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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    This really isn't a .Net specific question but since my current project is .Net based I'll put it here.

    What methods are used to limit a given application from being used by more than some 'n' # of users? If I want to offer an application that is sold via licenses, I'll need to enforce a rule that says that the tool can only be used by 'n' users. I have used programs that have implemented this feature but do not know what methods they use to enforce it.

    For each solution, which ones are 'best' (subjective of course)?

    What other options are there to prevent users from buying one copy of my application and installing it on 1000 PCs? I know the current MS authentication requirements for XP stuff is a pain in the butt for users but it's something that's needed for the s/w industry to protect their intellectual property. Is there any info out there for how MS does their authentication? Is there an SDK available?

    This topic also leads to prevent viewing source code created in .Net environment. I'm sure this problem has a solution esle how could MS get away with pushing .Net on everyone? Who is going to develop a program which lets its source code be visible to the world? I've read about source code obfuscation but that can't be the only solution, let's hope not. <img src=/S/sick.gif border=0 alt=sick width=15 height=15>

    Any ideas whatsoever would be helpful in steering in the right direction. <img src=/S/please.gif border=0 alt=please width=31 height=23>

    Thnx, Deb

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    Typically you buy this sort of thing rather than build it. I don't know what components are available specifically for .NET.

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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    I had a thread on this late last year in the Software forum of this Lounge.
    See http://www.wopr.com/cgi-bin/w3t/showthread...ee&Words=Howard Kaikow&Match=Username&Searchpage=1&Limit=25&Old=al lposts&Main=209532.

    So, perhaps, this discussion could be moved to that forum.

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    Great stuff in those threads! I found three products that would work nicely (all work with .Net). One of these companies also has a product that 'wraps' around your code so it can't be reverse engineered (which is easy to do with .net generated files). I downloaded some demos and sent some e-mails off with questions.

    Thanks for the ideas!!! <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23> <img src=/S/bananas.gif border=0 alt=bananas width=33 height=35>

    Deb

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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    Be careful.

    Many/most/all such products have been cracked by crackers. Such products are almost continually attacked by crackers.
    If the wrapper is cracked, the code is laid bare.

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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Gary Frieder on 26-Apr-03 19:03. )</P> It's worth having a look at Dotfuscator's site.

    I saw a brief presentation on this product and it was very impressive - not that I know the first thing about cracking/decompiling - but based on what I saw, it would be extremely hard to reverse engineer code that has been run through this.

    Biggest drawback I saw was cost, which was approx. US$1500 per license; there is a community edition which is free, but it less secure; it might suffice for smaller projects though.

    (Later) Interesting technical details on how it works can be found in here.

    Gary

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    Yes I agree with your warnings but what choices does any developer have? <img src=/S/bash.gif border=0 alt=bash width=35 height=39> Very few. So doing something is better than nothing. Copyrighting the product doesn't protect you from anything since if a big guy wants to steal your product they have more money to invest in lawyers to fight you in court than you do. Your rights are only protected if you can afford lawyers.

    It's amazing that MS pushes .Net so much but yet it's so easy to view a product's code. There HAS to be a way to protect yourself otherwise, why would any company develop anything of value? I guess the bet is that you're protected against the typical user and then you price the product accordingly (higher) to offset the abuse from those will will/can copy it.

    I wonder if the code can detect if its wrapper has been stripped? If yes then it could send back a secret email to its 'home' and rat on the thief <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/clever.gif border=0 alt=clever width=15 height=15>

    Deb

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    Re: implement s/w licenses (VB.Net)

    Kind of like a LoJack for code, huh!
    Wendell

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