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Softwre policy violations in corporate environment

Posted on 2011-09-30
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I am not over clued up on liscensing of corproate workstations and servers.
But how can a company violate its liscence agreement?
Say for example OS on servers workstations - how is the liscence applied to a new server/workstation - and how could you violate that?
Surely you pay for a liscence - it gets given to you - its applied somehow - and thats that?
How can there be any violation/law breaking going on? How can violation be identified?
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Question by:pma111
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by:pma111
ID: 36890657
PS - what other things aside from OS on workstations would need auditing for software liscence compliance - most of its stuff like adobe reader, but I guess there is MS office software. Is there an easy way to identify which software is commercial/liscenced and whats freeware ?
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Reubenwelsh earned 1000 total points
ID: 36890748
Hi,

Lots of companies "trust" there customers, they give you one license that you can install on hundreds/Thousands of computers. Microsoft does this for example for larger enviroments, you can very easy to loose track of how many you have used. Another common one is when your using Packeted applications, you send them out to computers, and when people move about you dont remove it from there old computers.
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by:Reubenwelsh
ID: 36890752
Regarding knowing what is Freeware or Licensed, you just need to keep track of what is and what isnt im afraid  But once again, packeted applications, CAL licenses and keeping track of servers / clients in the enviroments are the most common misses
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by:jawa29
jawa29 earned 1000 total points
ID: 36890774
And so it begins another happy soul entering the mind field of licensing!!!

In my experience this is the single most cause of headache for all IT related people, questions such as where are the licenses installed?, where's the invoice to prove the purchase?, can we transfer the license? and more

Anyway there are some basic tools out there that can help identify software installation but the general rule for the question you have asked is this. If a server has an OEM sticker on it then you can install that OS and that OS alone (including Service Packs etc.) however some OEM stickers allow you (with prior agreement from the licensing house) install a previous version to the one on the sticker.

This is a good place to start looking for Microsoft licensing.
http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/licensing_faq.aspx.

As for software installed after the OS then I'm afraid there is no easy way to identify commercial/licensed/freeware, but the general rule of thumb is if you had to pay for it then you need a license for each person using it, unless a site license was specified on purchase.

Also be wary of freeware licenses in the commercial market, most will specify Freeware for non commercial use, if in any doubt contact the company supplying the software.

Jawa29
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by:pma111
ID: 36890824
How is a liscence "applied" to a workstation/server - say for office/windows?

And when we say the trust companies - who can apply that liscence all over - is that legal ?
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by:pma111
ID: 36890830
Ideally just want to focus on MS software for this project and maybe citrix
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by:jawa29
ID: 36890861
Each software vendor has their own licensing structure, you need to read and understand their interpretation of software licensing.

Most use a simple one license per seat so meaning that for every user/PC you need to purchase a license.

A license is applied when it is installed, if a piece of software is installed on three workstations then you need three licenses to cover it. Unless of course you own a site license or a concurrent license.

Concurrent licensing means you own x licenses but you are aloud to install the software on as many workstations as you like but only x number can be run at any time.

The key to all this is to take each piece of software and understand it's licensing, all software houses have their own way of dealing with it.

Jawa29
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Expert Comment

by:Reubenwelsh
ID: 36890883
Fully legal pma111, they give you a license you can use as much as you want, that you report every now and then so they can bill you.

We work it all out by having groups for EVERYTHING we have, (many of them are empty) So basicly, if you order Adobe professional (that we dont have packeted) we ask for the computer name and i add a group in AD to the users computer. When we decomission the computer i see everything he had.

When we need to know how many users have <insert application> i just check the AD and see there right away how many have it installed.

It requires some organization and planning but its better then loads of excel sheets (or overpaying since you dont really know exactly how many you have)...
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by:pma111
ID: 36908537
Is there any easy way to see liscence details on a windows XP machine? For the OS and office software that is.
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Expert Comment

by:Reubenwelsh
ID: 36908591
Hi, what kind of details is it you want? More then seeing if it is an OEM license or somthing else it is pretty hard im afraid :(.
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