Subject: Re: Development vs. aquisition costs
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 17:11:15 +0900

>>>>> "kms" == Karsten M Self <> writes:

    kms> I did a quick calculation for my own configuration, using MS
    kms> Windows XP Professional as the base OS.  Rules were that
    kms> software on the Microsoft platform had to be proprietary and
    kms> fully-paid-up versions, where available.  Net cost: $4,522.

Why is this calculation interesting?  In particular:

    kms> You can definitely acquire a lot of functionality at lower
    kms> costs, with OS-only running about $348. [...] It was also
    kms> interesting to note that there are a growing number of niches
    kms> in which it's becoming difficult to find paid-up, proprietary
    kms> software.  X Server, GNU/Linux / POSIX / Unix utilities, and
    kms> messaging applications among them.

In other words, if free software supported by the user's own effort is
acceptable, $348 buys Windows XP Professional, and everything else can
come from Cygwin, mingw, or MSYS.  What am I missing?

    kms> I'm also utterly baffled by requirements for CALs.

What's to be baffled about?  It's a just a different spelling for
"Microsoft tax".  Technically, it's a "client access license": a
license to connect to a server, according to the (Japanese) Dictionary
of IT Terminology.  It may be a seat license, or it could be license
for an authenticated user, or it can be a connection limit on the
server.  It differs from authentication in that the owner of the
server doesn't have the power to admit unlicensed clients or create
new licenses; licensing policy is set by the vendor.

Obviously, servers like IIS will typically admit unauthenticated
users, and they don't require CALs.  But on your Intranet, apparently
CALs will be required for authenticated users.  See also

which seems to reference Microsoft documentation on CALs.

Since CALs are available for Linux and Mac, I would assume that if you
are connecting to a server that requires CALs from a Windows PC, when
you replace it with a Linux PC you need to acquire a CAL for the Linux
PC.  If so, you can't charge it to the Windows PC in your calculation
(or you have to charge it to the Linux PC, too, or you have to admit
that the Linux PC simply isn't usable when CALs are involved).

The article above seems to suggest that this only applies to servers
bundled with Windows Server (cf the recommendation to check out
Xserve), but clearly from the number of 3rd party hits I got on "CAL
5-pack" Microsoft is now licensing this wonderful business model to

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.