CADDManager on April 13th, 2005

Way back when… Microstation started letting people legally take home a copy of Microstation so that folks could learn the tool. Autodesk responded in kind and allowed users to have a copy at work and one at home. I am talking about legal copies (not the software that you got from your brother in law that you installed for “just fooling around”).

Well times have changed a little over the years. One change is that AutoCAD installs require “Verification” and “Registration and Activation”. This means that the installation process first Verifies your serial number and then Registers it to the machine it is installed on and Activates the software. If you have installed the product, you know the drill.

By doing this Autodesk has reduced pirated software and sold more legal copies. Something I applaud – I don’t like folks using illegal software to make money.


Here is the wording of the software license agreement related to multiple installs… (you agreed to this when you installed the software)

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3.1.2 Additional Installation. Except with regard to Educational Institutional, Student and Evaluation Versions only, You may Install and Access a second copy of the Software on the hard disk of a second Computer owned by You or under Your control provided that:

(i) the original and second copies are used only by the same person;

(ii) the second copy is Installed and Accessed only on either (a) with respect to Network Versions, a redundant server that makes the Software available for use only when Your primary server on which the active Software copy is Installed becomes inoperable, or (b) a notebook computer or other non-server computer away from Your usual work location for the purpose of enabling You to perform work while away from Your usual work location;

(iii) only one of the Software copies is Accessed at any one time; and

(iv) both copies of the Software are Installed and Accessed exclusively with the copy protection device (if any) supplied with the Software.

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This all sounds good – except… “second Computer owned by You or under Your control.” So if your company owns the software and the first computer – but your User owns their home computer (the second computer) – that would violate the letter of the license. Technically both machines must be owned by the same entity. Hmmm…

I am sure that Autodesk will not hunt you down (unless someone starts making loads of cash from their home based business with your company assets)

The above relates to standalone versions. What about Network copies?

The concept is that you should not allow more installs of home use than the total number of legal seats you own. So let say you have 25 licenses being managed by FlexLM on your LAN or WAN. You have it installed on 35 local machines in the office and it is limited to running 25 at any one time. You can only have 25 home use licenses – not 35.

Let’s think about what this means. Do the right thing. Are you legit? Are you striving to control the software assets that your firm owns? Don’t let home use get out of hand at your company.

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5 Responses to “AutoCAD Home Use”

  1. This is a great topic and one that I’d like to read more about. In the sceanrio presented, in which you have 35 AutoCAD installation, but a 25 max concurrent usage based on FlexLM, I don’t think that translates to allowing 25 people at home to install a home copy.

    At out company we use 72 AutoCAD licenses on FlexLM, servicing about 140 CAD users. But if I allowed 72 people to install AutoCAD at home (which I haven’t), it would still be possible to have 72 people using the software at work from the pool for 140 CAD users, but have 10 people at home using it as well, thus violating the maximum network licensing.

    Most companies have looked into ways to allow remote access, even with slow dialup devices, to allow a home user to dial in and borrow a network license using the License Borrowing Utility.

    Mark McDonough
    CAD Systems Manager
    Sasaki Associates

  2. I have also been working with the issue of home licenses for several years. I have found that with a constant VPN connection, the home users are able to use Autocad as if it were in the office. The VPN allows the home computer to be a part of the office network, including the licensing server.

    A tip that has solved timeout issues for dialup VPN users, is using the IP address of the FlexLM server instead of the server name.

    Troy Gates
    CAD Manager
    Design Plus, Inc.

  3. Yeah as others said VPN and borrowing is the way to go. VPN is usually quite good even when you have a slow link.

    When users are sitting at home in evenings you can actually monitor their usage with License Statistics to see how your actual usage is. It’s well recommended.

    Good luck!
    – Paul

  4. Wouldn’t the statement “second Computer owned by You or under Your control.” mean just what it says? Let me explain; my work computer is not owned by me but it is under my control. So I would not be violating anything by installing a second copy at home as the artical suggests you would.

  5. Heather,

    Remember: The Home Use License is worded from the perspective of the “owner” of the software. Your firm owns it – not you.

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