Now, Pieter has been nothing but helpful and this decision was out of his hands. But what a strange decision. After his personal email to me, another one followed to other developers which was a bit more definitive:
As you know a few of us here at Korbitec have been pushing to get ODBCExpress open-sourced, since there is no ongoing development, and recent changes in Delphi 2009 of the char & string types to Unicode have made ODBCExpress unusable in its current form in this version of Delphi. The bad news is that open-sourcing ODBCExpress has been rejected by management for various reasons. However the good news is that the latest source code is available for download by all of the existing registered users of ODBCExpress. Furthermore you are allowed to modify the source code in any way for your own purposes, or collaborate with other registered ODBCExpress users to port it to newer versions of
Pretty much the same message is available on the ODBCExpress website.
It's an odd decision not to open-source it, as TurboPower did so successfully with its VCL component sets all those years ago. They can't make any more money out of it, they're encouraging developers to collaborate and help each other, they're giving away the source code to registered developers who don't already have the source - yet they won't make the source code available to everyone so that the project might live on.
Bit of a two-fingers up to Delphi really. Pretty sad ending to a good set of components.