License3j Free License management for Java

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Introduction

License3j is a Java library that can be used to create and assert license files. This way Java programs can enforce the users to compensate their use of the software in the form of a payment. This is the usual way when closed source programs are distributed.

License management alone does not guarantee that the program will not be stolen, pirated or used in any illegal way. However license management may increase the difficulty to use the program illegal and therefore may drive users to become customers. There is another effect of license management, and that is legal. If there is sufficient license management illegal users have less probability to successfully claim their use was based on the lack or false of knowledge of license conditions.

License3j is an open source license manager that you can use free of charge for non-profit purposes. (only non-profit???) However...

what is the use of a license manager for nonprofit purposes? Nothing. And we did not want to make a software that is of no use. Therefore this license manager is free to use for profit purposes as well under the license terms covered by LGPL. (If it were GPL you could not embed it into closed source application.)

A license for license3j is a properties file that is signed using digital signature. For example an old groowiki license is

person=Peter Verhas
edition=asp
phone=+36(30)9306805
email=peter@verhas.com
company=vvsc
application=groowiki
release-version=1.0.0
valid-date=2009-08-30
release-date=2009-08-30
issue-date=2009-07-29

You create the license file using a text editor or programmatically and encode it using license3j. When your program is used you load the license file, verify it using the Api of license3j and then get the property values and decide programmatically what features are available for your customer.

Not to reinvent the wheel we utilize the library from Bouncy Castle to perform the encryption and decryption and we use the format PGP to store the files. Therefore you have a wide range of tools readily available.

You can create and encode your licenses totally programmatically, or create the license manual and encode it using license3j or encode it using GPG. It is your choice.

To manage the key rings you have to use some PGP compatible program, like GPG. We did not develop the key management. However we provided a little document to help your first steps to create your licenses. This document tells you how to create your key ring files, add keys to it and how to encode a license under Windows using the bat file license3j.bat Encoding under Unix is similar using Java command line.

Download and Installation

The License3j module can be downloaded from the Sonatype central repository. To search the central repo follow the URL http://www.sonatype.org/central

If you use maven you can insert the lines

                <dependency>
                    <groupId>com.verhas</groupId>
                    <artifactId>license3j</artifactId>
                    <version>1.0.4</version>
                </dependency>

int your pom.xml file.

Notes to the installation

The file license3j-1.0.4-SNAPSHOT.jar is probably named license3j-x.y.z.jar if you use a released version of License3j.

Name of the game

There are many names that contain '2'. In these cases '2' stands for 'to' instead of 'two'. There are names containing '4' that stands for 'for'. For example license4j.

'3' in license3j stands for 'free' instead of 'three'. Because this is a free program.