Software activation 04.18.2007

David Watanabe wrote:

I’m writing this because indie developers are especially sensitive to piracy. Margins are so thin that piracy can easily make a project unsustainable. Are anti-piracy mechanisms bad for the user? Of course not. The honest user should never have an issue and the dishonest users are kept from ruining a project. After all, software that has been abandoned due to lack of financial support isn’t good for anyone.

The last sentence is important — “software that has been abandoned” typically implies that the activation scheme will no longer work because the receiving server will no longer be active. The software that requires online activation is essentially dead in the water, with no way to legitimately activate itself.

The answer, of course, is for the ethical software company to release either free versions of abandoned software, or an universal unlock code for the software in question.

But to blithely pretend that online activation will never ever affect honest users is being intellectually dishonest.

They are only never affected with the supposition that the software company is always an ethical entity. I’m not comfortable making that assertion.