UPDATE Feb. 29, 2012 – A new version of MPLAB X has been released and they removed the auditing clause completely. That makes this old post no longer applicable.
Thank You Microchip
On the Microchip forum somebody read the license agreement for their new free IDE, “MPLAB X” and found this in section 1c.
Microchip’s authorized representatives will have the right to reasonably inspect, announced or unannounced and in its sole and absolute discretion, Licensee’s premises and to audit Licensee’s records and inventory of Licensee’s use of the Software, whether located on Licensee’s premises or elsewhere, at any time, in order to ensure Licensee’s adherence to the terms of this Agreement. What! They demand the right to enter a companies or persons premises unannounced because someone clicked yes on a EULA! It turns out this is not all that new for Microchip, a post from June 2009 says that this is also in the dsPIC dev kit EULA. This could be a huge problem for my work, I can’t imagine the company lawyers are going to allow me to use MPLAB X with this onerous of a EULA. Thankfully all current Microchip based projects are using MPLAB 8 and their Hi-Tech C Pro compiler which do not have this condition on usage. The problem will be in five or more years when MPLAB 8 is gone and we still need to support our products (our average life cycle is 20 years). I’ll just have to remember to keep a copy of MPLAB 8 around so that I can still use their debuggers and programmers when needed in the future. I hope they change their tune and remove this onerous clause. If they do not change this I will be forced to no longer consider Microchip processors for new projects :-(.
Thanks to Alan on the PIClist for pointing this out.