back to article BOFH: Licensing model

So the Boss had sensed a touch of animosity between us and one of our main software vendors after a recent bill and decided to grab the bull by the horns and invite them in to press-the-flesh and explain the new charging model they applied to us - without notice. Apparently, their reasoning ends up being that the new …


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  1. Tony Barnes
    Thumb Up


    Liked that one a lot! Nice work :)

  2. KarlTh

    Vendor Tauntage

    Is always a joy.

  3. Red Bren
    Gates Horns

    What about the CAL?

    You've paid for the coffee and you've paid for the cup, but if you want to use one with the other, you're going to need a Coffee Access Licence.

  4. Isotope

    ahhh...tis Friday

    and it's now officially the start of my weekend. Cheers *raises coffee cup not rinsed in porcelain and unapproached by the PFY*

    <---- Mines the splashproof one

  5. Dougal


    first BOFH that's made me properly laugh aloud for a loooong time!

    Just like the good old days. Nice work, Simon!

  6. Mats Schuh
    Thumb Up

    Right to the spot

    Right on! One of the best BOFH episodes I have been reading in recent times...having to manage different applications that all require intermingling licensing schemes (say, flex-servers, dongles, flex-servers+dongles blah) is definitely one of the most time killing, annoying and superfluous parts of the job.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    We can't be held culpable if.... choose to use the cup without first using a suitable Anti-Virus.....

    Mines the one with the Antibiotics in the pocket....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    off to the hydrogen filling station with them

  9. Alex


    Brought on uncontrollable chuckles. Nice one.

  10. caffeine addict

    you can wash coffee mugs?

    But you'd loose that healthy patina of caffeine...!

  11. Peter Mc Aulay
    Thumb Up


    > "You mean you have to wash it?"

    > "We prefer to think of it as a total maintenance solution aimed at providing the best possible cup experience for the user."

    Excellent, truly excellent.

  12. Michael Jolly
    Thumb Up


    .. note to self make sure I check the cup before accepting the drink

  13. Simon B

    Brilliant work!

    PMSL, Love it!!! absolute delight to read and an excellent twist of real life. Keeep it up!!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    as the old saying goes...

    Trust everyone, but make your coffee...

    Pure genius

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Now I'm sure...

    The world would be a better place if ruled by BOFHs.

  16. David

    The PFY

    Is really starting to come into his own. It almost seems that the BOFH just sat back; could it be that he's planning to retire?!

  17. alyn

    avoid the water

    Avoid the water with the blue (or yellow) tinge!

  18. RPM

    Back on song

    Great to see Simon's back on song - a chuckle or two to end the week

  19. Dr. Mouse


    RE: "It almost seems that the BOFH just sat back"

    Why have a dog and bark yourself?

  20. Mark Cooper
    Black Helicopters

    As Fate Would Have It


    One of our 'senior support consultants' made me a coffee this morning, for the first time EVER in 13 years.

    Methinks I might be about to have a bad weekend.


    Black Helicopters as I can't don't believe in coincidences.

  21. Tyson Boellstorff


    It wouldn't happen to a nicer guy. Really.

  22. Rosuav
    Thumb Up

    Best episode in a while!

    Laughed loudly enough to wake my brother.

    RE: "It almost seems that the BOFH just sat back" - The BOFH and the PFY work as a team. They have a real partnership. A partnership of mutual respect and cooperation, working together toward a common goal. They always work WITH each other, never against each other - you'd never find the PFY stealing the money that the BOFH had hidden under the false bottom of the fire extinguisher, and you'd certainly never find the BOFH stuck in a darkened basement with a laptop as his only source of light AND his only hammer. Nor will you ever EVER find them electrocuting each other with cattle prods. Oh no. This is a genuine partnership.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    You missed out the option of pouring it into a plastic cup ... and the associated licence transfer fee.

    I remember in the late 1980s, if you bought a Sun Workstation you had to buy a SunOS "Right To Use" licence. If you then sold it, the new owner had to buy their own "Right To Use" licence, as yours was non transferable. I didn't know there were software vendors out there who could still make these sorts of shenanigans stick.

  24. Roland Korn

    Oops - looks like the Boss let his guard down.

    "No," #1 responds. "I was just wondering what your manager will think about this extortion?"

    "Not a lot I shouldn't think", I respond. "Given that the muffins he had at the beginning of your presentation was made in a certain porcelain mixing bowl."

    So when the muffins hit the fan......

    I thought the old guy had a healthy sense of self preservation when dealing with the BOFH? At least he will live and learn from the errors in his reasoning.

  25. shawn
    Thumb Up

    One of the greats

    Thank you simon for another great BOFH article.

    I was just going back to the previous works that got me into reading the articles in the first place, and this one definitely rates up there with those.

  26. Dennis

    porcelain device

    I wonder .... is the use of a "porcelain device" sufficiently reliable. Just thinking about it creates nausea. But is this enough. Don't you need a Mocha topping from Exlax trigger the right results? Even better - chocolate chip muffins.

    It was on the radio earlier this week, a headmaster was discouraged from nicking the chocolate digestive biscuits. Spent the afternoon in a much smaller office.

  27. Dam
    Paris Hilton

    Brilliant, however...

    The term "cup" kept popping breasts images in my head.

    Just sayin'...

    Oh, hi Paris !

  28. Adam Foxton


    And neither of them would ever inflict on the other the horrors of being locked in a tape safe with just a quickly-removed door handle to breathe through, or being locked in a lift with the emergency hatch welded shut.

  29. Bo Pedersen

    truly amazing

    Its a big HI to all of us who have had to deal with Licensing in its various forms of evil incarnate.

    oh and @ Rosuav

    Dont think they dont get each other from time to time, like stuck in the lift over christmas/new year etc.... check back articles matey :)

  30. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Simon: Your invoice

    Review of BOFH episode #14: £150

    Display maintenance : £25 (Well, I did have to wipe the screen where I laughed out loud and spluttered coffee over it)

    Display Interface adjustment £10.00 ( My glasses WERE too far down my nose)

    HMI usage fees: £5.00 (Well, I DID use the mouse to get here)

    So, I reckon you owe me about £180.

    Plus VAT.

  31. A J Stiles

    Knew there was a reason

    I knew there was a reason why we migrated to 100% Open Source four years ago ..... because of bollocks like this.

    The expression on the FAST guy's face [we suspect someone tried to get us busted for the reward money] when we told him that we had no measures in place to prevent staff from copying application software from their workstations (because there was no need to ..... everything on there was Open Source and so quite legal to copy), in fact we would encourage it, was absolutely priceless. (Actually we had one partial, implicit measure in place. None of the machines had floppy drives or CD writers; and in those days, root passwords -- not issued to anyone except the IT department -- were required to mount USB devices.)

  32. Fred

    for those who read such bollocks


    By reading this email, you agree, on behalf yourself and your employer, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all NON-NEGOTIATED agreements, licenses, terms-of-service, shrinkwrap, clickwrap, browsewrap, confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and acceptable use policies ("BOGUS AGREEMENTS") that I have (or may have, or might in the future) entered into with your employer, its partners, licensors, agents and assigns, in perpetuity, without prejudice to my ongoing rights and privileges. You further represent that you have the authority to release me from any BOGUS AGREEMENTS on behalf of yourself and your employer.

  33. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Watch Out

    keep an eye on the PFY. He's getting good - maybe too good

  34. Bill
    Paris Hilton


    This may seem like nitpicking ...but... The PFY did not in fact supply a cup of coffee ....he supplied a cup of water with some coffee diluted into it ....which I suppose is a breach of contract ....leading to ......[ you fill in the rest ....I have gone too far ]

    Paris would have noticed...

  35. Pierre

    Foul scent

    So that's where the distinctive smell depicted here comes from.

    @ Will Godfrey "keep an eye on the PFY. He's getting good - maybe too good"

    That's been taken care of methink. The PFY had a muffin too, if I'm not mistaken.

  36. Pierre

    PS: WTF is the legend for?

    He who needs a legend explaining what BOFH means, is clearly not ready the article anyway. So why? Inqueering minds need to know (lame punt, I know. couldn't resist).

  37. Steven Knox
    Paris Hilton

    Am I the only one...

    who saw "model" and "Platinum" and was hoping...?

  38. Quirkafleeg

    Rep naming

    Why no. 1 and no. 2, I wonder…

  39. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    sadly not as made up as you'd think

    ok, so who here has bought or sold (or considered) cisco kit on ebay? the IOS licenses are not transferrable, so when you sell you should wipe it clean, and buy you should buy your own IOS (which would cost more than the kit)!

    if your company is bought or goes bust, any cisco kit is devalued because the licenses cannot be transferred either!

    so, in essence, cisco kit second hand is basically a brick.

    this also used to be the case with EMC, but you'd have to check that.

  40. Jon Tocker

    Brilliant episode!

    Had me laughing aloud for the first time in a while.


    The fact that it was the BOFH who mentioned the muffins, I don't think he was "sitting back". As Dr. Mouse said: "Why have a dog and bark yourself?"

    Couldn't happen to a more deserving target.

    Got to go now and pay the EULA licencing fee in order to read the copyrighted licence for the copyrighted software, will be going via a certain porcelain bowl and the coffee machine...

  41. A J Stiles

    @ Paul

    Unfortunately, the terms and conditions attempting to forbid the resale of software licences with used equipment run afoul of what the Law of the Land calls "the doctrine of Exhaustion of Rights". This is what allows you to resell copyrighted books, CDs, video games &c. There can be no breach of copyright because no copy is made.

    If Cisco or a similar vendor ever take you to court for dealing in their used kit, **they will lose** because they are trying to stop you from doing something that you are already allowed to do, and the practice will be stopped.

  42. Johnny FireBlade

    Had me laughing aloud for the first time in a while.

    I had to purposefully stifle myself at my desk, lest I draw strange, non-BOFH exposed glances from office colleagues!

    Bloody genius, that. I only wish I knew someone that quick thinking. In fact, I wish I was! lol

  43. Grant Alexander
    Thumb Up

    license agreement for porcelain bowl

    alongside most porcelain bowls there is a copy of the license agreement for the use thereof. i wish other licensing agreements were as easy to understand and implement.

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