Proprietary software, also known as "closed-source software", is a non-free computer software for which the software's publisher or another person retains intellectual property rights—usually copyright of the source code, but sometimes patent rights.
Until the late 1960s computers—large and expensive mainframe computers, machines in specially air-conditioned computer rooms—were leased to customers rather than sold. Service and all software available were usually supplied by manufacturers without separate charge until 1969. Computer vendors usually provided the source code for installed software to customers. Customers who developed software often made it available to others without charge. Closed source means computer programs whose source code is not published. It is available to be edited only by the organization that developed it.
In 1969, IBM, which had antitrust lawsuits pending against it, led an industry change by starting to charge separately for mainframe software and services, by unbundling hardware and software.
Bill Gates' "Open Letter to Hobbyists" in 1976 decried computer hobbyists' rampant copyright infringement of software, particularly Microsoft's Altair BASIC interpreter, and reminded his audience that their theft from programmers hindered his ability to produce quality software.
In 1983, binary software became copyrightable in the United States as well by the Apple vs. Franklin law decision, before which only source code was copyrightable. Additionally, the growing availability of millions of computers based on the same microprocessor architecture created for the first time an unfragmented and big enough market for binary distributed software.
Since license agreements do not override applicable copyright law or contract law, provisions in conflict with applicable law are not enforceable. Some software is specifically licensed and not sold, in order to avoid limitations of copyright such as the first-sale doctrine.
The owner of proprietary software exercises certain exclusive rights over the software. The owner can restrict use, inspection of source code, modification of source code, and redistribution.
Vendors typically limit the number of computers on which software can be used, and prohibit the user from installing the software on extra computers. Restricted use is sometimes enforced through a technical measure, such as product activation, a product key or serial number, a hardware key, or copy protection.
Vendors may also distribute versions that remove particular features, or versions which allow only certain fields of endeavor, such as non-commercial, educational, or non-profit use.
Use restrictions vary by license:
Vendors typically distribute proprietary software in compiled form, usually the machine language understood by the computer's central processing unit. They typically retain the source code, or human-readable version of the software, written in a higher level programming language. This scheme is often referred to as closed source.
While most proprietary software is distributed without the source code, some vendors distribute the source code or otherwise make it available to customers. For example, users who have purchased a license for the Internet forum software vBulletin can modify the source for their own site but cannot redistribute it. This is true for many web applications, which must be in source code form when being run by a web server. The source code is covered by a non-disclosure agreement or a license that allows, for example, study and modification, but not redistribution. The text-based email client Pine and certain implementations of Secure Shell are distributed with proprietary licenses that make the source code available.
Some governments fear that proprietary software may include defects or malicious features which would compromise sensitive information. In 2003 Microsoft established a Government Security Program (GSP) to allow governments to view source code and Microsoft security documentation, of which the Chinese government was an early participant. The program is part of Microsoft's broader Shared Source Initiative which provides source code access for some products. The Reference Source License (Ms-RSL) and Limited Public License (Ms-LPL) are proprietary software licenses where the source code is made available.
Governments have also been accused of adding such malware to software themselves. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA has used covert partnerships with software companies to make commercial encryption software exploitable to eavesdropping, or to insert backdoors.
Proprietary software vendors can prohibit the users from sharing the software with others. Another unique license is required for another party to use the software.
In the case of proprietary software with source code available, the vendor may also prohibit customers from distributing their modifications to the source code.
Shareware is closed-source software whose owner encourages redistribution at no cost, but which the user sometimes must pay to use after a trial period. The fee usually allows use by a single user or computer. In some cases, software features are restricted during or after the trial period, a practice sometimes called crippleware.
Proprietary software often stores some of its data in file formats which are incompatible with other software, and may also communicate using protocols which are incompatible. Such formats and protocols may be restricted as trade secrets or subject to patents.
A proprietary application programming interface (API) is a software library interface "specific to one device or, more likely to a number of devices within a particular manufacturer's product range." The motivation for using a proprietary API can be vendor lock-in or because standard APIs do not support the device's functionality.
The European Commission, in its March 24, 2004 decision on Microsoft's business practices, quotes, in paragraph 463, Microsoft general manager for C++ development Aaron Contorer as stating in a February 21, 1997 internal Microsoft memo drafted for Bill Gates:
Early versions of the iPhone SDK were covered by a non-disclosure agreement. The agreement forbade independent developers from discussing the content of the interfaces. Apple discontinued the NDA in October 2008.
Any dependency on the future versions and upgrades for a proprietary software package can create vendor lock-in, entrenching a monopoly position.
Proprietary software may also have licensing terms that limit the usage of that software to a specific set of hardware. Apple has such a licensing model for macOS, an operating system which is limited to Apple hardware, both by licensing and various design decisions. This licensing model has been affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals.
Proprietary software which is no longer marketed, supported or sold by its owner is called abandonware, the digital form of orphaned works. If the proprietor of a software package should cease to exist, or decide to cease or limit production or support for a proprietary software package, recipients and users of the package may have no recourse if problems are found with the software. Proprietors can fail to improve and support software because of business problems. Support for older or existing versions of a software package may be ended to force users to upgrade and pay for newer versions (planned obsolescence). Sometimes another vendor or a software's community themselves can provide support for the software, or the users can migrate to either competing systems with longer support life cycles or to FOSS-based systems.
Some closed-source software is released by their owner at end-of-life as open-source or source available software, often to prevent the software from becoming unsupported and unavailable abandonware. 3D Realms and id Software are famous for the practice of releasing closed source software into the open source. Some of those kinds are free-of-charge downloads (freeware), some are still commercially sold (e.g. Arx Fatalis). More examples of formerly closed-source software in the List of commercial software with available source code and List of commercial video games with available source code.
Some formerly open-source software was made proprietary later. Sometimes for commercialization reasons, sometimes as security or anti-cheat measurement (Security through obscurity). A famous example of such is the Doom source port ZDaemon which was prone to aimbot cheaters.
Proprietary software is not synonymous with commercial software, although the two terms are sometimes used synonymously in articles about free software. Proprietary software can be distributed at no cost or for a fee, and free software can be distributed at no cost or for a fee. The difference is that whether or not proprietary software can be distributed, and what the fee would be, is at the proprietor's discretion. With free software, anyone who has a copy can decide whether, and how much, to charge for a copy or related services.
Proprietary software that comes for no cost is called freeware.
Proponents of commercial proprietary software argue that requiring users to pay for software as a product increases funding or time available for the research and development of software. For example, Microsoft says that per-copy fees maximise the profitability of software development.
Proprietary software generally creates greater commercial activity over free software, especially in regard to market revenues.
Examples of proprietary software include Microsoft Windows, Adobe Flash Player, PS3 OS, iTunes, Adobe Photoshop, Google Earth, macOS (formerly Mac OS X and OS X), Skype, WinRAR, Oracle's version of Java and some versions of Unix.
Software distributions considered as proprietary may in fact incorporate a "mixed source" model including both free and non-free software in the same distribution. Most if not all so-called proprietary UNIX distributions are mixed source software, bundling open-source components like BIND, Sendmail, X Window System, DHCP, and others along with a purely proprietary kernel and system utilities.
Some free software packages are also simultaneously available under proprietary terms. Examples include MySQL, Sendmail and ssh. The original copyright holders for a work of free software, even copyleft free software, can use dual-licensing to allow themselves or others to redistribute proprietary versions. Non-copyleft free software (i.e. software distributed under a permissive free software license or released to the public domain) allows anyone to make proprietary redistributions. Free software that depends on proprietary software is considered "trapped" by the Free Software Foundation. This includes software written only for Microsoft Windows, or software that could only run on Java, before it became free software.
In India, one and a half million laptops were pre-loaded with screen savers of political minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. The author of software developed for these laptops included a malicious feature that would "crash" the device if the laptop's owner attempted to change, remove, or modify this feature.
Although IBM agreed to sell its machines as part of a Consent Decree effective January 1956, leasing continued to be its preferred way of doing business.then everyone started fighting
In the 1960s, IBM and Xerox recognized that substantial sums could be made from the financing of their equipment. The leasing of computer and office equipment that occurred then was a significant contribution to leasings [sic] growth, since many companies were exposed to equipment leasing for the first time when they leased such equipment.
Rather than offer hardware, services and software exclusively in packages, marketers 'unbundled' the components and offered them for sale individually. Unbundling gave birth to the multibillion-dollar software and services industries, of which IBM is today a world leader.
While IBM's policy of withholding source code for selected software products has already marked its second anniversary, users are only now beginning to cope with the impact of that decision. But whether or not the advent of object-code-only products has affected their day-to-day DP operations, some users remain angry about IBM's decision. Announced in February 1983, IBM's object-code-only policy has been applied to a growing list of Big Blue system software products
So if open source used to be the norm back in the 1960's and 70's, how did this _change_? Where did proprietary software come from, and when, and how? How did Richard Stallman's little utopia at the MIT AI lab crumble and force him out into the wilderness to try to rebuild it? Two things changed in the early 80's: the exponentially growing installed base of microcomputer hardware reached critical mass around 1980, and a legal decision altered copyright law to cover binaries in 1983. Increasing volume: The microprocessor creates millions of identical computers
landleywas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
In connection with software, an issued patent may prevent others from utilizing a certain algorithm (such as the GIF image compression algorithm) without permission, or may prevent others from creating software programs that perform a function in a certain way. In connection with computer software, copyright law can be used to prevent the total duplication of a software program, as well as the copying of a portion of software code.
Essentially there are only three ways to protect computer software under the law: patent it, register a copyright for it, or keep it as a trade secret.
Under US copyright law, which is the law under which most free software programs have historically been first published, [...] only the copyright holder or someone having assignment of the copyright can enforce the license.
You may install, use, access, display and run one copy of the Software on a single computer, such as a workstation, terminal or other device (“Workstation Computer”). The Software may not be used by more than two (2) processors at any one time on any single Workstation Computer. ... You may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers or other electronic devices (each a 'Device') to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize one or more of the following services of the Software: File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services, Internet Connection Sharing and telephony services.
Under the proprietary software model, most software developers withhold their source code from users.
Vendor lock-in, or just lock-in, is the situation in which customers are dependent on a single manufacturer or supplier for some product [...] This dependency is typically a result of standards that are controlled by the vendor [...] It can grant the vendor some extent of monopoly power [...] The best way for an organization to avoid becoming a victim of vendor lock-in is to use products that conform to free, industry-wide standards. Free standards are those that can be used by anyone and are not controlled by a single company. In the case of computers, this can usually be accomplished by using free software rather than proprietary software (i.e., commercial software).
[...]that no further patches to the title would be forthcoming. The community was predictably upset. Instead of giving up on the game, users decided that if Activision wasn't going to fix the bugs, they would. They wanted to save the game by getting Activision to open the source so it could be kept alive beyond the point where Activision lost interest. With some help from members of the development team that were active on fan forums, they were eventually able to convince Activision to release Call to Power II's source code in October of 2003.
[...]fans of the Myth trilogy have taken this idea a step further: they have official access to the source code for the Myth games. Organized under the name MythDevelopers, this all-volunteer group of programmers, artists, and other talented people devote their time to improving and supporting further development of the Myth game series.
With the release of Homeworld 2 for the PC, Relic Entertainment has decided to give back to their impressive fan community by releasing the source code to the original Homeworld.
It is important to distinguish commercial software from proprietary software. Proprietary software is non-free software, while commercial software is software sold for money.
If you program for Linux, you do need to understand licensing, no matter if you are writing free software or commercial software.
Proprietary software should be distinguished from commercial software. It is possible for software to be commercial [...] without being proprietary. The reverse is also possible, for example in binary-only freeware.
The 4A Engine is a graphics middleware engine developed by 4A Games for use in their video game Metro 2033, published by THQ. It supports Direct3D APIs 9, 10, 11, and recently 12, OpenGL 3.2, along with NVidia's PhysX, and also NVidia's 3D Vision.Application framework
In computer programming, an application framework consists of a software framework used by software developers to implement the standard structure of application software.Application frameworks became popular with the rise of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), since these tended to promote a standard structure for applications. Programmers find it much simpler to create automatic GUI creation tools when using a standard framework, since this defines the underlying code structure of the application in advance. Developers usually use object-oriented programming (OOP) techniques to implement frameworks such that the unique parts of an application can simply inherit from classes extant in the framework.Cocoa Touch
Cocoa Touch is a UI framework for building software programs to run on iOS for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, watchOS for the Apple Watch, and tvOS for the fourth-generation Apple TV, from Apple Inc.
Cocoa Touch provides an abstraction layer of iOS, the operating system for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Cocoa Touch is based on the macOS Cocoa API toolset and, like it, is primarily written in the Objective-C language. Cocoa Touch allows the use of hardware and features that are not found in macOS computers and are thus unique to the iOS range of devices. Just like Cocoa, Cocoa Touch follows a Model-View-Controller (MVC) software architecture.
Cocoa Touch contains a different set of graphical control elements to Cocoa. Tools for developing applications based on Cocoa Touch are included in the iOS SDK.Commercial software
Commercial software, or seldom payware, is a computer software that is produced for sale or that serves commercial purposes. Commercial software can be proprietary software or free and open-source software.File Manager (Windows)
File Manager is a file manager program bundled with releases of Microsoft Windows between 1990 and 1999 and available from 6 April 2018 as an optional download for all modern releases of Windows, including Windows 10.It is a single-instance graphical interface, replacing the command-line interface of MS-DOS, to manage files (copy, move, open, delete, search, etc.) and MS-DOS Executive file manager from previous Windows versions. Although File Manager was included in Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 and some later versions, Windows Explorer was introduced and used as the primary file manager, with file management via a two-pane view different from that of File Manager, and a single-pane view obtained by clicking a "My Computer" icon.Flutter (software)
Flutter is an open-source mobile application development framework created by Google. It is used to develop applications for Android and iOS, as well as being the primary method of creating applications for Google Fuchsia.Free Download Manager
Free Download Manager is a download manager for Windows and macOS.
FDM was initially proprietary software, but with the release of version 2.5 it has been free and open-source software. Starting with version 3.0.852 (15 April 2010), the source code was made available in the project's Subversion repository instead of being included with the binary package. This continued until versions 3.9.7. The source code for version 5.0 and newer is not available and the GNU General Public License agreement has been removed from the app.
Free Download Manager received a 2007 Webuser Gold Award.Free and open-source software
Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software. That is, anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright licensing and the source code is usually hidden from the users.
FOSS maintains the software user's civil liberty rights (see the Four Essential Freedoms, below). Other benefits of using FOSS can include decreased software costs, increased security and stability (especially in regard to malware), protecting privacy, education, and giving users more control over their own hardware. Free and open-source operating systems such as Linux and descendants of BSD are widely utilized today, powering millions of servers, desktops, smartphones (e.g. Android), and other devices. Free-software licenses and open-source licenses are used by many software packages. The free-software movement and the open-source software movement are online social movements behind widespread production and adoption of FOSS.Free software
Free software or libre software is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, not price: users—individually or in cooperation with computer programmers—are free to do what they want with their copies of a free software (including profiting from them) regardless of how much is paid to obtain the program. Computer programs are deemed free insofar as they give users (not just the developer) ultimate control over the first, thereby allowing them to control what their devices are programmed to do.The right to study and modify a computer program entails that source code—the preferred format for making changes—be made available to users of that program. While this is often called 'access to source code' or 'public availability', the Free Software Foundation recommends against thinking in those terms, because it might give the impression that users have an obligation (as opposed to a right) to give non-users a copy of the program.
Although the term free software had already been used loosely in the past, Richard Stallman is credited with tying it to the sense under discussion and starting the free-software movement in 1983, when he launched the GNU Project: a collaborative effort to create a freedom-respecting operating system, and to revive the spirit of cooperation once prevalent among hackers during the early days of computing.Hiri (email client)
Hiri is a business focused desktop e-mail client for sending and receiving e-mails, managing calendars, contacts, and tasks. It was developed as an alternative to existing e-mail clients and calendar applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. Development on Hiri started in late 2012 in Dublin, Ireland.Hiri uses the cross-platform Qt framework to run on (Windows, macOS and Linux). Hiri does not support IMAP and only uses Microsoft Exchange Server infrastructure.
Hiri has been funded by Telefonica, Delta Partners, ACT Venture Capital, Enterprise Ireland and Angel investors Facebook and Linkedin.In March 2017, Hiri began charging a subscription service ($39 yearly; $119 lifetime).List of content management systems
This is a list of notable content management systems that are used to organize and facilitate collaborative content creation. Many of them are built on top of separate content management frameworks.List of formerly proprietary software
This is a list of notable software packages which were published under a proprietary software license but later released as free and open-source software, or into the public domain.
In some cases, the company continues to publish proprietary releases alongside the non-proprietary version.List of word processors
The following is a list of notable word processors.Movable Type
Movable Type is a weblog publishing system developed by the company Six Apart. It was publicly announced on September 3, 2001; version 1.0 was publicly released on October 8, 2001.
The current version is 7.0.Movable Type is proprietary software. From June 2007 to July 2013, Six Apart ran the Movable Type Open Source Project, which offered a version of Movable Type under the GPL.Open-core model
The open-core model is a business model for the monetization of commercially-produced open-source software. Coined by Andrew Lampitt in 2008, the open-core model primarily involves offering a "core" or feature-limited version of a software product as free and open-source software, while offering "commercial" versions or add-ons as proprietary software.Proprietary firmware
Proprietary firmware is any firmware on which the producer has set restrictions on use, private modification, copying, or republishing.
Proprietors may enforce restrictions by technical means, such as by restricting source code access, firmware replacement restrictions (by denying complete tooling that may be necessary in order to recompile and replace the firmware), or by legal means, such as through copyright and patents.
Proprietary firmware may range from just a few kilobytes of microcode for a network interface controller to megabytes of binaries for a wireless router. Custom firmware may still be available for certain products, which is often free and open-source software, and is especially popular in certain segments of the more powerful general-compute hardware like gaming consoles, wireless routers and Android phones, which are capable of running complete general-purpose operating systems like Linux, FreeBSD or NetBSD, which are often the systems used by the manufacturer in their original proprietary firmware.Software license
A software license is a legal instrument (usually by way of contract law, with or without printed material) governing the use or redistribution of software. Under United States copyright law, all software is copyright protected, in both source code and object code forms. The only exception is software in the public domain. A typical software license grants the licensee, typically an end-user, permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright.Windows Calculator
Windows Calculator is a software calculator included in all versions of Windows.
|Deceptive and/or illicit|
|Software release life cycle|