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Novell is restructuring its corporate licensing framework to make license agreements more flexible and accessible to users.

Beginning March 1, the Linux software company will no longer force users into CLAs (contract license agreements), which attached service and maintenance agreements to the software deal.

Customers may now purchase VLAs (volume license agreements), which are purely transactional, or MLAs (master license agreements), which are priced directly from Novell and reserved for larger sales.

Maintenance, upgrades, service and support will now be sold a la carte. Customers still interested in contracts, for legal or regulatory purposes, may purchase MLAs.

The company will also allow customers to purchase licenses on a per-device basis, in addition the current per-user agreement.

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The reconfiguration makes the process transactional, allowing customers to buy what they need, when they need it, said Steve Bartell, Novell’s Licensing Program Manager.

For partners, the measure could mean a sleeker sales process, he said.

“It removes layers of complexity that could extend the sales cycle a few weeks or more,” he said. “It also is adding options. It allows a user and partner to have more flexibility on other side of the sale.”

The program additionally opens the Novell line to smaller companies who may have been stymied by the cost of a bundled contract, Bartell said.

The new license agreement structure eliminates paperwork and approval paths that often elongated the sales cycle, said Bruce Lowery, a Novell spokesman.

Allowing purchases on a per-device basis will open Novell to new verticals, Bartell said, where shift work demands multiple users on the same device.

“Customers who look at [the] licensing [agreements], and say this doesn’t work for me, especially in healthcare, will have a simpler choice now,” he said. “They can now start counting by device.”