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Basics of licensing

Basics of licensing


Software is generally protected by copyright law. This means that it is the intellectual property of the person or organization that developed it. In the software shop, you are offered software licenses.

A software license entitles you to use the software in accordance with the license terms.

This means: License = Right of use

Software licenses are passed on to institutions and students via the RWTH software shop. These are based on the license terms of the contracts that RWTH has concluded with the software manufacturer (owner) or the respective trading partner. Therefore, before each purchase, you will be referred to these conditions, which you must confirm.

License types / models

  • Per device (physical or virtual)
    • Single-user license, it describes the right to use software that is installed and used on a PC and thus a workstation: The product must usually be licensed separately for each device on which it is used.
  • Per concurrent use (concurrent user/floating license)
    • Network licenses are not licensed by the number of installations, but are managed by a central license server. The number of licenses purchased here corresponds to the number of concurrent users of the software. After the end of use, the license is returned to the server and can be redistributed.
  • Per user (natural person, no shared account)
    • Here, the license is per person using the software. Only this person is entitled to use the software. This is called a Named User License. This is, for example, a license metric of the current "Adobe Creative Cloud Complete" contract.
  • Campus, faculty or institute license.
    • The software may be used on any and any number of computers of the corresponding institution.

Special feature of network licenses

The availability of network licenses is particularly common in the area of scientific application packages or programming tools that are used extensively at RWTH.

Since network licenses are not bound to specific systems, the technical monitoring of the number of concurrent calls is carried out by so-called license servers. A process runs on these for each correspondingly configured software, which knows the number and, if applicable, further boundary conditions of the respective software packages. The application software establishes a connection to this process at runtime in order to obtain the release for execution - cryptographically protected. If the number of concurrent users exceeds the contractually agreed number, the user receives the message that all licenses are currently in use.

  • Network licenses have the advantage of the greatest possible flexibility over other license forms. The software can be installed on any number of computers, the only prerequisite is a network connection to the license server. Some software products also offer the option of borrowing network licenses and using them offline for a certain number of days. In this case, you can also use the software without being permanently connected to the license server.

last changed on 03/25/2024

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