Be warned: International Sybase User Group (ISUG)’s free software for members from Sybase isn’t what you think it is!

Several people have come to me over the past few months regarding the use of the free Sybase software given away as a membership gift by the International Sybase User Group (ISUG)

… plus a package of free Sybase Software valued at over $7000

Unfortunately there is a bit of misunderstanding that Not for Retail software are full versions.

The ISUG will happily entice you to join at the Gold level for the software:

  • New Version! Free Developer Edition of Appeon for PowerBuilder 6.2
  • New Version! Free NFR copy of Sybase PocketBuilder 2.5 (e-shop)
  • New Version! Free NFR copy of WorkSpace Studio 2.1 (e-shop)
  • New Version! Free NFR copy of Sybase DataWindow.NET 2.5 (e-shop)
  • New Version! Free NFR copy of Sybase PowerBuilder Enterprise 11.5 (e-shop)
  • New Version! EAServer 6.2 Developers Edition (e-shop)
  • Free copy of IQ 12.7 Developers Edition (e-shop)
  • ASE 15.0 Evaluation Kit (includes licenses, training materials, etc.)
  • Free Copy of SQL Anywhere Studio for Windows or Linux/UNIX (e-shop)
  • (User Group Presidents Only): Free NFR copy of Sybase PowerDesigner Studio

Let’s take a look at Sybase’s Not for Retail license:

NFR License

Please note that the NFR copies of PowerDesigner, WorkSpace, PowerBuilder, PocketBuilder and DataWindow .NET are for development and personal use, and not for commercial deployment purposes. A copy of the NFR license can be found below. Please note that references to development in the license typically refer to full-scale development. Prototyping (also a form of development) is generally permitted. All questions related to what can and can not be done with the program in question should be directed to your local Sybase sales representative for clarification and not ISUG.



  1. DEMONSTRATION USE OF PROGRAMS. You may install and use this Program internally in your organization solely for demonstration purposes on a single Machine. You may not use the Program for any development or production purpose, or transfer, assign, sublicense or otherwise convey the Program (or any portion thereof) to another party without Sybase’s prior written consent. You may not copy the Program except that you may either install the Program on your hard disk or make one copy for inactive back-up and archival purposes for your own use.
  2. TERMINATION. You acknowledge and understand that Sybase may terminate this Agreement at any time upon thirty days written notice to you. Upon any termination of this Agreement, you shall cease using the Program and shall destroy all copies of the Program in any form.

Make sense?  Well, for far too many people, it doesn’t.  So let’s just go over what you can and can not do with NFR software:

What you can do:

  • Install and run the software on one and only one computer (your computer)
  • Demonstrate the software
  • Build diagrams, binaries, libraries, etc.

What you can not do:

  • Only you can operate the software
  • Share any diagrams
  • Share binaries or libraries
  • Release any source code generated or even YOUR OWN source code that YOU produce while using the NFR software.  Unfortunately, this also includes taking the source code (or diagrams,etc) and using them with other software outside of a ‘demonstration’.

There isn’t anything distinguishing Not for Retail software from demo software
International Sybase User Group

While ISUG does state that the software is Not for Retail, ISUG stating that the NFR software is valued at over $7,000 is not just a misrepresentation but a bold faced lie bordering on bait and switch.

The purpose of this post is not to direct people away from being ISUG members, you do get a nifty Technical Journal where  article authors are only sometimes paid for their work, but to have people join with their collective eyes open.

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10 Replies to “Be warned: International Sybase User Group (ISUG)’s free software for members from Sybase isn’t what you think it is!”

  1. I think you are splitting hairs here. Sybase doesn’t claim that NFR software is worth $7k. It’s the free versions of software that otherwise would cost $7k. Just ask yourself this: If you wanted all of that software in that list, and you were not an ISUG member, how much would you have to spend?

  2. Your absolutely correct. Sybase doesn’t claim that the NFR software is worth $7,000. But ISUG does on their Gold Benefits web page:

    ISUG’s deception of membership benefits on their website is clarified with the rather rude if technically accurate email from the ISUG president that was emailed to all members (11/12/2009 06:39 AM CT):

    [Please note: this message has been sent to the entire ISUG membership.]

    ISUG Members,

    It has come to our attention that a certain few ISUG members are abusing the NFR software licenses that ISUG provides as part of its Green and Gold benefits packages. The license that ISUG members use is granted specifically for design and testing of software. Development of commercial or production software is strictly prohibited.

    ISUG and its members enjoy a great relationship with Sybase. This relationship means that we have been able to provide unlimited, no time constraint copies of Sybase software to members through our benefit packages. We find it unfortunate that some members have chosen to abuse that relationship with ISUG and with Sybase. In this case a few members’ bad actions may affect the entire membership of Sybase users.

    ISUG would like to keep offering this benefit to our members. We therefore would like to remind everyone that the license agreement with Sybase is legally binding. ISUG also has a zero tolerance policy for violations, and will take immediate action against any member who violates the terms of service.

    If you have any questions about licenses, or would like to inquire about the terms of use, please contact us immediately.


    Bryan Enochs
    ISUG President

    A side note: The part about “ISUG also has a zero tolerance policy for violations, and will take immediate action against any member who violates the terms of service.” is particularly interesting as the only course of action ISUG could take is to report the violations to Sybase (Legal). Depending on which country the member is located in, a NFR license may in fact mean a full retail license for production use. Remember that copyright laws and the validity and/or enforcement of end user license agreements vary greatly.

  3. I think I need to reiterate:

    The purpose of this post is not to direct people away from being ISUG members, you do get a nifty Technical Journal where article authors are only sometimes paid for their work, but to have people join with their collective eyes open.

  4. I’ve been told by Mike Harrold, Executive Director of ISUG, that my use of the ISUG logo is unauthorized. Presumably, this is because the board (or Mike himself – who knows) doesn’t like my telling people of their bait & switch tactics… Ask yourself this question, what is the value of DEMO software? That’s what ISUG is really offering in exchange of your money.

    So, I’ve removed the image in question and put up a red X instead. What little that can be seen of the original image is covered under fair use within the United States. Copyright law is a wonderful thing don’t you think?

    In case anyone is interested in the email from Mike Harrold:

    Received: by with SMTP id z14mr2213033ybh.72.1266444173022; Wed,
    17 Feb 2010 14:02:53 -0800 (PST)
    Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 17:02:52 -0500
    X-Google-Sender-Auth: 2fde8f4f5d62aadb
    Subject: Blog Post
    From: Mike Harrold
    To: “Jason L. Froebe”
    Cc: president Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=000e0cd6f1b80f9706047fd3034b

    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1


    Please immediately remove the ISUG logo from your blog post at

    You do not have permission to use the ISUG logo for this or any other


    Mike Harrold
    Executive Director
    International Sybase User Group
    Join ISUG. Learn More. Earn More!
    Join today at

    Unfortunately, this is rather typical of the ISUG board of directors. Instead of correcting their statement (just remove the bit about $7,000 already!), they threaten critics. Has the ISUG leadership fallen so low?

  5. Asking you to remove copyright assets is a threat? C’mon Jason, it’s nowhere near as tacky as your strangely timed hissy fit with the ISUG software offer. Now, if I understand this correctly, you were a board member for 2 years while this software offer was in place. Did you have any problem with it when you were ON the ISUG board (and presumably in a position to do something about it)? Or are you simply trying to grind some other ax now that your term is up?

  6. Kevin, do you honestly believe the NFR software is really worth $7,000? or even $100? The issue of the $7,000 bait & switch wasn’t brought to my attention until AFTER I left the ISUG board.

    No, I don’t have an axe to grind. Personal email? No it wasn’t a personal email. If Mike sent me an email representing himself and NOT ISUG, then it would be a personal email.

  7. So, as a board member, you were unaware of the specifics about the benefits of membership. You were a “director”. What direction then were you responsible for?

    But Ok, I’ll play pretend. I pretend I’m not an ISUG member, nor TeamSybase member. I wish to obtain all of the software listed in the benefits section so I can expand my skills with these products. Via eshop, here is what I see for list prices:

    Appeon For PB 6.2 (Dev Ed) – $850
    PocketBuilder 2.5 – $495
    Workspace 2.1 – $1395
    DataWindows .NET – $695
    PowerBuilder Ent 11.5 – $3000
    EaServer 6.2 Dev Ed – Free (currently “Hot Buy” on eshop)
    SQL Anywhere (single user) – $125
    25% discount on PowerDesigner Dev Ed – $750
    TOTAL = $7,310 American

    I didn’t include Powerdesigner Studio, or the list price for EAServer sans the “hot deal”. So, I can pay the above, or I can shell out $99 for ISUG and get more restrictive (but equally functional) versions of that software I’d otherwise have to pay $7,310 to get. I think most anyone who applies reason, and logic would “get” this. This is speaking to my first comment on this thread.

  8. Ah but Kevin, your example is flawed. The prices you list are for full releases not the “Not for Retail” licenses. If you can find the actual prices for “Not for Retail” licensed software then you might have a point.

    All I’m asking for is removal of the reference to “plus a package of free Sybase Software valued at over $7000“.

    I’m no marketing person but something like “plus an amazing collection of FREE software from Sybase!”. It’s that simple.

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