18 Nov 2003 markonen   » (Journeyer)

I got a cute new twelve-inch PowerBook last Friday, and promptly proceeded to install all my software on it. It turns out that there is some variation in commercial software licensing here: some licenses are per user, not per machine, others explicitly allow an additional copy to be installed on a laptop, and some require you to go out and buy another licensed copy. Apple's turned out to be the only commercial software I have in the latter camp; they need separate licenses for the PowerBook. This can effectively double the price of a product when compared to its competitors, so it's worth looking into when shopping around. Here's a rundown of the commercial software I looked at, and their licensing:

As you can see, Microsoft's aren't the worst software licenses out there! Apple clearly beats them here in customer hostility. Another thing you can see is that I need quite a bunch of commercial software in my work. rms says that we should be willing to sacrifice convenience and functionality for freedom, but in reality you'd also be sacrificing productivity. And that, frankly, can be too high a price to pay.

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