Software Licensing

Software licensing is usually implemented as a small program and/or hardware device that certifies that the user has provided legal proof of purchase and is entitled to run/use a software application. There are many different ways for software manufacturers to deliver licensing systems. Frequently the software manufacturer will offer a choice of licensing methods and let customers choose the one that works best for them. This document is intended to be a guide to the Mines Community to aid in understanding the different types of licensing which are supported by ITS. Please ask any questions you may have at the Mines Help Center.

Software licenses generally have three components:

  1. Service – defines the location of the license component in relation to the software.
  2. Scope – defines the extent of licensing.
  3. Type – defines the way licensing is implemented.

Each of these components are explained in more detail in the following sections.

  1. Server” or “network” licenses are installed on a commonly available server and checked out over the Mines network as they are requested by software. This method allows many computers to use the same software license and greatly simplifies upgrades or new installations in Mines labs. These licenses may also be called “Flex” or “Floating” licenses and usually work best in labs or on groups of computers.
  2. Client” or “per-seat” licenses are installed locally on the computer with the software and can only be used by authorized users on that specific machine. These licenses are not transferable and cannot be shared in any way. Each computer that uses the software has to have an individually purchased license bought specifically for it. This type of licensing can complicate lab or group installations, since every machine has to be touched individually to install or “turn on” the license.
  1. Site LicensesMines owns several software site licenses which have been purchased (or donated, in some rare cases) for use on several machines and/or in several different places on campus. The broadest of these licenses allows for specific software to be installed on any machine used by any member of the Mines community, irrespective of Mines ownership or location. Other licenses implement one or more of the following restrictions:
    A.  Restricted to on-campus use.
    B.  Restricted to Mines-owned machines.
    C.  Restricted to academic use only.
    D.  Research not allowed.
    E.  Allows for Faculty or Staff home use, but not Student home use.
    F.  Allows for Student home use, but not Faculty or Staff.
  2. Building License – as the name implies, a building license serves and is available to a defined physical space on campus. These licenses are not available for installation on systems outside this defined space.
  3. Department License – again, as the name implies, a department license is limited to machines owned by a particular department and located in that departments allocated space. Installation on systems outside of the specific department are illegal and prohibited.
  4. Academic Licenses – these licenses are provided by vendors and offer licenses for lab or student home-use for free or at a greatly reduced price. Many of these licenses are client licenses and may operate under some time restriction or functional limitations.
  1. A serial or registration number is probably the most common type of software licensing. Depending on the scope of the license, the serial number may license a server application or a client application.
  2. License files can be located on a client computer or a server computer and are usually created when ITS captures specific information about the computer and exchanges it with the vendor for an unlocking code or file.
  3. Hardware locks, sometimes called bit locks or software keys, are physical devices that attach to a port on the client or server computer. Most modern devices attach to a USB port and the older style devices attach to the printer (or parallel) port on the computer.
  4. Proprietary and/or miscellaneous licensing is implemented by some vendors to secure their software products. The Genuine Windows Advantage Program by Microsoft is one example of proprietary licensing.