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Microsoft licensing policy could price NT out of UK schools' reach

Per seat licensing makes the Microsoft route entirely unviable, says our informant

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Microsoft's antipathy to concurrent licensing (Gates under fire over upgrade pricing, licence policies ) is going to trash NT's chances in the educational sector, and in the UK will make it entirely unviable as part of the National Grid for Learning programme. "We just could not afford it, even on the 25 machines currently MSed," one IT co-ordinator told The Register. The Register's appeal earlier this week for testimony from the people with whom concurrent licensing is, in Bill Gates' words, "unpopular" has so far had a zero response rate. The educational market however is an obvious area where concurrent licensing is the only viable solution. The National Grid for Learning is intended to develop towards universal access to computers for UK pupils, but by the nature of things only a percentage of those with access will be connected at any one time. The UK numbers are fairly easy to figure out - schools could have anything in the region of 500-1,000 pupils, or thereabouts, but currently will be operating computer networks that might have just a few dozen stations. Paying Microsoft's fee for every single seat is going to be way beyond any of their budgets. Our informant says his school is currently running a combination of Unix and Citrix WinFrame. "The WinFrame software works fine. The Unix part of this system chugs along sorting out errors and needs little attention." NT however is not winning friends and influencing people. "The NT server needs daily attention... We are told that the next upgrade will bew the WTS =[Windows NT Terminal Server] with licensing which would mean that with 650 users we just could not afford to use it." From Microsoft's perspective, it gets worse: "The government's policy is going to hit the wall if they think that schools are going to find the per seat money to line Bill's pockets... Linux or BSD is beginning to look very promising... Thank God I can fall back on the Unix server when the going gets too tough." ® Click for more stories

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