Wibu-Systems Blog

Advantages of the CodeMeter Runtime

Posted by John Poulson on Jun 19, 2013 5:22:00 AM

I was recently asked why Wibu-Systems requires the installation of a CodeMeter "Runtime" on the end user's computer. There is one big misconception and several undocumented advantages that need to be explained. When one's goal is to provide the most secure software monetization system on the planet, one needs at the very least, to establish an encrypted communication channel between the protected application and the license container (dongle or software license). This is the fundamental reason we included the runtime option as a basic part of our architecture.

Misconception: The Installation of our Runtime is REQUIRED

CodeMeter Control Center Runtime icon in the Windows System Tray

The presence of the CodeMeter icon in the Windows System Tray is one way to determine the presence of the Runtime.

One of the misconceptions about the CodeMeter System is that it needs a "Runtime" in order to operate. This is not the case. The (highly flexible) CodeMeter System allows the ISV to integrate CodeMeter protection and license management features into the protected application in any number of creative ways. For example, ISVs can (in Windows):

  • Install standard runtime as an MSI module
  • Install standard runtime as a merge module
  • Install "silently"
  • Install as a Windows service
  • Simply copy CodeMeter.exe in the same directory as the installed program
  • Use the new CmCompact option
  • Use our custom CodeMeter Runtime Bridge
  • Incorporate our driver as source. We can supply this as a static library or as actual source code.

Each of these methods has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you use the driver source code option, certain CodeMeter license handling features are disabled. With all these options available, why should you go to the trouble of seeing that the standard runtime gets installed in the suggested manner?

Answer: There are many technical and business flow reasons for a runtime. While I can’t list them all, a few appear below. We also feel that any license management company that wants to provide basic security is simply being lazy if they don’t provide a runtime.

Top Ten Reasons for providing a Runtime

Our customers gain several advantages by using the runtime in the manner we suggest. These advantages bring cost savings, higher security and less headaches. The top ten advantages are:

  1. We can quickly adapt to changes in operating systems without requiring that our customers download patches and recompile their software.
  2. The runtime includes the ability to create error log files and other diagnostics.
  3. The integration of networked licenses is simply one click away.
  4. The runtime knows how to handle virtual machine environments.
  5. The runtime knows how to handle terminal servers.
  6. The runtime maintains an encrypted communication channel between the protected application and the license container.
  7. The runtime keeps track of concurrent licenses; those in use and those that are idle.
  8. The runtime can simultaneously handle access from many DLLs in one process.
  9. The runtime can handle many executables from one ISV.
  10. The runtime can handle many different executables from many different ISVs.

As you can see from the above list, the advantages of a runtime environment far outweigh any perceived disadvantages. We will continue to improve the CodeMeter runtime and will continue to suggest that best practices include the installation of the runtime on the end user's system. We also suggest to the end user that he/she update the runtime on a regular basis.

See how easy it is to protect your software with CodeMeter. Watch our three-minute demo!

Watch the 3 minute demo!

 

john poulsonJohn Poulson has worked in the software protection industry since 1988 and has been with Wibu-Systems since 2000. He is an expert in license authentication best practices and deep powder skiing.

Topics: CodeMeter, software activation, software protection, software licensing, secure licensing

5 Reasons to Choose Software Copy Protection Dongles

Posted by John Poulson on Jan 29, 2013 9:55:00 AM

Dongles – The Historical “Bad Rap”

The WibuBox parallel port copy protection dongleWhen describing software protection dongles in a 2007 article appearing in PC Magazine, John C. Dvorak, a well-respected (but self-described curmudgeon) and award winning columnist said, “The dongle was a mostly failed copy-protection device that came into existence in the 1980s. It was also a point of controversy…”

The controversy mentioned by Mr. Dvorak boiled down to (1) The rights of software publishers to get paid for their efforts and (2) the rights of users to use the software they legally purchased without the inconvenience associated with plugging in a hardware dongle.

Activation Codes – The Compromise

In an effort to address the concerns of their users, software publishers rolled out a scheme of utilizing activation codes which bind a license to a PC. When companies like Microsoft and Adobe began requiring users to activate licenses, the practice became almost universal for software costing as little as $50.  In essence activation codes turn the whole PC into a “dongle”.

Dongles in the Twenty-first Century

It has been over five years since Mr. Dvorak’s comment. But more tellingly, it has been over twenty-five years since the first parallel port dongle appeared on a PC protecting the first CAD/CAM programs written for DOS.

Worldwide dongle sales have increased year over year since the late 1980s and any computer technology that has been around that long must have merit. And such software copy protection technology should be seriously investigated by any software publisher tasked with protecting Intellectual Property, controlling software usage via licensing, and preventing profit erosion due to wide-spread illegal use of software titles. If you are tired of seeing “free” versions of your products posted on bit-torrent sites; read on.

Why End-Users Prefer Dongles

The CodeMeter/C. All the benefits of CodeMeter and in a tiny package.Considering all the technologies that have come and gone in the last twenty-five years, it’s remarkable that dongles are not only still with us but are still undergoing improvement in both function and design. There are some things that an end user can do with a dongle that cannot be done with an activation code. In a recent survey of users who had software installed protected with a dongle, the following were the top five reasons they preferred this method of license enforcement over activation codes.

  • License Portability – The license is on the dongle and is easily moved from one system to another.
  • License Recovery – The end user can self-restore a license to an existing or replacement dongle.
  • License Borrowing – Licenses can be lent out (to travelling engineers and salespeople, for example)
  • License Redundancy – Important in “Mission Critical” applications (Ex:  Hot and Cold Stand-by licenses)
  • License Security – Conscientious companies do not want employees or others using software illegally.

Software Activation via activation codes can offer end-users the ability to recover licenses. This usually involves communicating with the software developer and convincing them that you need to move your legally purchased software to your new PC. This can be time consuming and problematic, especially if the activation code is protecting a 25 user license on a server where the hard drive just failed.

Dongles v Activations – Why not have both?

The CodeMeter License Platform from Wibu-Systems offers an ISV the option to seamlessly protect a product with a dongle and/or activation code. Either method has its pro and cons. We leave it up to you, your sales team and your customers to choose which method is best.

john poulsonJohn Poulson has worked in the software protection industry since 1988 and has been with Wibu-Systems since 2000. He is an expert in license authentication best practices and deep powder skiing.

Topics: CodeMeter, software copy protection, Copy Protection, dongles, software activation

CodeMeter SmartBind, Part 1

Posted by Kevin Browne on Feb 17, 2012 3:05:00 PM

Machine binding for your software activations is so last year. With SmartBind you can forget about MAC addresses, hard disk serial numbers, and so on. Just let CodeMeter figure it out for you. The payoff? Far fewer unnecessary activations. SmartBind may look like that ol' black magic, but really it's based on high-tech math. Read more about how SmartBind solves your software activation problems.

 

Topics: CodeMeter, License Management, software activation