My requirement is simple, I need to license my upcoming .Net based desktop applications. My licenses allow for a single machine only, or multiple installation, so I need to track and authorize license usages. Even unlimited licensing I would like to track installations to see how the application is doing. So based on this need and my resolve that I try never to re-create the wheel, unless it’s smelly and looks bad, I’m off looking for a .Net Licensing system.
My methodology for this process will be quite simple. First I’m going to try and determine the major players on the .Net Licensing market. I will only be looking at .Net Licensing systems and not IP/Code protection systems at the same time. I’m a best of bread type person and I will analyze those at a latter time. After I’ve determined the major players I’m going to see those that offer turn key, or almost turn key, license activation/authorization capabilities. I don’t want to spend time coding something I believe that should be provided out of the box.
When talking with friends and doing research I find the most common solution for licensing is ‘roll your own’, which to me isn’t a good answer. Although I don’t have a problem with that it seems there should be good enough solutions to meet my seemingly minor requirements with a prepackaged tool that’s easy to use and has an existing community.
So my search begins, below are some of the players that I could find from a quick search and although I stumbled among a number of blog posts none of them had more then 2 or 3 from the list below.
Manco .Net Licensing
Microsoft Software Licensing and Protection Server
Infralution Licensing System
IonWorx Serial Shield
.Net Licensing Pro
Although most, if not all, of these products allow you to extend the software product to allow it to function to meet your specific needs as I stated in the opening of this analysis I wanted a Licensing product that supported licensing activation, which to me is a common usage scenario and something that should be out-of-the-box functionality.
First one I want to remove from the list is Microsoft’s SLP Server/Service. I remember when this launched and I kept and eye on it, slowly it just vanished and you have to dig deep to find any information. To me this product and service is dead, you can’t sign up for the SLP service offering and you cannot download even a trial of the SLP server.
The removal of Microsoft’s SLP from my list narrows my working set from 11 to 10, this will be the base list I start my work with. My next post will narrow down the list by feature set and capabilities, after that I will demo and contact each company to create a final list that I will test with an application.
If anyone wants to submit a late entry feel free to add a comment or drop me an email.
UPDATE (5/22/2009): I got an email saying I should also look at .Net Licensing Pro, so I have added it to the list, I want to keep the list in one place so people can use it as a resource. So I will just update this post if people have more for me to look at.