back to article The software licensing minefield

Software vendors make their money from licensing software for individual and corporate use. From the buying perspective, you’d think it could be a simple question of asking how much you need, and working out a price for that. But nothing in IT is ever so straightforward. In France they have an expression – “why do something …


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  1. Asgard

    nope ... nope ... no ... nope ... aaaahhhhh ;) I can't help it ...

    @"In France they have an expression – “why do something simply when you can do it complicated?”"

    Must ... resist ... comparison ... with ... Microsoft ... code ... over ... complexity ... making ... coders ... lives ... harder ... aaaagghhh, no, its no good, I can't help it, I feel compelled to speak out my Throught Crime against Microsoft's obsession with over complexity. aaaaaahhh I feel better now, kind of therapeutic. :)

    (I know the Microsoft fanboy cult followers will want to burn me for my heresy because they don't have any sense of humour when their SDK and core cult API beliefs are questioned, but I can't resist any longer ;) ... I've seen the light and become in the past 24 hours a born again Microsoft atheist and proud of it ... I'm now free from their licensing agreement! ;)

    p.s. This joke was partly funded by the down vote I got for daring to speak Throught Crime heresy in the 500 top computers thread when I was simply surprised to find so many top computers in the world were using Linux. I found it very Interesting how they don't want to be a part of the Microsoft licensing world.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Smile, it's the Win AP!

      I came to Windows from RISC OS. While there is no comparison in capabilities (RISC OS sorta stayed stuck in the early '90s, Windows progressed), there is a huge massive bleedin' galactic-sized difference in the API. RISC OS is small, tidy, and concise (provided you overlook the inherited abortion that is OS_Byte). Windows, on the other hand, seems like a dismal ill-conceived disaster.

      I think the basis of Windows was "we want an operating system, and we want it to do this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this" and if you iterate through some twenty years of "and this" meetings, you arrive at Windows as we know it today. It is capable of pretty much everything from incorrectly decoding the current position of a VBR MP3 to global thermonuclear war and noughts-and-crosses. Just... don't be a programmer.

  2. Is it me?

    Understand your estate

    One bit of advice I can give, is before you negotiate your license deal, understand what your needs are, and how to efficiently licence it on the simplest model. Most of the big vendors will do you an Enterprise of Universal license deal which involves a big upfront payment to the vendor to lock in technology for four or five years.

    Before you do this better have a good idea when you are going to need those extra licenses, or you will land up paying over the odds. Always base your deal on what you have now licensed the best way, with realistic growth. Make sure you have the right balance between User and Device based licenses. Just because you have 30 CPUs, doesn't mean you need 30 CPU licenses, especially with Oracle. Also understand how Web facing servers relate to internal servers, it may be that a web facing system requires CPU licenses, but that the internal systems it interfaces with do not. I cut £1.5M from a deal by getting that sum right.

    The best way to do it, is to model your license requirement, against basic licenses and your asset and user base in Excel, its not that difficult to do for Oracle and Microsoft, overall, for about 40 hours development time, I've probably save £3M on license costs for deals over the past three years. Excluding the others who have taken it on.

    Once you have run the licensing through, and have an accurate picture of the license costs, you can cut the holiday from Barbados to Bognor. Sadly, it's often the procurement departments who do these negotiations, and they only need to reduce the cost, not get it right.

    (Sorry, I don't do licensing any more, so the spreadsheets are out of date, but hay Reg, if you have an Excel Wizard on the Staff, there's a market niche for you)

    1. John G Imrie

      @Is it me?

      Understand what your needs are, and how to efficiently licence it on the simplest model.

      Could I stick that on a postcard to Vince Cable please?

  3. QuickRecipesonSymbianOS

    To be fair with the French

    That expression is meant sarcastically.

    This is a comment one makes when discovering something that is needlessly difficult to understand.

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