I’m knee deep in testing licensing systems, currently playing with with XHEO’s DeployLX solution and I wanted to shoot out this interim post. This post won’t cover all the solutions I’m working on testing and that will have to wait till the next post. But I wanted to post this right away, as DeployLX was my front-runner it was not a pleasant experience using the software.
But XHEO and DeployLX are probably one of the best known licensing and IP protection systems for .Net software. I’ve tested their software a long time ago and they were one of my first choices again.
Here is a summary of my issues with DeployLX.
- The Interface is needlessly complex and unintuitive
- It doesn’t seem to work well with Windows Services applications
- Activation via web services is flakey at best
- Did I mention the interface is horrible?
Past that, the entire software seemed clunky and not very configurable. Sure they has a mullion options but the documentation wasn’t helpful, it was pretty complete but it uses a whole lot of words on nothing of value. Additionally I found their online help’s and FAQ’s also unhelpful. In my review of DeployLX I was willing to overlook most if not all that and still give it good marks on feature set and ease of integrating it into my solution but they I ran across this blog post by Ayende, only a few months old.
Basically Ayende bought DeployLX and it was impacting his customers. He asked for a response and XHEO said buy our best and most expensive edition with it’s source and you can fix the issue yourself. Well he did that can then couldn’t get the source to compile with XHEO’s own code protection software. In the end XHEO screwed Ayende out of his time and money. This is extremely troubling and a major point of concern for something so critical as a licensing and code protection system. Ayende is not a slouch and is a brilliant software developer and architect, if he’s having trouble what about me?
At this point I’m disqualifying DeployLX, I’m uninstalling it and I will not recommend any XHEO products to anyone. If they can’t get CodeVeil to work with their own source code for a paying customer then they have some major quality and support issues. None of this is acceptable for a core piece of security software, although it’s shiny there is more to software then a flashing interface, believe it or not.