This fun little tidbit over on Daring Fireball absolutely floored me.
Whatâ€™s interesting about this is that the single-computer license isnâ€™t enforced in code by the operating system. (Or at least thatâ€™s been the case with Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.4.) And, I suspect, most DF readers are aware of this. Which means many readers are doing the right thing simply because theyâ€™re honest. I have no idea if this breakdown is representative of the Mac user base as a whole, but if itâ€™s even close, these family packs are a huge success for Apple.
This simply isn’t how things work with for-pay software. Let’s take, for example, my recent experience with Windows. I run XP in a virtual machine for work. I reinstall the VM fairly regularly. If I try to install with a license that I’ve used before, the install gets all fussy and tells me that the license is already running on another computer and I’ll have to call India to get it up and running. (Amusingly, re-activating my XP license is the only time I’ve ever actually been connected to an off-shored call center, or at least the only time I’ve been aware of it.) It’s an amazing pain in the ass, and the only thing that’s saved me is the big stack of XP licenses I traded beer for a few years ago. (Thanks, Pat!) I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do once they run out. (Probably beg IT to install a VPN that works with OS X.)
We have three computers at home, so I had planned on buying a family pack, anyway. (Can you even get multiple retail copies of Windows for less than the same multiple of the single license price?) Knowing that I don’t have to makes me feel a lot better about doing that.
(For all you Canadians out there: Yes, I’m aware that Linux is still free. Thanks.)