You get what you pay for. That old axiom is especially true when talking about NetWare 5.1 and Btrieve. Prior to NetWare 5.1, an unlimited user version of Btrieve was included free with NetWare. However, Pervasive has not supported Btrieve version 6.x for over two years and considers it to be an obsolete application. The new version of Btrieve included with NetWare 5.1 is called Pervasive.SQL 2000, and it is fully supported by Pervasive. Before getting too excited, you need to be aware of the new licensing wrinkle that comes with this upgrade.

NetWare 5.1 ships with a 90-day unlimited user license of Pervasive.SQL 2000, and a free two-user license. NetWare 5.1 requires at least a two-user version of Pervasive.SQL 2000, which is installed during every installation. If you are installing NetWare 5.1 on a new server, you may optionally install the 90-day license, or if you are upgrading an existing server that currently has Btrieve running on it, the 90-day license will be automatically installed. Ninety days after installation, the unlimited license will expire and the server reverts to the two-user license. If you need more than that, you must purchase additional licenses at a cost of roughly $90 each.

If you are beginning to think that you will simply install an older version of Btrieve, stop right now. Novell has not tested anything earlier than version 7 with NetWare 5.1, and both Novell and Pervasive consider you to be “on your own” if you attempt to do so. Many of NetWare 5.1’s key features are not supported by earlier Btrieve versions. However, you can uninstall Pervasive.SQL 2000 and use Pervasive.SQL version 7. This environment has been tested and is fully supported.

Novell and Pervasive have spent the last year updating the application, and Pervasive.SQL 2000 is much more robust and feature-rich than earlier versions of Btrieve. Here are just a few highlights of the new application:

  • Support for TCP/IP
  • Scalability to platforms such as NT, Solaris, and Linux
  • Support for a 32-bit environment
  • Integration with NDS
  • 64-GB file size
  • Enhanced utilities
  • Enhanced error-reporting and event-logging
  • Database support from Pervasive

How does all of this affect you? If you are planning to install NetWare 5.1 and you need to use Pervasive.SQL 2000, be sure to budget for the cost of the extra licensing. However, if you don’t need the application and the temporary license expiration warning message appears, you can ignore it. The license will eventually revert to the two-user version and the message will stop appearing.

While Novell and Pervasive should have done a better job of advertising the licensing change, the end result makes sense and can work in your favor. Novell could have chosen to license Pervasive.SQL 2000 and pass this cost on to everyone who purchased NetWare 5.1. Instead, only those who use the product will pay for using it.

Steve Pittsley is a desktop analyst for a Milwaukee hospital. He enjoys playing drums, bowling, and most sports.

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