What is an InterBase user?

By: Ben Matterson

Abstract: A discussion of the meaning of "user" versus "connection" in InterBase.

What is a user?

What is a user?

Due to some changes in InterBase licensing, the term "user" has become somewhat ambiguous. A user is a licensed entity that is allowed four connections to an InterBase server. A user is also a single connection to the InterBase server.

Under InterBase 5 and before, one user was allowed four connections to the server. If you purchased an InterBase 5.x Simultaneous User license you received a single license allowing four connections to the InterBase server.

Under InterBase 6, one user is allowed one connection. If you purchase an InterBase 6 Simultaneous User license, you will receive four licenses allowing you four total connections to the database.

This strange situation came about due to miscommunication.

While InterBase 6 was under development, it was determined that having one user equal four connections to the server was confusing. So it was decided that for InterBase 6 and henceforth, one user would equal one connection to the server. This change would be accompanied by a fourfold reduction in price for a Simultaneous User license.

Then there was a turnover in InterBase management and the information about the users versus connections change was lost.

When InterBase 6 was released, Borland started getting reports about problems with the number of connections available. When these reports were investigated, the situation came to light. After some consideration it was determined that the easiest fix would be to keep one user equal to one connection, keep the price the same, and to actually send out four times as many user licenses. This is why, if you buy a Simultaneous User license, install it, and then check using IBConsole or the IBLicense command line application, you will see four users licensed.

For the end user, the upshot of this is that nothing has really changed. The cost of a Simultaneous User license remains the same. The number of connections per Simultaneous User license remains the same at four. The only change is behind the scenes, where, when you buy one Simultaneous User license, instead of getting one user with four connections, you get four users with one connection each.

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