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I've installed some software today. All perfectly legal and paid for, and registered online.

So that's another DVD case I'd better not lose, because it has my serial number on it in case I ever need to reinstall.

But it's all a bit like the supermarkets getting people to pack and deliver their own groceries. Why should my CPU cycles be used to maintain what should be the vendor's licence database, and on my hard disk too?

If I was a big company, I'd resent having to manage licenses, buy license management systems, allocate staff to maintain my licensing systems.

There are lots of reasons for paying for legal copies of software, starting with straightforward business ethics (if you accept the use of illegal software you send dysfunctional messages to your staff - that dishonesty is OK if you don't get caught - and you may reap the consequences).

However, in return for being nice enough to buy my software from a vendor rather thann supporting Open Source or free software models, surely I should expect the vwndor to meet me half way? To remember my serial number for me and ship out replacement CDs (after a fire, say) on request? To supply me with free license management software and free consultancy to help with installing and running it?

So, how many vendors are that nice, I wonder? I used to like the old site license and (more recently) Sun's idea of giving you all its software in return for a simple fee calculated from your employee headcount. It's not buying software that is expensive, it's managing it - and managing licenses just adds to the burden...

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