Wednesday, January 5, 2011

(empo-tymshft) Will licensing change?

Years ago, in the wake of the punk explosion, the Who released a song called "Music Must Change" - complete with orchestral accompaniment.

Pablo Valerio argues that the big software firms are doing the same thing as cloud computing emerges:

Many software vendors using the software-as-a-service approach are already using the "concurrent" user license. They sell a package of licenses to an enterprise, and the software can be installed by an unlimited number of users, as long as the number of them using it at the same time is less than or equal to the number of licenses purchased.

But big software vendors are resisting the change.

And if the software vendors want to satisfy their fiduciary duty to their stockholders, they will continue to do so.

I believe that most people realize that cloud computing is not a stunningly brand new thing. In essence, cloud computing is multi-user access to data - and that's been around longer than single-user access to data, when you think of it. In some respects, there is no difference between 100 dumb terminals plugged into a distant mainframe somewhere, and 100 iPads plugged into a distant server somewhere. Well, OK, you can't play Solitaire on a mainframe. (Actually, you could, and I'm sure that we'll eventually find the 1970s programmer who created an ASCII farming game.)

Frankly, even this post is nothing new, since it revisits territory that I originally visited in an October 2009 post. While it didn't talk about licensing per se, it talked about the original cloud computing.

Or, in other words, you use your computer as a terminal to get to an Amazon computer, and you buy some time on it. The Amazon computer is shared with a number of other users, effectively giving you a "time slice" on the Amazon computer.

I think some of my readers know where I'm going with this.

Back to licensing. While customers may think it ridiculous that a "non-human operated device" is counted as a "named user" for Oracle licensing purposes, Oracle will continue to do this as long as it can make money on the practice.

And just because some things are being accessed in the cloud doesn't necessarily mean that the vendors will automatically seek to lower the prices that they charge to customers.
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