Daily question: Foot. Bullet. Trigger.

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From The Crystal Reports® Underground, SAP resurrects the “screenshots” issue:

Business Objects claims that no one can use a Crystal Reports screenshot in a book without their approval. They sent letters to courseware vendors (including me) telling use that we need to get permission to use screenshots in our books. Most vendors ignored those letters and nothing more was said in the three years since. Now it appears that more letters are going out from SAP (who now owns Business Objects). I read one of the letters this past week and it talks about screenshots and adds a new warning about using SAP trademarks like the term “Crystal Reports”. The letter was very impressive, with majestic references to various sections of US copyright and trademark law. Sprinkled throughout the letter was the Latin incantation “inter alia” to make it seem almost pontifical. It sounded so ominous that it brought to mind the blustering Wizard of Oz (“ignore the little man behind the curtain”).

Large-scale enterprise vendors like IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft sell complexity and arbitrage general IT cluelessness, fear and risk adversity. It’s good business if you can get it.

Does anyone still wonder why they go out of their way to not make their products less user-hostile when the obligatory training, support and maintenance taxes are integral profit channels without which some of these products may not even be viable?