[ Go to February 1997 Table of Contents ]

Vendors Help Users Break NT License

-- by Joseph C. Panettieri

You, too, can violate the licensing terms for Windows NT Workstation 4.0, with a little help from several software vendors, including Artisoft and Mustang Software.

In case you haven't heard, the network operating system's license agreement restricts inbound IP connections to 10, which means no more than 10 people can simultaneously link-at least not legally-to an NT-W 4.0 system.

Or can they? Artisoft, for one, plans by midyear to sell LANtastic for Windows NT. This peer-to-peer software will let hundreds of networked users share an NT Workstation hard drive. "We're staying out of the 10-connection limit debate," commented one Artisoft executive. "That license restriction is between users and Microsoft. It doesn't apply to third-party software developers."

Web-server software maker Mustang Software agrees. The company's recently introduced Wildcat Interactive Net (WIN) Server for NT Workstation and Win95 "can certainly support more than 10 users," said Mustang president Jim Harrer. And he doesn't think too many users will adhere to Microsoft's 10-user limit.

Mustang's customer base includes schools, health-care institutions and small businesses. If they opt to run WIN Server with Windows NT-W 4.0, just as they've done with previous versions of the product, they'll join the ranks of lawbreakers everywhere.

Microsoft declined to comment on the Artisoft and Mustang products. That's not a surprise-the company has been deluged with criticism about NT-W 4.0's 10-connection limit since last fall. That was when O'Reilly & Associates, which makes the Internet server WebSite, charged that Microsoft's policy was designed to unsubtly push potential Webmasters toward the more expensive Windows NT Server.

Facing sharp criticism from viewers and users alike, Microsoft lifted the limit from the product itself but kept it in the license.

Windows Magazine, February 1997, page 54.

[ Go to February 1997 Table of Contents ]