What a lot of simmering frogs we are…

A network operators’ mailing list I am on has just gone through yet another multi-day discussion of how to comply with Microsoft licensing. No-one understands it. I don’t think Microsoft itself understands it. What finally compelled me to write this rant was this quote from some Microsoft document or other:

The general requirement is, any User or Device that accesses the server software, either directly or indirectly, requires a CAL. Depending on the product and functionality being accessed, additive CALs may be required as well.

What a lot of gently simmering frogs we are.

How did we, collectively, get to the point where we allowed a company to so thoroughly shaft us all? Why do we put up with this? Why aren’t people moving heaven and earth to get out from under this? Given that there are other server operating systems that cost nothing to acquire and have NO licensing requirements, is this one really so stupendously, wonderfully fantastic that it’s worth spending half our working lives faffing about trying to comply with its arcane licensing restrictions? Oh, and paying and paying and paying and paying and paying. Let’s not forget the paying.

I do understand that there are “some things that you can only do with Windows” – but is the cost-benefit really such that this level of cost and inconvenience is worth it?

No. It isn’t. But the inertia is so great, the investment in the status quo is so great, the fear of the outside is so great, and the perceived cost of change is so great, that everyone just allows the pain to go on and on and on. They don’t even try to find ways out of the mire. What perfect customers they are.

Other solutions have other pains; nothing is perfect. But they are pains that can be worked around and even fixed. Such pains have an end in sight, and are IMHO far preferable to the never-ending rack that Microsoft licensing has us all squirming on.

One thought on “What a lot of simmering frogs we are…

  1. I specifically rang up and asked what this means. We had a piece of data visualisation software that required a DB back-end, either Oracle or MS SQL. Classic multi-tier application – web front end for collaboration, app server for grunt, DB back end. No user of the system would ever log into the DB. There would only ever be one DB account accessing the DB from the app server. Guess how many CAL’s I was told I would need? By Microsoft. One for every unique user who accessed the system. Potentially thousands. tens of thousands. Unlimited.
    Here is what makes it ridiculous. It isn’t actually possible to track those user numbers with any of the software. In order to meet the licensing requirements, one would have to make significant changes to the whole system. If MS ever audited you , they couldn’t tell how many either.

    why would anyone in their right mind expose their business to that sort of risk?

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