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VMWare and licenses

I have some Qs about VMWare and licenses. Let's say that I sell a Windows system with VMWare installed, and the ability to buy new VMware images (with Windows as the guest OS). What do I need license-wise?

Obviously it would be best for me if I only had to buy a single copy of VMWare and 2 copies of Windows: one for the base OS, one for the VMWare guest OS. (I'd be happy to have the restriction that only one VMWare image can be running at a time).
If each image required a Windows license plus whatever software I installed on the image... that would make things a bit expensive.

Your thoughts?

License to Thrill
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The virtual PC is just like a real PC. EVERYTHING needs to be properly licensed.

So, check the licenses. Some may allow what you want, and some may not.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

>The virtual PC is just like a real PC. EVERYTHING needs to be properly licensed.

Brad - When you say the virtual PC is like a real PC, are you referring to the image on the computer, or the running instance of Virtual PC?

For example, if I have 50 disk images, with Windows 2000 on each image, and then 50 different software configurations in each image, but I only run one instance of Virtual PC at a time.  Would I then need to pay for 50 copies of Windows 2000?

nathan
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

For every copy of Windows on the machine you need a license.  Got a Win2K Server + 5 VM instances of Win2K Server, you need 6 licenses for Win2k Server.  Pretty simple. 

GiorgioG
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

> Would I then need to pay for 50 copies of Windows 2000?

Thanks -- this is what I'm getting at.

You can think of it as an optimization problem: what's the least number of licenses that I'd need to buy to be legal?

I'm sure that Microsoft would recommend one license per image -- why wouldn't they?

License to Thrill
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Giorgio - When you say, "5 VM instances," do you mean  5 concurrently running instances of VM, or do you mean 5 images sitting on your computer, of which only one will be running at any given time?

nathan
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Licensed -

I assume you mean for some sort of production environment, right?

Because if you're talking about a dev/testing environment, then you're probably ok under the provisions of MSDN licenses, and don't need to pay for individual licenses for each wintel install (i.e. vm image) you do.

I bought VMWare for our QA lab at work and we use it routinely. I believe the previous posters to be correct if you're running VMs in production -- one license per wintel image, plus the host OS (assuming wintel host OS), regardless of how many you might ever have actually running.

Something that could be a little help to you... assuming it's otherwise technically sensible for your situation, you could always get the *nix flavor of vmware instead of the windows version. That way at least you could avoid buying one of the licenses per physical machine -- the one for the host OS install. Depending on your situation, though, putting a *nix system in your mix might be more expensive than it's worth to you.

anonQAguy
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What the difference if you have a physical computer with 512MB RAM and Win2k (1 license of the OS), then take out 256MB for testing.

VS.

A 1GB RAM machine with VirtPC with 2 virtual machines (one with 512MB and one with 256MB)?

The 1 GB machine would only need 2 OS licenses (unless you run both vm's at the same time.

apw
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

From the legal standpoint, you only need 1 if you only ever run one at once. However, it's imposible to prove that that's the way you use it, if you were ever subjected to a license verification.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

> However, it's imposible to prove that that's the way you use it, if you were ever subjected to a license verification.

C'mon, let's do some thinking outside the box here.

What if I provided the VMWare images together with some license software which only let one image run at a time?

License to Thrill
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

> What if I provided the VMWare images together with some license software which only let one image run at a time?

And how exactly do you plan to do that? A checkin/check out system?

SC
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

> And how exactly do you plan to do that?

I'll post on JoS and Slashdot and use the best idea that I hear about :)

License to Thrill
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Microsoft doesn't particularly care what copyright law has to say about it.  If you want to use windows, you must license it on their terms.

If you have MSDN, I believe you can use as many copies of windows as you want *for development purposes only*.

Other than that, you need either one license per instance or maybe they have a special license for VM'd system since they bought VirtualPC.

If you are selling a product and distributing multiple copies of Windows, you either need 1 retail license for each copy, running or not, or a specially negotiated deal from MS.

What you may or may not do with Windows in your own organization may fall under fair use despite what the MS license says.  If you distribute Windows to someone else, you are violating copyright law unless you have a license from Microsoft to do so.

Richard P
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Of course, you could just port your product to Linux or BSD and distribute as many copies as you like.

Richard P
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I keep reading "License to Thrill" as "License to Troll". Weird.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

> it's imposible to prove that that's the way you use it

Fortunately, the last I heard, the onus of proof is on the prosecution.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

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