Network access tying was(RE: Python Shareware?)

Mike C. Fletcher mcfletch at
Fri Jun 8 06:44:47 EDT 2001

But, but, isn't that the basic idea behind Windows and Office XP :o) .  That
seems to require a constant connection to (the Microsoft version of) the
Internet to do even the most basic of things?  Please tell me that this
couldn't possibly cause a problem!  You must be wrong, Microsoft would never
do something to make using a computer more annoying and intrusive, fragile
and unreliable, would they?

Tying critical functionality to the whims of network access, (something
which often goes out for weeks at a time in my experience) is a perfectly
valid way to hamstring one's users.  And in the end, isn't hamstringing our
users what we all really want?  I mean, who really want these people
wandering around on their own power when we could be charging them
outrageous licensing fees for the privilege of movement. That's how they get
into trouble ;) .

Seriously, I agree, there isn't any (as far as I know) way to secure your
product, so you might as well just use annoyance to get the job done.
Pop-up a dialogue for ten seconds every time the application loads (once the
trial period is over). Put a single "register" button (and nothing else) on
the dialogue.  People likely to pay you for application will be reminded to
register.  People who would just go ahead and crack (or get cracked versions
of) your application will wait for the dialogue to go away (yes, there are
weird people who will go to the trouble of cracking even such a simple
thing, they are pretty much pathological, and you won't get any money from
them anyway).

Microsoft might be able to do network tying because their market share
approaches unity and they can spend hundreds of millions brainwashing people
into ignoring the problems, giving up their privacy etc. But most shareware
authors are not in exactly the same situation... though many seem to wish
they were... I don't understand why.


-----Original Message-----
From: python-list-admin at
[mailto:python-list-admin at]On Behalf Of Alex Martelli
Sent: June 8, 2001 04:53
To: python-list at
Subject: Re: Python Shareware?
> 3. How can I lock/secure my python shareware?

I pass!  I don't know of any way to 'secure' a
program that's more than, say, a weekend's work
to crack, for *ANY* programming language (I do not
think there are any, but a negative is hard to
prove:-).  If you can rely on your users having
internet access while running your program, the
whole picture changes -- you can then place some
key part of the whole operation on a site that is
fully in your control, and only accepts requests
(e.g. via SOAP or similar means) when it has
validated the requestor as a holder of a valid
license (it can track 'copied'/'pirated' licenses
by noticing too-frequent access requests, etc).

In most cases one would still be restricting one's
market too much by making a program unusable without
internet access.  Not a programming-language issue...

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