26 November 2007

TFS 2008 License Changes

Brian Harry recently posted details regarding a change to the newly released TFS 2008 licensing model.  In short, the new license structure will allow anyone in your company to perform the following actions against a TFS server (Standard Edition only - does not apply to the Workgroup Edition) within your organization without the need for a CAL:

  • Create work items
  • Query work items they've created
  • View work items they've created
  • Update work items they've created

I suspect this type of activity has probably been going on quite a bit in the past with TFS 2005 - it's just that it hasn't been all that easy to track.  This new change will at least remove some of the worry associated with trying to keep these types of users (i.e. the ones that fit the above profile) in compliance.

The downside (as Brian points out) is that there is no built-in tools to help you determine (or enforce) compliance.  It appears that they plan on providing some enhancements over the next year to address this issue.

What I like about this change is that it will give development shops a little more leverage on how they might choose to make use of the work item features within TFS.  For example, I'm currently finishing up a blog post on how to create TFS work items directly when an exception is caught within your application.  Previously, in TFS 2005, your end users would (legally) need to have a TFS CAL to utilize the exception handler.  Now, in TFS 2008, any end user in your company is automatically covered - no CAL is required.

What I don't like about it (I suppose I shouldn't be complaining - at least it's a start) is that it's overly restrictive.  Does it really hurt to allow full work item access to your employees?  If they can create and manage their own work items, what does it hurt to allow them to manage other work items (not created by them) as well?  Maybe that's a change that will come in the future as Microsoft works out the best fit for their TFS license model.  At any rate, it's a good start.

You can read more in the original post.