Tue 7 Jun 2011
Licensing: there’s just nothing sexy about it. It is a reality in the software business, like deadlines and defects.
After years of using a third-party license manager, we decided to write our own License Manager. The old one worked reasonably well, but the company tried to gouge us when we wanted to add two new platforms: 64-bit Windows and 64-bit Linux.
As a product company, it’s never an easy decision to have someone work on something like licensing. It’s not the kind of feature that motivates people to buy your product. But there was just no arguing with the economics of the situation.
As part of finalizing the release, I write up the list of new features. Usually, this is pretty straightforward. This year, it was a little tougher. We had fewer new features due to the amount of time spent updating existing capabilities. And one of my few new features is the License Manager. How do I make that look really interesting on the list?
Maybe if I gave it a clever name like, “License Manager: License to Code”.
Hmm, Roman numerals make things look cool, “License Manager XVI”.
Maybe if I shortened the name it would sound more high tech, “LicMan”. No, not that!
Perhaps, the language of business obfuscation could be used, “Product Enablement System”. That doesn’t work either.
I know! How about an acronym that spells out something awesome, like “SlickEdit License Instance Capture Knowledgebase for Efficient Distribution, Inventory, and Tracking (SLICKEDIT)”. No, that just makes the name of this thing the same as the product.
In the end, there’s just nothing I could do to make this sound like more than it is. It’s a License Manager. We did everything we could to make it fast and convenient. In the end, it’s like getting blood drawn: the best you can hope for is that it is over quickly and you can get on with things.