SearchDomino's "Ask Chuck Connell" yesterday featured a frequently asked question, but the answer seems to have surprised a lot of people.  Here's the question: "When Domino runs on a Microsoft server operating system, do we need a Windows Server Client Access License (CAL) for each Lotus Notes client? "

I have been asked this question many times over the years.  It's a challenge, because Windows is not an IBM software program.  I'm not at all trying to dodge the question, but it should not be any surprise that an IBM representative does not want to try to interpret another vendor's licensing agreement.  At various times, I've spoken directly with Microsoft about this question.  Even with those conversations, I still won't represent the "official" answer that so often gets asked for.  That answer needs come from Microsoft.

Chuck quotes the official Microsoft FAQ about Windows 2003 server licensing.  It says,

If a device or user is accessing or using the server software, a CAL is required, unless: access is through the Internet and is unauthenticated, or access is to a server running Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, or access or use is by an External User and External Connector licenses are acquired instead of CALs.
So, basically, it seems that any and all access to that Windows 2003 server running Domino requires a Windows CAL.

Now, in practice, what I hear is that many companies already own these CALs for the Notes/Domino users.  Microsoft doesn't appear to be saying that a user requires a separate or new Windows CAL just to access Domino running on Windows 2003 Server.  However, there are times when the user uses no other aspect of Windows 2003 Server; in those cases, Microsoft's Windows 2003 Server license terms seem to require net-new CALs.

Some have debated whether this is another reason for Domino customers to consider Linux or other platforms.  I think it's all about the overall cost of ownership details -- CALs definitely being a factor in that decision-making.

Link: SearchDomino: Windows Client Access Licenses for Lotus Notes >

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