Re: license

  • From: "Mark Brinsmead" <pythianbrinsmead@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: jkstill@xxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 19:37:26 -0600

Actually, that's not even a question for a sales rep.  It's really a
question for a lawyer.  Or maybe even a judge.  :-)

For the record  I have no idea what an "Enterprise development license" is.
It seems to me that perhaps Joe's organization may have a specially
negotiated license agreement with Oracle, in which case, only their
corporate counsel can answer Joe's questions in any direct and meaningful

However, perhaps we can help Joe, by answering some of the questions he
didn't (quite) ask...   Just bear in mind, Joe, that the answers below are
based almost entirely on simple common sense, and in no way are meant to
represent anything even approximating an informed legal opinion let alone a
qualified one.

In the text below, I use the term "option" to refer to a software component
that requires separate licenses, and the term "feature" to refer to a
software component that is covered by your basic license, but which may
optionally be installed or deinstalled.

Q:  Should I trust answers to Oracle licensing questions provided on the
internet, mailing lists, etc., including answers provided in this message?

A:  No.  Ask a lawyer.  Actually, hire a lawyer, and then ask the lawyer you
hired.  (Free legal advice is only worth what you paid for it.  If even
that!)  You definitely should not trust (nor act on) answers you get from

Q:  Should I trust answers to Oracle licensing questions provided by Oracle
sales reps, or other Oracle personnel?

A:  No.  The "standard" Oracle license agreement absolves Oracle corp of all
responsibility for any statement made by any Oracle personnel, even
statements made in writing.  (I am sure, however, that Oracle employees
would never actually lie, though!)

Once you move beyond the most basic questions like "do I need a license to
use the Partitioning option?", I have found that Oracle employees answer
correctly less than 10% of the time, although my experience is based on a
very small and entirely unscientific sampling.  Asking the Oracle sales
organization for licensing advice seems to be at least as bad as getting tax
advice from the IRS, Canada Revenue Agency, or probably almost any other
national tax collection organization.  If you want reliable answers to legal
questions, retain the services of a lawyer.

This is doubly true if you happen to have a non-standard license agreement.

Q:  Does DBCA always include these separately licensed features?

A:  No.  You are only assuming it does.  In fact, if you use DBCA "properly"
(at least any version I've tried) it will let you choose to include or
exclude any of the separately licensed options.  It also allows you to
selectively include or exclude many "features" that do not require
additional licenses but are not actually mandatory; features like Java
Runtime Environment, OracleText/Context/Intermedia/whatever, etc.

Q:  Does my inclusion of these features without using them in my database
influence whether or not I have violated my license?

A:  Probably not.  At least not directly.  But you may be asking the wrong
question here.  You probably need to ask whether the act of installing these
options in your ORACLE_HOME violates your license, or at the very least you
need to also ask this question in addition to your others.  And you probably
need to ask a lawyer.  By "probably not", I mean to suggest that compiling
these options into your ORACLE_HOME is probably more likely to influence
your standing with respect to your software license than is the act of
including the options in your database.  After all, an auditor could argue
that if the software is installed but not currently in use, this does not
mean that it had not been used in the (recent) past.  Worse, an auditor (or
the auditor's lawyer) might want to argue that installing the software
implies an intent to violate your license.  Wouldn't it be easier to avoid
all of this nonsense by simply not installing the options in the first

Q:  Does my inclusion of these features in my database without using them
influence whether or not I will violate my license?

A:  Absolutely!  There is no question:  if you use the options, you violate
the license.  But all you can really say in this scenario is that you have
not used these features yet.  Nobody can use an option that is not
installed.  But, once you install an option, anybody could use it.  At any
time.  Without your knowledge.  It has been my experience that most
users/developers will automatically assume that if an option has been
installed, it has been licensed.  (Assuming, that is, that they are even
aware that a license might be required to begin with.)   That is, if they
find it, they will assume they can use it.  And then you have violated your

Configuring unlicensed options is probably just a license violation waiting
to happen.  You probably don't need to consult a lawyer on this question.
Although I'm sure your lawyer won't mind if you do.  :-)

Q:  Can I use DBCA to produce database creation scripts that do not include
separately licensed options?

A:  Of course you can.  I have found that it is easiest to do so if you
start with a brand-new template.  You are offered many more choices (e.g.,
excluding options and features) when you are creating a new template than
you are offered when you start with an existing one.

Q:  Am I at risk by installing unlicensed options in my ORACLE_HOME, even if
I do not actually include them in my databases?

A:  Yes, although maybe not the way you meant.  I don't know (for certain)
whether or not you can be found in breach of your license agreement in this
circumstance, but you do expose yourself to that risk.  I'm pretty sure
Oracle Corp does not go after people for things like that, but there is no
assurance that they will never do so in the future!  (Talk to a lawyer about
this.)  But licensing is hardly the only risk you need to worry about.  You
definitely increase your exposure to software bugs -- especially security
bugs -- by installing options (or features) that you don't need and don't
use.  You also increase your own workload by needed to patch software you
don't actually use.

Q:  Is it possible to omit these separately licensed options from my

A:  Absolutely!  Of course you should omit these, and you can .  If you tell
the Oracle Universal Installer to perform a "default" installation (your
only option with Standard Edition on later releases) OUI installs
everything, whether you want it or not.  With EE, this includese all of the
separately licensed options!  If you do a "custom" install, though, you can
pick and choose (and exclude) options and features quite liberally.  Some
things cannot be excluded from the initial installation ( e.g., when
installing 10g Standard Edition), but almost all can be removed as a
separate step.

Q:  If I have installed unwanted options (or features) in a database, can I
remove them after the fact?

A:  As a rule, yes.  You may need to search Metalink, or sometimes even open
an SR, to find the procedures.  But in most instances, the procedures do

On 9/12/07, Jared Still <jkstill@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> It doubt that anyone on this list can accurately answer your question.
> The most accurate answer will come from your sales rep.
> On 9/12/07, Joe Smith <joe_dba@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > I have a question about Oracle licenses.
> >
> > If you use the dbca to create a set of scripts to use as a model for
> > database creation it will add entries for different options.  Such as
> > ultraSearch, Spatial,  OLAP, and so on.
> >
> > If you have an Enterprise development license,  is it a violation of
> > your
> > license if you have not paid the additional fee for the options even if
> > you
> > don't use them?
> >
> > ...
> --
> Jared Still
> Certifiable Oracle DBA and Part Time Perl Evangelist

-- Mark Brinsmead
   Senior DBA,
   The Pythian Group

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