Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How do you determine the version of FlexNet used by a vendor daemon?

The FLEXnet licensing framework is designed to limit the use of software to legitimately paying customers. Instead of achieving this goal, it punishes and annoys legitimate buyers while making it easy for cracking teams to defeat their software protections. Have you written a fake vendor daemon that always responds with "LICENSE AVAILABLE"? Congratulations, you've cracked every piece of software protected by FLEXnet!

One of my peeves with FLEXnet licensing was that not all vendor daemons were created equally. When a software vendor wants to protect their software with FLEXnet, they create a vendor daemon using the FLEXnet framework. This vendor daemon contains the business logic of license availability: it reads the license file, figures out whether you're entitled to a license, and gives the yay/nay. As Acresso try to clamp down on cracks, new versions of the FLEXnet framework are released with new features. If a vendor is on the ball, they'll update their vendor daemon. Fortunately for software pirates and cracking teams, most vendors aren't. Unfortunately for legitimate paying users, not understanding what version of the FLEXnet licensing framework a particular vendor daemon was compiled for can result in mysterious errors.

Example: the PRIMARY_IS_MASTER directive (which forces the first FLEXnet server in a triad to be the active node) was introduced in FlexNet 10.8. If you try to use this directive in a license file for Autodesk vendor daemon version, the license server would crash with an incredibly informative error message like "Error: there is an error. Refer to error description (Description: Error Occurred)." HELPFUL!

So, how do you determine the version of FlexNet used by a vendor daemon?

  1. In the LMTOOLS application, click the Utilities tab then click the Browse button.

  2. Select the vendor daemon executable then click Open.
  3. Click Find Version.
  4. Text will appear in the status window. The version is the number directly after FLEXnet Licensing.

No comments:

Post a Comment