IBM Support

Deciding what type of IBM Rational Developer for i License to purchase

Question & Answer


What type of licenses are avalable for IBM Rational Developer for i (RDi) and why to choose each?


Often when looking to buy a product, the license types and prerequisites are complex. This document should give insight into those questions for IBM Rational Developer for i (RDi).


When looking to purchase IBM Rational Developer for i (RDi), there are two options for licensing: activation kit (also known as a permanent, authorized user license) or floating license (also known as a permanent floating license). 

Activation Kit

The activation kit is a permanent, version-based jar file that is packaged as a zip file with the product and downloaded from either AAS/ESS or Passport Advantage.

If using the permanent license/activation kit, a license is required for each version of the product. For example, an RDi 9.6 permanent, authorized user license (activation kit) will not work for an RDi 9.8 client.

This license is installed on the client. The license can be saved remotely, for instance, on a network, but installed locally.

The cost for the permanent license is less than floating licenses (except for the 'Fixed Term Floating user single install' type which is only for 1 year), and the application is quick and uncomplicated; however, each machine must be manipulated to install the license either programmatically with a silent install or manually.

Note: an Authorized User is a unique person that is allowed to use the program.  The person is allowed to install the program on multiple computers as long as only the specific person uses the program.  Any one else would be required to purchase their own license.

Floating License

A floating license is permanent, time-limited license that is downloaded to the client from a dedicated Rational License Key Server.

Floating licenses are associated with the host name of the Rational License Key Server (also know as a floating license server) that is installed at the user's company. The newer floating licenses are not version specific. For example, a floating license that works with RDi 9.6 should continue to work with RDi 9.8 if used on the same Rational License Key Server. A new RDi 9.8 floating license is not required.
Floating licenses are downloaded from the Rational License Key Center at:

Floating licenses are installed on a Rational License Key Server and the RDi client connects to the designated floating license server to acquire a license for a time-limited period. Once that time expires, the license will need to be acquired again. If the floating license connections exceed the number of floating licenses available, the newest user will not be able to access RDi until a license is released. 

For example: if 4 floating licenses are purchased and installed on the Rational License Key Server, then 4 users can be using RDi at the same time.  When one of the users ends RDi, then a different user can start using RDi.  Floating licenses are not specific to particular users (unlike authorized user licenses).
Information on installing and configuring the floating license server can be found here:
Using a floating license server may be problematic if network connectivity is not stable or all systems are required to be included in disaster recovery models. The fewer floating licenses are used, the more efficient activation kits may be.

The cost for floating licenses are higher than activation kits (except for the 'Fixed term Floating user single install' type), but be aware of the additional work required to use floating licenses.

Note: the Fixed Term Floating User single install license is a specific type of floating license which has restrictions.  It has a term of 1 year.  It would have to be purchased again if needed more than 1 year in which case the cost would be more than a permanent authorized user license.

Additional information:

Evaluation License

The product includes is a 120-day evaluation license (60-day for older versions) that is included with all new client installs for RDi. All versions of RDi will expire after the evaluation period if a permanent license is not applied.

Temporary License Extension

A temporary, term license can be generated and applied as an evaluation extension. These only extend the evaluation license to a specific time and will expire at the end of that designated period. After that point, the product must be uninstalled or a permanent license installed. IBM support or development would have to be consulted and justification made to provide this type of license.

Related links:

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Document Information

Modified date:
02 November 2023