17 Replies Latest reply: Aug 26, 2011 1:42 AM by VladimirN. RSS

    M15: Licensing problems

    Ninetrees Silver

      I have had quite a journey wrt getting a machine on which to run M15. After many months of trying other computers, I have installed it on a desktop to which I have infrequent access, and it has actually run for two days in a row!

       

      In my discussions with PTC, there has been frequent mention of my computer "MAC hardware address." AFAIK, there is not one, and thereby hangs the tale. I think that this is the end of my relationship w Mathcad, because I have spent many hours loading M15 (which removes M14), removing M15, and installing M14. I am pretty fed up with the attitude of companies such as PTC toward licensing.

       

      During the last year, I went through month's of the same sort of licensing problems with another product, but only because I was being paid to do so. The folks paying me rolled their eyes every time they saw me coming, but they really wanted to run the other product, so they put up with the hassle. We eventually wound up with a "work around" after several months of working with their technical support. I have another licensed product that I have upgraded for years, and it, too, fails to license properly. The only way I can get it to run is to configure my firewall to not let the license program run, and then not be connected to the network when I launch the program. I won't be upgrading that program, either; I'll find an alternative.

       

      I am unwilling to invest that much time in getting M15 to run. I just upgraded Maple with no problems. If someone can sell me a $4000 piece of software (I have several) and rely on me to respect the license, then so can PTC, Maple, MATLAB, etc. I should be able to install it on a dozen computers, as long as I respect the license. The current situation is very much like PTC saying "We figure that you are a criminal, so we will treat you that way from the beginning." At a secure facility at which I worked, the security folks decided one day that we all needed "assume the position," pat-down searches on the way in. One of my co-workers went through the pat-down search, immediately turned around and left the facility, went to the VP's office and quit. No discussion. Figured he didn't want to work at place where folks were treated as criminals.That policy lasted as long as it took the VP to call security to and tell them to stop before more folks quit. (As a result, I missed getting one by "that much.") Well, increasingly, with software licenses, that is the way I feel.

       

      When I buy a book, the publisher doesn't tell me that if I begin reading it in the front room, then I can't continue to read it in the office, because that is where it is "licensed" to be read. Yet, this is precisely what is happening to programs such as Mathcad. It seems to me that once I buy the software I should be able to run it wherever I wish, with no hassles. With some products, one can "borrow" a license, but even that means that one must have access to the "licensed" machine. No access = no joy. If you are in someone else's office and want to show them something, yer outta luck. I recently showed a tensor calculation and plot to an other researcher by hauling my laptop w M14 on it to his office. He was interested in having it for himself - the only way I could show him what I had done was to haul my computer to his office. Funny isn't it; while we become an increasingly mobile society, companies such as PTC are locking us to a SPECIFIC desk.

       

      So, where I have been an advocate for Mathcad for years, I have stopped advocating. My reputation means too much to me to recommend a product that has so much overhead. This is unfortunate, because Mathcad holds a unique niche in the technical software market. I know that this is nothing new to the folks at PTC, and that there are many frustrated folks around, so I am just spitting in the wind. But I think that a public voice needs to be sounded when things go wrong, as they have here. Fortunately for many of us, there are alternatives.I've always believed that companies have a right to chart their own course. I'm irritated because I have a lot of time invested in Mathcad over the past 25 years, and I now must look to learning a new product. By voicing my opinions, I am giving PTC an opportunity to consider them, but I agree that PTC - and other software companies - must decide for themselves how to best spend their time, just as I must.

       

      ~R~

        • Re: M15: Licensing problems
          hilbert Copper

          I tried to install MC14 last summer and then MC15 last month by myself. However, both times I ran into trouble.

          In each instance, I then asked for help from PTC and both times they provided a technician on the phone who stepped

          me through the installation process.

           

          I emerged in both instances with MathCad operational.

           

          I very much appreciate their assistance.

           

          Patrick

          • Re: M15: Licensing problems
            MikeArmstrong Diamond
            I'm irritated because I have a lot of time invested in Mathcad over the past 25 years, and I now must look to learning a new product. By voicing my opinions, I am giving PTC an opportunity to consider them, but I agree that PTC - and other software companies - must decide for themselves how to best spend their time, just as I must.

            That is such a shame with the experience you have.

             

            I understand a lot of users have had problems with licensing and installations, but in PTC's defensive they have created a direct contact and it seems more users are getting solutions to their problems.

             

            Below is a direct contact which I'm sure you have explored.

             

            mathcadlicensing@ptc.com.

             

            Mathcad and this forum needs experienced users such as yourself.

             

            Mike

              • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                Ninetrees Silver

                Dear Pat and Mike,

                Both of you make good points, and I would like to say that I, too, got quite a bit of help along the way from PTC as we addressed the licensing (and //other//) installation problems. In fact, I understand that PTC has hired someone just to handle such problems. So let me clarify my POV. All this licensing junk is great for the folks PTC pays to address them; I don't begrudge them a job, though I wish that they were unnecessary. All this licensing junk is good for hackers; they love challenges, apparently, so this gives them something to feed upon. I wish that they would turn their skills to helping humanity. Maybe PTC figures that I'll buy a copy of one of their products and then install it on 20 computers in my business. Dunno. (I used to teach a class on business ethics at the college level.)

                 

                So the only real losers are those folks who actually paid for the product (I have 2 M14 licenses), and just want to use what they paid for. Every hour that I spend trying to solve a PTC licensing problem is one more hour that I don't get to help the kids down the street with their robots projects, or the high school kids with their high-altitude balloon missions (both real projects for me). So, see, I just want the old days back. I want to buy some software, and be free to use it with a minimum of hassle. I want to put it on any computer that I choose, as long as I meet the "one user per license" requirement. I'm old enough to have used Mathcad from V1, and recall how thrilled I was that such a tool was available. I'm old enough to recall when Lotus came out with their "licensing" scheme, and how many of us decided on the spot that we would never own a copy of Lotus. (I never did.)

                 

                So I appreciate the help that I've gotten from those @ PTC who /did/ try to help. And to be frank, I have a lot of learning invested in M1..14, so I won't drop it right away. I don't really want to shift to anything new, and I still think that Mathcad (the old one) has many advantages over the competition. I just finished a 50 page paper on spacecraft charging, and I used M14 to help me out (in some small ways, to be sure). I prolly create 2 worksheets per week in M14. But the point remains: I am tired of spending my time addressing licensing issues with /any/ vendor. Right now, 3 are on my short list to be obsoleted, entirely for licensing hassles.

                 

                As an example, I have a piece of software that cost me several $K USD, and I can install if //anywhere//. If I am on the road (I carry a 1TB drive with my life on it ;-) ), and I need that software, I can install it, license it, use it, and remove it - all without ever contacting the vendor (a vary large company with international presence). I can't even install M15 on my laptop after a few months of working with PTC. Call me grumpy is you wish - I'm too grumpy to care ;-)

                 

                So when I have the time, I'll try to stick my oar in and help out on the forum. There's so many good folks here that I can honestly say that my biggest regret at reducing my interaction with Mathcad (user) folks is that the Mathcad forum is the one (at least the old collab, which was much more useful than this new "pretty" one) that I use for an example when I speak of international collaboration at the engineering level. That sense of collaboration and helpful teamwork is a huge part of the Mathcad experience.

                 

                ~R~

                  • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                    MikeArmstrong Diamond

                    Please don't think I was interfering as your experience far outweighs mine and you have obviously had many more problems than I have personally experienced.

                    As an example, I have a piece of software that cost me several $K USD, and I can install if //anywhere//. If I am on the road (I carry a 1TB drive with my life on it ;-) ), and I need that software, I can install it, license it, use it, and remove it - all without ever contacting the vendor (a vary large company with international presence). I can't even install M15 on my laptop after a few months of working with PTC. Call me grumpy is you wish - I'm too grumpy to care ;-)

                    PTC should offer this type of license as a lot of users have to travel and it does become a problem when getting sent to site or away from your normal place of work.

                    Lotus came out with their "licensing" scheme, and how many of us decided on the spot that we would never own a copy of Lotus. (I never did.)

                    God, you are showing your age

                     

                    Cheers

                     

                    Mike

                      • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                        Ninetrees Silver

                        Well...we all show our age in different ways...let's see...for the first mountain bike ride of the season...I went to the Green Mountains...Bear Notch area... Whew! Whot a day! I got several treats. A huge owl flew in front of me. I /think/ that it was a Great Gray Owl, but not sure. Not used to seeing them out in the daylight, and this far south, but the GGO /is/ diurnal. Then I saw a bird that was unfamiliar to me. Might have been a tanager, but that's just a guess until I find my bird book. - insert Muzak here - OK, I looked it up. It was a Scarlet Tanager. No, not teenager, that's something different, and they're mostly nocturnal. ;-) And although I went to my usual place in the mountains to say prayers, there were no bear signs as there were last year. But about half a km away there was a tree seriously clawed to pieces, and I'm guessing that it was the work of my ursine friends. And /absolutely huge/ moose tracks. `Course, they run big anyway, but these were certainly on the large side. Hope that I don't run into any of them on my rides, at least close up. The ride itself was something else. Took several tumbles, on one of which I simply bailed off the bike and rolled down a hill. I was in no mood to share the experience with the bike, and the tumbling that we learned in judo paid off as I was able to part ways with the bike and roll down the hill with no serious injuries. Fortunately, in spite of this being the /woods/, I had a fairly easy time of it. I coulda landed on a stump or rock or some such ilk, and that might have been more painful. And mud! About 10 km into the ride, I was half covered in mud and soaked in sweat and couldn't stop to do much about it because of the mosquitos! The nice thing about the CoolMax liner in my biking helmet is that it ordinarily soaks up sweat, and allows it to evaporate during the ride. The unnice thing about /this/ ride is that I was sweating faster than the liner could handle it, and when the liner saturated, sweat began to run down into my eyes. I rinsed them with water from my CamelBak, but that was only temporary. So I decided to cut the day short, headed down the mountain to a nearby river. It's a fast wide river, and I walked to the edge and buried my head in the stream. What a relief! I decided to ford the river at that point and continue my journey from there. So I left the bike on one side and took everything else across. The fast current and waist-deep water made it a bit tricky, but on the bright side, when I arrived on the far side, I was clean and cool! Yeah, I was wet, but most of my summertime clothes these days are CoolMax, and they dry quickly. Then I returned for the bike. Getting /that/ across was another event, as the current was so strong that even with just a few inches of the bike in the water, I was having difficulty keeping my balance /and/ keeping the bike from being washed out of my hands. So I wound up lifting it completely out of the water and fording the river that way. I guess that's what adventures are all about! Another 8 km, and I was back at the car, nearly dry, and relatively clean. ;-) I was tired, but it was a grand day overall!

                         

                        ~R~

                         

                        Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that I routinely get by butt whipped by my older MB buddies, who think I am a wimp 'cause I grannie through the tough places ;-) That's almost a quote ;-)

                         

                        ~R~

                  • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                    A.Non PTC Community Champion
                    In my discussions with PTC, there has been frequent mention of my computer "MAC hardware address." AFAIK, there is not one, and thereby hangs the tale.

                    All computers have a MAC address.

                     

                    Open the Command Prompt (i.e. the good old DOS) window. Type ipconfig/all. Your MAC address is listed as the physical address, and will be of the form XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX, where XX are hex numbers.

                      • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                        A.Non PTC Community Champion

                        Actually, I can think of one place where you might be having problems. Do you have two network adapters (for example wireless and cabled), and are you are switching back and forth between them? Each adapter will have it's own MAC address, so if the license is locked to one of them and you switch to the other that could be a big problem. I seem to recall that someone posted about this some time ago, and I don't know if they ever got a solution.

                        • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                          Ninetrees Silver

                          The only thing that pops up here is

                           

                          Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

                                  Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . : ****
                                  Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller
                                  Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : *****

                           

                          ...but that is just my Ethernet card MAC address, not my "computer address," and I can have zero to many of these cards and MAC addresses at any time in any of my computers...of course, those of us in the hardware end of things have known of network card MAC addresses for many years, but none of those are my "computer MAC hardware address." They just happen to be the MAC address of a peripheral.

                           

                          ~R~

                            • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                              A.Non PTC Community Champion

                              The only kind of MAC address that exists is one associated with a network adapter. If you have no network adapter in the computer then you will indeed have no MAC address. If you have more than one network adapter then you will have more then one MAC address, but they should only show up if the network adapter is enabled. If you disable all your network adapters you will have no MAC address.

                              • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                                A.Non PTC Community Champion

                                I just checked the e-mail I got from PTC with my license file. It says:

                                 

                                "As per your request, please see attached the Mathcad license file for CPU ID: XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX ( SON: 1234567 )"

                                 

                                Which mainly demonstrates that the PTC licensing group needs some basic training in computer science, because XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX is not my CPU ID, it's the MAC address of the wireless network adapter.

                                 

                                I looked up CPU IDs, and It turns out that the CPU ID is not even supported by all processosrs, and even when it is supported it may not return a unique serial number.

                                 

                                So the answer is that you must have an enabled network adapter, and you can't switch between network adapters. I believe some wireless network adapters in notebooks also automatically shut down if they are not connected, to save battery power. Fortunately, mine does not do that because if it did then I would not be able to run Mathcad when traveling.

                              • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                                A.Non PTC Community Champion
                                All computers have a MAC address.

                                In light of the later comments, I guess that should read "Most computers have one or more MAC addresses some or all of the time".

                                 

                                And in light of that, locking the license to a MAC address is not a very smart thing to do!

                                  • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                                    Ninetrees Silver

                                    Congrats! ;-) So you worked that out in a few minutes. ;-) I've been working with various network hardware layers for years, and have been well aware of the link twixt the network card and the MAC address. There is yet another delightfully obscure twist to the MAC address critical flaw, but I'll leave that to those Sherlock's who long for a challenge to make their day complete. At any rate, tying the license to the MAC address is an incredibly poor and inept decision. It took me several months with another company to convince their TS that this is the case, and PTC doesn't seem to have it worked out yet. So that is why there are 3 companies on my short list for no further upgrades. Companies frequently find the need to balance risk and benefit, and that is all I am doing. I don't see locking myself into a solution that is so restrictive, especially when I have such strong objections to the whole [increasingly complicated] licensing procedure. The old method worked fine for me, and I don't need some software outfit telling me what hardware I need to have just so that their software will run. Why not return to the days of dongles? That's what it amounts to, and at least that way I could use the software where /// I /// am, not where my computer is...my original point still stands: I paid for the right (oops, I // want to pay for the right // to use the software where // I // am, wherever and whenever that is, without calling PTC every time I leave my desk.

                                     

                                    ~R~

                                  • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                                    Bronze

                                    All computers have a MAC address.

                                     

                                    Wouldn't bet on it. It's probably hard to be able to buy a new desktop or notebook nowadays without an onboard NIC (network interface card), but some older models sure came without. And then in some laptops with NIC it can be disabled in the BIOS  setup. Not sure if it will even show a MAC then.

                                     

                                    OK, I read that thread top down and answered before reaching the bottom - I see that topic is already covered sufficiently.

                                     

                                    Another point: I always thought, that the license which is tied to a MAC works, whenever a NIC with that MAC is found on your system. That way you could use an mobile USB-modem (UMTS; HDSPA or the like) as a hardware dongle.

                                    On the other hand I think I remeber having read in a posting here that the MAC has to be that of the primary (??) NIC. Anybody knows something specific? Maybe they changed that behaviour from MC14 to MC15??

                                     

                                    Rag

                                      • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                                        Guest2 Copper
                                        Another point: I always thought, that the license which is tied to a MAC works, whenever a NIC with that MAC is found on your system. That way you could use an mobile USB-modem (UMTS; HDSPA or the like) as a hardware dongle.

                                        On the other hand I think I remeber having read in a posting here that the MAC has to be that of the primary (??) NIC. Anybody knows something specific? Maybe they changed that behaviour from MC14 to MC15??

                                         

                                        Sounds interesting - any further informations available??

                                         

                                        G

                                        • Re: M15: Licensing problems
                                          Ninetrees Silver

                                          Yes, they changed that behaviour from MC14 to MC15...the whole licensing model has changed. That is why so many of us who can easily install M14 on our machines are having difficulty installing M15 - in my case, "difficulty" means complete failure to install despite many attempts by PTC tech support to help. It is all related to the discussion we had here.

                                           

                                          But, yes, the licensing model has changed. Clever boys.

                                           

                                          ~R~