From For Publishers

Various topics pertaining to the technology of license management, both internal to license managers and the use of license managers in software products.

Recommended RLM Installation Steps

Reprise Software’s Recommended RLM Installation Steps

[Note: This information is in the RLM Reference manual, in the “End-User Installation” chapter, but we felt it was important enough to repeat here.]

Installing your product with RLM should be very straightforward, and should require no configuration of environment variables, etc.

Overview:

On the client side, ie, on the machines where your application is going to run, place the license file in your product hierarchy. For nodelocked licenses, this should be the actual, signed license file, and nothing needs to be done to this license file. For floating, this license file will be used only to locate the license server host.

If you ship floating licenses, install the server binaries and license file on the server node. The server license file doesn’t need to be modified.

Nothing in this set of recommendations requires the use of environment variables, and the install-time editing of license files is kept to a minimum (No editing of license files for nodelocked licenses, and only the server hostname needs to be set on the client side for floating licenses).

Details:

During development:

  • establish a directory in your installed product tree for license file(s). This could be the same directory where your product is installed.
  • Pass the directory from the step above as the first argument to rlm_init().

When you ship a nodelocked license:

  • If you are shipping uncounted or single node-locked licenses, put the actual licenses into the license file. Install in the default directory. You’re done.

When you ship a floating license:

  • If you are shipping floating licenses, use a single HOST line in the license file for the client side. Use the default RLM port (5053) – which means you do not need a port number in this license file, and fill in the hostname with the name of the server computer at installation time. This license file should look like this:

HOST server-hostname

  • On the server node, place the rlm binary, your ISVsettings file (or ISV server binary), and the license file in a directory. This license file should have the real, signed licenses. The server hostname in this file can be “localhost”, meaning that it doesn’t have to be edited by the end-user. The server license file’s first two lines should look like this:
    • HOST localhost hostid
      ISV your-isvname

By configuring the license file this way, it does not need to be edited by your customer. These lines tell RLM to:

  • use the default port (5053)
  • use the ISV server settings or binary from the same directory as the rlm binary

Of course, you would include all your signed LICENSE lines in this file as well.

  • Start the rlm server from the directory in the step above

If your customer already has another RLM server running:

  • Install your ISV settings or server binary and the license file in the same directory as the other product’s copy of the server binaries and license files, and do a “reread” operation on the running rlm. That’s it, however:
  • If your version of RLM is newer than the installed version, update the installed version to your version, then shut down the running rlm and start the new one.

If you ship new, additional licenses to your customer:

  • Put the new license file in the same directory as the old one. If they are nodelocked licenses, put them on the client system. If they are floating licenses, put them into the directory with your other licenses and do an rlmreread on the license server.
Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

When do I need the RLM License Server?

The Reprise License Manager product is capable of supporting many license types. Some are appropriate for standalone, single-user licensing models and others are used to support more complex network licensing and pricing scenarios. Determining when a license server must be installed is not always clear.

So, let’s spend a few minutes talking about the various jobs a license server performs, and when it is needed to support various license types.

Uncounted v. Counted Licenses

The biggest factor that determines whether a license server is required is whether licenses are counted or uncounted.  Counted licenses require a license server because it must “count” concurrent licenses. Counted licenses are used whenever the ISV wants to limit or record concurrent license usage. Counted licenses can be identified by a positive integer in the “count” field of the license.

Uncounted licenses, on the other hand, do not require a license server because there is no need to count usage. Uncounted licenses can be identified by the word “uncounted” or or the number “0” in the license count field of the license. Each uncounted license must be node-locked to a hostid. For ease of administration at larger sites, uncounted licenses for multiple computers may reside in a license file that is managed by a central license server, but this is not required.

The other license type that does not require a license server is the “single” license type. This is also a node-locked license, but it can be used by only one user at a time (concurrent count of “1”). The enforcement of “single” licenses is done via file locking, not by license servers.

The RLM License Server

The basic job of the RLM License Server is to service license requests from RLM-enabled client applications over the network. Based on the needs of the application, the license server redirects license requests to the ISV-specific license server which actually grants or denies the request based on what is specified in the license and on the current usage conditions.

License servers also manage “roaming,” named-user, and token-based licenses. They manage held and shared licenses, and offer an admin interface, diagnostic tools, and are responsible for writing debug and report logs.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

Licensing Mobile Users with RLM

Roaming Licenses with RLMLuggage

If you sell floating licenses for your software products, you can increase the value of your licenses by allowing them to be removed from the network when your users hit the road.

With RLM, you can give users a license that will allow them to remain in compliance even after they’ve disconnected their laptop from the corporate network.  Whether for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks, “roaming” licenses can be valuable to your users, and set you apart from your competition.

Increasingly, users want to take their work “on the road.” RLM’s built-in license roaming capability allows users to check out a license from a server, physically disconnect from the server and continue to use the license for a specified number of days, after which the license is automatically returned to the server when it expires on the mobile computer.

As an ISV, you control whether licenses are allowed to roam, and how long they can be checked-out in the disconnected state. No API changes are required beyond providing a special rlm_roam license to your customer.

RLM license roaming was designed to allow ‘disconnected’ use for short durations up to a few weeks.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

Using Dongles with RLM

Using dongles with RLM

The Reprise License Manager (RLM) comes with built-in USB dongle support, meaning that using dongles with RLM could not be easier.  Dongles purchased from Reprise can be used as a standard “hostid” to which licenses can be locked.  The principal advantage of using dongles is to provide a convenient way for your customers to transfer licenses when machines are replaced or upgraded. Software applications, with a valid license, can be used on any machine as long as the dongle specified in the license is attached.

ISV-Defined Hostids

ISVs who prefer to support their own dongles with RLM can do so by way of an ISV-defined host ID.  ISVs can choose a simple, low-cost dongle because RLM needs only the dongle’s serial number at runtime. ISVs then write a routine to retrieve the dongle’s ID and include that routine within the RLM libraries so whenever a license is tied to the dongle, RLM knows how to call the ISV’s routine to obtain the dongle serial number. Example code is provided with the standard RLM SDK to show how ISV-defined hostids can be integrated into RLM.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

Reprise Announces License Usage Reporting Toolset

Reprise Announces License Usage Reporting ToolsetReprise Software has expanded its product line to address license usage reporting and pay-per-use needs of current RLM and FLEXlm/FLEXnet ISVs.

Reprise Software has recently become a global reseller of LicenseTracker’s LT-Analyzer license usage analysis tool enabling your customers to understand their license usage and for you to implement usage based pricing models.

This new product supports both RLM and FLEXlm/FLEXnet. RLM’s report log format is supported as is, and FLEXlm ISVs can take advantage of this new product simply by integrating a small piece of open source enhanced reporting code into their existing FLEXlm/FLEXnet vendor daemon.

By delivering reporting tools, ISVs can let their customers produce license usage reports to support current pricing models. Reports can be used as hard evidence to support fact-based software pricing negotiations, especially at the largest customers.

Usage based pricing can complement current license models.  Time or some other metric that fits your licensing strategy can be measured to ensure that customers pay for what they use.

This tool also allows end customers to assign costs to licenses and to monitor usage versus a set budget, and to assign costs across departments or business units who share common pools of floating licenses.

For those ISVs planning to host license servers for “in-the-cloud” customers, LT-Analyzer can be used in-house to collect license data to produce billing reports based on actual cloud-based usage.

The LT-Analyzer product imports RLM report logs and/or enhanced debug log records produced by modified FLEXlm license servers. Useful reports are produced by aggregating logged usage data during the billing cycle.

Global licenses for LT-Analyzer are based on a scaled-revenue tiers, much like RLM and FLEXlm/FLEXnet.

Please contact Reprise Software for more information about functionality or pricing, or to arrange a demonstration.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

Managing Renewable Licenses – A Practical Approach

Using RLM refresh-type activation to support short-term renewable licenses

Consider these licensing system requirements:

  • The system must be able to generate a time limited and trial licenses.
  • The trial version will automatically become a “full version” when the customer purchases a license.
  • Full licenses are also “time limited”, i.e. customers can purchase packages of 30, 60, or 90 days.
  • Each time the application starts, it must validate that its license has not yet expired.
  • The application must be able to operate “off line” for a specified period of time: if the license cannot be reactivated at the expiration of the allowed off-line period, then the license is suspended and the application cannot start.
  • Upon first reconnection, if the user still has a valid license (has not been terminated), the license is reactivated, the off-line allowed time is restored and the application can be run again.

Supporting the Concepts

Using the optional RLM add-on product, RLM Activation Pro, a refreshable license is one that is intended to be reactivated frequently and receive a license with a new expiration date with each reactivation. Refreshable licenses are typically of short duration (days). The ISV is assured that the maximum period during which the end user can run the licensed application is the duration of the refreshable license, say 30 days.

For example, if the ISV specifies a 30-day refreshable license, then the license will be good for 30-days after each activation. If the refresh operation fails for any reason, such as the lack of Internet connectivity, then the license is still good until the end of the 30 day period – enough time to resolve any connectivity issues.  This allows the customer to operate off-line until the license needs to be refreshed.

Refreshable licenses also give the ISV a way to revoke a license should that user fail to meet contractual obligations, for example. The ISV can simply disable the user’s license on the activation server, and refresh attempts of that license will fail from that point forward, or until it is re-enabled by the ISV.

The client side of refreshing can be automated, so it can be performed without an undue burden on the end-user. Reprise supplies a “Refresh API” for license refreshing, which the ISV can use from within the application itself, or within a separate standalone utility. Reprise supplies a generic refresh utility that can be supplied to the end-user by the ISV. The generic utility, “refresh_util”, is meant to be set up to run daily as a scheduled task.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

ISV-Defined Hostids

Defining new Hostids within RLM

RLM comes with a comprehensive set of integrated hostids, but there are times when ISVs need to lock their software licenses to something else. The three most common reasons for ISV-defined hostids are:

  1. Supporting non-Reprise dongles
  2. Tying licenses to peripheral hardware devices
  3. Combining various identifying elements of the computer.

ISV-Defined Hostid

RLM provides the ability to extend the native set of hostids by using your own routines to obtain host identification which is unique to you.

In order to do this, you use the rlm_add_isv_hostid() call in your application. If you want to support multiple instances of your hostid type on a single computer, you would use the rlm_add_isv_hostid_multiple() call.

For more information on ISV-defined hostids, please consult the latest RLM Reference Manual or contact Reprise Software.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

RLM License Administration Bundle

RLM License Administration Bundle for License Administrators and End Users


The RLM License Administration Bundle is designed to give license administrators everything they need to maximize their use of RLM-licensed applications, the bundle contains the most-current RLM license server, and a tool, “rlmtests,” to help with license server and network capacity planning.

The RLM License Administration Bundle includes some testing tools that let License Administrators answer questions such as:

  • How fast can my license server service license requests?
  • How many licensed users can my server handle?
  • What will my performance be if I double my current user population?
  • When should I split my license inventory into multiple independent license servers?

‘rlmtests’ is totally self-contained, creating the required test licenses and then starting a license server before it runs the tests, finally reporting the results on the screen. The rlmtests utility performs two categories of tests: checkout performance tests and server capacity tests.

With this utility, license administrators and other end users can be proactive about their hardware requirements, matching available hardware to expected needs and developing a plan for hardware acquisition to match the growth in users of RLM-licensed software.

The RLM License Administration Bundle can be downloaded from the RLM License Admin support page:  http://www.reprisesoftware.com/admin/software-licensing-downloads.php

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

How to Produce RLM Report Logs

SUMMARY: RLM license servers can produce detailed report logs of the license activity of your products. By default, these log files are turned off. This article will explain the potential uses of these report log files, what they are and how to tell your RLM license server to start producing them.

User Benefits

Users of products that use RLM license servers for floating or concurrent licenses use report logs for:

  • Proof of internal license compliance
  • Allocating costs across departments who share licenses.
  • Asset and maintenance cost optimization and budget planning
  • Entering into and monitor usage-based software licensing agreements

ISV Benefits

Software vendors benefit from report logs too. They can be used to:

  • Reconcile over-usage
  • Build post-use billing models
  • Produce audit reports to support future product pricing negotiations

How to turn on RLM Report Logs

There is nothing that the ISV needs to do.  The user creates an “options file” for each RLM ISV for which he wants to produce a log file, and adds this line to the file: REPORTLOG +file_path

Also, on the ISV line of the license file, the options file name must be specified.

Format (pre-RLM v9.0): ISV isvname isvname.exe isvname.opt

or

Format (RLM v9.0+): ISV isvname options=isvname.opt

 

Other RLM Report Log Features

  • Plain-text format is fully documented
  • Applications can ensure that report logs are capturing usage
  • ROTATE [daily | weekly | monthly | #days ], automatic log file rotation
  • Feature names mapped to “product names”
  • Authentication to ensure report data integrity
  • Anonymized – ensures user privacy
  • ISVs can write their own report log records
  • 3rd party RLM reporting tools are available from Reprise Software partners

For more information about RLM report log and its format specification, please review the RLM End User Manual.

Format (pre-RLM v9.0):

ISV isvname [isv-binary-pathname [options-file-filename [port-number]]]

Format (RLM v9.0+):

ISV isvname [isv-binary-pathname [options-file-filename [port-number]]] [binary=isv-binary-pathname] [options=options-file-filename] [port=port-number]

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website

Reprise Software Announces Software Activation

Reprise Announces Software Activation – RLM Activation Pro

Reprise Software is pleased to announce a new product, RLM Activation Pro.  The new product is ready for beta testing immediately on Linux, Mac OSX and Windows, and it is scheduled to be released during Q2 2011.

RLM Activation Pro offers better performance, scalability, access control, and back-office integration options.

RLM Activation Pro provides all the standard Software Activation features, including:Software Activation

  • secure license rehosting
  • software activation database built on open source MySQL
  • written in open source PHP scripting language
  • supports pagination and sorting of displayed data
  • secured multi-user access privileges (admin, edit, view) through usernames/passwords
  • compatible with existing RLM client activation API call, rlm_activate()
  • database conversion utility provided to upgrade from old RLM Internet Activation product

RLM Activation Pro is a separate product, not simply an upgrade to the older “RLM Internet Activation” product. However, RLM Internet Activation (older product) will continue to be supported and is available for sale to new and existing RLM licensees.

For more information, please see http://www.reprisesoftware.com/rlm/software-activation.php

Please contact Reprise Software to discuss new product details.

Help for RLM license administration

- view the RLM License Administration Manual here
- Visit our license administration help page here

Written by Reprise Software - Visit Website