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Re: vmware & Oracle

From: Mark Brinsmead <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 20:47:30 -0600
Message-ID: <>


   You might want to read the fine-print...

   The text you quoted from is completely correct. However, the words "Development License" appear as a hyper-link to a licensing agreement that you might want to read a little more closely.

   It has been a while (probably a couple years at least) since I have read the OTN license in its entirety, but it has always been my understanding that OTN development licenses apply only to developing (or testing, or prototyping) applications that your organization does not use in production.

   That is, my understanding of the OTN license allows (for example) a small company developing accounting software to operate unlimited databases for prototyping, developing, or testing said accounting software, but only if the software is used (in production) exclusively by third parties. The moment this hypothetical software company starts "eating its own dogfood" (using the accounting software they develop to manage their own books), all of the development/test databases must now be commercially licensed.

   The OTN license also provides "free" database licenses (with no option for support, by the way -- not such a good idea) for organizations who want to develop a NEW application, or (perhaps) for organizations who want to investigate the feasibility of (for example) moving an existing application running on something like federated SE databases to a consolidated database using RAC. Assuming that the "migration" involves a large enough change to the application and database architecture that you can legitimately call the RAC-based version a "new" application, then you should be able to safely use OTN licenses through the design and prototyping phase. (This is good -- it allows you to decide whether the move to RAC is feasible before you have to commit to $5M in new database licenses.) But the moment that organization starts actually using the RAC-based version of the application, OTN licenses can no longer be used for their development or testing environments.

   This is how I understand OTN licenses, anyway. But hey, I'm not a lawyer, and I could be completely mistaken. And like I said before, it's been at least a year since I've read the whole thing; maybe two or three.

   That said, here is a (tiny) excerpt from the OTN License agreement hyper-linked from the text you quoted:

We grant you a nonexclusive, nontransferable limited license to use the programs only for the purpose of developing a single prototype of your application, and not for any other purpose. If you use the application you develop under this license for any internal data processing or for any commercial or production purposes, or you want to use the programs for any purpose other than as permitted under this agreement, you must contact us, or an Oracle reseller, to obtain the appropriate license. We may audit your use of the programs. Program documentation may be accessed online at

   Hmmm... re-reading even this excerpt seems to shoot down one of my own past beliefs. "... only for the purpose of developing a single prototype ..." This seems to shoot down the notion of a small company developing software for third parties. The initial development of the first version might still fit this restriction, but as soon as the application moves into the "maintenance" phase, it is no longer a "prototype"; and as soon as there is a second release, it is no longer "single".

   I guess this is a good object lesson for myself. If you want to be "safe", don't think about licensing in generalities. Be prepared to re-read the (entire) license in the context of your specific situation. Just one or two words that might be irrelevant in on scenario can be extremely meaningful in another.

   Sigh -- I wish this licensing stuff was simpler. On the "plus" side, however, Oracle's license agreements are at least written in "plain english" (and other languages!) such that a typical DBA has some hope of understanding them without having to get a law degree! I guess I should be thankful.

On 7/20/07, Neil Overend <> wrote:
> > ...this insinuates you don't see the need to properly license Oracle
> for
> > development purposes. Am I missing something?
> >
> You don't need to pay for licences for development systems
> "All software downloads are free, and each comes with a Development
> License that allows you to use full versions of the products only
> while developing and prototyping your applications."
> --

-- Mark Brinsmead
   Senior DBA,
   The Pythian Group

Received on Sat Jul 21 2007 - 21:47:30 CDT

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