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IBM Domino licensing

Originally written 20051114 for ZDNet

This is a response to If it's 'live' it's on Linux, which discusses how Microsoft's licensing is driving web development to Linux.

I believe IBM's Lotus Domino is the easiest development platform for any business application. I also use Apache, Tomcat, WebSphere, and occasionally IIS.

IBM's licensing and pricing is almost as bad as Microsoft's. It is slightly better because it is clearly defined. The problem is the pricing. The "all the web browser access possible" licenses are for servers without mail, and are priced:
$19,995 per CPU (Domino Utility Server)
$2,500 per CPU (Domino Utility Express. Max 4 CPUs per company. Company must have less than 1000 employees.)

I built a website for a global company, and will be adding applications over the next year. I could have completed it in one or two days if I used Domino. The cost of software was deducted from our profits. The project's revenues would not cover one CPU's Utility license. We might have used the Utility Express server, but we expect to have three 2-CPU servers within 2 years.

We did not consider using Microsoft software. We wanted either Linux or a BSD to reduce the worm headaches. And (as the article suggests) there is no method for discovering how Microsoft would price their software.

Instead we used various Apache software. Development took several weeks, and there were many headaches from software not meeting its own specifications, but the project was completed, and our company kept all of the revenues. (And yes, we passed many of our fixes back to the Apache community.)

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