2008-03-09 13:41 Baking Sweet Licenses


Jyrki already wrote about the Cookie Monster in Blog/2008-03-04 11:17. That was an introduction to our licence ideas from an end user's point of view, I wanted to share the same topic from a little bit more technical side, so here we go.

We have this love/hate relationship with enforcing licences. Even if you'd like to think so, licence checks and copy protection does not prevent people from cracking and copying software - it just usually decreases the usability of the software.

So why use licensing at all?

How I see it, there are three benefits you gain by having a licence check in software. First of all, it helps the honest people to stay honest (people with dishonest intentions can always circumvent the security measures). Second, software licence checks will help the ones responsible for managing licences. I've encountered people in my work that are utterly stressed out because they have a hard time tracking how much their employees are using which software. This leads to the third point: when negotiating new annual deals, our client's sometimes have a hard time making purchase orders because they have no solid idea of how much the software is actually being used, and what kind of benefits it has reaped. As a result, in some cases they are also not motivated to buy the software again. In our case, it is actually not our client's responsibility to track how much our software is actually being used. With Bottomless Cookier Jar Licencing for example, we need to take care that our clients are optimising their Tia usage in order to seal the next annual deal. That takes some extra effort, but we believe that selling software that no-one uses is not going to be viable business anyway.

So what we need is to tackle the annoyances.

Licence strings are a little dull. From a vendor's point of view, you end up building a framework for managing the licences. From a customer's point of view, you need to be copy-pasting the licenses. That might be okay if you assume that there is hardly ever a need to reinstall software, or the operating systems. In the unfortunate event, that enterprises do need to support software and operating system installation there needs to be some kind of network based licence daemons, which are usually especially designed for enterprise use. Those are typically maintained by the ICT department and to keep the long story short - lets just say that we software vendors are usually advertising that we should be reducing the workload of ICT-professionals, not increasing it.

Well, how about the dongles then? Personally, I keep losing mine and even when I sometimes manage not to misplace them, I also have noticed that many times I can not complete a small task on the road because I had decided to travel light and leave all "extra" items to the office. Thank you very much, that was very handy.

So, no wonder users hate licence checks.

We have spent a lot of time discussing about a smarter way to handle licence checks and we've had a really nice response from introducing Cookie Jar Licencing (Blog/2008-03-04 11:17). We have a user base (currently about 100 users and increasing) who are already utilising our Collab Portal. So why not integrate Tia licences to our Collab Portal? Now our users can simply type in their Collab credentials, pick the amount of days they want to use Tia and that's it. No hassle, no copy/pasting. No integration to enterprise licence managemet. Just login and go.

By the way, see a demo at YouTube.

-- jani 2008-03-09 14:43:06

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