It is said that we can learn from history, that there are parallels in the past. Even in the realm of software licensing, our forebears have been there before as can be seen in this recently unearthed play from ancient England. Does this feel familiar to you too?
Lord Reading ) courtiers of Rougebois
Lord Bracknell )
The King ) … of Rougebois
Lord Audit. ) The Lord Chancellor
Sellalot ) hawkers and peddlers
Master Reviewalot ) a servant of Lord Audit
Three Witches of Bucharest
Lord Madora ) Lord of Culvert Castle
Lady Madora ) his wife
Pickstring ) their minstrel
Assorted wildlife) themselves
A forest in the domain of Rougebois
Lord Bracknell: How fares it Reading?
Lord Reading: It fares me well Bracknell
LB: and what of thee Audit?
Lord Audit: I fare full, amply and make much merriment.
LB: So anon sirrahs!
LR: Aye, anon!
A duck pond near the castle of Rougebois. Sellalot and Bonus rail.
Sellalot: …at thee Bonus for I will pull thy nose and flick thine ears!!
Bonus: …halt lickspittle, for I will pull down thy breeches and beat thee with a throstle!
Sellalot: come knave, for our Lords do arrive, we must within.
In the court of the castle of Rougebois.
The King: so Sirrah, I trust the exchequer fares well?
Lord Audit: Aye Majesty, for it groweth plenty at each harvest.
King: But what of next harvest for I fear lean years ahead, as it is foretold at Peston. Each year must increase as the fleas in the bed do suck and prosper. I am called to make a crusade to the continent which will need funds…see to it !!
Lord Audit: At once Majesty!
Lord Audit calls his henchmen to him
Lord Audit: So varlets, I did see you in heated conversation by yon duck pond. I trust you have plans to increase our coffers, our King doth demand it! Well? Speak or you may learn first-hand that ducks make better swimmers!!
Sellalot: Times are lean my Lord but I do think that the people of the North east are worthy of prospect. The lands are windswept and cold and even bandits fare not that way. The land must be rich for picking.
Audit: You make a goodly suggestion Sellalot, what thinks you of this plan Bonus?
Bonus: Aye, ’tis goodly Lord… methinks … er … the usual compensation plan Sir?
Audit: get you both hence or I will compensate you!! Send me Master Reviewalot for I will dispatch him to those lands. Give him your intelligence of where he may reconnaissance and find best opportunity. Leave no clod unturned.
The Mill at Skidby near Wyke on the river Hull…
Miller: I do fear it is time for the revenue my Love! The rumours we have heard are true.
Wife: Aye, for I do weep as sweet Miranda did when Ganymede did traverse the fold and alight on yon throstle!
Miller: Thou hast it dearest. I do fear the Lord Audit for he has sent a message that we must expect a visitor on the morrow!
On the morrow…
A cold mist covers the land, silver webs hang from the thatches of the hovels surrounding the mill…and all seems dank and chill…..
Master Reviewalot: What is this place? What manner of creature dwelleth here? I am afeared for my very life!!
Miller: who is there? Show thyself knave!!
MR: Horror! Such a voice, is it man or beast? I know not!!
A door opens in the closest hovel …
MR: Ah!… tis but a Peasant.
M: Who art thou stranger for I am the Miller here abouts?
MR: I come from the Lord Audit and am Master Reviewalot.
M: But what carryest thou in yon trunk?
MR: they are the tools of my craft, my badge of trade for I am a licensed member of the society, that which is affiliated to the Royal Guild of Reviewers. I carry the scripts of Rougebois which are portentous, for I must apply them to thy mill and report back to Lord Audit.
M: Let me see..
M: …but they are gibberish, it is some magical form, some hieroglyph. What meaneth they?
MR: Sirrah, I know not for they are in the tongue of Rougebois and must be interpreted in the lands of Roma at the Castle of Bucharest.
M: (aside) Methinks ‘tis magic!
Castle Bucharest, the lands of Roma..
1st Witch: I of WIMP..
2nd Witch: … and pixels of LEDs
3rd Witch: Bit of Byte
Together: … Back on our heads!!!
… beware for our news will rune your day!
Later, at Rougebois Castle … The runes have been interpreted and returned for reconciliation by Master Reviewalot.
MR: for I see now in the runes that there are problems for the Miller, as Sisyphus is any guide and Herpes did fly betwixt and between, there is no split that is not old wood methinks. Aye.
MR: I do fear my return to the mill near Wyke on the mighty Hull which doth swirl and flume. I must import woe on the house of yon Miller .. his wife, ..and 15 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats, a gerbil … and untold rats and fleas! For he worketh under licence to the king of Rougebois which is much restrictive. It is many years that he hath renewed it and it is now most unsuitable, for he has made much improvement to the mill beyond his licence. How will he fare?
These runes I will place safe away
And take to Wyke another day