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Floating Licenses and other cyber-rights
Jamie wrote about "Microsoft Licensing Plan".
Floating licenses have been standard on unix for a long time and very
secure. I've had two programs, framemaker and matlab which use FLEXLM
quite successfully. Mathworks tried to license matlab for linux as it
did its windows/mac version - per node, faced strong opposition from
its customers, and caved.
It is predictable that as pcs become more networked, thus enabling
floating license systems to work on group networks and allowing
a group of 10 to share 3 copies of powerpoint, microsoft cancels
its floating license model! Perhaps some IS managers find the
"per seat" budgeting process of lotus notes simpler, or it may
just be more profitable to charge for unused software sitting
on every disk in a company.
along with paul richardson's idea:
>all of the [computer] components were line-itemized
>so that people could see what costs what.
we need a new bill of information rights:
"Software use accounting"
A software license is "to run on one machine at at time."
We must have the ability to account for how many copies of software are
actually being used by an organization and license that use.
the "license survives the media law"
When you buy a license to s/w and the medium changes, you often have
to BUY IT again. This didnt happen in the change from 5.25 to 3.5
floppies, but it did happen in the change from vinylLP to CD. It may
happen that all your movies licenses purchased on VHS media are not
cheaply upgradable to DVD. It should be: "Send in your old VHS movie
and $5 S&H for the equivalent DVD." but it won't be.
The "Email forwarding" law
The phone companies and the postoffice provide forwarding services for
a prescribed time. My wife quit GENIE, and they would not forward, nor
would they bounce her email, so it was a black hole. There should be
a law protecting people's communications from being held hostage as
they change providers and addresses.
The "Public Lending Library" law
Software can be released on a media like CDROM which must be present
for the running. While this requirement has been rejected by the mass
market, it is necessary for library lending. (Instead of selling
library enabled versions, s/w companies threaten libraries as sources
Unfortunately, facing its own demise from rapid electronic
dissemination, the current media keeps focusing on internet
pornography (free advertising which increases its market:), under the
rubric of "protecting children" from information they can get at any
7-11. They continue to ignore the major ripoff of real people and real
businesses through the forced purchase and forced upgrades of
Professor Jordan B. Pollack DEMO Laboratory, Volen Center for Complex Systems
Computer Science Dept, MS018 Phone (617) 736-2713/Lab x3366/Fax x2741
Brandeis University website: http://www.demo.cs.brandeis.edu
Waltham, MA 02254 email: email@example.com