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Re: license

From: Mark Brinsmead <>
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 19:37:26 -0600
Message-ID: <>

Actually, that's not even a question for a sales rep. It's really a question for a lawyer. Or maybe even a judge. :-)

For the record I have no idea what an "Enterprise development license" is. It seems to me that perhaps Joe's organization may have a specially negotiated license agreement with Oracle, in which case, only their corporate counsel can answer Joe's questions in any direct and meaningful way.

However, perhaps we can help Joe, by answering some of the questions he didn't (quite) ask... Just bear in mind, Joe, that the answers below are based almost entirely on simple common sense, and in no way are meant to represent anything even approximating an informed legal opinion let alone a qualified one.

In the text below, I use the term "option" to refer to a software component that requires separate licenses, and the term "feature" to refer to a software component that is covered by your basic license, but which may optionally be installed or deinstalled.

Q: Should I trust answers to Oracle licensing questions provided on the internet, mailing lists, etc., including answers provided in this message?
  1. No. Ask a lawyer. Actually, hire a lawyer, and then ask the lawyer you hired. (Free legal advice is only worth what you paid for it. If even that!) You definitely should not trust (nor act on) answers you get from me!

Q: Should I trust answers to Oracle licensing questions provided by Oracle sales reps, or other Oracle personnel?
  1. No. The "standard" Oracle license agreement absolves Oracle corp of all responsibility for any statement made by any Oracle personnel, even statements made in writing. (I am sure, however, that Oracle employees would never actually lie, though!)

Once you move beyond the most basic questions like "do I need a license to use the Partitioning option?", I have found that Oracle employees answer correctly less than 10% of the time, although my experience is based on a very small and entirely unscientific sampling. Asking the Oracle sales organization for licensing advice seems to be at least as bad as getting tax advice from the IRS, Canada Revenue Agency, or probably almost any other national tax collection organization. If you want reliable answers to legal questions, retain the services of a lawyer.

This is doubly true if you happen to have a non-standard license agreement.

Q: Does DBCA always include these separately licensed features?
  1. No. You are only assuming it does. In fact, if you use DBCA "properly" (at least any version I've tried) it will let you choose to include or exclude any of the separately licensed options. It also allows you to selectively include or exclude many "features" that do not require additional licenses but are not actually mandatory; features like Java Runtime Environment, OracleText/Context/Intermedia/whatever, etc.

Q: Does my inclusion of these features without using them in my database influence whether or not I have violated my license?
  1. Probably not. At least not directly. But you may be asking the wrong question here. You probably need to ask whether the act of installing these options in your ORACLE_HOME violates your license, or at the very least you need to also ask this question in addition to your others. And you probably need to ask a lawyer. By "probably not", I mean to suggest that compiling these options into your ORACLE_HOME is probably more likely to influence your standing with respect to your software license than is the act of including the options in your database. After all, an auditor could argue that if the software is installed but not currently in use, this does not mean that it had not been used in the (recent) past. Worse, an auditor (or the auditor's lawyer) might want to argue that installing the software implies an intent to violate your license. Wouldn't it be easier to avoid all of this nonsense by simply not installing the options in the first place?

Q: Does my inclusion of these features in my database without using them influence whether or not I will violate my license?
  1. Absolutely! There is no question: if you use the options, you violate the license. But all you can really say in this scenario is that you have not used these features yet. Nobody can use an option that is not installed. But, once you install an option, anybody could use it. At any time. Without your knowledge. It has been my experience that most users/developers will automatically assume that if an option has been installed, it has been licensed. (Assuming, that is, that they are even aware that a license might be required to begin with.) That is, if they find it, they will assume they can use it. And then you have violated your license.

Configuring unlicensed options is probably just a license violation waiting to happen. You probably don't need to consult a lawyer on this question. Although I'm sure your lawyer won't mind if you do. :-)

Q: Can I use DBCA to produce database creation scripts that do not include separately licensed options?
  1. Of course you can. I have found that it is easiest to do so if you start with a brand-new template. You are offered many more choices (e.g., excluding options and features) when you are creating a new template than you are offered when you start with an existing one.

Q: Am I at risk by installing unlicensed options in my ORACLE_HOME, even if I do not actually include them in my databases?
  1. Yes, although maybe not the way you meant. I don't know (for certain) whether or not you can be found in breach of your license agreement in this circumstance, but you do expose yourself to that risk. I'm pretty sure Oracle Corp does not go after people for things like that, but there is no assurance that they will never do so in the future! (Talk to a lawyer about this.) But licensing is hardly the only risk you need to worry about. You definitely increase your exposure to software bugs -- especially security bugs -- by installing options (or features) that you don't need and don't use. You also increase your own workload by needed to patch software you don't actually use.

Q: Is it possible to omit these separately licensed options from my ORACLE_HOME? Should I?
  1. Absolutely! Of course you should omit these, and you can . If you tell the Oracle Universal Installer to perform a "default" installation (your only option with Standard Edition on later releases) OUI installs everything, whether you want it or not. With EE, this includese all of the separately licensed options! If you do a "custom" install, though, you can pick and choose (and exclude) options and features quite liberally. Some things cannot be excluded from the initial installation ( e.g., when installing 10g Standard Edition), but almost all can be removed as a separate step.

Q: If I have installed unwanted options (or features) in a database, can I remove them after the fact?
  1. As a rule, yes. You may need to search Metalink, or sometimes even open an SR, to find the procedures. But in most instances, the procedures do exist.

On 9/12/07, Jared Still <> wrote:
> It doubt that anyone on this list can accurately answer your question.
> The most accurate answer will come from your sales rep.
> On 9/12/07, Joe Smith <> wrote:
> >
> > I have a question about Oracle licenses.
> >
> > If you use the dbca to create a set of scripts to use as a model for
> > database creation it will add entries for different options. Such as
> > ultraSearch, Spatial, OLAP, and so on.
> >
> > If you have an Enterprise development license, is it a violation of
> > your
> > license if you have not paid the additional fee for the options even if
> > you
> > don't use them?
> >
> > ...
> --
> Jared Still
> Certifiable Oracle DBA and Part Time Perl Evangelist

-- Mark Brinsmead
   Senior DBA,
   The Pythian Group

Received on Wed Sep 12 2007 - 20:37:26 CDT

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