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Description of "per-instance" licensing - Advanced

This help article expands on the information from Description of "per-instance" licensing. It includes examples and audit/enforcement information.

Licensing versus registration

All users of FDSE must be in compliance with the FDSE license at all times. The license is a legal document. A copy is here and a copy is also installed with the product.

Note that, if you are in "Freeware" or "Trial Shareware" mode, then you can run as many instances of the script as you want. The license applies to each instance separately, but since there is no cost, it doesn't matter how many copies you have. In the "Registered" mode, it will make a financial difference if you run dozens of copies instead of one.

Exceptions to per-instance licensing

In some cases, customers need to install the product multiple times in order to support a single public instance. These cases are:

In these special cases, you can register your copies using the original registration key from the primary instance.


Auditing and enforcement

FDSE licensing and registration is based on the honor system. Users are expected to read, understand and comply with the license terms. Users are encouraged to make payments when using the advanced features of the script ("Registered Mode").

There is no requirement that users disclose the URL of their instance when purchasing a key, and FDSE never initiates contact with xav.com (i.e., no "phone home" functionality). Because of this, the author does not automatically know which of the thousands of FDSE instances are registered and which are not. For some highly customized sites, it isn't even clear whether the search software is FDSE, or something based on it, or inspired by it. From time to time, an instance of FDSE will be encountered without copyright information, or with misleading copyright information, and the author will contact the site owner to ensure that the script is properly registered.

FDSE also contains a read-only private interface by which the author can make a specially-formatted request to determine four things: the script version; the current mode setting of Freeware, Trial, or Registered; the registration key, if present; and the last-login time for the admin page. This private interface is protected by a 32-character password and only responds to queries originating from host "xav.com". This interface makes it possible for the author to determine if copyright information has been removed in unregistered instances, or if forged or shared keys are being used. The author uses this interface because it is faster, more reliable, and more polite than emailing the site owner. If you cannot tolerate a private interface in your software, it can be easily disabled from within the source code; contact the author to find out how. Even if the interface is removed, you still may be contacted manually to confirm the registration status of specific instances.

Penalties for violating the license terms range from nothing to harassment to legal action, with the first two being most common.

Please contact Fluid Dynamics if you have any questions regarding licensing and registration.

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