Why we love licensing

Flashback a decade or two, to the days when one big database vendor is constantly changing its licensing -- and customers keep figuring out how to beat it, according to this IT pilot fish.

"Every time the vendor came up with some way to maximize profits, someone came up with a way to bypass it legally and minimize licensing costs," fish says.

"So the vendor introduced Named User Licensing, where a company pays for the specific people accessing a database system, regardless of how indirectly they might access the database.

"Our local sales team took us out to lunch at a local fancy hamburger joint to explain how the new licensing scheme would work.

"Just as the senior salesman was about to bite into his BBQ rib, I said, 'So let me get this straight -- we can have as many databases as we want to, and the price stays the same? We could put a database on every single computer if we wanted to, and the price would stay the same?'

"The salesman, suddenly realizing I'd found a gaping hole in their new licensing, was so caught off guard he accidentally dropped his BBQ rib. It slid down his very expensive white dress shirt into his lap.

"He started stammering something, but by then we were too busy looking at each other to see who would bust out laughing first.

"We somehow managed to retain our composure, which is more than I could say for the vendor's sales team.

"And for some reason, I was never invited out to lunch by the salesman again."

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