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Archive for January, 2008

Piracy Police could come knocking at your door!

Jan 30 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

Baseline Magazine recently published an informative article about what steps to take should you get an audit letter from the BSA. The process, as scary as it is, should be handled with care in order to come out with the smallest settlement possible, and avoid litigation if at all possible.

What exactly is the BSA and what do they want with us?

“The Business Software Alliance ( is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world’s commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent one of the fastest growing industries in the world. BSA programs foster technology innovation through education and policy initiatives that promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, CA, Cadence Design Systems, Cisco Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, Dell, EMC, Entrust, HP, IBM, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft, Monotype Imaging, PTC, SAP, Siemens PLM Software, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, Synopsys, and The MathWorks.”

So basically, they are hired guns that go after companies who fall out of compliance with their licensing. They also operate 65 hotlines around the world for those who wish to report suspects of piracy. The piracy police!

The BSA promotes anti-piracy to create jobs overseas. In fact, they put out a report this month with IDC claiming that “reducing software piracy in the United States by just 10 percentage points over the next four years could generate more than 32,000 new jobs, $41 billion in economic growth, and $7 billion in tax revenues above current projections.”

With this in mind, the BSA is likely to continue on its crusade to audit those companies who are not in compliance with their licensing, which means companies should really consider creating a repository of its software assets and continually updating and reconciling inventory to remain in compliance.

The BSA-IDC study is available online at . Also refer to the Baseline piece which is a very helpful guide as to what to do should you receive a letter. Has anyone got a letter? Raise your hand! Let us know.

Miro in the News: Microsoft Tests Partners’ Licensing Knowledge

Jan 28 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

So the latest buzz is about Microsoft’s licensing quiz for its channel partners. What a clever way to drive licensing sales and assert their software compliance rights. In fact, that’s exactly what I told Kevin McLaughlin, our reporter friend at CMP in his January 28 article “Microsoft Tests Partners’ Licensing Knowledge.”

Software licensing is a complex enough issue. The quiz serves as a tool to help channel partners uncover how much they don’t know about licensing and gets the point across……………….the point being about software compliance rights of the vendor and the client.

Open Source: An Open Sore?

Jan 25 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

Open Source has been an open sore when it comes to software licensing.  Forget about the well-established software procurement process the IT department has worked so hard on.  Instead, people are just downloading free and available open source codes off the web.  The result is that IT managers don’t know about these downloads and what software license is covered or not covered.

So, Hewlett-Packard launched an enterprise software licensing tool for implementing open source governance and consulting services.  They are calling it FOSSology and I’m told the FOSS stands for free and open source software.  So, FOSSology will include the ability to analyze an enterprise’s software infrastructure and extract open source software licensing governing codes being used.  There will even be a website – Foss Bazaar –where info on open source governance will be collected, catalogued and accessible for anyone who needs it.

Some things to know about HP’s new governance services:

·         A total cost of ownership analysis is available. 

·         It will sniff out compliant and non-compliant open source software licensing.

·         An analysis is done on how open source codes are managed benchmarked against industry best practices.

·         FOSSology not only looks for known open source licensing codes, but it also looks for key phrases in the language of the downloaded program that may affect licensing.  If the text reads “XYZ is licensed under….” 

·         Watch those software license audits!  Because here they come.

The issue of open source software licensing is so complex, HP put together a video on the FOSSology site.   HP has made the statement that the software will provide information from the license audit, but (ultimately) it’s people who have to make decisions.

Who would have thought about the fonts?

Jan 23 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

Here is the scenario – you buy new computers for the office that all come with an upgraded version of the latest operating system. On top of all that comes with the new operating system – training, compatibility issues with old computers, etc – did you ever think you would have to consider fonts??? Well, what many IT managers don’t realize, or don’t have the bandwidth to consider, is that all fonts are licensed and need to be kept up to date.

Typefaces are considered software which carry their own copyrights and yes, licensing. Fonts are licensed under the terms of their respective applications’ End User License Agreements (EULAs). Dependent on your licensing agreement, any time you update, or don’t update, your fonts it may leave you out of compliance.

Fonts often used by design departments are also licensed by font software publishers (foundries) and using them means paying close attention to the terms of the license agreements. It’s also very important to be sure all employees are aware of the issue – downloading updated fonts from the internet is considered piracy and will surely put you out of compliance. In addition to downloading, files received from vendors and partners that contain pirated fonts may end up on your system.

Term vs. Perpetual Licensing—When Does Choosing a Term License Make More Sense Than a Perpetual License?

Jan 22 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

If you’re anticipating the need for additional Oracle licensing and your budget is small, you may be better off with a term license.  Depending on the business need – it may work out to your business’ benefit.

What exactly is a term license? Oracle, for example, generally offers a one, two, three, four or even five-year term license. These licenses can be extended by purchasing an additional term or a perpetual license. The cost of a term license depends upon its length in time and, of course, its use.

Many software licenses specify a limited time period or term during which the user will be permitted to use the software. At the end of the term, you must stop using the software unless a new license is purchased or the term is extended through an agreement with the software provider.

HOWEVER, there is a caveat, which is why it’s important to know ahead of time how the licenses you need will be used. Term licensing‘s annual support costs are always calculated per Oracle‘s perpetual price, not the term license price, so you‘ll pay proportionally more for annual support with a term license than you would for the same perpetual license. 

As an example, if your company has taken on a project and has the need for additional licenses for contract employees for an 18-month period – term licensing would be the way to go. If you foresee those licenses being needed in the future for additional projects or growth of the company, a perpetual license would be more effective to cut down on the additional support costs. 

Depending upon your requirements and the future business environment, it is important to weigh the difference between a term license and an ongoing perpetual license, including the restrictions, support and implementation costs, the likelihood of potential business changes and the impact on the current and future environment. If the proper planning is put in place, it can result in significant cost savings.

BEA, Oracle, MySQL, Sun Microsystems….oh, my!

Jan 17 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

So, two big news items happened this week.  Oracle is buying BEA Systems and Sun Microsystems will buy MySQL.  So, Larry Ellison gets his wish (Was there any doubt?).  The good news is that BEA makes some mean middleware that will only strengthen Oracle’s offerings.


And, yowza!  The free, open source database used by Facebook, Google dozens of companies (including some Fortune 1000 and Global 100 companies IS being bought by Sun. 

It’s only January.  Can’t wait to see what else will happen in the next 11 months.


So, here’s the scuttlebutt in the media on both deals:


Specifically, Oracle – BEA: CRN; CNN Money; Investor’s Business Daily

Specifically, Sun – MySQL: ComputerWorld; PC World


Named User Plus Licensing

Jan 16 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

We’re not often asked about Named Users, but questions should arise.  The most commonly misunderstand situation in software enterprise compliance is the need for licensing to cover non-production environments (e.g. development, test, archive, etc.).  This is one of the most common areas of having either over licensed -which means corporate IT is overspending- or have under licensed -which means the company is out of license compliance. When licensing by Oracle’s Named User Plus metric there are several things to consider including (though, this is by no means a comprehensive list):

· What is your actual usage of each program?
· Where each program is installed or enabled?
· What are the various rules surrounding these licenses?

With respect to being out of license compliance, it’s important to realize that SOX regulations hold your most senior executives responsible for license compliance. That’s true, as SOX is not just about reporting financials correctly, it’s also about attesting that your enterprise is in compliance with copyright, trademark and otherwise intellectual property rights.

When BSA comes a-calling… better answer the door.

Jan 14 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

So, the BSA (that would be the Business Software Alliance and not the Boy Scouts of America) is coming down strong on software licensing and setting an example with six companies, who agreed to pay nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for unlicensed software.  Software from Adobe Systems, Microsoft Corp. and Symantec were being used without proper licensing.

All the companies are required to settle claims monetarily, execute software licensing management best practices and adhere to their software licensing agreements (SLA) moving forward.

Virtualization: The Promise land?

Jan 11 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

Software can be sold as a virtual appliance with its own OS to run as a virtual machine on your existing server or VMware using cloud computing. Is this the future? The benefits: flexibility and maintenance for software delivery. But many don’t support virtualization platforms….yet. Oracle’s virtualization technology goes hand in hand with support for their apps. In fact, Oracle has announced that its virtualization software will support both Oracle and non-Oracle applications. They are one of the ones ahead of the curve. SAP and Microsoft have both announced that they are joining the virtual world.

Virtualization will also mean that more time will need to be spent managing software assets and licensing. Because, you better believe that the software vendors will be watching. Compliance will be the name of the game and if you’re not in compliance, you’ll find that you cannot “pass go.” So, managing your software license and assets will be of key importance as more software companies and CIOs decide virtualization is the key to the promise land.

What’s To Know About Oracle’s DB Management Tools?

Jan 09 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

A feature known as Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) is built into Oracle database versions 10g/11g. AWR basically gathers all of the metrics and statistics that are utilized by the Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM), which in turn enables a significant amount of database management tools and self-management functions.

Clients that have employed ADDM and AWR functionalities report having experienced increased database performance. But, be alert….If your database administrators’ are making use of the AWR information (and they likely are), it’s a good bet you’ll need to be licensed for the following two Oracle database management tools: Oracle Diagnostics Pack and Oracle Tuning Pack.

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