back to article Desktop virt: Licence to bamboozle?

Desktop virtualisation presents many technical choices but they could turn out to be the easy bit. Licensing the software is where it all gets difficult, especially when the software is Microsoft Windows. The problem is that Windows licensing is based on the assumption that you install software on hardware, but virtualisation …


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  1. Tom 38 Silver badge

    'Legal' and 'non-legal'

    None of this is 'legal' or otherwise, it is contrary to the EULA. Thankfully, Microsoft have not yet managed to make breaking a EULA an illegal act.

    I wonder how this licensing lark works. Should I be paying Microsoft for a CAL to VNC into a machine? Probably according to the EULA, I should.

  2. Shaun 2


    Is it just me, or do most of these problems go away if you just don't use Microsoft servers........

    1. Thomas 18

      did you read the article?

      "The simple solution is to use an alternative operating system – except that for many organisations that would create another 'cascade of issues'."

      Saying 'just don't use it' is sidestepping the issue in a way you can apply to practically any news story.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not exactly

      We run Windows guests on XenServer hosts, and have looked at the licensing (in the IANAL sense of course). I'm pretty sure they can't do much about it, even by their own EULA, if you're accessing a licensed copy from a licensed client. I figured sticking 20 OEM stickers to the server is a pushing it a bit, so stuck with full retail copies on that end (which has cost advantages as soon as you replace the server)

      As soon as you want to access via Linux clients (for example), it all gets a little harder as you need client licenses according to their rules.

      That's all for RDP access, there's no mention of other technologies such as VNC as far as I remember (which is basically just moving the screen and keyboard elsewhere so shouldn't be a problem).

      The problem with VNC is that USB devices can't be mapped from the client then (or at least it's a lot easier with RDP), so it has to be RDP in our case.

      Basically, if you want to access windows remotely, you need to pay for two copies of windows, and that's still cheaper than getting a client license once you get to 366 days.

      (anon as I don't want MS coming after me if I'm wrong).

  3. NoneSuch

    Ubuntu and OpenOffice

    There... What is the next problem...?

    1. Combat Wombat

      lol... silly linux monkey

      Yeah no..... both suck for business environments... and as much as Linux fan boys want it, you won't see linux desktops in business any time soon.

      Govt and education sure.... because their time has no value.

      Open source is only free if your time to dick about with it is limitless.

      If you are talking about any "for profit" company.. MS is a fact of life

  4. Ken 16
    IT Angle

    It's licenses all the way down

    Yes, you can open source your entire stack but most commercial organisations prefer buying licensed software with a support agreement backing it up, it's what makes them feel warm and fuzzy. On any half-way complicated stack the interaction of licenses can, if not prevent, at least stop you making the most of virtualisation. I've worked on projects where the OS and most of the software was licensed by maximum value assigned to a partition (stopping us giving lots of headroom to each partition while keeping them folded most of the time), the database was licensed by the number of CPU cores in the entire frame and some of the ancillary software was by the number of physical CPUs (then one old fashioned small software vendor who licensed 'per computer' despite running on a huge ass *nix box)...confusion and cost everywhere. I've only been able to virtualise effectively in a large customer who had a site license deal with a major software group.

    Where's the IT angle? This is all about lawyers and salesmen!

  5. jcpw

    If you think MS is painful try Oracle

    Oracle don't recognise any kinds of virtualisation that they don't sell so if you want to deploy Oracle DB or Weblogic on, say, VMware you just licence the entire infrastructure for every product. Dead simple and insanely expensive.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how do they count licenses?

    If you have 100 desktops and are replacing them with thin clients, how much of the old desktop hardware do you have to keep in order for the licenses to still be valid? 6sq in. of the bottom of the case where the stickers are?

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