We made one significant licensing change for TFS with the release of TFS 2008. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback over the past 2 years that there are classes of users who make very light use of TFS and for those users a $500 CAL (list price) is just too much. Most of these scenarios involve some kind of very infrequent access to work item tracking. We’ve decided to tackle one of the scenarios with licensing changes in 2008.
The new licensing provisions are designed to make it easy if you want to allow lots of people in your company to use TFS to file bugs, feature requests, etc and have them available for your development team. Specifically they allow an unlimited number of users in your company to create any work item, query for work items they have created and view or update any work item they have created all without a CAL. This right comes with your Team Foundation Server Standard Edition server license and requires no additional purchase.
Please keep in mind that this is focused narrowly at this scenario. If this works well, customers like it, people understand the restrictions and use it properly, I expect we’ll look at trying to simplify licensing around other similar scenarios in future versions of TFS.
The bad news part of this is that we really don’t have any UI that restricts users to exactly this scenario right now so it’s hard to know you are in compliance. We have committed to producing software changes within the next year that would allow organizations to feel comfortable that their users are in compliance. We’ve talked about permission changes and UI changes. My favorite option (which we are pursuing) is to add a new page to Team System Web Access that focuses precisely on this scenario and enable permissioning the site appropriately so that organizations can point their broad user base at that page and feel comfortable that users are staying within their license rights. For now, you may consider building your own custom web page for doing something similar or you may just try to explain to your users what they are and are not allowed to do.
I hope this change addresses a concern that many of you have expressed to me. Please read the updated End User License Agreement that comes with Team Foundation Server 2008 for an official statement of the licensing terms. If you have questions or comments on this licensing change or others you would like to see, please let me know.