We as a plugin vendor follow Atlassian policy that says that the license tier for any plugin need to match the licenses of your JIRA server.
"The Atlassian host application (for example, JIRA, Confluence, etc.) license tier determines the license type you need for an add-on that is paid-via-Atlassian. For example, if you are installing an add-on into a JIRA with 25-user license, you must purchase a 25-user license for the add-on,even if fewer users will actually use it."
I know that when the license tiers don't match ours will turn off. If you think this license policy could use improvement, please petition Atlassian to change their policy.
I also want to address a technicality you could see here. Currently our licenses are available as being purchased from us and as purchased from Atlassian. This however will be changing in the coming weeks and we will only be available as "paid-via-Atlassian." Thus the technicality of us being purchasable seperately from Atlassian can't be used as a counter-argument.
Again, Atlassian controls this policy. Vendors do not.
Addition: Andy, per the comment about "Testing" on the plugin may not be for pre-production or staging deployments of JIRA. Our plugin itself is for test management, so Werner is likely asking about the actual production instance of JIRA.
If a JIRA customer wants a Zephyr for JIRA license for a staging instance of JIRA, please send us an email at support at getzephyr dot com and we can assist.
Atlassian is pretty much the best around now, so they have us over a barrel - but it is stupid policies like this, where we have a 500 user license but only need tempo for 50 or less, that makes me dream of a day where we can free ourselves from a licensing model that is actively hostile to the users.
If plugin vendords offer plugins that are tied to your product license size, likely they will not work if you try to defeat that check. Some plugins will allow you to work with a smaller group, through perhaps a named group. If you have a plugin in mind, you should approach the vendor.
Its reasonable to expect a purchased plugin license to be used in a pre-production environment, my vendor-paid licenses work on instances that are licensed with a Developer license that comes with commercial licenses.
Your vendor should be able to support your testing, it is vendor specific, the question isn't directly tagged for the plugin, I have done that for you. I'd suggest drop them a line, see the plugin page for details.
Not to beat a dead horse here, but this is really a show stopper for our company. For example, we only need to track time on developer resources. We only have 10 developers, however we have a 500 member JIRA installation because all departments of the company use it to manage projects. So if we want to use TEMPO to help us manage DEVELOPER time only, we have to pay $8000 yearly instead of $120? Come on..
Plugins sold through Atlassian follow the Atlassian policy of license tier matching (ie if you have JIRA 500, you need a 500 version of your plugin).
Some vendors sell plugins using their own licensing schemes, which might rely on some groups to assign permissions.
We recently purchased Balsamiq (for our UX guys) and were in the same situation but were able to purchase the licensing directly from then, and so are running Confluence 100 with balsamiq 10. Permissions are granted through an internal group. See http://support.balsamiq.com/customer/portal/articles/542517#balsamiq for instructions specific to that vendor.
I agree that the Atlassian policy is very restrictive and it would definitely be good to be able to have a finer control of those plugin permissions.
While I look through the Atlassian plug-ins validation rules, I found there an interested exception for the evaluation licenses :
So ... usage of the Evaluation licens with expiration date for plugIn is allowed workaround
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