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Hidden license information

There's been discussion and speculation lately in the forum regarding lookout beeing aquired by microsoft as a result of the original developer beeing cought of using pirated development tools.  Big IT also tells tales about how his company aquired assets of others in similar cases.

How were these compaines actually cought? Is the license information hidden inside the executables produced by the compilers? Does microsoft development tools hide this kind of information?

Jenny Svensson
Saturday, July 24, 2004

That explanation is complete crap. Microsoft does not buy companies by catching them using tools without licences.

For a start, most of them are so cosy with Microsoft developer relations they've got licences to tools coming out of their ears.

Don't believe every little rumour you hear.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

I assumed it was a troll/joke. But I'm sure I have the advantage of being mostly detached from the Microsoft dev world.

If it turns out to be true, I'll take the movie "Antitrust" more seriously.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Saturday, July 24, 2004

I really doubt Microsoft's lawyers advised them to engage in criminal racketeering, just to get the assets of some little company.

Gill Bates
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Why would it be criminal to include such information (license key) in, for example, a executable?

Jenny Svensson
Saturday, July 24, 2004

After reading "I, Cringely" articles on Microsoft and their competitive strategies, I tend to side with the belief that they will go to any lengths to get rid of competition.

James Thomas
Saturday, July 24, 2004

I, Cringely, would know, wouldn't he.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Sometimes there is info about licensee in generated files whether they be executables or spreadsheet documents. More commonly, there is global user and machine ID information embedded in executables and documents. Even if the person has not registered and thinks themselves anonymous, they are likely to have at some point used their machine to generate a document or executable that includes identifying information. These facts are used by the fbi and others when tracking down suspects. But it can also be used, to locate and people companies that are using unlicensed software. Usually its not worth going after them. But if they have desirable assets, then it is worth going after them. Racketeering has nothing to do with this: it is a long established legal tactic that if you are going to bother going after someone its best to choose someone with assets.

Observer
Saturday, July 24, 2004

"More commonly, there is global user and machine ID information embedded in executables and documents"

Prove it.

Mr. O
Saturday, July 24, 2004

It's not like this is even a big secret - it was even in plain text for a while and readily viewable. But you believe what you like, Mr. Ononymous.

Observer
Saturday, July 24, 2004

I guess as proof, why don't you download any one of the numerous programs that offer to scrub this information and review the documentation.

Observer
Saturday, July 24, 2004

How about I just compile on two different computers with two different licenses and see that the exe's are exactly identical?

Mr. O
Sunday, July 25, 2004

>More commonly, there is global user and machine ID information embedded in executables and documents.

That is how the guy who wrote the Melissa virus was caught.

MS Word 2k, by default, includes a UUID in every document. The algorithm for creating GUID/UUIDs includes the MAC address off your ethernet card.

Peter
Sunday, July 25, 2004

"The algorithm for creating GUID/UUIDs includes the MAC address off your ethernet card. "

Not really now. There are two algorithms, and they switched to the 'random number' algorithm by default after that. You can still use the 'MAC address' algorithm with an API call, useful if you want to generate a series of IIDs or similar.

mb
Sunday, July 25, 2004

The random # is generated once and after that your id s always the same. So... the fact that its random and not tied to your networking card is not relevant in the least.

Observer
Monday, July 26, 2004

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