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Thread Subject:
Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License Renewals

Subject: Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License Renewals

From: junoexpress

Date: 23 Jul, 2008 20:18:04

Message: 1 of 6

Hi,

I work at a university where every year it seems it is a huge problem
renewing our MatLab license. It seems to take forever to get done,
sometimes it isn't done on time, and the people who rely very heavily
on MatLab (I'm in an engineering dept) are basically shut down.

I've dealt with MatLab customer service personally on several
occasions, and quite frankly, it is the best I've ever experienced.
This leads me to believe there is something screwy with the way my
univ is doing the ordering. I can't get a straight reply from the IT
people here as to how the ordering process works. Can anyone shed some
light as to whether the license renewal process is that complicated
and HOW LONG THE PROCESS SHOULD TAKE if done properly (I'm not
shouting: just emphasizing how important this piece of information is
to me). I know that each license renewal is different in the sense
that it depends on the packages one orders, etc, but any general
insight/past experiences by others would be appreciated, so I can get
some idea as to what the heck is going on.

Many thanks in advance,

Matt B.

Subject: Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License Renewals

From: roberson@ibd.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca (Walter Roberson)

Date: 23 Jul, 2008 21:03:54

Message: 2 of 6

In article <2c62fdf9-ded4-4c51-9f95-c353546d2081@z72g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>,
junoexpress <MTBrenneman@gmail.com> wrote:

>I work at a university where every year it seems it is a huge problem
>renewing our MatLab license. It seems to take forever to get done,
>sometimes it isn't done on time, and the people who rely very heavily
>on MatLab (I'm in an engineering dept) are basically shut down.

>I can't get a straight reply from the IT
>people here as to how the ordering process works. Can anyone shed some
>light as to whether the license renewal process is that complicated
>and HOW LONG THE PROCESS SHOULD TAKE if done properly

When I was doing that work, Mathworks usually responded fairly quickly
with the new license keys once they had received our order; I don't
recall ever having to wait as long as a week. 2 to 3 days was typical then.


However, the truth was that there was a lot of time spent fudging
around between the various groups trying to decide how many licenses of
which type to order, with the groups typically wanting to cut the
software maintenance budgets as much as they could get away with, so we
(the systems administrators) would frequently have to negotiate with
them and do statistical analysis of the logs and otherwise prove to
them that their people really were using the software. They wanted the
-access- to the software: they just didn't want to pay for it out of
their own budget (and they didn't want our budget increased so we could
pay for it quickly and smoothly: that would have given our 3-person
support group a budget larger than most of the 20+ people research
groups.) Besides, when -we- (IT) paid for the licenses then we had a
tendancy to make the licenses available to all staff, which could mean
that the groups might not be able to get a floating license when they
wanted one, if the number of licenses required had been underestimated.
And around and around it went, money, and politics, and money politics.


In the time frame I was doing that work, Mathworks also changed the
licensing scheme, deprecating node-locked licenses in favour of group
licenses. There was a trade-in program, one node-locked license for
(something like) 5 group licenses, and the maintenance for node-locks
was deliberately pushed up to encourage us to switch. So there were
difficult predictive and financial decisions about what kind of
licenses to get.


Even now, the confusion about license types continues. Some of our work
is on grant-funded projects cross-polinated with universities, so some
of what we do qualities for academic licenses, and some of it doesn't.
Academic licenses are much less expensive, so IT people may find it
wise to request proof from groups that their work qualifies under the
acad terms: an IT person who knowingly allows the wrong license to be
used can be *personally* charged with ruinous copyright violation fines
(and potentially jail as well), so it is wise to CYA. Which takes
time.

If I recall correctly, merely being faculty or staff at a university is
not sufficient to qualify to use an academic license, not if the work
itself has commercial or government components (and commercial or
defence funding for a lot of research is a reality in many modern
universities.) So your IT people might be undergoing similar
struggles.

There are a number of different license types to manage, all with
different pricing. I don't mean to imply that Mathworks does not have
good reason for having all those licenses, but it does make it difficult
for an organization of any size to decide how many of each to get.
Do we get so-many floating licenses, or do we buy a workstation and get
a node-locked license for it and make people walk over to the
workstation to use it? And so on.
--
  "They called it golf because all the other four letter words
  were taken." -- Walter Hagen

Subject: Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License

From: junoexpress

Date: 24 Jul, 2008 00:48:39

Message: 3 of 6

Thank you for your response Walter:

> In the time frame I was doing that work, Mathworks also changed the
> licensing scheme, deprecating node-locked licenses in favour of group
> licenses. There was a trade-in program, one node-locked license for
> (something like) 5 group licenses, and the maintenance for node-locks
> was deliberately pushed up to encourage us to switch. So there were
> difficult predictive and financial decisions about what kind of
> licenses to get.
>
Please excuse my ignorance here, but what is the difference between a
node-locked and a group license? My understanding was that a node-
locked license was for a single machine, but when I researched the
MatLab licensing online, I came across a MatLab group license with the
words "single computer" written under it, so I'm a bit confused.

Matt

Subject: Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License

From: Rodney Thomson

Date: 24 Jul, 2008 01:36:02

Message: 4 of 6

junoexpress <MTBrenneman@gmail.com> wrote in message
<8a19047b-63cd-4d21-8b89-87eba94e9007@a70g2000hsh.googlegroups.com>...
> Thank you for your response Walter:
>
> > In the time frame I was doing that work, Mathworks also
changed the
> > licensing scheme, deprecating node-locked licenses in
favour of group
> > licenses. There was a trade-in program, one node-locked
license for
> > (something like) 5 group licenses, and the maintenance
for node-locks
> > was deliberately pushed up to encourage us to switch. So
there were
> > difficult predictive and financial decisions about what
kind of
> > licenses to get.
> >
> Please excuse my ignorance here, but what is the
difference between a
> node-locked and a group license? My understanding was that
a node-
> locked license was for a single machine, but when I
researched the
> MatLab licensing online, I came across a MatLab group
license with the
> words "single computer" written under it, so I'm a bit
confused.
>
> Matt

With our company we've only had exposure to 2 types of
licenses that Mathworks refers to as Individual and
Concurrent (Possibly what Walter is referring to as Node
locked and Concurrent?)

The Individual licenses are allowed to be installed either:
1) on a single machine used by multiple people, IE a PC used
for testing purposes by many people
2) On multiple machines belonging to one person and they are
the only user (ie Desktop, Laptop and Home computer)

The Concurrent license we have enables X Matlab users to
check out licenses simultaneously. This requires a server to
be set up on the network running FlexLM software that
controls the checking in/out of the licenses.

I'm unsure of what type of licenses your university uses,
possibly a mix of single machine and concurrent licenses (at
approx $3000 a pop, i doubt they would get each student a
license).

With the shift to the new registration scheme, its much more
difficult to manage the license.

Previously the license keys would get placed on our intranet
and each individual user would grab the install CD and
license key and update away. Likewise the FlexLM required a
new license.dat file and abit of configuring, but overall it
wasn't too bad.

Now you have to login to the Mathworks site and generate a
new license.dat file and license key for each installation
that is tied to specific information from the machine (ie
MAC address). This requires much more communication between
the end user/machine and the admin guys. So its
understandable it will take a lot longer.

And as Walter stated, there are significant financial
implications in updating to new software releases.

For me personally, to install 2008a on my laptop with IT
manager sitting behind me took about an hour and a half. And
thats AFTER all of the political/financial hassle had been
sorted. So for your university and its 100s of licenses...

Rod

--
http://iheartmatlab.blogspot.com

Subject: Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License

From: roberson@ibd.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca (Walter Roberson)

Date: 24 Jul, 2008 03:01:57

Message: 5 of 6

In article <8a19047b-63cd-4d21-8b89-87eba94e9007@a70g2000hsh.googlegroups.com>,
junoexpress <MTBrenneman@gmail.com> wrote:

>> In the time frame I was doing that work, Mathworks also changed the
>> licensing scheme, deprecating node-locked licenses in favour of group
>> licenses.

>Please excuse my ignorance here, but what is the difference between a
>node-locked and a group license? My understanding was that a node-
>locked license was for a single machine, but when I researched the
>MatLab licensing online, I came across a MatLab group license with the
>words "single computer" written under it, so I'm a bit confused.

The licenses we mostly had were for any number of simultaneous users
on a single server; the group licenses Mathworks was pushing us to convert
to were concurrent floating "named user" network licenses. There were some
regulars who used Matlab whom we could "name", but we also had enough
people who used Matlab only on rare occassions that we had to maintain
some of the unlimited-user nodelocked licenses at much higher expense
per use. (And of course since we could never predict who those people
would be, none of the groups wanted to pay for those licenses out of
their budgets... but if those occasional users couldn't get access
when they needed it, guess which group would face the criticism...)

Even now, a few of years later, there is still an amazing amount
of politics about the Matlab licenses here. Negotiating all the
budget approvals is a problem for the IT people, particularily with
new financial accountability laws that require original signatures for
values that large (email okays had been enough previously.)
--
  "The first draught serveth for health, the second for pleasure,
  the third for shame, the fourth for madness." -- Sir Walter Raleigh

Subject: Serious Question if You Have Experience with MatLab License Renewals

From: Derek O'Connor

Date: 19 Oct, 2008 13:31:02

Message: 6 of 6

junoexpress <MTBrenneman@gmail.com> wrote in message <2c62fdf9-ded4-4c51-9f95-c353546d2081@z72g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>...
> Hi,
>
> I work at a university where every year it seems it is a huge problem
> renewing our MatLab license. It seems to take forever to get done,
> sometimes it isn't done on time, and the people who rely very heavily
> on MatLab (I'm in an engineering dept) are basically shut down.
>
> I've dealt with MatLab customer service personally on several
> occasions, and quite frankly, it is the best I've ever experienced.
> This leads me to believe there is something screwy with the way my
> univ is doing the ordering. I can't get a straight reply from the IT
> people here as to how the ordering process works. Can anyone shed some
> light as to whether the license renewal process is that complicated
> and HOW LONG THE PROCESS SHOULD TAKE if done properly (I'm not
> shouting: just emphasizing how important this piece of information is
> to me). I know that each license renewal is different in the sense
> that it depends on the packages one orders, etc, but any general
> insight/past experiences by others would be appreciated, so I can get
> some idea as to what the heck is going on.
>
> Many thanks in advance,
>
> Matt B.

Dear Matt B.

I think this message and the replies speak for themselves: the Matlab licencse renewal is a mess.

I have been trying to renew my academic, single-user SMS(software maintenance service) for some time now. Here is an email I sent in the latest round of this struggle with info@mathworks.co.uk :
===============================================
Dear XXXX,
 
When I go to My Cart http://www.mathworks.co.uk/store/cart.do I get the following :
 
 I see two Quotes and when click on Delete Quote 2087191 and Update Cart I get the following :
 
>> The request could not be completed because of the following :
Quote 2087191 cannot be removed because it is required by Quote 2146415
Un-ticking Delete and pressing Checkout I get the following :
 
https://www.mathworks.com/store/checkoutLink.do?homeserver=www.mathworks.co.uk&homelang=en
 
 
This has Purchase Order as the payment method. There is no place on this page to alter the payment method.
 
Anyway, just to stay in the game I type in a fictitious PO Number (12345), press checkout and I get the following :
 
https://www.mathworks.com/store/billingSubmit.do
 
This shows that I am about to purchase two SMSs for the same license for the same period.
 
On this page there is an edit Payment Method button which I press and I get the following :
 
https://www.mathworks.com/store/breadCrumb.do?page=billing (breadCrumb ?)
 
This brings me back a previous page which has Purchase Order as the payment method. There is no place on this page to alter the payment method.
 
 
At this stage I should give up, but I waste more time by doing the following :
 
I go back to MyCart and delete both Quotes. This empties MyCart.
I press Continue Shopping and on the resulting page I press Request a Quote (SMS) which brings me to http://www.mathworks.co.uk/services/maintenance/ which asks me to press another Request a Quote button.
I press this second Request a Quote button and I get the following : http://www.mathworks.co.uk/support/contact_us/cs/renewal.html . which bring me back to where all this started last August, when I "requested a quote".
As I said before : > I have searched the Mathworks website but cannot find any way to renew my
> licence online with credit card. Is this true or have I missed something?
 
All I want to do is this : Go to a secure Mathworks webpage which has a button Buy an SMS, using a credit card.
 
Why can't I do that? I don't want to fill out and fax or mail a purchase order. I don't want to give credit card details over the phone.

 Yours sincerely,
 
Derek O'Connor
================= end of email ========================

I can't remember the details about how this all started back in August -- maybe I clicked a wrong button -- but surely it should be simple to renew an existing license (Matlab has all my details) using a credit card on a secure webpage
 

Regards,

Derek O'Connor

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