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Re: [ide-dev] Licensing framework for Eclipse plugins

Hi Frederic,

Thanks for describing the big picture in such details. I completely agree. Indeed providing a web shop for commercial plugin developers is an interesting business opportunity on its own.

My interest for triggering this discussion comes from the fact that I am currently involved in the development of Zend Studio - a PHP IDE based on Eclipse. We have our own solution for license management. There are some aspects of our solution that I want to improve. I've already done some research on the topic and I have some pieces that can be the base of a prototype for a license management solution in Eclipse.

Have you considered open sourcing your license management solution, or part of it? If yes, then we can unite efforts in having a common solution for everybody who needs license management solution for commercial Eclipse plugins and products. Of course, it is just part of the big picture you've described, but still an important one. And having a good solution for it would make it easier to complete that big picture.

BTW, I've installed CtrlFlow to get a taste of you licensing framework and got a problem while requesting the trial license [1]. Looks like a server-side issue. Eventually, it succeeded in the end.

I am also curious why bug 409269 had no progress.



On Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 5:36 PM, Frederic Ebelshäuser <frederic.ebelshaeuser@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
Hi Kaloyan,

I think that's a great idea. Of course I'm a bit biased, because as
you've already discovered, we've been working on something related here
at Yatta for a while now ;P

Actually, you can have a look at our license system in action within
Marcel's CtrlFlow app. - Have a look at step 3.

Am 29.03.2015 um 22:38 schrieb Kaloyan Raev:
My experience with Eclipse is that there are really tons of products and
add-ons built on Eclipse, but commercial products are offered primarily by
big and mid-size vendors. There are de fact no (or at least I am not aware
of any) commercial products or add-ons offered by individual developers or
micro vendors. Perhaps, the reason for this is that the efforts for
implementing the licensing part for a small plugin is equal or even greater
than implementing the plugin itself.

In our experience as an Eclipse vendor, the effort starts even
earlier and with something even more substantial: There is really no
good channel to sell an Eclipse plug-in easily and effectively right now.

Getting even a simple webshop with payment up and running can become a
pretty big and daunting task, when you take into account things like
correct international taxation, invoicing, consumer rights and so on.
When you want to address corporate customers (which is the majority) it
gets even more interesting, because suddenly many of your users don't
have their own budgets and/or can't pay with credit card - even small
amounts for simple plug-ins. It's clearly not effective for everybody to
solve this on their own just to publish a small commercial plug-in.

That's why we've been working for a while now on building a service to
allow everybody to easily sell their plug-ins directly from within the
Eclipse Marketplace Client - effectively turning the Marketplace Client
into a real app store for Eclipse.

A shared licensing system is one part of it.

Of course, the current status quo has pros and cons.
   - All of these small Eclipse plugins we have today are all open source,
so we get them for free
   - Code is available, so we can learn from it, fork it, change it and
contribute back.

What you also need to take into account here are all the plugins that
never see the light of day because their authors don't want to
open-source them but lack any alternative.

   - A large number of these open source plugins are abandoned soon (or in
best case a couple of years) after their start. Projects at Eclipse
Foundation are indeed more sustainable, but those "in the wild" are not
really. Of course, commercial plugins are not immune to this problem too,
but in some cases it may make the difference.
   - We have still a lot of functional gaps in the different usage scenarios
of Eclipse as an IDE compared to competitive platforms. Perhaps, these gaps
might be filled with small plugins by individual developer who have the
financial incentive to do it.

So, I believe that having an easy-to-use licensing framework at Eclipse
Foundation may attract the creation of more commercial Eclipse plugins and
RPC products. This will attract more developers in our community. It will
improve existing usage scenarios and cover new ones.

I completely agree. One of our main motivations for a shared sales
solution around the Marketplace was to attract more people and more
investments to push the Eclipse ecosystem. This was also a big topic at
EclipseCon NA last month.

Such licensing framework might be also helpful for mid-size and big vendor
who has already implemented their own licensing for their products. Based
on my own experience, it's not trivial to do the licensing "right" and it
is very helpful to have a place where you can look for best practices.

We already have a simple and very light-weight licensing framework that
is fully integrated with the sales process, so users can directly use
their plug-ins without messing around with license activation emails or
similar. Our main goal here is simplicity and tight integration into the

We already have a simple and very light-weight licensing framework that
can be used for free.

Licensing needs to be integrated seamlessly into the whole process, so
our licensing framework is fully integrated with our sales process, so
users can directly use their plug-ins without messing around with
license activation emails or similar. Our main goal here is simplicity
and tight integration into the process.

We will also provide an API to enable vendors to connect their own
licensing systems to offer a consistent UX across commercial plug-ins.

By the way, the technical license system is just one part of the
licensing issue. We are currently working on creating standardized
license terms and conditions which will cover most vendors' needs. This
helps both vendors and users to simplify Eclipse sales.

If you would like to use our license system or even more, please drop us
a mail at marketplace@xxxxxxxx. And if you support our ideas and
contributions, we would appreciate your support on


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