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Caldera drops license bombshell

Breaks taboo with MS-style pricing

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Caldera has confirmed that it is to enforce Microsoft-style, per-seat licensing for its new Workstation product released today.

"The suggested price for single licenses to Caldera's OpenLinux Workstation with Support is $99, and licenses to Caldera's OpenLinux Workstation are $59 each. Both product lines include a 60-day Caldera Volution Online subscription," says the company in a press release issued today.

Per-seat licensing is a rarity in the Unix world. That's because workstations are traditionally capable of supporting several concurrent users. IDC's Dan Kusnetzky told us last week that the next batch of IDC figures will create a new category in recognition of this. Linux usage is divided three ways between server, workstation and 'serverstation', where a workgroup server is doubling up as a workstation.

In contrast to traditional Unix pricing which typically provides a limit for 'concurrent' users, the number of CPUs, Microsoft has maintained a single user license fee on its workstation products. It comes from a single-user world, of course, and in the past has frowned upon use of Windows NT as a workgroup server by limiting the number of concurrent TCP/IP connections that client machine is capable of maintaining.

"I'm not going to use Caldera, since one of the benefits of using Linux is not having to worry about silly per-seat licenses," writes a user on Slashdot. "I was until now a big fan of Caldera, writes another user on LinuxToday. "I guess all I can do now is help fill in the hole they just dug. Goodbye Caldera, Hello Mandrake."

Caldera had not returned our calls at press time. ®

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