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Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Questions related to the distribution, marketing and selling of applications created with NeoBook. (Formally titled: "Making Money with NeoBook")

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Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby krackerjaxz » Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:04 pm

I have a few options for software protection but was looking at Software Passport/Armadillo to protect software I create using another RAD tool. It's been almost two years since I've looked at it. At the time there was no option to purchase Software Passport/Armadillo on the website. After emailing customer support I found out that they were revamping it and that if I wanted I could sign up to be a beta tester. I signed up and started testing it out. I got caught up with other projects and just started to look back at it.

On the Silicon Realms website it says that as of July 1, 2014 they were deleting the website. All you see now is a bright yellow background with the message that it's been discontinued. Anyone know what happened?
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby Neosoft Support » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:09 am

A company called Digital River bought Silicon Realms several years ago. I'm not sure why, but for some reason DR decided it no longer wanted Software Passport/Armadillo and pulled the plug. I heard a rumor that the original author of Armadillo wanted to buy back the source code and continue supporting the product, but DR said no.

Sadly, the people who relied on Software Passport/Armadillo over the years (like us) are out of luck - although we can continue to use the old versions for a while. It shows you what kind of company Digital River is that they would happily sell a product for years and then just abandon it with no explanation.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby krackerjaxz » Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:17 pm

This is why I'm seriously considering designing my own system for my software. I've found one system that seems as if it could easily be integrated in to any software no matter what development system used.

https://easydigitaldownloads.com/extens ... -licensing

Granted, the same could happen. They could one day just go belly up as well. That's the main perk of creating your own system from scratch. Unfortunately, though, the system of EDD is only for licensing. It doesn't obfuscate any of the file(s). That is, it doesn't protect the file itself from attempts at cracking it. Another licensing option is LimeLM (http://wyday.com/limelm/). I don't believe that obfuscates either.

My goal will be to have licensing. I don't plan on using tough anti-cracking techniques. For me it's all about support. Those with an active license will get support from me. Those without an active license won't get support. I feel if you offer a product at a good price and over deliver on the product and service you provide then most people will be happy to pay the fee to use the software. There will always be those that will illegally use the software. My only fight in that is to keep tabs on the search engines, torrent sites, and file sharing systems. When found, submit DMCA take down notices to the appropriate network administrators.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby jmr » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:38 pm

The situation with Software Passport is a potential big problem to me as I have used this system with Neobook for years now and have commercial applications protected with it.

I agree with the comments about the way this was removed from use and certainly Silicon Realms should have at least sold the source code for further development work by Chad.

The solution.
I have found a product called PC Guard http://www.sofpro.com/ This may not be cheap but it does seem to work now with Neobook as the team at Sofpro have been doing support for Neobook very recently. The system offers the same features as Software Passport - Armadillo, plus some others, so if you are looking for a protection system for your Neobook applications I would at least check out PC Guard.

:)
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby krackerjaxz » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:25 am

I'd say it's very pricy. Just the web activation feature, which to me is essential, is $399.95 EUR ($429.28). I can't see myself paying that much just for the web activation feature. Then, I'd still have to pay for the actual program to protect my software. The software protection, PC Guard for Win32, is 249.95 EUR ($307.65). In order to protect my software and manage licenses online I'd be coughing up $736.93. That's a wee bit too pricy for me.

While protecting software is great, I'm of the mentality that eventually someone will crack my software. This is not to say that I'd go DRM-free, just that I think it's best to have a system to remind folks to be honest.

One idea that I've seen Andy mention is to include some glitches. One idea that comes to mind is to have a licensing file. If that file is modified, then the software will throw a bogus error. If the person is foolish enough to contact me for support then I'll know one of two things:

  • The licensing file is corrupted due to some issue with their PC.
  • They tried modifying the licensing file and caused the error.

Either way the solution would be the same, reinstall the software. If they're using an illegal copy then they'll get the same issue each time they try to crack it. That's about the extent I'd go to for anti-cracking.
Last edited by krackerjaxz on Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby stu » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:39 pm

Just for the sake of clarifying a bit more on the modus operandi here's an email from these guys and the way the system operates:

Our products are royalty free. You can protect and distribute unlimited number of your programs with just a single copy of PC Guard family product.

There are no limitations related to number of different programs, number of distributed programs or a way of distribution - no limitations related to protected programs at all.

However, each copy of PC Guard family product is locked to one specific computer and each computer requires separate license.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby Neosoft Support » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:50 am

I wonder if PC Guard offers any type of guarantee - if your program is hacked you get your money back?

Hackers were usually able to peel off the Armadillo "protection" from our stuff within a day or two of release. Copy protection only prevents casual theft from people who are basically honest. I haven't heard of anything that actually stops motivated criminals.

This is primarily about music and movie piracy, but I think it also applies to independent software developers :

http://thetrichordist.com/2012/04/17/the-real-issue-of-online-piracy/
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby zkrr01 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:58 am

I have been using Armadillo Software Protection software, and it has worked on many systems including Windows 8.1. However I recently started testing the Windows 10 Technical Review and Armadillo stopped working correctly recently. Has anyone else had this problem?
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby Wrangler » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:03 pm

I would wait until windows 10 is out of beta and at least in the RC stage before making any assumptions. Security related issues usually don't get solved until last.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby zkrr01 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:42 pm

I plan to monitor Windows 10 updates and watch for any changes related to Armadillo. The strange thing was it worked initially on Windows 10 and stopped a couple of updates later. And it does not fail complexly. Along with Microsoft's statement that anything that will work on Windows 8.1 should work on Windows 10, perhaps it will get fixed.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby Wrangler » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:49 pm

I'm sure it will. I helped beta test windows 95 and 98 (also DOS 5.0), and things would work, quit work, disappear and reappear on a regular basis. It's early, so I think this is what is happening with win10.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby zkrr01 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:08 am

Just got Windows 10 release 10041 and Armadillo now works. I was able to compile my programs
and protect them with Armadillo just like I did on XP and Windows 7.

Note that I do not use the advanced protection feature of Armadillo, so that still needs to be tested.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby Neosoft Support » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:20 am

That's good to hear. I think as long as it still works you could use it as a licensing system. The "copy protection" may not be as viable since it's no longer under development, but to be honest Armadillo's protection was never really that good. It mostly just slowed down the hackers.
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby BRobinsonS » Wed May 27, 2015 2:10 pm

What would be recommended in limiting the sharing of software?
Looking for ideas since I have been using Software Passport as well.
What is a good approach to try-before-you-buy as a selling model with regards to distribution of programs?
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Re: Software Passport/Armadillo Discontinued

Postby Neosoft Support » Sat May 30, 2015 10:51 am

You can still use Software Passport which hopefully will continue to work with future versions of Windows. However, there are other copy protection tools available:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=software+copy+protection

Just be sure to test them before you buy to make sure they work with NeoBook-created exes.
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