I have a laptop that I travel with and a desktop system at home that I use for heavy computation and driving various shop machines.
I want to purchase a license to Mathematica that will work on both. I would prefer to use my own mechanisms to sync between. Running two copies simultaneously is not desired at all; I just want to be able to travel and noodle, then pop to my home powerful desktop and compute.
It is totally, bafflingly, unclear if this is possible with any of the licenses offered. The product comparisons and online information as to what is included with each license or how they differ is confusing, lacking in information and poorly presented.
What is the best product for this need?
The standard license for Mathematica covers one computer. If you get premier service, you get a second 'home use' license, among other goodies. Each installation has a separate activation key, and it is only good for one CPU. You cannot use the same activation key on two different computers.
This is for the desktop. I have Premier service plus, which includes Mathematica On line. As far as I can tell, I can use this with any computer with an appropriate web-browser, although I have not tested it with simultaneous connections.
If you want to do heavy computation, you will want the desktop version, of course.
If you did not need to use both computers at the same time, it might appear that you could simply transfer the license to the computer that you are using. However, the way this is accomplished at the moment is a non-trivial task, involving an e-mail (or phone call) to Wolfram for a system transfer. I only do the when I get a new computer, and it can take a day.
Thank you, George. Very very helpful.
And truly unfortunate. This is a showstopper for me. As much as I'd love to use Mathematica, the lack of a license that effectively floats between two machines is not something I can justify throwing that much money at to work around.
A bit surprising, too. Most companies in the professional tools realm recognize that users typically have a travel system and an immobile power workstation. And many such companies also offer hobbyist/home licenses that are reasonably priced, if not free (Autodesk, for example, basically makes their tools totally free if you're just noodling around and not making money with it).
The 'home' license that comes with Premier service should do what you want. There are advantages to having Premier service that makes it cost effective.
If you qualify for the 'home and hobby' license, the difference between just Mathematica desktop (320 USD) and Desktop + Premier Service (480 USD) is reasonable and worth it, since you get a year's worth of updates plus support. In the not too distant past, Mathematica updates came every 12-18 months, but now, there are often 3 updates a year, and these updates are free with the service, but not otherwise.
Other license options have a similar delta for getting Premier service. I have been a user since 1989, and have been using Premier service since it was made available. The annual cost of Premier service is worth the benefit you get, especially if you take advantage of tech support.
This is just to illustrate Georges suggestion explicitly:
Thanks all. I better understand how the licensing works, now, and the cost to get a second supported install.
Now to figure out the difference between buy now and subscribe.
Buying the license means you can use it 'forever'. Subscribe, and the activation ends after a year.
To be clear -- with premier service, the second license and other benefits also end at the end of the service period.
As I said, I have a commercial license and pay each year for the Premier service. It is worth it to me even though I have 'retired'. If I stopped renewing the service contract, I could still use my primary license for Mathematica as long as I wanted to. Eventually, some OS update will break the app, of course.