I have already written about the handful of minor changes in CR 2011. So when I tried it last week there were no surprises in the actual product. I was surprised a bit by the license, but probably should not have been surprised. Crystal product managers and I have a tradition that we follow with every new product release:
1) Whoever happens to own Crystal that week puts in excessive restrictions.
2) I point out that the restrictions are excessive.
3) They have a serious internal discussion.
4) Things (usually) change for the better.
This time the issue was the restrictions in section (7). If you strip it down a long legal paragraph you get this sentence:
“Except as expressly permitted… you may not … use the Software to provide …. third party training, … or consulting services, or any other commercial service related to the Software …”
This same wording was included initially with CR 2008 and then removed after I started to write about it. If these restrictions were ever enforced they would choke off the entire ecosystem that has given Crystal its position as market leader. As I reread the license I got some hope from section 4:
“PRODUCT SPECIFIC USE RIGHTS. Additional terms relating to your use of the Software are found at www.sap.com/company/licenses/product-use-rights” …
But when I tried to follow that link and see what additional rights I had, things got bizarre:
First, the linked page forwards you to a license resource page with 6 more links. There is no guidance as to which one leads to the “user rights” page. I had a 1 in 6 chance of selecting the right link.
Then, if you happen to choose the right one you are given another list of links – this time 12 different documents. Again there is no guidance. So now you have a 1 in 72 chance of finding the right document.
Then, to actually open any of those 12 documents you have to register on the SAP site and then sign in to your new account.
Then once you are registered, and if you select the right document from the 12, you open up 54 pages of dense legal terminology. Out of those 54 pages, 53 pages do not apply to Crystal Reports. There is a table of contents in the front, but it doesn’t mention either “user rights” or “Crystal Reports”. Page 27 has the specific user rights for CR 2011. You can imagine the likelihood of a user finding the right page. And after all that, the “user rights” didn’t even address the new restrictions.
So I sent some feedback to the folks at SAP. They had some internal discussions and now assure me that they intend to make some adjustments to the restrictions section. The plan is to provide essentially the same user rights that we have in CR 2008. And they are also going to make the link to the “user rights” document go directly to the document and include a meaningful table of contents. All of this is slated to be updated sometime in July.