For the past 10 years, I've been using Crystal Reports in one form or another in nearly every project I've been involved with and for the past 10 years, I must have damned that company on at least 200 different occasions. The latest damning happened just a couple of days ago…
As many of you know, Crystal Reports ships with the VS.NET package. The version that ships with VS.NET is free to everyone who has a valid license of VS.NET. The license for this version of Crystal Reports allows for a developer (or entity) to redistribute the Crystal Report runtime free-of-charge with either Windows Desktop or Web applications. So far, so good! Nice work guys.
But lets say you’re ready to upgrade your Crystal Reports. Now, you want to buy 10 license of their Advanced Developer Edition (or whatever) and pay them $10,000 for the more powerful Developer Edition – no problem, of course! Right? WRONG! The redistribution license for the versions of Crystal Reports that you actually pay for are more restrictive than the free version of Crystal. In fact, according to Business Objects, you must purchase a license of Crystal Reports with every copy of your web-based application if it’s distributed outside of a corporate environment (desktop applications are exempt). This makes no sense to me at all! How could Business Objects think that it makes more sense to create a more restrictive license on a paid product vs. a free product?
Since forcing my customers to buy Crystal Reports is not an option, it’s almost like Business Objects is refusing my money and driving me to one of their competitors. In a weird way, that might be a blessing! Maybe I’ll finally be done damning Crystal Reports once and for all.