People don’t generally read click-through licenses on the software they install. The only license I’ve read with a lawyer-like (or tester-like) attention to detail has been the GPL. The rest have just had a cursory check for any unduly onerous conditions…like the right to spy on my computer or the soul of my first-born child or something equally sneaky.
The LoadRunner license has a couple of surprises in it. I’m not sure how enforceable the license would be, but it’s probably in the best interests of anyone who uses Mercury tools that they are aware of the terms and do their best to comply.
Here are the sections I found interesting…
You may not:
- use the Licensed Program to provide services to any third party, including affiliates or subsidiaries of Licensee, including but not limited to installation, integration, support and testing or monitoring of hardware, software, web sites and/or networking solutions;
Did you ever wonder why Mercury is the only company that will include the use of their products in the price for short-term work? If it wasn’t prohibited by the license, a consultancy company could do a lot of business if they bought a LoadRunner license with a large number of virtual users and took it from company to company. I expect that Rational and Compuware have similar clauses in their licensing agreements, or else you would see consultancy companies doing it with their products instead. I guess that the open source tools are not quite mature enough to do this with yet.
- use, evaluate or view the Licensed Program or Documentation for the purpose of designing, modifying, or otherwise creating any software program, or any portion thereof, which performs functions similar to the functions performed by the Licensed Program;
I heard a story from one of the other load testing tool vendors; they asked for feedback from their users about what features they would like added to the next version of the product. When they combined all the feature requests, they basically had a list of most of the features in LoadRunner.
The license agreement also has a section about reverse engineeing. Mercury, understandably, don’t want anyone making a LoadRunner clone, whether they do it by decompiling the code or just by recreating the features from the documentation or GUI.
- provide externally or to third parties any oral or written communication describing or summarizing the features, functions or performance characteristics of a Licensed Program or Documentation or that compares a Licensed Program to any similar product of Yours or any third party;
This is a bit of a difficult one for anyone who, say, runs a website on performance testing. It means that you can’t really do a comparison of LoadRunner with other tools, even if it is favourable. Fortunately I’m not planning to write a LoadRunner feature list anytime soon.
Definitions, Product Permissions and Restrictions
- A Concurrent License allows for use of a Licensed Program by a specified number of users ordered and paid for by You, over a LAN at the Site, or via browser when the Licensed Program is browser based. A Concurrent License accessed and used by browser may be accessed and used only from the applicable territory or region as ordered and paid for by You, as reflected on MIC’s quote or then-current local published price list, and Your order document ordering a regional or global license as quoted or listed thereon.
I had no idea that Mercury had a regional pricing model, but I guess that makes sense. This just means that companies can’t do what I do on my holidays – bring home cheap products from third-world countries.
- The “LoadRunner” Licensed Program may be used on the Designated Computer to test a website, software program or networking solution located at the Site (“Application under Test” or “AUT”), and execution of the test on the AUT must occur at the Designated Computer. Load generation with Virtual Users (“VUs”) or Virtual User Days (“VUDs”) may take place locally or remotely. LoadRunner may not be accessed or used over a LAN or WAN or via remote access technology, including but not limited to the pcAnywhere product or any products marketed by Citrix Systems, Inc. VUs, VUDs and monitors are licensed to a single Controller and may not be transferred or relocated to a different Controller.
- The “Topaz” Licensed Program may be accessed over a LAN or WAN owned or leased by You or via remote access technology such as pcAnywhere or Citrix products provided the usage ordered and paid for by You is not thereby exceeded.
In other words, don’t use the Terminal Services client (or similar products) with LoadRunner unless you pay for Topaz. I think a lot of people do this anyway, preferring to have their controller box in the server room or data-centre rather than at their desk, and not wanting to sit in a cold noisy room while they do their load test.