Gimpel Softwares PC-lint Plus is a no-go.

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at
Mon Oct 30 10:20:40 UTC 2017

As some of you have heard, I have been beta-testing Gimpel Softwares
new PC-lint Plus product.

The good news is that it is a tool which shows a lot of promise from
a very skilled organization.

The bad news is that their new licensing is too expensive and legally
unworkable for Open Source projects.

Since I have evangelized enthusiastically for their previous
product, this update on my position seems required.


The single-user windows-license of the previous product "PCLint"
cost $389 for a single seat, and $1000 for the obfuscated-source
"FlexeLint" version which could run on UNIX systems.

I like FlexeLint, and while I found the $600 "UNIX-tax" unreasonable
and discriminatory, I paid for a license at the steeper price.

And I've been praising and recommending the product to everybody
who cared to listen to me.

For the new PC-lint Plus product the cheapest license is a 
"Team of 1-5 developer" license at $4990.

I will never understand why anybody would pick s licensing model
which punishes one- or two-person companies, in an industry where
there are so many of them.

But it is Gimpels product and they get to make the rules.

And me and my company gets to say "No way!" and keep the $1000 I
would otherwise have sent their way.


If the four extra licenses could have been shared with four other
developers in an Open Source Project, the pricing could have been
made to work.

But then we get to Gimpels licensing terms:

	Regarding Open Source

	You may use PC-lint Plus to analyze an open source project without other
	contributors being licensed as
	long as
	(1) you do not employ other developers to work on the project with you (in
	which case you would also need licenses for the developers you employ) and

	(2) you are not employed by another organization to work on the project (in
	which case all other developers employed by the same organization would
	also need to be licensed).

I have no idea how Gimpel intends to count "developers" here?

Does a PL/1-shark working on accounting on an IBM mainframe count ?

What if he knows how to program C ?

And in the specific case of Varnish Cache:  What about VCL-developers ?

I can't even imagine how Gimpel expects these restrictions to work,
if some big software-house hires me for a single day to review a
VMOD before they submit it to the Varnish Cache Open Source project ?


No PC-lint Plus upgrade for me, I'll stick with my old FlexeLint.

The good news is, that according to the many hours I spent testing
the pre-release versions of PC-lint Plus, there is not that much
performance difference from FlexeLint, and a fair number of bugs
they need to fix to get the many false positives down.


Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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