ScientiaMobile was created to make WURFL development and support self-sustainable economically, since the previous model was not working (in short: nobody was paying a dime for it) and hence not scaling as it is going to do now. The objective was to find a way to commercial software that would allow WURFL to be better and more supported, while maintaining the open approach that the WURFL community loves so much.
Since the creation of ScientiaMobile, WURFL owners enforced stricter licensing rules to convince commercial companies that switching over to a commercial license was a very good idea. The fact that companies that find WURFL valuable pay something for it is the trick that will keep WURFL open and cheap.
In addition to using WURFL without paying for it, ScientiaMobile is particularly *NOT OK* with companies that exploit ScientiaMobile's Intellectual Property without licensing it. The problem is economical, but it is also about ensuring that no resources are taken away from WURFL development and support.
For this reason, we urge companies that want to adopt WURFL to stay away from WURFL-based non-standard APIs and solutions (and 51Degrees is one of them, but there are others).
Specifically about the legitimacy, there are two aspects:
- use of 51Degrees with old WURFL.xml files (i.e. repositories that were released openly) is, strictly speaking, not illegitimate, albeit we discourage companies from adopting it for the reasons mentioned above.
- use of 51Degrees with recent WURFL repositories is illegitimate, because the WURFL license explicitly prevents everyone from using it with non-standard APIs (we lift this restriction for ScientiaMobile's WURFL licensees though).
For a technological viewpoint, the wurfl.xml and the repository are built by ScientiaMobile to go hand in hand. Using a non-standard API means exposing oneself to the possibility that the underlying formats are changed irrespective of what that rogue API may assume.
In short, our advice is that companies that want WURFL, keep away from non-standard WURFL solutions for legal and technological reasons, as well as to be fair to ScientiaMobile and other regular WURFL licensees which support the open model.