top of page

What are the different types of Software License?

Software licenses are contracts containing the legally binding definitions for the distribution and use of software between the creator/suppler of an application, the underlying source code, or related product and the end user.


Most software falls under one of two categories:



1.     Proprietary:


A proprietary software license typically provides software with operational code only, no source code and no authority for code reuse or modification or reuse.



2.     Open-source software:


Open-source licences are free of charge and provide the customer with the source code and usually allows modification and reuse of the software code.

Licence types.png
Licence types from A-Z



Academic licenses are typically provided at a reduced rate, or even free.

Software vendors offer the academic licensing model to organisations providing educational or engineering applications to schools and universities.



An anchored license is a licence that will only work on a specific device. Customers can’t use the application on any device, but the specific device that the licence is anchored to.


Company Fixed Duration

A company fixed duration licence will typically be available for a fixed period of 1 year, by multiple users on various machines. But only one user can use the licence an any one time, and only on one machine at a time.  



Different to anchored licenses, a device license provides use of an application on a defined number of devices.



Software vendors offer feature licences so that they can control which features of their software the end users can or cannot use, or how may time they can be used.


Fixed Duration

A fixed duration license provides usage of an application for a defined period of time.



A floating license provides a set number of user licences between larger group of users. On a first come first serve basis, once the number of users using the application reached the licence limit, no other users can log in until one of those users logs out.



Software vendors use metered licenses to limit users access to any feature of their software that can be metered. For example, number of logins, amount of data processes, amount of CPU usage etc.  


Offline Use

Offline use licences are used to provide licencing for applications that may not be online. Users typically check-out a licence for a period of time, or until the application is exited or timed out.


On Demand Corporate

An on-demand licences is typically provided for a set number of days or hours and includes a minimum and maximum license duration that a user is allowed to use. Total use time for all users is calculated so that they can’t exceed the duration agreed in the licence.



Software vendors sell perpetual licenses for an application on one-time basis and the licensee can typically use the software forever. This will usually apply to a specific version of the software product and often doesn’t include upgrades, fixes, or enhancements.



A project-based license provides access to an application to a company’s project team members. These team members can use the application even if they work for a different company as long as the licenced company includes them in a project team.



A subscription license doesn’t typically have a defined end date, it will just automatically renew on a re-occurring basis, usually monthly oy annually, unless the user cancels the licence.


Support and Maintenance

A support and maintenance license is usually an add-on to a perpetual license. If a company or user has purchased an application under a perpetual licence, then with this additional licence they will be provided with software updates and fixes.



A trial license is a fixed duration license, usually a couple of weeks or a month, providing access for a user to trial and test an application before deciding to purchase in full.



A use time licence limits a user’s access to an application to a specific duration of time. Once the user has hit that limit, they will no longer be able to access the application until they purchase another licence.


Use-time Aggregate

Similar to a use time licence, an application an only be accessed for a certain amount of time but is available to a group of users. The licence calculates all or the user’s consumption and will allow access until the agreed time limit has been reached.



A whitelist licence provides access to a set of users on a whitelist, for activities like product development and testing. 

bottom of page