What is an FMS "User"

Is an FMS user a user you create in your application's "Manage Security" setup? The way it would need to work for me is that I could have 5 users, 500, or 5,000 users defined in an FMP app, but I would understand that only any five of them (for a five user license) could connect at any one time. Users could come and users could go and I would be the single control point of that potential user pool.

FMI has this concept called a "named user" which sounds different, but may not be.

Just trying to understand what a user is and if there are any restrictions placed by FMI beyond creating a user in a given FMP application.


If you choose to rent the platform, that is subscription, a user is two things:

  • a named user, that is a human being - person - that works with FMP. You need to have a license for each of these. This is the legal thing. So if you have 10 persons using FMP, 5 per shift, you need 10 licenses. You read it right.
  • you may also get concurrent licenses, In this case if you have a 5-user license, then the first 5 get connected and the others need to wait. To get these kind of licenses, you need to contact Claris.

Puzzled ? You are not alone.

Now the person that logs in a file is define as an account. The account may be defined in a file, or if you use AD or Apple directory service, then the account is define in the directory service and on top of that the account has to be added to a group, because then permissions are set to the group.


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The concept of a named user is a legal construct and has nothing to do with the a FM account. Except for FM Cloud where it is tied to a Claris ID.

But for regular on-prem FMS, there is no link to any FM account. The only way that Claris can enforce conformity is through the concurrent user count on FMS. If that exceeds your max licensed number then you can expect a call.

Of course if you have a department of 100 folks and you know you won't exceed 50 concurrent users but you still by a "for Teams" license (because concurrency licensing is 3X the Team licensing cost) but buy it for 50 people then legally you're not in safe waters even if your server never reports more than 50 connections.

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At least I know now for sure .... FMS is not right for my needs.

Thanks Wim.

What other software is restrictive like that? I may be missing something, but I've never run across it.

Appreciate your posting.

SAP Business One, the entry level ERP. You buy a certain number of licenses, creates users and assign a license to a user. In the past, a user could log twice. That was a plus for people like me, tech support, being able to log as an admin event if it was already logged once. But lots of customers were buying less licenses taking advantage of double logging. Then one day SAP changed the rules in that a user could only been logged only once.

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More and more web services are like that. Take a look at Slack, monday.com and the likes. They offer per user per month pricing. A subscription controls your ability to create users, not how many of them access the service at the same time.

Despite the similarities, I see a difference. These services cap account creation, allowing you to delete and create as often as you want. I understand FileMaker expects a user to exist for the entirety of the year.

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same here. It's a tool. If I buy 12 hammers for my company, I buy 12 - even if the company is 50 people.

If companies are trying do turn things like FM (and a lot of other companies in that sector!), then something went wrong.

That's theory, I know. But it is the way my brain is working

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but a hammer solves only this one nail-problem and maybe serves in some destructive tasks while FM solves so many more problems

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argh.. so let's take a toolbox on construction, has every tool inside one needs for a specific job, hammer, screwdriver, etc.

mostly people (users) are doing one job with filemaker, they fill out forms, maybe track times - but nothing with api, not even webviewers..

I know, I should have tagged it with "sarcasm.../sarcasm"

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You can.
That's called the 'concurrency licensing' aka 'legacy licensing'
It's one of the two licensing models available to you where you buy just the peak load of concurrent users you expect. You can have a team of 200 but only buy 20 licenses if you'll never have more than that in active users. And those 20 active users don't have to be 'named', they don't have to be the same people all the time.

The other model is the 'team licensing' where you buy a license for everyone in your team.

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Then buy just the 12 hammers. FM lets you do that; clearly there is a big misconception rampant here on FM licensing. You are in charge whether you want to buy just the number of licenses you need regardless of the size of your team, or whether you want to license everybody and not worry about calculating concurrency.

I'm not justifying it, I'm explaining the different models as it felt that the available options were misunderstood.

But I am not going to engage in discussions about right or wrong, I don't have a moral judgement about software; there are more important things in the world to reserve that for.


Sadly, at least FMS, yes.

IMHO, FMS is a beautiful (fantastic) product ruined by greedy licensing.

I understand your sentiment. :slight_smile:

I don't want to sound negative, and I think FMS is a great product, but I agree with @Mark. I mean this is FileMaker, not Oracle, not Microsoft, etc.. I've often felt, and this is just my opinion, that FileMaker, in particular FMS, acts too big for its britches.

I guess someone is buying it though. :slight_smile:

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