Windows Vista Forums

distributing trial version using virtual machines

  1. #1


    Hendrik Schober Guest

    distributing trial version using virtual machines

    Hi,

    I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    is time-limited.
    And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    If those neither, are there other ways to do this?

    I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    having some knowledge and ideas to share?

    TIA,

    Hendrik

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.   


  3. #2


    Steve Jain [MVP] Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    On Tue, 19 May 2009 15:08:28 +0200, Hendrik Schober <spamtrap@xxxxxx>
    wrote:

    >Hi,
    >
    >I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    >possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    >and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    >is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    >intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    >customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    >that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    >guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    >The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    >see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    >is time-limited.
    >And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    >activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    >If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >
    >I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    >having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >
    >TIA,
    >
    >Hendrik
    You should contact Microsoft directly for an authoritative answer on
    this, bu no, you cannot distribute installed and activated OSes
    (unless you're an OEM) and you can't resdistribute trial OSes with
    involving Microsoft.
    You should contact your local MS sales or service rep.

    --
    Cheers,
    Steve Jain, Virtual Machine MVP
    http://vpc.essjae.com/

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #3


    Jakob Bohm Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    Hendrik Schober wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    > possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    > and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    > is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    > intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    > customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    > that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    > guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    > The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    > see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    > is time-limited.
    > And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    > activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    > If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >
    > I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    > having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Hendrik
    The "Microsoft ISV Royalty Licensing Program" seems to fit your needs
    nicely, for more information see

    https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40012214

    Especially note the "End user demonstrations" and "End user evaluations"
    headlines on the "Partner benefits" tab of that page.

    The scheme requires you to resell at least $5000/year of non-demo
    licenses for the Microsoft part of your Windows+application bundle
    over a 3 year contract period.

    --
    Jakob Bhm, M.Sc.Eng. * jb@xxxxxx * direct tel:+45-45-90-25-33
    Netop Solutions A/S * Bregnerodvej 127 * DK-3460 Birkerod * DENMARK
    http://www.netop.com * tel:+45-45-90-25-25 * fax:+45-45-90-25-26
    Information in this mail is hasty, not binding and may not be right.
    Information in this posting may not be the official position of Netop
    Solutions A/S, only the personal opinions of the author.


      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #4


    Hendrik Schober Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    Steve Jain [MVP] wrote:

    > On Tue, 19 May 2009 15:08:28 +0200, Hendrik Schober <spamtrap@xxxxxx>
    > wrote:
    >

    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    >> possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    >> and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    >> is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    >> intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    >> customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    >> that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    >> guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    >> The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    >> see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    >> is time-limited.
    >> And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    >> activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    >> If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >>
    >> I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    >> having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >>
    >> TIA,
    >>
    >> Hendrik
    >
    > You should contact Microsoft directly for an authoritative answer on
    > this, bu no, you cannot distribute installed and activated OSes
    > (unless you're an OEM) and you can't resdistribute trial OSes with
    > involving Microsoft.
    > You should contact your local MS sales or service rep.
    Thanks, we'll do this.
    Anything regarding the technical problems? How do I go
    about creating such VMs?

    Hendrik

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #5


    Hendrik Schober Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    Jakob Bohm wrote:

    > Hendrik Schober wrote:

    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    >> possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    >> and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    >> is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    >> intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    >> customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    >> that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    >> guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    >> The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    >> see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    >> is time-limited.
    >> And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    >> activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    >> If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >>
    >> I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    >> having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >>
    >> TIA,
    >>
    >> Hendrik
    >
    > The "Microsoft ISV Royalty Licensing Program" seems to fit your needs
    > nicely [...]
    I don't think so. Remember, this is for giving away
    free trials, not for selling software. If customers
    decide to buy the product after they have seen the
    trial, they already have their own OS licenses.
    There's going to be no revenue from selling MS
    software in this.

    Hendrik

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #6


    ronald.phillips Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    On May 19, 9:08*am, Hendrik Schober <spamt...@xxxxxx> wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    > possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    > and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    > is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    > intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    > customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    > that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    > guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    > The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    > see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    > is time-limited.
    > And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    > activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    > If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >
    > I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    > having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Hendrik
    Usually there is documentation with the trialware/shareware that
    describes how the software should be distributed. Any deviation is a
    violation of that. Almost all shareware/trialware has to be
    distributed in it's original form. (If you care about being legit)

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #7


    VanguardLH Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    Hendrik Schober wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    > possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    > and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    > is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    > intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    > customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    > that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    > guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    > The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    > see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    > is time-limited.
    > And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    > activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    > If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >
    > I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    > having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Hendrik
    Rather than distribute a huge image that contains the OS, why not use
    software virtualization to distribute a virtual layer for the
    application (with possible different versions of the layer for when it
    is installed on different version of the OS)?

    Altris SVS has their software virtualization product. There is a free
    version but I don't think you can use it for commercial purposes. The
    idea is to have employees retrieve the pre-configured virtual layer for
    an application from the company's server and use that image on their
    host. It doesn't include an OS, just all the files and folders (in a
    virtualized environment) for the application, so you need to install
    their SVS client on the user's host. In fact, using virtual app
    layering, you could install multiple versions of the same product
    without any conflicts (you would only activate one layer at a time;
    i.e., the layers for the multiple versions would be mutually exclusive
    and you load just one version). The user could bounce between different
    versions of, say, Winzip or a web browser without the user doing any
    install of the Winzip apps or each version of it.

    While software virtualization allows controlled images of those apps to
    run on the user's host, allows multiple version access, and reduces
    helpdesk overhead (just have the user reload the layer's image), and
    although "virtualization" is involved in this process, once a layer is
    activated it appears to exist on the real host just as if you installed
    the application on the real host. That means you do not use SVS to
    isolate your apps from your host in an anti-malware scheme. Once
    activated, there is no isolation between OS and apps on the real host to
    the virtualized app.

    Altiris got swallowed up by Symantec. www.altiris.com leads you to a
    Symantec site. The free stuff is at http://www.svsdownloads.com/. I
    don't know if the free version has kept in sync with the commercial
    stuff from Symantec (I suspect not). Rather than distribute a large
    image with OS and app, you might be able to distribute a much smaller
    image of just the virtualized app layer.

    I think xenocode.com is trying to come with something similar (I noticed
    SVS is involved in their product as a technology but not necessarily
    associated with Altiris or Symantec). This, I think, has you store your
    apps online and the users get it from there. For example, they have
    their http://www.xenocode.com/Browsers/ web page where you download and
    install their plug-in that runs a virtualized environment on your host
    into which a compact version of the app is ran. If you can put your app
    on the web and have it run in a virtualized environment on the user's
    host, you don't have to include the huge disk space for an OS and users
    don't pollute their host with your app (which also makes it easier for
    you to slide in new versions as they become available, as is also
    possible with SVS which can push new versions to users' hosts that have
    subscribed to the app's layer).

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #8


    Hendrik Schober Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    VanguardLH wrote:

    > Hendrik Schober wrote:
    >

    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    >> possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    >> and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    >> is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    >> intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    >> customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    >> that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    >> guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    >> The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    >> see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    >> is time-limited.
    >> And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    >> activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    >> If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >>
    >> I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    >> having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >>
    >> TIA,
    >>
    >> Hendrik
    >
    > Rather than distribute a huge image that contains the OS, why not use
    > software virtualization to distribute a virtual layer for the
    > application (with possible different versions of the layer for when it
    > is installed on different version of the OS)?
    Because this would still require users to setup everything
    necessary to try the software -- something which is far more
    complicated than most users want to do for a trial.

    > [...]
    Hendrik

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #9


    VanguardLH Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    Hendrik Schober wrote:

    > VanguardLH wrote:

    >> Hendrik Schober wrote:
    >>

    >>> Hi,
    >>>
    >>> I have been assigned the task to find out whether it is
    >>> possible to distribute trial versions of a rather complex
    >>> and hard-to-install software using virtual machines. That
    >>> is, instead of the lengthy, error-prone, and quite support-
    >>> intensive installation process of a trial version at a
    >>> customer's we would like to distribute a virtual machine
    >>> that has everything pre-installed and pre-configured. The
    >>> guest OS needed is Windows Server 2003.
    >>> The virtual machines should be easy to install, but I don't
    >>> see how simple cloning could work, since the trial software
    >>> is time-limited.
    >>> And am I allowed to distribute an installed, but not yet
    >>> activated Windows? If not, what about Windows trial versions?
    >>> If those neither, are there other ways to do this?
    >>>
    >>> I cannot believe I'm the first one to tackle this. Anyone
    >>> having some knowledge and ideas to share?
    >>>
    >>> TIA,
    >>>
    >>> Hendrik
    >>
    >> Rather than distribute a huge image that contains the OS, why not use
    >> software virtualization to distribute a virtual layer for the
    >> application (with possible different versions of the layer for when it
    >> is installed on different version of the OS)?
    >
    > Because this would still require users to setup everything
    > necessary to try the software -- something which is far more
    > complicated than most users want to do for a trial.
    >

    >> [...]
    >
    > Hendrik
    And how do YOU know that installing the SVS client (by your customers)
    is as traumatic as you imply? The work is done on YOUR end. The
    customer/user merely has to install the client. The SVS client takes xx
    seconds to download and xx seconds to install. They then load the app
    layer that you provide to them. You think this is harder than having to
    install VirtualPC or VMWare Server? You are obviously concerned about
    making it easy for the potential customer. That means you will have to
    do more work on your end to make it easy for them.

    You want your potential customers to trial this "rather complex and
    hard-to-install software" yet you don't want them installing anything to
    trial it? So how difficult do you think it will be for them to install
    the Virtual Machine Manager (of your choice and not theirs) to run the
    VM image you distribute to them? You really think that installing a
    VMM, like VirtualPC 2007 or VMWare Server (both free), and having to
    configure them correctly, install VM additions, and then define a new VM
    that uses your distributed .vhd file is going to be easier for them than
    installing an SVS client under which to run your distributed layer file?
    Uh huh, sure, right.

    UPDATE: The download link at svsdownloads.com points to a Symantec site
    which says the download is no longer available. So you're too late to
    make use of the free version of Altiris SVS. This software
    virtualization product is no longer available to you. There is still
    xenocode.com, however, where the only thing your customers might have to
    download is a web browser plug-in.

    You could Google search on how to make a bootable CD or DVD image
    (depends on how much byte size that the OS and application required) and
    distribute your ware as a bootable disc. Of course, as others have
    alluded, you will need to get a redistributor license from Microsoft to
    include runnable copies of Windows in every virtual machine. Um, you do
    know that virtual machines load *operating systems*, not applications,
    right? The OS in the VM runs the application.

    Alternatively, it will be up to YOU to provide an executable file (with
    its ancilliary files) on the distributable media that requires
    absolutely no installation and make NO use of the registry to run. That
    is, YOU will need to figure out how to make your software portable so it
    can run without installation and can be contained on a CD/DVD disc or
    USB thumb drive. Try researching at
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bma...on+%2Bportable.

    Based on your comment, just WHY are you requiring that your potential
    customers must install VirtualPC for a *trial* of your product? That is
    obviously not a non-painful method (to them) of using a trial. You
    actually can ensure that every one or even a majority of your potential
    customers has VPC already installed?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  11. #10


    Hendrik Schober Guest

    Re: distributing trial version using virtual machines

    VanguardLH wrote:

    > Hendrik Schober wrote:

    >> VanguardLH wrote:
    > [...]

    >>> Rather than distribute a huge image that contains the OS, why not use
    >>> software virtualization to distribute a virtual layer for the
    >>> application (with possible different versions of the layer for when it
    >>> is installed on different version of the OS)?
    >> Because this would still require users to setup everything
    >> necessary to try the software -- something which is far more
    >> complicated than most users want to do for a trial.
    >
    > And how do YOU know that installing the SVS client (by your customers)
    > is as traumatic as you imply? The work is done on YOUR end. The
    > customer/user merely has to install the client. The SVS client takes xx
    > seconds to download and xx seconds to install. They then load the app
    > layer that you provide to them. You think this is harder than having to
    > install VirtualPC or VMWare Server? [...]
    No, I don't.
    <sigh>
    I guess I didn't express myself well. Actually this isn't about
    installing. Installing is easy. It's all about setting it up so
    that users can see something. So this is not about having the
    software installed or not.
    Users have to setup a lot of stuff. Imagine they would have to
    setup accounts, create DB tables, design workflows, create some
    profiles[1] -- and all of this has to work together and has thus
    to be done right or the system won't work.
    Also, as I said this software needs Windows Server. It cannot run
    on a desktop system.

    I had looked at xenocode and, while it's a nice idea, I didn't
    have the impression it would provide what I needed. But please
    tell me if I'm wrong.

    Hendrik

    [1] Note: I'm not saying this software needs exactly these
    things TBD.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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