The distribution contract with Octarès Editions has expired on dec 31, 2018.
We decided that we would reconsider our relationship with our customers / colleagues. After 15 years (Eye and Pen 1 was released in 2004), we evaluated the outcomes:
– Selling gave us some money and some recognition from our institutions.
– Selling can be an obstacle to distribution. The price was too high for some colleagues or labs, and we do not really have means to set it at a reasonable rate (a safety dongle costs, distribution costs, etc.).
– Selling involves administrative hurdles. For example, it took nearly 4 years to be able to release Eye and Pen 2 (the distribution contract was 18 pages long).
– Selling involves legal issues. Because of commercial distribution, we cannot include some useful third party libraries, we should sometime re-invent the wheel. We have to be careful when working on improvements with colleagues (non-disclosure agreements, etc.).
– Selling involves coding overload, because the software needs to be protected against “illegal use” (dongle, control of the number of network clients allowed).
We finally stated that the “return on invest” is not there. Too much time was invested in tasks that didn’t prove to be useful, neither for us, nor for the handwriting studies community.
It will not be distributed as Open Source because we want to retain control on its source code. It is a laboratory product, and we do not want to have to cope with forks, setting up advisory/supervisory board, etc.
Eye and Pen versions will still be registered at the APP (Agency for the Protection of Programs) to timestamp and keep a sealed copy of its original code – escrow (the APP acts as a trusted third party).
We’re now waiting for the authorization of our institutions to release the new version of Eye and Pen (version 3) under this new “licence”.