Bizspark/MSDN licensing for support RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am hoping someone can clarify the exact criteria surrounding the usage of the included Operating System licenses for support. I've spent a good deal of time reading about the included licenses but also noted recently that a support clause was added to MSDN and wanted to check how this may have altered things. We have currently designed and developed some server based software with the goal of eventually offering it to a wider audience with support via forums / knowledge-base and other applicable mechanisms. In the interim we need to provide direct support to our customers. As money and time are always tight I want to check whether or not we will be entitled to use any of the included Operating System licenses to perform the required tasks.

    Mostly this involved the following...

    • VPN or similar remote access to the customer site
    • Remote desktop or similar access for the following on the customers fully licensed servers
    • Debugging / troubleshooting of the system
    • Development and testing of new work using the server based software we have supplied

    My understanding is this would generally be classed as production work and require a full OS license. So before I go out and purchase some OS licenses for our virtual server I'm wondering if the support clause in MSDN would now be deemed to cover the above usage.

    If not I'd like to clarify the cheapest way to get a few licenses for W7/8 Pro for use on our virtual server. I had originally seen a clause on the website that Bizspark did offer some production license for Windows 8 but this seems to have vanished and there is no mention of it in the license agreement. So it looks like I may need to get some full OS licenses for the sake of a single native vpn app but as I've spent a long time reading up on this I wanted to make sure just in case?

    Thursday, September 12, 2013 8:00 PM

All replies

  • Interesting questions, and you might be asking in the wrong place.  I cant give you a thumbs up or down on your situation.  That's really up to your legal team to decide what it could defend in the event that Microsoft would sue, and I can't give you legal advice.  

    That said, what support clause are you talking about that has been added to the licensing terms?  Could you point me at it?

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    Friday, September 13, 2013 4:19 PM
  • Details and original references are listed here, the changes were dubbed as a support clause...

    4. The Licensed User may use the software for evaluation and to design, develop, test, and demonstrate your programs. These rights include the use of the software to simulate an end user environment to diagnose issues related to your programs.

    I appreciate what you are saying but having to wait to be sued by the legal department to find out their opinion on licensing terms would seem IMHO to be an abuse of power. I do believe the legal team has a duty to answer any relevant queries and clarify details where valid questions were asked otherwise IMHO I fail to see how this would be defensible later on. If we are going to utilise Microsoft technology the full cost involved must include any research into licensing etc. I know that MAPS is the recommended route for internal use but it would not be cost effective for just a few licenses due to the yearly subs.

    If it comes down to the MSDN licensing terms which make up the overriding part of the Bizspark license I would conclude that if there is nothing expressly forbidding remote access to an external system that it is an acceptable use providing work is design, development, test etc. Again without wording to the contrary there is nothing to state that design, development and testing can not be carried out with software we provide the customer. Of course this is just my opinion which without proper legal review is probably not worth much. Further more the customer has all the applicable licenses so we are just talking about using remote access software in whatever form for use as a thin client pc.

    The issue is that I've almost painted a scenario that it is better off to avoid contentious legal issues surrounding licensing and pick an alternative that doesn't have these issues and just avoid the pain altogether!

    Monday, September 16, 2013 5:14 PM