Lahey Licensing of Fortran compiler for Linux - in detail ;-)

Craig Tierney ctierney at
Tue Jan 21 12:51:35 PST 2003

On Tue, Jan 21, 2003 at 02:57:06PM -0500, Mark Hahn wrote:
> > to page 3 of our price list.  Look at the LF95 v6.1 Express 2 user license
> > for 64 CPUs.  The price is a one time cost of $1,120.  The license allows
> > two users to simultaneously develop programs for use on clusters of up to 64
> > CPUs in size.  The code that is developed can be distributed to an UNLIMITED
> > number of clusters ranging in size from 5 to 64 CPUs.  The clusters running
> > the executable code do not need a Lahey compiler, nor do they pay any fees
> > to Lahey.
> so the license is saying "this runtime will prevent you from running
> a program across more than 64 CPUs".  since there's no way to know 
> how big the cluster is, it doesn't even try.  so if you wanted to run 
> four separate instances of a Lahey-compiled program on a 256-node cluster,
> I think it would be perfectly legal.
> it makes a kind of weird sense: if Lahey has to work harder to make their
> runtime scale to >64 CPUs, they want to be paid more.

You are correct IF their compiler is aware of the cluster runtime enviroment
then the price should reflect that.  Are they providing their own MPI or PVM?  
Are they providing a version of HPF?  No.  So compiling for a single CPU is
no different than for a 1024 cpu MPI process. Scaling is an issue of the developer
not the compiler engineer.

Portland Group doesn't put a restriction how you use their Fortran compiler.  They
do put a restriction on their cluster tools.  Those you have to license by CPU.
If you want to use their HPF then you need to purchase a license for the number of
CPUs you want to use.  That makes sense for the effort they put into their compiler.
Portland Group does not charge me if I want to link my source against a free version
of MPI and run on multiple cpus.

I am not against Lahey's licensing policy.  They can do whatever they want its their
product.  When I talked to one of their reps at SC2001 and told them that no one else licenses 
their compiler this way they didn't believe me.  

I just don't see how they can be competitive when other vendors that provide an equivelent
(or superior) product for less cost on cluster.


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Craig Tierney (ctierney at

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