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Perpetual license, but requires "reactivation"?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gtz01, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. gtz01

    gtz01 Member

    I will be honest I feel a bit deceived. Call me ignorant because I clearly didn't read the EULA well enough. I am sure that is a more appropriate term. I have been using (and LOVING) Alibre as an alternative to more expensive parametric modelers. So much so I shelled out for the Design version and so far it has done everything, functionality wise, I could ask for. What a fantastic bit of kit for a VERY fair price.

    I purchased it under the assumption that "perpetual" meant that I could use the software indefinitely. This does not seem to be true. In the past few months, and thanks to COVID, I have had internet outages. Mostly related to over consumption of everyone linked to my neighborhood trunk causing down time. As a result, there have been a handful of times alibre has entirely locked me out of using the software until my internet connection resolved. Certainly, this is bad timing. But it's also incredibly concerning. It strikes me that I don't actually "own" the software so much as Alibre, through some legal wizardry, has managed to transmute the term "rental" into "perpetual".

    It appears that it requires "reactivation" every 14 days. This makes sense to me if you're operating under a maintenance plan (so they can confirm your license is active and can accept updates). For me, I have no intention what-so-ever to continue my maintenance plan after it is up at the end of the year. I am a simple hobbyist and purchased the 1 year maintenance plan as a package with my software. Looking up other options there's a so-called "darksite" option that seemed attractive, giving me an offline activation option, but requires a relatively painful reactivation process every 4 weeks. Still...not acceptable. Not at all. This is just a longer term rental.

    It doesn't entirely make sense to me that "perpetual" is used so loosely here. It is only perpetual in the sense that you make a single lump sum payment and you're allowed to use the software so long as it can phone home every so often to confirm your license. I'd prefer a single activation, confirming I am legitimate legal user, and then allowing me to use the software true to the term in perpetuity.

    Is there any possibility what-so-ever of a one shot "activation" to confirm my legitimacy as a customer (and so its not used on more than one system) and then leave me alone forever? Or are the "darksite" and "always-on" options the only way this is possible? I am a little disappointed because I feel like Alibre, or whatever company buys them in the future, can just change the definition of perpetual and make it rentalware. The software appears to me as a lock-in scheme no different than Autodesk offerings, minus the monthly payment (which is really just a reworded maintenance plan, anyway).
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Your licence to use the software is perpetual.

    The validity of the licence is still checked regularly - this arrangement makes it easy to do things like
    • release your licence without question if your computer crashes
    • release your licence if computer is stolen or damaged
    If you have particularly unreliable internet connection - there are other options.

    This page explains most options.
    Licensing - Alibre, LLC
  3. gtz01

    gtz01 Member

    Yes, I have seen that. The mobility option is likely what I need. I certainly understand Alibre's need to protect their IP. I will reach out to their support as well to see what's available. Perhaps something can be arranged with the mobility upgrade.
  4. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Mobility upgrade is NOT for you if you have unreliable internet connection - it needs connection ALL THE TIME to work.
  5. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    I thought there was a USB dongle option at one time. That sounds like what is needed here.
  6. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    If you have particularly unreliable (or no) Internet, your best bet is to use the Offline license which requires your intervention about once a year to function and doesn't require connection to our servers every so often. This is the same type of license governmental agencies or dark site teams use so they can have an air gap from the Internet.
  7. chromos

    chromos New Member

    Does that mean a perpetual license is determined by future company behaviour (i.e. if authentication server is down for any reason then the software stops working)?
  8. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Most likely it means that if the server is down for your once-a-year license check then, yeah, it may stop working. But in 2021 who doesn't connect to the internet at least once in 365 days...
  9. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Not quite.

    Off-line activation requires you generate a 'request' (a very long string)- which is transferred to Alibre, typically by e-mail. A 'certificate' is returned, which completes the activation. The expectation is that the computer running Alibre doesn't have any internet access, but obviously you'll need access from some other device to exchange the files.
  10. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    I have computers which have NEVER been connected to the internet, and will not be. No, they are not on a shelf somewhere, they get used.
  11. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    I gotta ask... Why?
  12. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Because what is on them needs to stay secure and accessed only by authorized people.
    jfleming, BlackBird28 and simonb65 like this.
  13. gtz01

    gtz01 Member

    It's more of a matter of principle. Max has helped me quite a bit over email about this and they were happy to talk me through various things related to licensing.

    My primary fear is about true ownership. Software that ceases to work if, say, a backhoe strikes a cable a mile down the street, is a risk that has to be calculated appropriately. The nice people at Alibre has assuaged most of fears by assuring me there is a continuity plan should anything happen to Alibre the company itself. This is reassuring as many vendors are not willing to make such assurances. Other issues I've just simply accepted and drawn up a continuity plan of my own w.r.t. using the software.

    But it suffices to say there are several risks worth considering in general that aren't as simple as "just find an internet connection once every 365 days":

    1. You don't live in a well infrastructured area/country
    2. Damage to internet lines, accidents, etc
    3. Government interference (firewalls at the BGP level, etc)
    4. Rolling blackouts (California, anyone?)

    and most importantly

    5. Maybe I don't want to have to worry about an internet connection even in CURRENT_YEAR.

    Of course, all of these are trade offs. The primary benefit of "always-on" software comes in the form of regular maintenance and theft protection. The downsides have to be properly mitigated. For example, 56k connections are free and every house has a phone line. As long as electricity is available and Alibre itself isn't blacked out you could use any of the free/limited 56k connections as a failover to insure the software continues to work. It's often easier to live in the fantasy world of perfect internet, perfect society, perfect city, and perfect servers but none of that is true. Having work in the industry for a decade at this point "6 sigma availability" is meaningless when the 7th standard deviation collapses the entire infrastructure.

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