details