Getting Software

This page describes how you can go about getting software that is not currently available on the department's systems. If you are unsure of exactly what software you need, or what software to choose, or some other situation not described here, please contact the technical staff.

Commercial Software

Who Pays For It?

If the software is for personal use, then personal funds should be used. Software intended for research supported by grants & contracts should use funds from those sources.

If the software is intended for a wider audience, then a request for department funds should be made. Typically, the request will be presented to the department's FACIL committee (a faculty subcommittee concerned with facilities issues) for a final decision.

Who Handles the Paperwork?

Even if the software is intended for personal use, it is best to ask the technical staff to make the purchase. If you do it on your own, let the tstaff know what you are doing, especially if you plan to install the software in a public place. Licensing and maintenance are the responsibility of the person purchasing the software.

You can direct all commercial software requests to the problem@cs.brown.edu email alias. The requests will find their way to the appropriate person.

Installing It

In most cases you may choose to install the software yourself (possibly as a /contrib project), or you may ask tstaff to do it.

Microsoft Software

The CS department has a MSDNAA subscription with Microsoft. This gives us access to most Microsoft products for departmental courses and research. Commercial use of these products are not allowed. Only students, staff, and faculty in the department is granted access. Please submit your access request to problem@cs.brown.edu. Once an account is created, Microsoft products can be downloaded from the DreamSpark site.

Shareware

It is the University's policy to honor shareware agreements. If you install shareware on a University-owned machine, the author should be paid. For useful shareware software, we are sometimes able to negotiate favorable site-license terms, so it is probably best to consider shareware as commercial software and let tstaff arrange for licensing.

Free Software

You may download and install free software for your own personal use, or for the use of the department community (see /contrib projects). In fact, we encourage you to do so.

Tstaff won't generally get involved in downloading and installing free software unless we decide to support it.

Tstaff Software Download site

Tstaff has a software download site for limited software. The purpose of the site to allow users to download software from outside the department without going through the departmental vpn. The site requires the users to log on using their LDAP credential in order to download any software.