Cool Solutions


Ron van Herk


November 1, 2006 9:56 am






As a support engineer I find it quit frustrating to see customers having problems just due to the fact that there are some problems with the product license. It’s the first step to start working with the product and if something goes wrong there it doesn’t make such a nice impression. I must say I’m quit happy with the licensing within ZENworks, we hardly get any serious problems with it except from a few Patch Management questions that come in from time to time.

I was just reading an article from Dave Kearns on the licensing for Vista and I must say I’m happy we haven’t got a similar licensing methods. When I read articles like this I always wonder how this is going to affect our customers and how might this affect us with the support we deliver on ZENworks, is this going to cause us some additional headache? I understand that Microsoft is trying to fight piracy and protect their investments, I however wonder if Microsoft isn’t shooting themselves in the foot by making the life of their valid customers much more difficult.

I assume time will tell…….

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  1. Well, I mean, where ya gonna go? Linux? 🙂

  2. By:Marcel Cox

    You must be living a sheltered life within Novell not to know about the big licensing issues Novell always had with NetWare, one of their key products.
    The issues started with NetWare 5.0 when Novell introduced NLS (Novell Licensing System) and made licensing NDS based. NLS was simply highly unreliable and customers continuously had to wipe out and reinstall their licensing objects in order to get things going again. The worst thing was that at first Novell did not seem to be interested in putting the necessary resources into fixing the issue. In fact, the problem only affected smaller customers with individual licenses. Big customers had CLA/MLA licenses and those licenses in essence just switched off NLS and so they had no problems. Now small customers did not want to pay several hundred dollars to open incidents and they did not have the weight to move things within Novell. So it was not until NW5SP4 that NLS started to get more reliable. There were however still design issues like licensing requiring access to the server holding the master replica of the partition holding the licensing objects, and if the master server has not accessible or over a slow wan link, login could be terribly slow. It’s only recently that Novell saw the light and it seems that now every customer, including the small ones, get those unlimited license certificates whenever they order new licenses. Still however Novell does not include the appropriate description with these licenses and customers who just want to add licenses are still in trouble because they don’t know that they have to remove their old licenses before installing the new unlimited licenses.
    All in all, given a history of almost 8 years of various NetWare licensing problems, Novell is not in the position of blaming Microsoft on licensing.

  3. By:Eric

    We’ve had licensing-related problems even with MLA licenses, going back at least to Netware 5.1, mostly thanks to problems with all the various Netware licensing modules. The licensing “model” may not be all that bad, but the backend technical implementation of it has definitely left much to be desired.

  4. By:Alex

    I’m pretty sure that Ron was talking about the licensing model (like how many machines you can move your copy of Vista to before it refuses to activate, etc)… not the actual “behind the scenes” implementation thereof. Apples and oranges here.

  5. By:Ron van Herk

    Hi Marcel,

    Yes I remember the many issues with licensing on NetWare, this is why I’m so happy with the way licensing works with ZENworks. Making licensing simple has made many customers happy, adding additional complexity to this only causes frustration for customers and if I look at your post it looks like your experience has got you to the same opinion.
    I like Vista, I think Microsoft did some great work. It’s just that while reading articles like the one from Dave I wonder how this will work out once Vista has shipped.