Floating licenses are the most versatile of the license types. When available, anyone on the network with access to the license server can get a license to run. This is tremendously powerful for the software user, but there are times when software publishers want to sell the convenience of floating licenses while enforcing a more restricted license model. Named user licenses do just this by restricting access to users who are on a list.
The benefit of named user licenses to the software user community is that their regular software users will not have to contend with other users for licenses. The licenses are in effect dedicated to the group of named users. These licenses may also be less expensive than floating licenses. The publisher, on the other hand, benefits because he can sell named user licenses, perhaps at a lower cost, that better match the spirit of his license agreement. If he chooses, the publisher can still sell unrestricted floating licenses, but at a premium to the named user type.
Names can be Dynamically Assigned
In Reprise Software’s RLM, named user licenses allow publishers to require that user names be included on a list in order to use the licenses. The list can be assigned by the system administrator, or RLM can create the list “on the fly.” The number of users in the list can be less than, equal to, or greater than the number of licenses available – all at the publisher’s option. Once a user is added to the list, he can be deleted, but once deleted, he must remain off the list for a minimum number of hours (24 hours by default). This prevents the manipulation of the system in an effort to defeat the named user license policy.
If the number of named users is smaller than the number of licenses, then this small group will share the larger pool (assumes that it’s feasible for a single user to consume more than one license at a time). If the number of named users is greater than the number of licenses, then the larger pool of named users will contend for the available licenses.
The “How To”
To deploy a named user license, the publisher does not need to modify his RLM-enabled application at all; it’s controlled in the license certificate itself. To create a named user license the named user keyword is simply added to a standard floating license certificate, in one of the three following ways:
named_user – to require the same # of users as there are licenses
named_user=n – to require a maximum of n users to be named
named_user=”n min_hours” – to require a maximum of n users to be named, and to specify the minimum number of hours before the deleted user name can be re-added back to the list.
Managing the List
As was mentioned earlier, the license server can construct the list of users automatically as license checkouts occur, or the list can be entered via the RLM web interface by the end-user administrator. If entered manually, either individual user names or GROUP names (as defined in the server options file) can be used.
Named user licenses utilize the INCLUDE functionality of the license server, and do not need a fully populated list of users before the licenses can be used. In fact, no users need to be specified since the license server will add users who do not appear on the list if the current list size is less than the number of allowed named users.