Mailing List CGatePro@mail.stalker.com Message #96121
From: Tom Rymes <trymes@rymesheating.com>
Subject: Re: How to tell how many accounts you have licensed?
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 11:55:53 -0400
To: CommuniGate Pro Discussions <CGatePro@mail.stalker.com>
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.926)

On Sep 16, 2008, at 9:56 AM, James Roman wrote:

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Martin.Hepworth <martinh@solidstatelogic.com>
Subject: RE: How to tell how many accounts you have licensed?
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 13:27:09 +0100

Philip

3 - The system should tell us on Settings->General->Info, or Master. IMHO It's not what development want it what's the customer wants!


Boy, this job would be so much easier if it weren't for all these customers! Wait...

My guess would be that stalker's view is if they allowed the admin web
interface to read the license key info directly, it might make it easier
to reverse engineer the license key. I doubt that any number of
customers wanting this functionality would convince them to give up the
shop. Their business model is THEIR business model, and this is how
they've structured their ability to make a living.

That being said, since the Communigate process already reads the
information in the key, dumping the number of licensed users and date
issued into the logs at start-up probably would not pose as great a risk
to their business model. Alternatively, maybe they could add an option
to the Communigate process that outputs the license information.

I probably won't be requesting these options, since I have copies of all
our licensing information.

This reminds me of a quotation from Alan Mulally at Ford from a business week article a while back (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_23/b4037036.htm):

"When Mulally was reviewing the company's 2008 product line last September, for example, he was told that Ford loses close to $3,000 every time a customer buys a Focus compact, according to one executive. "Why haven't you figured out a way to make a profit?" he asked. Executives explained that Ford needed the high sales volume to maintain the company's CAFE, or corporate average fuel economy, rating and that the plant that makes the car is a high-cost UAW factory in Michigan. "That's not what I asked," he shot back. "I want to know why no one figured out a way to build this car at a profit, whether it has to be built in Michigan or China or India, if that's what it takes." Nobody had a good answer."

My point being:

1.) Customers expect that the software will be able to tell them both the number of users for which they are licensed, and when their license will expire.
2.) That expectaction is certainly reasonable.
3.) Stalker Development has a concern about providing that functionality, probably because of fears that the licensing scheme could be reverse engineered.
4.) That concern is certainly reasonable.

The question now is "Why haven't you figured out a way to meet #s 1 & 2 without falling afoul of #s 3 & 4?" Various ideas have been floated, and I'm sure that there is a way to make the customers happy on this point and still keep Stalker in business. If the Dev team can build such an excellent product, I'm sure that they can resolve this, much simpler, problem.

Tom
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