Autodesk Labs Software Architect, Ben Cochran, supplied me with another blog article posting.
More than a decade ago, I worked for Motorola developing firmware. (Firmware is software written to control specific hardware components typically without an operating system.) We used a compiler and hardware simulation tools licensed by the hour from another company. These tools are computer programs that simulate hardware that has not yet been manufactured. These tools allowed me to write and run firmware on hardware before it was real. This allowed me to examine all aspects of the hardware and firmware at many different levels - all before any real hardware was manufactured. The end result was that firmware could be written in advance to make the hardware useful on day one.
Because the hardware was emulated down to the logic gate by the tool, things that run in milliseconds on the final manufactured hardware took seconds to run in the simulator, and programs that eventually ran in seconds, ran for in days in the simulated environment. To run early test programs I used several computers so that I could run many tests in parallel. Each of these environments required a license to run. The first thing the tool did was access a license server over the Internet and check out a license that was valid for one hour. After the license expired, the tool would renew the license. Then at the end of the month, we would get a bill based on my usage.
At the time, I thought this was an odd way to license a tool, but I quickly learned that the tool was tracking the value I was providing. At the end of the month, my manager knew how many test-simulation hours I had run. I found this more effective than a weekly progress report. The bill also reflected the phase of the project. At the start of a project, I spent more time reading specs and learning about the new hardware and less time using the tools. As the project moved into the next phase, I spent most of my time writing the software, and near the end, I ran simulations distributed across many computers 24 hours a day.
Do any of you use software tools of services that billed based on how much they are used? When compared to a one-time pay model, what is preferable? What do you think when you try out the Twitch application trials?
Thanks Ben. So should software be licensed this way or is software like a hotel room - something that should not be rented by the hour? Let us know what you think at [email protected].
Looking for answers to life's big questions is alive in the lab.