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  • #2249252



    by ben.rattigan ·

    We all know were not compliant and we all no that there is software somewhere on our networks that is not licensed. The odd extra copies of Office, few downloads etc.

    Software licensing is a massive IT problem in itself, created by a beuracratic mentality and costing companies a fortune to manage. Licensing should be straightforward and simple, something we should not have to worry about. It is beyond all belief that we need courses, seminars and conferences to discuss it.

    Microsoft is the worst offender of complex licensing and the biggest moaner when users aren’t complying. Well Microsoft has had it’s chance to get it right time and again, the only way forward now is for national Governments to step in a legislate to simplify and standardise the issuing of software licences.

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    • #3223321

      I couldn’t agree more..

      by susan1979 ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Hi Ben..
      I worked for a few years as a licensing specialist for Dell and there are an infinite amount of “gotchas”, not just with Microsoft, but with Veritas, Symantec, Legato, etc.
      I can’t tell you how many customers I worked with who had be sure of what licensing they needed (or had) only to find out they were doing it completely wrong. Its like a company needs an entire position dedicated just to tracking CALs and maintenance.

      If there were at least commonalities between vendors licensing structures, it might be a bit easier but none of them seem interested in changing… unless its to make it more complex.

      • #3288008

        Scary Licensing Processes

        by al plastow ·

        In reply to I couldn’t agree more..

        Ben makes some great points in post #13. They link well to this post, too. However, there are a couple problems.

        First, and foremost, licensing is a method of ensuring that the consumer is more reliant on the licensor. Not merely by virtue of the license Ts & Cs but by virtue of the licensor being the “only” expert on their license. Also, the complexity of the agreements ensures that the licensee (that would be US) is pretty much liable for any violation the licensor can conceive. This second concept permits a long term potential for added revenue stream. (At least as long as the license or any derivitive license is valid.)

        Second, Ben makes the point of posting licenses and applicability on web sites. This is great – in concept, but quite naturally, the legal kids have trashed the concept.

        Simply put, unless you place a clear restriction in your actual license, the licensor can (and they do) change the license Ts & Cs on the web site at will.

        The real key is having someone – not a lawyer – on staff who has been trained in strategic licensing; in how the products are used; and in how copyrighted products evolve across (and beyond) their life cycles. This isn’t as difficult as it seems. However, this single individual can save the company huge amounts in both real money and diverted violations.

        Any questions? Let me know & I’ll do my best to provide a useful answer.

    • #3224918

      Too complex

      by andy the it bloke ·

      In reply to Licensing

      You’re spot on there Ben.

      Licensing creates a lot of work, a lot of confusion as well as the extra cost. And why should we pay for CAL’s when we’ve paid for the server OS, Exchange and the desktop OS.

      Just a licence to make money.

      • #3288394


        by ben.rattigan ·

        In reply to Too complex

        Of course. I still don’t know exactly what reason Microsoft has for Client Access Licensing, I can’t think of a valid argument, other than to generate income for Microsoft.

        I think now Microsoft has decided to create a wider range of Windows versions that the Vista Business should come as standard with a Windows Server CAL included which covers any Windows Server versions.

        Microsoft CAL’s shouldn’t be version specific either and the CAL should sit with the client allowing it to connect to any server.

        • #3288378


          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to CAL’s

          As long as M$ is making the big bucks on CALS from the enterprise sector, there will be no change in their policy. Until the complexity and expence begin to cost them market share, there will not be much change. And as much as I hate to admit it, there is no open source replacement for AD, and open source mail aplications to replace exchange are a nightmare.

        • #3288186

          No replacement . . . ?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Money

          AD is just a modern rip-off of NDS (Novell Directory Services). Added to the mix now is Novell eDirectory.

          You could also construct an AD-like system using Kerberos, LDAP, and NFS, or similar open source technologies. In fact, AD is just a collection of MS implementation of open protocols and technologies, with modifications to make it incompatible with competing systems. Even SMB/CIFS, the basic network protocol and network filesystem on which all LAN systems are based in the world of MS Windows, is just a Microsoft implementation of open technologies.

          I’m a little mystified by your assertion that “[i]open source mail aplications to replace exchange are a nightmare,[/i]” too. It has been my experience that the nightmare is dealing with maintenance, administration, implementation, support, and licensing compliance for MS Exchange. When you get something like Open-Xchange set up, you just check it daily for a couple minutes to make sure everything’s humming along, but with MS Exchange you essentially need to hire a full-time Exchange admin dedicated to keeping your mail system running. Have you had different experience from me, or are you just basing your statement on third-hand complaints from people unwilling to make the migration from MS technologies to open tech?

        • #3216762


          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to No replacement . . . ?

          I have to admit to being fairly ignorant of novell Directory services. It probably would make a good approach, but its still a licensed product. As for kerberos, ldap, NFS, Im not that much of a linux ninja yet. But I see your point, there are options. I guess I should refine my statement to say that Open source directory services will not be competative until they reach the simplicity of AD. As for open source mail programs, configureing sendmail took me 4 days. I still dont have all the bugs out of it yet. I was able to put up an exchange server in 4 hours. Its been running for 3 years now. We did have to add some extra disk space, but thats it really for major maintainace. Once again, for me, Exchange just works, and keeps on working. My only complaint is the same one I have about the rest of MS products, Licensing. You buy the hardware, you buy the sergver software, you buy Exchange, you buy client workstations/OSs, and you still have to pay $ so clients can leagaly connect to the server. I know its not my money, but its the principal of the matter. For whqat we spend on licensing fees, we could have built a new server or two.

        • #3216709

          Fair enough.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Novell

          You’re right — setting up the pure open source solution is a bit more effort than setting up AD, NDS, or eDirectory. It’s worth the effort, though, at least as compared with MS AD.

          When setting up an Active Directory, as when setting up Exchange, it’s always quite easy to get a default, common-case system running. The trade off is that any time you have something nonstandard to do, you triple the time you have to spend on setting up the system, and setting it up securely is a series of hurdles all its own that usually requires buying a lot of third-party technology. In my experience, just getting a basic system running is much, much easier with AD or Exchange than with open source equivalents, but getting one running that is secure, stable, and tailored to specific needs takes longer, costs much more (even ignoring the licensing costs for AD and Exchange themselves), and is a lot more frustration and effort.

          I guess it’s a little like buying a 1984 Ford Escort with AD painted on the door, then trying to turn it into a sports car, contrasted with buying a snap-together kit that can be any kind of car you like just by choosing different parts to snap together. If you want a 1984 Ford Escort, go with the AD car, definitely. For anything else, that’s the worst possible choice.

          re: Sendmail
          I can’t stand that thing. I’ve been using Postfix for my mail server of choice. I’m not surprised you’ve been having problems with it, frankly.

        • #3216630

          I see what you mean

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to Fair enough.

          I can agree that secureing Exchange and AD definately takes some work, be it group policy, and or external solutions such as Anit Virus and Spam filtering, not to mention firewall and vpn services that further compromise the AD integrity. No network can ever be totaly secure, but Windows can be made reasonably secure. I am trying to find as many open source alternatives to MS based services as I can. I personally will not be migrating to MS VISTA, but have set up a 64 Bit Fedora system for my self. Thyis allows me to run Snort, Nessus, and several other toys to monitor my network. I like Xp, I like Win 2k, and I like severs 2k and 2k3. I dojnt like the pricing and buisness practices MS has released with Vista. Ill look into postfix, I have time to plan and learn before we will need to make any major changes in our e-mail system. What we will need at that point is a single front end server and 2 back end servers to split the mail load between divisions of our company. That seems entirely possible to do with a linux based solution.

        • #3216555

          something I forgot to mention

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Fair enough.

          I brought up the proprietary Novell stuff in the first place because I was referring to “plug and pray” type solutions that run on open source systems. It’s not a “pure” open source solution, but it’s halfway there at least — which is a darned sight better than MS AD for licensing purposes, especially since Novell has never been the sort of racketeer Microsoft is now.

        • #3224016

          Novell and MS

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to Fair enough.

          I will be interested to see where this “New Deal” between MS and Novell will go. Could be good could be bad, could be both. To many possibilities for me to say.

        • #3288916

          Define simplicity?

          by lastchip ·

          In reply to Novell

          It would be unreasonable of me to argue the merits (or otherwise) of AD and its open source equivalents, as it’s not an area that I pursue, but something struck me in your post that is a common denominator whenever I see this type of discussion.

          Something is simple, when you know how to do it. May I suggest you find AD simple because you’ve grown up with it and you’re in familiar territory.

          Conversely, the opposite is true. Even the most simple thing, when you are not shown or told how, can be intimidating.

          For example, I’ve been playing with Linux for a couple of years and a while back decided to try Debian. I had all sorts of trouble getting the install I wanted (apotheon was kind enough to help me out), but it boiled down to the fact that I had forgotten all about using the space bar to select what I wanted. Nowhere on the installation menu’s did it say: “press the space bar”.

          Now I can hear all you pro’s laughing your heads off at my misfortune, but the point I’m making is, even the most simple of operations is difficult if you don’t know how.

          So now imagine you’ve grown up with the Linux alternatives, perhaps AD would not seem so simple.

          In fact, even at my ridiculously raw novice level in Linux, I am slowly finding ways of doing things that are far easier than flogging a dead horse in Windows, so perhaps, Novell SuSE is easier than you think.

          Purely a thought, no criticism intended.

        • #3288803

          Simplicity is

          by ben.rattigan ·

          In reply to Define simplicity?

          I would define simplicity in software licensing when it does not require spending ?1000’s on courses to understand it, and easily and quickly understood.

          Simplicity is when the company selling the product understands it’s own licensing, and believe me MS doesn’t and quite often contradicts itself.

          If Microsoft would just make available easily on it’s website what licensing is available for each product and what the options are. The problem with websites is that marketing people get a hold of them and turn it all into spin and the facts are lost in a load of garbage you really don’t want.

      • #3288200

        Why NOT CALs?

        by lazarus439 ·

        In reply to Too complex

        First of all, why is it somehow wrong that Microsoft makes money? That’s what every commercial enterprise tries to do. That’s how all the people that work for Microsoft get paid. Unless one has somehow acquired independent wealth without doing anything to earn it (hit the MegaBucks grand prize or had the Prize Patrol stop by), that person did so by making money.

        As may be, CALs are a perfectly reasonable way to make the cost match the product. Presumably, you do not find a problem with the 10 ounce package of some food costing less than the 24 ounce package. Why would you find fault with a company with 10 client computers paying less for server capability than a company with 100 client computers? That is what a CAL does – it related the utility to the cost.

        All this notwithstanding, I heartily agree that Microsoft seems to positively delight in creating a licensing maze of impossible dimensions. Why, for example, are there so many variations of a Windows XP Pro license (retail, “over the counter” OEM, vendor-specific OEM, to name just three)? A XP Pro license should be just that: an XP Pro license. As long as I have it on just one computer at a time, there should be no problem.

        • #3288182

          I think you miss the point.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Why NOT CALs?

          “[i]why is it somehow wrong that Microsoft makes money?[/i]”
          It’s not wrong that MS makes money. What’s wrong is that MS makes money through extortionary revenue schemes.

          “[i]Presumably, you do not find a problem with the 10 ounce package of some food costing less than the 24 ounce package.[/i]”
          You’ve got that analogy wrong. It’s more like you’re buying the 24 ounce package and, as part of the food “licensing”, you have to pay extra for every person that’s going to eat some of the food. Thus, if you’re buying it only for yourself to eat over the course of several days, it requires purchase of a single EAL (Eater Access License), but if you’re making a meal for sixteen people you have to buy sixteen EALs.

          Would you let General Mills do a random spot-check on your dinner habits to determine whether you’re in compliance with the EULA for the food you bought? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Why do people allow Microsoft to audit their business-critical systems to determine whether they’re in compliance with MS EULAs?

          Further, these complaints assume that Microsoft has the right to restrict your use of its software at all. Many people don’t even believe that’s the case. Once you buy that stupid little hologram-printed CD, it (and its contents) should be considered yours to do with as you will, not just “licensed” to you by Microsoft to be revoked at Microsoft’s leisure.

    • #3288249

      I Find it Difficult to Sympathize —

      by uncaalby ·

      In reply to Licensing

      — with the biggest software company on the planet, having created several of the planet’s wealthiest Billionaires —

      — when they complain about how much $$ they’re losing to software piracy, requiring them to set up these onerous licensing rules.

      I mean, come ON — when you’re consistently in Forbes top 10 every year, just how much can it really be hurting?

      Nevertheless, I STRONGLY disagree about getting Governments involved, unless you want to REALLY screw things up.

      Isn’t that in the Top Ten Lies? “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help you.”

      • #3288179


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to I Find it Difficult to Sympathize —

        I’m with you on every point. Particularly, I find it difficult to sympathize with a company that seems to be creating intentionally complex licensing schemes just so it can trick people into noncompliance even while they’re doing their best to comply, and extract violation fees from them to enhance Microsoft’s own revenue stream.

        What other reason could Microsoft have for making things ever-more complex and difficult to maintain compliance if it can’t solve the “piracy” problem for the previous, simpler licensing model? It’s asinine and counter-productive, unless the intent is for people to violate the licensing terms whether they mean to or not.

        . . . and yeah, government involvement is about the worst way to “fix” the situation.

    • #3288205


      by bytesbite ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Two grammatical errors in the first sentence. What a shame!

      • #3216823

        The Real Point

        by ben.rattigan ·

        In reply to grammar

        Microsoft needs to simplify it’s licensing and that’s that. It is far too complex. I don’t just mean for business either, how many home users do you imagine own legitimate copies of Windows and Office? Well here in the UK I don’t know any home user with a legal copy of Office and those who upgrade their pre-installed Windows usually use a copy.

        It’s not that these people are intentionally avoiding paying for the licence, most people just very much assume that once someone has bought a single copy of Office or Windows that it gives them the right to install it anywhere (bit like a music CD or DVD, buy it and you can play it on any player, right?), OK the DVD may be a slight exception but thats a whole other argument for another time.

        The average man on the street probably thinks terms like OEM and EULA are some kind of disease.

        This is the question I recently had to get and answer to. Now you should know I got two different answers from Microsoft and a variety of answers from resellers.

        I want to purchase Office on a volume licence agreement for 50 users, I want Office 2003 for now until I am ready to roll out Office 2007.

        A. You can buy Microsoft Office 2003 now and upgrade to Office 2007 free when it is released.

        B. You can buy Microsoft Office 2003 now with Software Assurance and upgrade to Office 2007 when it is released.

        C. You can buy Office 2007 when it is released and downgrade to Office 2003 for now.

        After spending hours writing emails and making phone calls I finally came to the conclusion that only B and C are true. There is a well hidden document on Microsofts website about downgrade rights (but read it very carefully).

        My point is it should not be this complicated.

        How many of you know what it is exactly Microsoft accepts as proof that you have purchased a peice of it’s software?

        I recently did a software licensing course with FAST (Federation Against Software Theft) in the UK and they quote MS as requiring CD keys, Paid Invoice, Delivery Notes, purchase order, Media (where possible), printed EULA, licence agreements and numbers, photo taken of the MS Authenticity case sticker and any manuals.

        • #3224111

          In other words…

          by kcmplex ·

          In reply to The Real Point

          99.99% of users are in violation! Just imagine if Microsoft had the power of the IRS. Ummm?

    • #3288177

      Licensing nightmare

      by dr_zinj ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Real simple.

      Manufacturer, Product name, model number, version number, serial number.

      Doesn’t matter if you bundle it into a suite or not, the individual software components all get a separate serial number.

      For example:
      Microsoft, Excel, XP, 1.012, MSEX01547892105C.

      Anything more complex is deliberate maliciousness on the part of the software company and frankly, next time they come after a company for minor infraction of illegal licenses this should be pointed out by the defense. I beleive it’s called ENTRAPMENT.

      Gross violations of licensing is something else entirely.

      • #3288173


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Licensing nightmare

        “[i]I beleive it’s called ENTRAPMENT.[/i]”
        Absolutely. I made roughly the same point, though less succinctly, in [url=][b]this response to alvinsilvain[/b][/url] above just moments before you posted this — probably while you were typing it.

    • #3288175

      You had me until the last sentence.

      by apotheon ·

      In reply to Licensing

      The answer is not to get government to start legislating licensing more than it already does. Who do you think is going to have the most influence on governmental regulation — us? Hell no. It’ll be Microsoft and companies like it, which have the money and political clout to ensure that the laws are ineffective at best, or actively harmful (to benefit corporations like Microsoft to the detriment of users) at worst. News flash: government is not a conspiracy to Do The Right Thing.

      If you really want to fix the problem with Microsoft licensing, the way to do it is to avoid Microsoft licensing entirely. Use software from some other source — IBM, Sun, or open source software, for instance. OS/400, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Linux come to mind as alternative operating systems with more secure, stable, and high-performance capabilities. In particular, the *BSD OSes provide excellent freedom of use without absurd licensing restrictions.

      In fact, I’m typing this in Firefox on FreeBSD right now.

      • #3288110


        by ibanezoo ·

        In reply to You had me until the last sentence.

        I agree with your statement %100. We run a mostly Linux shop. One thing that is funny regarding licensing is that we have to use a Windows server to run license tracking software from Quark for our Quark Xpress machines. And naturally, it doesn’t work correctly….. Anyone have any open source programs that open Quark files for printing?

        • #3224129

          Two suggestions

          by nighthawk808 ·

          In reply to Yep

          Scribus – although I’m not sure this opens Quark files yet. I don’t have one to try it with.

          InDesign – although I’m not a big fan of Adobe, they’re almost certainly better than Quark. Many people in publishing view Quark Inc. as Microsoft without all the compassion and warmth. I do know that this one opens their files. It’s not OSS, but it’s an alternative. It’s not cheap, but if it allows you to get rid of a Windows server it may pay for itself.

      • #3289120


        by nighthawk808 ·

        In reply to You had me until the last sentence.

        I thought you were a Debian guy.

        • #3288993

          I was.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to FreeBSD?

          I’ve moved on.

          As stable as Debian is (which is really, really stable), FreeBSD so far seems even more stable. While Debian has around 20k packages in its archives, there are more than 16k ports in the FreeBSD ports tree, so while not quite up to the amazing standard of software availability in Debian, it still kicks the crap out of the rest of the Linux distributions on that score. I have always preferred the BSD license over the GPL, and the Linux kernel is GPLed while the FreeBSD kernel is (obviously) BSD licensed.

          The only thing keeping me from giving FreeBSD a serious try on the desktop for a long time was inertia. I’ve finally gotten around to giving it a shot, and I found that thus far I definitely prefer it. I have some things to relearn, since there are differences in system administration and configuration between FreeBSD and Debian, but there’s also a lot in common between them so I’m not back to square one as I was when I made the shift from Windows to Linux.

          There’s a long story as answer to your short question.

        • #3225571

          I have a reason for asking.

          by nighthawk808 ·

          In reply to I was.

          I’m thinking of moving away from openSUSE. The 10.1 release was hideously broken, but I figured that they might have it fixed for 10.2. Instead, it’s broken in entirely new ways. I’m taking a wait-and-see approach to the Novell/Microsoft partnership, but the combination of the disappointing quality of 10.1, their shift away from KDE and back to GNOME (SuSE’s custom KDE is what has kept me with them so long), and the post-agreement fallout uncertainty has me exploring alternatives. I’ve thought about Slackware, Gentoo, and one of the BSD’s.

          The final straw was seeing that the microcode and irq_balancer modules are required for the new kernel. An AMD FX-55 does not use microcode updates and, being a single-core, does not need an IRQ balancer, but I can’t remove these because of the merging of SMP into the default kernel. Things like this are why I’ve been looking at distros that allow me to custom compile to suit my machine.

          I’ve also considered one of the BSD’s because I figure that if I’m going to make a shift, it might as well be a big one and get it all over with at once. Is there a reason that you chose FreeBSD over NetBSD or OpenBSD?

          Although having apt-get or YaST do all the work is a nice option, I’ve never been afraid of a tarball, and when given the choice, I often choose to compile from source rather than use an RPM. So, basically, the number of packages a distro has isn’t much of a factor in my decision.

          Post edited to correct minor grammatical mistake and a typo.

        • #3225346

          some commentary about choices

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I have a reason for asking.

          Slackware is pretty close to “bare metal” in terms of your options for easing system administration. Every Slackware network ends up being its own unique animal, as most of the automated system administration tasks need to be cobbled together by the sysadmin(s), since there are not the pleasantly slick tools you’d be used to from other distributions. Software management is a blast from the past with Slackware: yes, it has what they laughably call a “package manager” for Slackware, but it’s pretty primitive and rudimentary beside tools like APT and YUM.

          Gentoo has excellent software management tools, and great documentation on the Web. Unfortunately, it’s also the “What’s borken this week?” distribution. It is very much a bleeding-edge-oriented distribution, and ports tend to get included before adequate testing has been done, which means that updating software versions is really an adventure with Gentoo. This can be something of a challenge for production systems, where uptime and stable functioning are of primary importance.

          NetBSD is kind of in a precarious state right now. The community is getting shaken up by internal turmoil, it has been losing popularity against FreeBSD and OpenBSD for years, and there are some serious questions about the effectiveness of the core team. The major claim to a benefit of using NetBSD is portability: there was a time when it was the most-ported general purpose modern OS in existence. Debian has surpassed it now, however, not only because Debian has been ported to a myriad of different platforms but also because NetBSD has been slacking on the platform porting. Its portability is now, mostly, a thing of myth and legend, from what I’ve seen.

          OpenBSD is widely known as the most secure modern, general-purpose, easily available OS in existence. The OpenBSD project, in fact, was the source of the OpenSSH implementation of SSH, which is the most widely used secure/encrypted remote administration tool in the world. All major Linux distributions include OpenSSH by default, along with a number of other OpenBSD-originated tools. OpenBSD has had a grand total of one remotely exploitable vulnerability in default configuration, ever, in the history of the project — and no documented security compromises in default configuration at all. It’s about as stable as an OS can possibly be while still allowing you to do things like run a GUI web browser such as Firefox. On the other hand, it doesn’t benchmark very well on system performance for a number of common tasks, in part because of all the internal security auditing it does. Additionally, in part because of the extremely close attention paid to security and stability, OpenBSD has very limited hardware support capabilities. Don’t expect to play Unreal Tournament on OpenBSD any time soon.

          While the size of package repositories is not necessarily of primary importance in an OS, there are other reasons to consider the availability of software in the software management system of choice for your OS. For instance, both Gentoo and FreeBSD use a “ports tree” to make commonly used software available to you in source code form with great ease. You can install the software from source in the ports tree, without having to use a package manager. You can also use a ports manager, such as emerge for Gentoo or portsnap/portupgrade for FreeBSD, to make the process of handling installation from source as easy as installing binary packages is in certain Linux distributions (such as using APT with Debian).

          Because it’s installing from source, however, you have greater control over the configuration of your software at compile time, you know exactly what you’re getting whenever you install something, and stability of both the operating environment and the software management system is possible. The Gentoo project plays fast and loose with its ports, so this benefit is mitigated somewhat in Gentoo, but the FreeBSD project tends to lavish a fair bit more diligence on maintaining the stability of the software in its ports tree. In addition, because you’re installing from source, there are fewer detriments to going “outside” the software management system of the OS to install something than there are with a system like APT or YUM.

          There are benefits to using a system like FreeBSD’s ports tree over just downloading tarballs from Sourceforge, as well. For one thing, it’s a lot easier to search through available software to see what you want, since there’s searching functionality built into the ports system. For another, the software is all vetted and extensively tested before inclusion in the official ports tree, and modified for maximum stability on FreeBSD. Software in the ports tree is by default configured to share libraries so that you don’t need eight different versions of a given library to support eight different applications you’ve installed from tarballs — or, worse yet, so you don’t have two applications installed from tarballs that share a library, then one of them on a version upgrade changes its version requirements on that library dependency, leaving you with a system where one or the other application is broken unless you reinstall them both. You also get the benefit of increased security, because there’s functionality in FreeBSD’s software management system for checking for new security vulnerability patches and automatically auditing the entire ports tree, so you don’t have to track vulnerability announcements for each and every separate program you’ve installed from a tarball you downloaded from Sourceforge.

          Despite all this, you don’t even have to install from source in FreeBSD if you don’t want to. There are binary packages available for when you don’t want to deal with compilation and are happy to go with all defaults. The packages, however, are basically exactly the same as ports, except that the process of compilation is already done for you — so the whole system, between packages and ports, is unified. In fact, when you want to uninstall a port, you can use a package management tool to do so. Thus, once installed, packages and ports are interchangeable and indistinguishable, with the exception of the fact that if you installed from a port the system will remember to upgrade by compiling from the new version port rather than installing from the new version package. It’s really a beauty to behold how well the system works as an integrated whole.

          Oh, yeah, and audio configuration for FreeBSD is a lot easier in most cases than for Linux. That was a very pleasant surprise for me.

        • #3225307

          I shudder to ask — Intel Solaris?

          by uncaalby ·

          In reply to some commentary about choices

          Just wondering if you’ve had a chance to try Sun’s Intel version of Solaris.

          I use Solaris all the time, but on Sparc hardware, new and used. I haven’t had the opportunity to try the Intel version, but since I’m already familiar with its Sparc cousin, it’s tempting.

        • #3289799

          I haven’t tried it yet.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I shudder to ask — Intel Solaris?

          My understanding is that its x86 platform hardware support is very restrictive still, it isn’t very newbie-friendly, and it is very stable and reasonably secure. Other than that, I know very little about it — I’ve never used Solaris at all.

          I should probably give it a whirl, when I have some otherwise unused computers handy.

        • #2507094

          Thanks, apotheon.

          by nighthawk808 ·

          In reply to some commentary about choices

          I was digging through my old posts looking for something else and realized that I hadn’t read your reply to my previous post. Thanks for your detailed thoughts. Since it’s been over a month since I last wrote, I’ve had a chance to get a better feel for openSUSE 10.2. So far, the experience has been quite a bit better than 10.1 was. (Most of the time I was on 10.1, I was counting the days until 10.2 was going to be released. 10.1 was so broken, the dev team’s general attitude seemed to be “Yes, we know we screwed the pooch this time, but we’ll fix it in the next release”.) It still has some of the problems I mentioned earlier, but a lot of those are related to the new 2.6.18 kernel, and so aren’t really openSUSE’s fault. There were a few bumps in the automatic updater (mostly it attaching itself to update sources that had update lists but not the patches, so it would say there were packages with updates available but fail when it tried to download them), but most of them have been smoothed out by now. However, it still will say that there are updates for a certain package that I know I don’t have installed. I decided to see what it would say if I told it to install the patch, and it asked me to insert the DVD so it could install the original package.

          Its main frustration, and one that has been around since I starting using SuSE 9.3, is still present: it is nearly impossible to get it properly set up as a Samba server. Samba client works like a charm, but getting it to work as a server is still a major pain. It’s not impossible, as I have managed to do it several times, but it’s still not as brain-dead simple as it is with Kubuntu, Debian, or any of half-a-dozen other distros I’ve tried.

          Now that I’ve got a few years of Linux experience under my belt, I’m starting to look for something more flexible. I’m also starting to not like the direction the Linux kernel is heading, so *BSD was one of the options I was strongly considering. Based on what you’ve written, I think FreeBSD will be my first choice. Once the AMD quad-cores come out, I’ll probably build a new box, and I’ll take the plunge then.

          Thanks again, apotheon. You’ve been a great help, and I apologize for not reading your excellent reply earlier.

        • #2508860

          No problemo.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Thanks, apotheon.

          I’m glad to have been of some help. Let me know if you want any help with FreeBSD stuff, of course — I’ll provide what knowledge I’ve managed to pick up along the way.

          It’s still my favorite OS, so far.

    • #3288111

      Agreed but…

      by ibanezoo ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Honestly we havn’t had too many licensing issues with Micro$oft, and I am not a huge fan of M$ products. We’ve survived our yearly Microsoft audit for the past few years. It is something we have to do because our parent company is “techology partners” with Microsoft, or so I am told. They hate the fact that %90 of our servers are Linux. 🙂 The licensing that drives me to drink is Quark. Quark makes us run a license server on a Windows server to keep us in check. And it doesn’t work very well.

    • #3224105


      by doug m. ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Why on Earth would you want Government to get involved in this issue? Government already has plenty to do. You mention a bureaucratic mentality, well what do you think government has? Tons of bureaucrats! More red tape. Let the industry manage itself. Big Govt and their solution of throwing money at problems is not the way to go on this one.

      • #3224040

        I cannot believe somebody wants MORE government regulation!

        by d.i.y. ·

        In reply to Govt?

        I hate dealing with licensing, but I hate dealing with government regulations even more. Sure, let’s give the same sorts of people that run the DMV control over how licensing is done. This is a bad idea.

        • #3223924

          It should be a threat

          by ben.rattigan ·

          In reply to I cannot believe somebody wants MORE government regulation!

          The Government should threaten leguslation to push MS and others to come up with a simpler licensing solution. I don’t know how is works in the US but I have contacted the UK Department of Trade and Industry who prefer not to burden software publishers with legislation and they regulate themselves.

        • #3287829

          Maybe the government should regulate. . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to It should be a threat


    • #3224023

      Licencing – just a Protection Racket, but legal

      by johnofstony ·

      In reply to Licensing

      We all know that “protection rackets” are illegal where a couple of “heavies” tell a business owner that his premises won’t be smashed up if he pays them a weekly “insurance”. Compare this with software licencing: the software vendor tells businesses that if they don’t pay the licence fee they will not receive support and be vulnerable to attacks, both legal and viral as they won’t be able to download patches to correct flaws in the software. With today’s businesses so dependent on computers, any demand for money to keep computers running safely is an exact equivalent to protection rackets. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pay a fair price for software but the continual pressure to upgrade and spend spend spend is relentless and should be controlled by law.

      • #3224014

        How would you propose this happen?

        by d.i.y. ·

        In reply to Licencing – just a Protection Racket, but legal

        You reckon maybe the government should slap a mandate down that a software company can only upgrade their product every 4 or 5 years? So much for progress, then. It’s all well and good to say that you want the government to control this sort of thing, but you need to consider the process that would be involved before giving the government that mandate. I mean, really, what would you have the government do?

        • #3223975

          Free Market

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to How would you propose this happen?

          In a flurishing free market economy, there would exist competition to force prices to remain at a reasonable level. But, in the computer service field, there is no real “choice” for most buisnesses. MS or Novell or RedHat for the OS. MS, Oracle, Logic, GreatPlains, Cirtix: the application list is fairly short, with one or 2 robust contenders in each category. The markets have become so inundated with the Heavy Weights, that new products never get the exposure or market share to be considered as a viable alternative. the second problem is a lack of universal standards for data formats, creating Vendor Lock on your data. Would you buy a car if you could ONLY by gas at a certain Chain of gas stations? Hell no. But we do it to mission critical data daily.

        • #3223921

          MS should make it clear what it’s policy is.

          by ben.rattigan ·

          In reply to How would you propose this happen?

          As previously responded it is the threat of Government action required in order to get the industry to react. I wish there was progress in Microsoft but they intentionally hold back. The point is why should we have complex licensing and additional expense for business. The biggest problem with licensing is that Microsoft won’t talk about it, detailed information about MS licensing can take a lot of research. Why can’t MS have a Licensing page on it’s website clearly detailing volume, OEM, retail, downgrading, upgrading and so on…

          Try and phone MS or it’s reselles even they don’t know. I have tried!

          And at the end of the day it really isn’t fair to get business to buy SA when the replacement products fall outside then agreement.

    • #3223978

      M$ Licensing

      by mpasaa ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Amen brother!!

      Let’s compare to licensing a car. Could you imagine if you had to buy licenses in the same way to operate various parts of a car. “I’m sorry sir, you only bought the license that allows you to operate the rear defrost and heater…if you want AC and a radio that’s another tier of licensing”. “You say you want wipers for when it rains–I’m sorry that’s an add-on”.

      Ridiculous! Here’s thought, build the license into the price and be done with it. It would be one less thing to manage, cheaper in the long run even if the software costs more and might even help alleviate the rampant piracy and/or incorrect deployments.

      Just my two-cents…


    • #3223943

      We do it to ourselves!

      by al plastow ·

      In reply to Licensing

      This series of posts is an excellent example of some of the major reasons the licensing for software and other copyrighted products is so incredibly off-balance.

      Each post was penned by an intelligent technology (or related) professional. Each has great things to say. However, we can’t seem to agree on what the problem is, who is responsible (internally or externally), or what can be done about it. I have been monitoring and teaching software asset management and compliance for over ten years and have discussed these issues with tech professionals from around the world. The issues you have posted in this thread are continually expressed virtually everywhere I speak. Can I try and sum up what is happening?

      We (I hope) can all agree that licensing is definitely weighted in favor of the copyright holder ? against the consumer. The majority of licenses are based on templates created by very high priced legal teams that work for the copyright holders. The software industry has multiple association organizations that invest a great deal of time and money creating terms and conditions that are guaranteed to transfer huge sums of money from our pockets and into theirs. The same documents also ensure that virtually any consumer can easily be proved out of compliance ? true pirates and thieves all.

      Unfortunately, when we acquired the products, our companies agreed to the documents. (Actually, fewer than 20% of actual license Ts & Cs are negotiated by the buyer.) Essentially, this means that we have enabled the practice of onerous licenses to continue because we just gotta have that product, so we accept the license Ts & Cs as is. We don’t have to. We CAN negotiate. We’re just too rushed, too desperate, or not in the mood to push back.

      We agree that government is not likely to work to protect the consumer. Would anyone be surprised that the content of the vast majority of copyright-related laws can easily be traced back to direct input from lobbying groups representing the copyright industries: software, music, films? For instance, the software industry donates on average around $20-30 million each year to lobbying for American legislation alone. Also, a majority of international legislation (thanks to WTO & FTA) is based on American legislative trends ? so it perpetuates globally. And who does it all tend to favor? Not us.

      By the way, did I mention that a majority of the statistics on which legislative actions are based can be traced back to industry-funded studies? There’s more but I don’t have room here. Anybody actually read UCITA? The bottom line is: don’t expect any support from governments ? local, regional, national, or international: they’re already bought and paid for.

      Is MS the biggest bad guy? Hardly. Do an Internet search on the practice of Stiffing. Invest a few minutes actually reading a license ? any license. Nearly all the major players are inside this little gaming circle: unfortunately, it IS business & they have their rights to snag as much benefit as they can. WE, however, don’t have to continue letting it happen.

      How can we change the trend? First of all, if we intend to make any progress, we have to communicate our specific concerns to one another. No games between one another. No oversimplifications: we need to share knowledge of what games the license drafters are playing. Next, we have to begin a clear process for actually understanding license clauses and how they are being used to hammer our companies. Then we begin ? individually ? to push back.

      How many of you have a list of license terms and conditions that you will not accept in ANY agreement? How about a list that MUST BE in every agreement? Do you use those lists to actually negotiate licenses (or do the copyright holders have you conned into believing that you aren’t allowed to negotiate)? As long as we do not work together to initiate change and as long as we continue to accept the existing license terms and conditions, the practices will continue. I have much more but don’t want to bore you any further.

      I will do this: If you have questions about licensing, non compliance, piracy, software asset management, I will be glad to discuss them with you. I do not provide legal or accounting advice but I can certainly try to pass you the knowledge that I have accumulated through literally hundreds of asset management professionals from more than 20 countries.

      Or, we could all just continue to swim against the flow of the waters.

      • #3223915

        Good Points — For Big Consumers

        by uncaalby ·

        In reply to We do it to ourselves!

        Sure, maybe IBM can negotiate better terms with M$. But some of us little guys can’t afford office buildings full of lawyers.

        My solution is to put these folks on notice that, they *DO* have competition, and many of us *ARE* willing to go the extra mile to make the alternatives work.

        Take Microsoft Office as the perfect example:

        It wasn’t that long ago that the suite of office applications cost 6 or 8 HUNDREDS of dollars. SAY WHAT?!!

        The only real competition — Word Perfect — was also “competitively priced”, i.e, also in the stratosphere.

        Along comes Star Office — able to read MS files — and it’s FREE. (It’s not free anymore, but it’s still cheap.) Certainly not a perfect alternative — definitely doesn’t have half the features of MS Office — rather kludgey to operate in many respects — but you can’t beat the price!

        NOW — you can get MS Office (for teachers and students ONLY, but the definition of “student” is very loose) for around $125 (less if you shop vigorously) — and that even includes three licenses, so you can load up your computer and two kids’ computers (as I have done).

        Is Star Office responsible for this? Certainly not all by itself, but I think it helped.

        I don’t think MS’s price would have become so reasonable without watching their market share begin to shrink, even if only a little bit.

        That’s the only option we “little guys” have. Take our business elsewhere when we can.

        • #3289012

          Big isn’t necessary – Customers CAN change the rules.

          by al plastow ·

          In reply to Good Points — For Big Consumers

          After all – It is OUR money that makes these publishers rich.

          I agree with your basic perspective. Big consumers will always get the best options because of their volume. However, there are plenty of ways that you can cut your costs and audit confrontation exposure simply by pushing back with the right information.

          Your point about Open Office/Star Office is an excellent example. I use it myself & have rapidly pushed billie & friends away from my systems. However, I would stress caution on the “Academic” license for MS products. It IS a violation to place it on corporate computing devices (a small point many will not encounter until they lose the audit)- Been there & helped them reduce their fines.

          The real key is that small to medium sized companies still purchase shrinkwrap licensed products. These are the most unfavorable licenses you can possibly purchase. Alternatively, even if you only buy a three pack of regularly licensed product, you can still negotiate some of the Ts & Cs.

          I have trained multiple companies that have eliminated some of the most nasty clauses from their licenses through careful negotiations. If we want to change this industry, we have to do it one system at a time; but, once we get the ball rolling, it definitely rolls faster and bigger every day – provided we communicate with one another to counter the organized wall presented by the software publishing industry.

          As before, feel free to contact me for more info. Several of you already have.

      • #3289027

        Sign Me Up

        by bvanloon ·

        In reply to We do it to ourselves!

        Any cooperative, collabrative effort to help nevigate the continually rough and turbulent waters of software licensing and compliance can only be a benefit.

        Not to Pirate but to the rest of us, we need to stop the whining. We are professionals. We are the ones who are paid to find the solutions, save the company money, keep third-party audits at bay (BSA, SIIA, software manufacturers, etc.), educate people about intellectual property laws and regulations, etc.

        It matters little that licensing is weighted in favor of the copyright holders. Alright…we all understand this so lets move on. It matters little that government is not very interested in helping. OK. This is part of why we have jobs.

        But I also agree with Pirate. We can push back. I happen to work for a company that has a pretty good legal team and we have pushed back with some success. We are not victims of those who draft the LAs.

        Let’s find a way to row in the same direction and stop the grousing. I will come along side anybody who is willing to mount a cohesive, honest, professional effort to help all of us who do this kind of thing for a living or for those of us who educate others about this rather interesting and challenging field. I got game.

        • #3289005

          Mounted & Already Working VERY well

          by al plastow ·

          In reply to Sign Me Up

          All points are 100% valid. We have already begun to change this industry. Not through whining and complaining (though, over a brew or two, we still do plenty of that) but through establishing and communicating standards to proactively divert the copyright holders from their profitable little complex license and piracy audit games (and others).

          For instance, one of the things they will not let you know is that the average audit settlement you see published is not even close to the real world costs of the non compliance event. In reality, those costs can reach between 3 and 6 times the published settlement – not counting the public image damage.

          Once a company begins to recognize the costs of NOT managing tech assets, they can reduce ongoing IT costs as much as 25% and substantially reduce audit exposure. It isn’t a fantasy – we have done it again and again, all over the globe.

          Plenty of business technology consumers have begun to work much smarter. It’s just a matter of knowing where to apply the torque.

    • #3223885


      by luvmypc ·

      In reply to Licensing

      the whole thing makes me crazy.

      its sort of the same with song downloading…at some point the industry is gonna realize that albums are gonna have to be free

      and im a person that DOESNT download illegaly!!

    • #3287833

      Re: Simplicity is

      by lastchip ·

      In reply to Licensing

      You know, from what I can see, there are a great number of IT staff (managers?) who really haven’t got a clue what the licence means or even if one exists.

      Of course, all will strenuously deny this, but trust me, it’s true.

      Most are so busy with the day to day operation, that licences are something that will be looked at “when I get time”; but time never appears.

      There is a huge amount of hypocrisy on this subject. We all know to never use unlicensed software, but I’ll almost guarantee there’s not a member here that hasn’t used the odd “illegal” piece of software at some stage, even as a teenager, when such “nonsense” didn’t really mean much.

      Microsoft, along with other big software houses are the perpetrators of this situation. If you make something so complicated, folk have difficulty in understanding the content, it will be ignored, and it’s my belief, this is exactly what is happening.

    • #3287830

      Two comments of disagreement

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Licensing

      Speak for yourself, because no, we do not all know that we have unlicensed software on our networks. You might be unable to manage that task, but others don’t have such a difficult time doing it. My network, for example, is 100 percent compliant in regards to licensing, and I spend very little time dealing with it.

      Secondly, you advocate the government “step in and legislate to simplify and standardize the issuing of software licenses”. You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s amazing to see people run to government to solve every little problem in their lives.

      • #3287760

        licensing noncompliance

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Two comments of disagreement

        The only networks over which I’ve had responsibility that were noncompliant with software licenses were networks I inherited with their licensing issues already in place. It’s pretty rare, in those cases, for the licensing noncompliance to be intentional: it’s almost invariably a case of the licensing to be so complex and the time so short that people just decided to not worry about it “for now”, and the time to start worrying never came.

        Networks I’ve built from the ground up, myself, have been licensing compliant ever since I understood what that meant — even though I personally feel that all this EULA and software copyright crap is a bunch of unethical nonsense designed to extort money from people who feel like they don’t have any other options. I avoid license violations because it would be unethical of me to leave clients in a legally precarious position, and because in many cases the network I design doesn’t really need licensing management anyway. That’s one of the benefits of working primarily with open source technologies on a given project.

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