Frontline Systems offers several types of software licenses, to best meet your needs. Each license is enabled by a license code that is specific to you and the computer on which you are using our software. In 2016, a license code is simply a character string, stored in a plain text license file usually named Solver.lic. Whenever it is run, our software reads the available license code(s) from the license file, to determine whether it should run, and what software features should be made available. The license file may be located on the same computer as the software, or it may be located on another computer running a license server program that we provide. For details, please read our Software License Agreement. Our licensing system will change in our V2017 release.
All of our licenses have a limited term -- Frontline does not offer "permanent" licenses, as discussed below under License Terms and Renewals. The license term coincides with our Annual Support service term -- Frontline does not offer licenses without Annual Support.
- Evaluation License
- Standalone License
- Flexible Use License
- License Terms and Renewals
- License Codes and Lock Codes
- Subscription vs. "Permanent" License
An Evaluation License is a single user, short term (typically 15 day) license, normally offered free of charge, that is designed to enable you to use and evaluate the software to determine whether it is a good fit for your needs. In certain cases, our Sales or Support personnel can extend your evaluation time, for example to 30 days, by issuing you a new evaluation license code with a later expiration date.
A Standalone License is our standard "paid" single-user license. A Standalone Paid-Up License is tied to a specific computer, but during the license term, we enable you to transfer the license from one computer to another. When you renew/extend your license and Annual Support, we issue you a new license code that you can add to the software with a few clicks. Note that, if you allow your license to expire, the software will display an error message if you attempt to run it after the expiration date, which is encoded in the license code.
A Flexible Use License (see details) is our standard "paid" multi-user or "concurrent use" license. With this license, several users may have a Frontline Systems software product installed on their own PCs, which are connected on a network. In 2016, one computer on the network runs special license server software, that Frontline supplies (at no extra charge); the license code is stored in a license file on this computer. (In our V2017 release, we will run the license server in the cloud.) Now, any of the users can temporarily "acquire" the license and use the software product, but only one at a time, per Flexible Use License -- a second user must wait until the first user releases the license, before he/she can use it. When you renew/extend a Flexible Use License, we issue you a new license code for the license server.
All of our licenses have a limited term -- Frontline does not offer "permanent" licenses. The license term coincides with our Annual Support service term -- Frontline does not offer licenses without Annual Support. The minimum term is one year; you can choose a longer term in one-year increments.
Generally, our license pricing works as follows: A software product with a first-year license price of $1,000 will have a renewal price of $500. Hence:
- If you purchase a first-year license for $1,000 and then renew your license (before it expires) for a second year at the renewal price of $500, your total cost will be $1,500 over two years.
- If you purchase a first-year license for $1,000 and do not renew/extend the license during the first year, the license will expire. At a future date, you can again acquire a license at the first-year license price of $1,000, at which point the renewal price will again be available.
In 2016, a Standalone license code is tied to a specific computer where the software product is used, and a Flexible Use license code is tied to the specific computer that runs the license server software. Within the license code character string is a "lock code", also called a "host id": a short character string or "fingerprint" computed from the computer's hard disk ID, its Ethernet MAC address, and other unique hardware elements. A license code is human readable plain text, but part of the code is a digital "signature" computed from the rest of the text, making a license code difficult to "forge". (This will change in our V2017 release.)
Like other software vendors, Frontline Systems formerly offered "permanent" licenses, where the license code had no expiration date. But computer hardware and software does not last forever -- in fact it changes rather rapidly. In recognition of this reality, Frontline has moved to subscription licenses. A look at Frontline Systems company history or our press release archives shows that, over the last 5 years, we've released 9 major new versions of our products, radically re-making our product line. During the same time, Windows 7, 8 and 10, Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016, and Excel Online have been released, multi-core PCs have become common (and Frontline's newer releases have fully exploited them), and cloud computing has emerged. There's been a lot of change over the last 5 years, and we are quite certain that the rate of change is accelerating. The lesson is that a "permanent" license does not really have a permanent value.