back to article Microsoft to herd third parties with licensing patent

Microsoft has applied for a US patent that the company hopes will close a loophole when it comes to licensing software to third parties. Redmond put forward its request to patent what it has dubbed the “extensible agent-based license structure” on 25 June 2008. The USPTO published the firm’s application, which is credited to …


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I remember when

I remember when, back in the dim and distant past, there was a company called DEC.

And when distributing DEC OS and apps on CD (all OSes, all apps) rather than ordering a tape per OS or app became fashionable, DEC needed something to allow folks (end users, software houses, etc) to manage their licences (generating licences if you're a software house, entering them if you're an end user).

It was called the Licence Management Facility, or LMF, and use of products was authorised with things called Product Authorisation Keys which at the time seemed long and tedious but actually are only marginally longer than a typically MS product key these days, considering the flexibility they provided.

LMF licences could be permanent, or they could belimited lifetime. They could be node-locked or not. They could be dependent on the size of CPU (cheap licence on low power CPU). Etc. Basically, everything you could want was there.

And then later there was FlexLM.

It's hard to imagine what MS could be patenting that wasn't previously done (and likely done better) in LMF or FlexLM.


It does have an awful ring of familiarity doesn't it?

This seems awfully familiar. Not at all unlike FlexLM (or its successor, whatever it's called).

Distributed licensing models like this one are two a penny (licensed pennies) and I'm sure the job I turned down three years could have had a block diagram just like that one.

Mind you one of the things that worried me then about that and worries me about this is that you would appear to require a network connection to the Big Bad Internet to get your licenses; although I suppose MS would license, at huge cost, proxy license servers that would never, ever be copied by anyone, ho no. What me, cynical?


Sounds more like...

...they are trying to take control of licensing on all software on windows machines. i.e. sign up (and pay) for our licensing or sod off and take your open source with you. They greatly envy the Apple App Store model and want to copy it for their platform.

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Can't help but feel sorry ...

For all those stuck with MS and all it's works.

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Already done?

Isn't Bentley Systems using this already in it's latest version of Microstation? If not, it's really close.

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Would be nice

To see M$ take this one on, and then get taken to the cleaners by the writers of the stuff already mentioned.

Whatever happened to 'prior art'?

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