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  • Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

    Hi all,

    My company has a number of DOS machines which are absolutely critical to our work (even moreso than the DC everyone else works off). Due to the age of the machines and the slack approach of the previous network manager, we do not have any evidence of having licences for DOS.

    A licence for Windows Vista covers you for a downgrade to XP, SBS 2008 CALs can be downgraded to SBS 2003, etc etc. I would therefore assume that if we purchased an XP licence for each DOS machine, and did not install those copies of XP anywhere, the licence for XP would allow us downgrade rights to DOS? If anybody has any insights please let me know, my research has led me to two differing conclusions, and while I am waiting for a contact at Microsoft to come back to me I thought I would ask my preferred source of wisdom

    No, upgrading away from DOS isn't an option, our factory is driven by a bespoke application which will only run under DOS.

    Similarly, if we had an application which requires an older version of Access to run (for example, one of our customers is trying to get us to setup a barcoding system that interfaces with Access 2000), and we don't have licences for Access 2000, presumably we could purchase licences for Access 2003/2007 and downgrade those? The only trouble with that being that we would then need a serial key.

    Any thoughts? Anybody had to deal with licencing for legacy systems?
    Gareth Howells

    BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

    Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

    Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

    "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

  • #2
    Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

    I thikn your best bet is to call MS direct and speak to a licensing specialist.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear but i think its the only way to get a definative answer.

    What type of licence agreement do you have???

    How long is it before software is deemed abondonware, if MS-DOS ever can be??

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

      I've emailed our contact at Microsoft (on Monday), waiting to hear back. Have also asked our account manager at Dell and another 3rd party specialist.

      At present, we have retail OSes on the servers and OEM OSes on the workstations. Half the clients have OEM Office, half have retail. All of that was bought before I came to the company, one of my priorities is to move us over to a volume licence when we begin a rolling replacement of the machines.

      The value of the bespoke package to the company is incredibly high, without it we would probably go out of business pretty quickly. When I first came to the company, the DOS machines were all original, including original power supplies (AT, retro) and (gulp) original hard drives. I'm in the process of cloning the drives onto (relativeily) newer machines, so at least we have reliable hardware.

      The best option for us in the near future will be to deploy DOS VMs through Virtual PC and once I begin the rolling replcement of machines, this is what I will use the old XP machines for. But, I still need to make sure we're covered on the licence front.
      Gareth Howells

      BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

      Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

      Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

      "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

      "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

        Originally posted by gforceindustries View Post
        I've emailed our contact at Microsoft (on Monday), waiting to hear back. Have also asked our account manager at Dell and another 3rd party specialist.

        At present, we have retail OSes on the servers and OEM OSes on the workstations. Half the clients have OEM Office, half have retail. All of that was bought before I came to the company, one of my priorities is to move us over to a volume licence when we begin a rolling replacement of the machines.

        The value of the bespoke package to the company is incredibly high, without it we would probably go out of business pretty quickly. When I first came to the company, the DOS machines were all original, including original power supplies (AT, retro) and (gulp) original hard drives. I'm in the process of cloning the drives onto (relativeily) newer machines, so at least we have reliable hardware.

        The best option for us in the near future will be to deploy DOS VMs through Virtual PC and once I begin the rolling replcement of machines, this is what I will use the old XP machines for. But, I still need to make sure we're covered on the licence front.
        Completel;y understand your predicament m8. We have some old legacy machines lying about the LAN for archival purposes, one of them is an old HP-UX box and onther is an old NT4 workstation that runs a piece of equipment worth around $1.5m.

        Sorry i can't be of any further help to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

          Originally posted by wullieb1 View Post
          Completel;y understand your predicament m8. We have some old legacy machines lying about the LAN for archival purposes, one of them is an old HP-UX box and onther is an old NT4 workstation that runs a piece of equipment worth around $1.5m.

          Sorry i can't be of any further help to you.
          No problem, thanks for trying

          It gets worse though, the machine running the million quid kit runs on an 8086 compatible, genuine NetBEUI networking, and gets shutdown once a year for a coolant change (it's built into the CNC kit it runs).
          Gareth Howells

          BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

          Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

          Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

          "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

          "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

            I understand how important this is for your business however isn't it possible to rewrite the application to an higher standard?
            In the end the machines will fail and finding hardware which is fully DOS compatible can become quite hard.

            I know this can become quite hard to do but I'm sure it should be possible.
            Marcel
            Technical Consultant
            Netherlands
            http://www.phetios.com
            http://blog.nessus.nl

            MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
            "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

            "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
            "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

              Originally posted by Dumber View Post
              I understand how important this is for your business however isn't it possible to rewrite the application to an higher standard?
              In the end the machines will fail and finding hardware which is fully DOS compatible can become quite hard.

              I know this can become quite hard to do but I'm sure it should be possible.
              Management won't spend that sort of money on something that generates so much revenue.

              The original machines will fail which is why I'm moving the installation onto newer machines, and will eventually move to VMs. I'd be all in favour of rewriting the software and upgrading the hardware it controls but the cost of that will be huge.
              Gareth Howells

              BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

              Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

              Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

              "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

              "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                Well if I where you I would start testing in vm's right away
                Sure the costs may become quite huge, but I'm quite curious what the reaction will be when you explain what the risks are if the boxes will fail.

                Maybe something like this:


                ps, I don't understand that much from licensing but I'm curious what the answer from MS will be.
                Marcel
                Technical Consultant
                Netherlands
                http://www.phetios.com
                http://blog.nessus.nl

                MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                  The reaction was along the lines of "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. But I don't want to spend a lot of money." (
                  A 10 minute Google trawl brings back no image results to demonstrate that pictorially, but I'm sure you're a Family Guy fan.) If it's going to be done I want it done properly, seeing as I'm the one who has to provide support for it in the long run

                  I've been running tests already and found that the system works fine under Virtual PC 2004 (which officially supports DOS) and also under VPC 2007 (which officially doesn't). The only thing stopping me from deploying VPC is the lack of Windows boxes to replace the DOS machines. Once we start replacing the networked stations, the PRP users can have the old XP machines to run VPC on. Added advantage that they don't have to kick someone else off their machine to check email. Plus backing up to the network would be nice, rather than the tower of floppies (credit where credit is due - they verify every backup before they go home).

                  Yes, I am implying that we have several members of staff who spend their entire working day in front of a DOS machine.
                  Last edited by gforceindustries; 16th October 2008, 11:59.
                  Gareth Howells

                  BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                  Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                  Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                  "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                  "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                    Well If you have tested it successfully I would make sure that I have tested it by a few users to really make sure everything is fine.

                    If everything is really really OK then I would make sure you have one or multiple backups on CD/DVD/tape etc
                    Marcel
                    Technical Consultant
                    Netherlands
                    http://www.phetios.com
                    http://blog.nessus.nl

                    MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                    "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                    "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                    "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                      Their supervisor is using it in a VM on his machine, been using that for almost 2 weeks and hasn't started swearing yet which makes a nice change if nothing else we have the installation media as disk images on the server, the VM HDD is stored on the server and also the app backs up to a second virtual HD. We have 4 backups of each server, online and offline onsite, offsite and monthly DVD archives.

                      Oh, and a couple of the physical DOS machines have RAID 1 setup, just in case. My favourite way to demonstrate to my supervisor that our backups work is to put a hammer through a hard drive and then show how quickly we can have the machine back up and running.
                      Last edited by gforceindustries; 16th October 2008, 13:13.
                      Gareth Howells

                      BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                      Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                      Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                      "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                      "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                        Originally posted by gforceindustries View Post
                        Oh, and a couple of the physical DOS machines have RAID 1 setup, just in case. My favourite way to demonstrate to my supervisor that our backups work is to put a hammer through a hard drive and then show how quickly we can have the machine back up and running.
                        LOL,
                        Well I think then you're pretty safe. You now only need to know about the licensing.
                        Already heard something from Microsoft of on of the others?
                        Marcel
                        Technical Consultant
                        Netherlands
                        http://www.phetios.com
                        http://blog.nessus.nl

                        MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                        "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                        "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                        "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                          Had some answers back:

                          Dell account manager: Thank you for your query, we are unable to sell you DOS licences as this product is no longer produced.

                          Ya think?

                          Company that specialises in volume licencing: We are not able to volume licence DOS.

                          So basically, they've told me that you can't buy DOS anymore. Cheers guys
                          Gareth Howells

                          BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                          Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                          Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                          "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                          "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                            As expected
                            I would give Microsoft a call at 0870 6010100
                            http://www.microsoft.com/uk/licensing/default.mspx
                            Marcel
                            Technical Consultant
                            Netherlands
                            http://www.phetios.com
                            http://blog.nessus.nl

                            MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                            "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                            "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                            "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Licencing for legacy software (not 2000/XP)

                              I forget which number I tried for them before I gave up and went for email. The IVR system was so convoluted I think I saw Elvis in there. They call it Pandora.
                              Gareth Howells

                              BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                              Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                              Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                              "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                              "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                              Comment

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