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View Full Version : flexLM - discussed to death already?



Chrusion
03-02-2003, 10:27 AM
Dear Operatives and Insiders of Mother Institution (Newtek),

For the health of Mother Institution, seriously consider joining the ranks of the elite in license management by using flexLM to administer local and network licenses, as this will financially profit Mother Institution by allowing universities and educational outlets to include LW in their already established flexLM servers doaling out soft, roaming licenses to Houdini, Maya, XSI, Animo, etc. Without such inclusion, Mother Insitution is loosing prime opportunities to be taken seriously as a contender with such leading apps.

Savannah Colledge of Art and Design is one such edu that has the potential of nearly 600 (SIX HUNDRED) roaming seats of LW on both Mac and PC at this very moment, but due to ancient hardware anti-pirating device, cannot include LW as a viable educational toolset since it isn't flexLM'able. Mother Institution's loss. All students get here is the demo version... which amounts to a toy in their and professors eyes. A shame.

Vote flexLM at your next board meeting. Vote more industry and edu penetration by eliminating ancient anti-pirate hardware deterent. You all know the years of history and research that has proven this technology ineffective. You are faced with the fact that LW WILL BE pirated no matter WHAT licensing system you use, be it hardware or software. ALL the major apps (Maya, XSI, Houdini, et. al) HAVE BEEN cracked though they use flexLM. Mother Institution will not overcome just as they haven't, but why shoot yourself in the foot at the same time by minimizing the edu and industry market penetration by using a non-standard licensing scheme that works to your disadvantage. Even Adobe dropped the dongle in version 5 of Aftereffects PB.

Vote flexLM.

Vote flexLM.

Vote flexLM.

Now I understand why there was no discussion of this topic when it was posted on valentines day. Appears Mother Institution implemented a new forum system and left the old one in tact and didn't migrate this topic posted there to here. Hmmm...

DigiLusionist
03-02-2003, 06:16 PM
Looks like the Borg have taken up LW...

Elmar Moelzer
03-03-2003, 04:59 AM
Hello
Well, I dont really like that FlexLM- idea.
1. With a dongle on can easily use on LW- license on more than one computer, by simply switching the dongle between them.
2. We had to use FlexLM fpr a few apps on an SGI Indigo when I was at the local university- hospital a few years back. This stupid thing made the SGI crash all the time and that hard, that one had to use the hardware- reset quite often, not a good experience on my side...
CU
Elmar

Lightwolf
03-03-2003, 06:57 AM
Well, AFAIK FlexLM has improved a lot in the past, and in a networked environment it makes sense.

Howzabout this (since most people use USB dongles nowadays, I'm not sure if FlexLM allows for this though).

Bring out dongle packs (for 1, 5, 10 or x licenses) that you can hook up to a USB hub and connect that to the FlexLM server.

Lightwave checks for a local dongle on startup, then for the licence server.

This way, you could hook up your USB dongle to either the server or your local workstation and take it with you.
And larger facilities can buy 10 pack dongles just for the server.

mattc
03-03-2003, 07:06 AM
The other problem is that a fair few LW plugins are also tied to the dongle...

Regards
Matt

Mylenium
03-03-2003, 12:08 PM
Hi everyone,

In my experience FlexLM is good for what it does, but not very reliable if you have to set it up on a machines in a more complex/ not so standard/ heterogenous networking environment. I'm constantly reminded of that with Maya and even seem to recall that it is impossible to install multiple programs relying on that thing. Even though I don't remember what it was (perhaps a demo of XSI or something) even minor version differences in FlexLM can blow everything - It's just not as neutral as they always claim it to be. Also, as someone pointed out, this would require a totally different approach to licensing LW and several plugins. Especially for smaller developers it may not pay off to have to rewrite their entire code.

Mylenium

cgolchert
03-04-2003, 10:55 PM
since we are voting...I'd vote for FlexLM sucks. In general it is more difficult for the average user to set up. True, it can be set up but there is more involved than plugging a hardware lock into the back of the machine.

Another reason would be... I know of many people that take dongles home to work offsite. This isn't the most practical thing if you need to have a home computer tied to a studio's network, most likely through their firewall, to connect to a license server.

Phil
03-05-2003, 02:45 AM
IIRC, globetrotter were threatened with legal action by pixar recently due to the 'ease' with which flexlm was cracked for RAT - they use a different mechanism now (as does XSI).

I suppose flexlm (or alternative software based scheme) gives an advantage from certain points of view in that the license can be time limited (rental license for short term use of demo?) and NewTek would lose the costs associated with dongle replacements, etc. For some reason, though, I just feel uncomfortable having a software-centric solution. I can see the logic of the argument and am sure NewTek have discussed/considered this privately if not publically before.

Taking the argument about updating plugins for small developers and the new licensing scheme making it not worth their while, IIRC most LW plugins get the dongle ID from LW itself. As such, legacy support for those could still be implemented by having LW read the dongle ID from a text file and serve it to plugins (you'd still need a related activation code from the author in any case; most plugins protected like this get cracked quickly it seems).

Even if the plugin developers do need to update their work, it may not take that much effort and perhaps a comparison with the related arguments for 3rd pary support of a linux port would then come into play here as well.

Adrian Lopez
03-05-2003, 12:48 PM
The day Lightwave adopts a software key that's tied to a single computer is the day I refuse to upgrade. Maya uses FlexLM and users are charged $150 for switching their license from one computer to another, which is totally unacceptable. I hear it's possible to buy a dongle-locked version of Maya, but Lightwave aleady has that.

Lightwolf
03-06-2003, 02:29 AM
Hi Adrian,

You can uses FlexLM to generate floating licences, so as long as there are "licence slots" available, you can use your app on any machine connected to the network.

cgolchert
03-06-2003, 12:32 PM
you can use your app on any machine connected to the network .

That is the problem. What if someone wanted to work at home for whatever reason. What about people selling their license? Add $150 to the price for switching users?

The FlexLM solution helps large studios that want to use on any machine. It is pointless at smaller studios and home users.

Chuck
03-06-2003, 02:53 PM
Hi, Dean!

NewTek staff didn't attempt to migrate any topics between forums - we don't have the available manpower. Well, I did cut and paste one topic in the Mac forum that I was working on issues from - other than that it was up to users to start new threads here on the topics they wanted to keep pursuing.

We're certainly reviewing options to see what we might be able to do better for educational licensing for institutions.

LSlugger
03-20-2003, 10:11 PM
Hardware dongles are evil, but software-based node-locking schemes are often worse. As Adrian mentioned, Alias charges a fee to issue a new key. Curious Labs said that you could only request a new Poser 5 key twice, but backed down after user revolt. 3ds and TurboTax write to the boot sector. I fought one vendor for a month, after a Windows security patch broke its licensing scheme.

If NewTek goes out of business, I can continue to use LW as long as there is USB (although I'm a little worried about driver compatibility). If one of the other vendors goes out of business, I'm up a creek.

I'm not familiar with flexLM, but I gather that it implements floating licenses by locking them to a license server. If there is an option to use a dongle on the server, then that may be acceptable.

In summary: floating licenses - good; software locking - bad.

harhar
03-21-2003, 07:57 AM
flexlm also allows node locked license which is good for home users. Newtek should add support for flexlm. But perserve the dongle licensing scheme for backward compatibility.

Lightwolf
03-21-2003, 08:02 AM
Originally posted by harhar
flexlm also allows node locked license which is good for home users. Newtek should add support for flexlm. But perserve the dongle licensing scheme for backward compatibility.

..which is what I suggested further up :D

And remember, you can copy all your licenses to one license.key, install LW on a server and just take your dongle from machine to machine. You can even do it in such a way that you get user based preferences across the network (if you log on properly).

Adrian Lopez
03-21-2003, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by harhar
flexlm also allows node locked license which is good for home users. Newtek should add support for flexlm. But perserve the dongle licensing scheme for backward compatibility. A node-locked license is a license that is tied to a specific computer. This is exactly what I don't want. Like I said, Maya users with node-locked licenses are required to pay 150 dollars to transfer their software from one computer to another. As such, I'd say it's a terrible deal for home users.

A floating license is different, but even that is tied to a specific computer (the server). You can change the computer that runs the software, but you're screwed if you want to change the license server software to a different computer.

No. Keep the dongle or adopt a software scheme that isn't tied to the hardware at all, like Maxon's Cinema4D (I'm told).

harhar
03-21-2003, 02:45 PM
Maya's flexlm node locked license is tied to the computer's ethernet ID. But that's optional. Flexlm's node locked license can be programmed to lock to a serial/sign, so it's exactly like cinema4d (cinema4d uses a simple serial scheme). So I say implement flexlm licensing scheme.

harhar
03-21-2003, 07:29 PM
softimage has abandoned flexlm long ago In favor of SPM dongle. But that didn't exactly stop their software from getting cracked. :D If newtek is concerned about piracy, they should ask Steve Worley for help. *wink* *wink* :D Of course, if you want even stronger protection, you can put watermark in lightwave. :D

LWD
03-22-2003, 09:32 AM
FlexLM is more of a pain than a physical dongle. The dongle is reasonably portable and reliable if you take the proper precautions. Moving to flex would be a step backwards.

-Dave

harhar
03-22-2003, 12:21 PM
flexlm is easy as hell to use. no need to install crappy sentinel driver and dongle that slows down computer.

LWD
03-22-2003, 12:48 PM
The dongle rules.

harhar
03-22-2003, 01:08 PM
the dongle is on the brink of extinction.

Lamont
03-22-2003, 03:52 PM
Yes, the dongle hogs all my system resources. I agree that it sucks. When rendering I have to go into task manger and give Lightwave priority over the Sentinel drivers.

When I remove the dongle and run in education mode I see 500% increase in performance. The only problem is that all my renders are watermarked. But this is ok because I save a lot of time going into Photoshop and hand-editing each image to remove the watermark. Compared to using the dongle and running Lightwave, this is a time saver.

HarHar is correct, I feel the same pain.

LWD
03-23-2003, 11:28 AM
That's funny.

pixelmonk
03-24-2003, 06:08 AM
Originally posted by harhar
softimage has abandoned flexlm long ago In favor of SPM dongle. But that didn't exactly stop their software from getting cracked. :D If newtek is concerned about piracy, they should ask Steve Worley for help. *wink* *wink* :D Of course, if you want even stronger protection, you can put watermark in lightwave. :D

His stuff, unfortunately, wasn't out of the reach of crackers. They've been there, done that. Developers get a Woody (from Toy Story) developing cool programs while crackers get one from getting around the protection schemes. They both have copious amounts of Jolt cola, coffee and donuts. It's an ongoing back and forth battle which will never be won.

LWD
03-24-2003, 08:04 AM
When you are at a large facility you never read email that says "Arghh! I can't get a Lightwave license!!", but you read 'em about programs that use flex.

The flex advocates I know are usually hobbiests or home freelancers.

harhar
03-24-2003, 08:17 AM
When you are at a large facility you never read email that says "Arghh! I can't get a Lightwave license!!", but you read 'em about programs that use flex.

I didn't know a lot large facility actully use lightwave.

Lamont
03-24-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by harhar
...no need to install crappy sentinel driver and dongle that slows down computer. How do you yourself know what you know when you make posts like the one above?:rolleyes:

And the one below?
Originally posted by harhar
a brain?
http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=14301#post14301

harhar
03-24-2003, 02:09 PM
goola sloppy markus dooger slopper.

LWD
03-25-2003, 07:48 AM
Originally posted by harhar
I didn't know a lot large facility actully use lightwave.

They do. I've worked at most of them.

harhar
03-25-2003, 10:37 AM
just add flexlm as a licensing option. Leave dongle licensing scheme intact for those who like it.

cgolchert
03-25-2003, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by LWD
They do. I've worked at most of them.

Hi D,

Do you think any of them would want FlexLM? Seems like it would be as big of a headache as adding and managing a seperate renderfarm onsite.

harhar
03-25-2003, 11:05 AM
handle flexlm is easier than handle a dozen dongles.

kingds
03-25-2003, 06:37 PM
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

We have to use FlexLM crap with Pro/Engineer and it causes nothing but problems. Give me a dongle anyday, flexLM is like a ball and chain.

Please Nooooooooooo!!!

harhar
03-25-2003, 07:22 PM
so what are the problems ya having with flexlm?

d8ed
03-26-2003, 01:12 AM
the original post mentioned an educational institution.. with foating licenses you can have say 20 copies of lw running simultaneously on whichever computer the student decides to use. with a dongle.. you're limited to installing LW on 20 specific computers and you're also forced to hide the dongle inside the case. not sure how it's done with USB but with a parralel port dongle, you'd get one of those extension cables and thread it in through one of the slots to protect the dongle from theft. it's not the most practical way to go if you're running 600 machines. flexLM in my opinion, sucks the big one.. XSI switched over to SPM which is much harder to crack. but crackable nonetheless. neither one are simple to use by all means and require a bit of work to set up. they could both use massive improvements.

LWD
03-30-2003, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by cgolchert
Hi D,

Do you think any of them would want FlexLM? Seems like it would be as big of a headache as adding and managing a seperate renderfarm onsite.

It's a pain, especially when you can't get a license. Dongles prevent underpurchasing by companies, the time lost waiting for a license is expensive.
Dongles are easy. Pop it on, done.

Doran
04-03-2003, 02:27 PM
Let's have a big standing O-booo for the FlexLm idea.