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Avenza Piracy

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#1
Justin

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I have Avenza MapPublisher and use it in an educational environment.

Without purchasing their maintenance plan, the software is limited to licensing only on a single computer and must be activated with a license file from the software company. If your unique Machine ID changes, the software will need to be re-licensed for $25.

I just installed a NIC firmware update for Windows 7 and my MapPublisher has died again, because I assume the network profile has changed enough to give it a new Machine ID. If I toggle my bluetooth on or off, the software will not work - if I connect to the school's intranet using an ethernet cable, the software will not work.

Does anyone know the rationale behind this? Is piracy for such a specifically targeted software program so bad that they'd have to implement such an annoying licensing scheme? I'm half venting and half curious.

#2
David Medeiros

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I have Avenza MapPublisher and use it in an educational environment.

Without purchasing their maintenance plan, the software is limited to licensing only on a single computer and must be activated with a license file from the software company. If your unique Machine ID changes, the software will need to be re-licensed for $25.

I just installed a NIC firmware update for Windows 7 and my MapPublisher has died again, because I assume the network profile has changed enough to give it a new Machine ID. If I toggle my bluetooth on or off, the software will not work - if I connect to the school's intranet using an ethernet cable, the software will not work.

Does anyone know the rationale behind this? Is piracy for such a specifically targeted software program so bad that they'd have to implement such an annoying licensing scheme? I'm half venting and half curious.


I had the same issue after one of my update installs. I installed while my wireless was connected to my Airport Extreme and Avenza recorded a new machine ID for me. Later, after another install with wireless off I couldn't license my copy of MAPub. It took several emails and a phone call to fix I think. Now when updating I make sure to turn off my WiFi and bluetooth connections.

Annoying but probably not common. It it's likely part of their normal licensing protection to make sure the copy you have is not being used on multiple machines.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#3
Justin

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I dont see why a simple Serial Number with online activation (Photoshop, and Illustrator) isnt a better option than literally annoying your customers away. I am just going to use ArcGIS 10's export to AI tools now instead of messing with all this machine ID business.

I know piracy must be a problem, but it seems like there just wouldnt be that many pirates interested in this software because it has a high learning curve and is generally targeted to a pretty specific audience. I might be wrong, though (?)

#4
David Medeiros

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I dont see why a simple Serial Number with online activation (Photoshop, and Illustrator) isnt a better option than literally annoying your customers away. I am just going to use ArcGIS 10's export to AI tools now instead of messing with all this machine ID business.

I know piracy must be a problem, but it seems like there just wouldnt be that many pirates interested in this software because it has a high learning curve and is generally targeted to a pretty specific audience. I might be wrong, though (?)


I think's it's geared more towards limiting the number of machines you're running it on than outright pirating, but I'll let Avenza address that. I'm not sure it's that big a deal. Turn off all wireless connections before installing or updating, pretty basic stuff although I do wish Avenza documented this a little more clearly. One thing to keep in mind about piracy is that if the software is so specifically targeted that you wouldn't expect many people to be pirating it you also to have to consider that their customer base is small so it takes far fewer pirates to take a dent out of their bottom line. Its all relative. I will add to your gripe however that I wish they processed updates like everyone else does, automatically! With no need to sign in to a special webpage, download and install as though each were a new installation and then risk the potential machine code ID problems.

As for MAPub v Arc, if all you need is to get line-work from a shape file into AI than an export from Arc will be fine. But with more complex work you can get pretty weary of having to make that trip over and over again and there are certainly a large number of other benefits to having MAPub installed as well.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#5
Ted Florence

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This thread is really getting out of hand so I suppose it is time someone from Avenza chimes in. So I will now do so although it is against my better judgment to even acknowledge a rant like Justin's. However as there are actually some good qualified customers out there who may read this thread it is important that they are set straight on the facts accordingly. While there is some validity to Justin's comments he has gone way overboard and highly exaggerated and mis-represented the facts.

I am hoping that Justin's initial post is born of the fact that he may be a Steelers fan rather then from a legitimate belief that Avenza is somehow a bad company.

Just like Adobe, ESRI, Microsoft and many others we use a node-locked licensing system that is tied to a unique machine ID based on each computer. So again, our system is not at all different from those implemented by other companies. And in fact, Adobe and ESRI use pretty much the same system as we do. Now what these systems do is essentially take the hardware configuration of the system and generate an ID based on that. But, when something changes, like the disabling or re-enabling a Wifi device, adding RAM, changing a hard dive etc. the hardware configuration is essentially different and the software may balk at that.

So we have quite clear and details instructions in our user guide and readme that explain to users how to best "present" their computer for licensing in order to avoid these type of issues like Justin explained he has had. Had he read this and heeded it he should not have had any problems at all.

We have in fact had problems with Windows OS licensing itself after a simple RAM upgrade. And, we have consistently have terrible problems with all our Adobe software just stopping from working and telling us is that a license has expired when it really hasn't. And this BTW is without any change to a computer whatsoever.

Now unlike Adobe and Microsoft, we actually will support our customers almost immediately over the phone and via email when things like this arise and anyone who uses MAPublisher or Geographic Imager can attest to the fact that not only do we respond immediately but that 99% of the time their licensing issue is resolved within minutes, if not seconds.

For comparison, it has been over two weeks since we contacted Adobe about our licensing problem and after being on the phone with series of offshore support people we are still not resolved. Comparing Avenza's system to Adobe's in a negative way is simply wrong. Justin said: "Without purchasing their maintenance plan, the software is limited to licensing only on a single computer and must be activated with a license file from the software company. If your unique Machine ID changes, the software will need to be re-licensed for $25."

This is true and not true. Our fixed license products are limited to one machine whether under maintenance or not. And a license file is required in all cases just like with Adobe an ESRI. Maintenance has nothing to do with it. But, indeed when a rehosting is required (and I mean an actual rehosting from one machine to another) we do charge $25 for non-maintenance licenses. But, this is a service matter that ought to be paid for and is indeed less than a typical support call ($49). And getting back to Adobe, if you had a similar problem with them they would charge you $49 just to talk to you in a situation like this. BUT, again, this is only when a real move from one machine to another is required. However if we determine that the machine is not actually different (which we can do by the way) even if the reported machine ID has changed, we do not charge the $25 in all cases.

Had Mr. Justin bothered to contact us he would have found that out and would be working already. And by the way, a simple firmware upgrade should not change a machine ID -this is the first we have heard of such a thing- and in fact we cannot find any evidence online that is would.

So there may be some other reason why his machine ID has changed. And if his physical machine has actually not changed then he can retrieve his existing license file from web page we have set up here http://www.avenza.co...pport#licensing for just this situation. If any element of your original machine configuration that generated that ID and license file is still present then that license file will work. My suspicion is that Justin is just unhappy about the $25 fee which he may not even be charged and I guess that what upsets us the most is that rather than calling or emailing us to get his problem solved he chose this forum to get our attention and perhaps exact some revenge for what he incorrectly perceives to be an injustice.

If Justin wants to abandon his MAPublisher use and stick with ESRI that is certainly his prerogative as much as it is anybody's but I can assure him and everyone reading this that the level of support and software stability that he would receive from us is head and shoulders above that from almost every other software company he can think of.

I would also like to thank Mr. Medieros for chiming in on this and defending us a little. Mr. Medieros is indeed a happy and satisfied customer who can appreciate the benefits of our products and the great customer service we exhibit.

So to all new, existing and proposed Avenza customers who read this thread, please do youselves some justice and due diligence and rather than jumping on this negative band wagon started by Mr. Justin, feel free to call or email Avenza and find out what the real truth is about our licensing system.

And in closing, not to dismiss Mr. Justin entirely, we shall indeed take his comments, however terse, into consideration as we continue to update, improve and evolve our products with each new release.

Thanks for listening
Ted

Ted Florence

Avenza Systems Inc.

When Map Quality Matters ®

www.avenza.com

 

Cartographic and spatial imaging solutions for Adobe Creative Suite

Mobile mapping solutions for using, selling and distributing maps to mobile devices

 

 

 

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#6
Hans van der Maarel

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I know piracy must be a problem, but it seems like there just wouldnt be that many pirates interested in this software because it has a high learning curve and is generally targeted to a pretty specific audience. I might be wrong, though (?)


Unfortunately pirates pirate for the sheer heck of it. And equally unfortunately there's people out there, even in our very specific audience, who will gladly use commercial software illegally if they can. That's why we have to deal with software registration. Speaking from experience, I can say that Avenza, and other smaller companies, are usually the easiest to work with in that regard.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#7
David Medeiros

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Now unlike Adobe and Microsoft, we actually will support our customers almost immediately over the phone and via email when things like this arise and anyone who uses MAPublisher or Geographic Imager can attest to the fact that not only do we respond immediately but that 99% of the time their licensing issue is resolved within minutes, if not seconds.


This is very true. I don't get anywhere near the same level of attention from any of the other software providers I use, and I'm just a typical MAPub user (no other licenses, not a high profile client). As you can see from this thread they go out of their way to find their users where ever they are and offer support if appropriate.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#8
Justin

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Hi Ted (and all)

I apologize if you feel that I was being overly negative, I really don't think I was. I never said you have a bad company, its a fantastic company. I think you provide great customer service, and you have a good product. I'm just griping about your ridiculous Machine ID licensing system and the fact that so much communication is required between end user and company to keep the thing functional from a licensing perspective. None of our adobe products behave in the same manner, and update automatically when the serial number is entered. None of our other software stopped working with NIC changes. None. The fact that so much support is required should make you think about changing the way you license your product to reduce your support overhead and irritation to consumers.

My main point here was to inquire about the reasoning behind why you license your products this way, which I think is pretty clear, is different to the end user from most other software products we use. You answered well enough, and thank you.

#9
Justin

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Additionally, I posted here instead of constacting you to get the opinions of other customers rather than the view of the software manufacturer - i'm sure you can appreciate that.

I dont care about paying $25 each time, its the taxpayers' community college bank account its coming out of. :)

#10
Paul H

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I just want to chime in that my experience has been the Avenza Technical Support is among the best I've ever experienced. I've had immediate and thorough responses whenever I've needed them.

#11
Ted Florence

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Thanks to everyone (Dave, Paul, Hans) who weighed in on this thread.
Justin has been in touch with me directly outside of Cartotalk and it seems that the whole thing was blown way out of proportion and we have indeed achieved peace in our time.
Regards
Ted

Ted Florence

Avenza Systems Inc.

When Map Quality Matters ®

www.avenza.com

 

Cartographic and spatial imaging solutions for Adobe Creative Suite

Mobile mapping solutions for using, selling and distributing maps to mobile devices

 

 

 

mp_logo.gif    gi_logo.gifpdf-maps-icon.png
 





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