E-On changed their network licensing... and it stinks


In case you didn’t know, E-On has changed their licensing policy and their software such that you have to pay them $200/year just to run your network license server.

This was a complete surprise to me. I’ve paid for my Vue xStream maintenance plan for a few years. From the beginning I’ve had a network license for convenience in my life.

When Vue 11 was released, it required use of their new license server. Little did I know, this new LS was on a timer.

This week I logged into the LS and got a notice that it will expire in two weeks.

So I posted on the E-On forums and you may find it interesting:


I’m not alone in feeling this was less than honorable. Another has interpreted this as Bait-n-Switch. I tend to agree with that interpretation.


I tried to raise awareness of this at the time on the GeeksAtPlay review and elsewhere, such as this thread :


I’ve been waiting for people to be bitten by this because warning ahead of time seemed to be getting minimal attention on the change of policy.


Well…all the movie houses are using the product…probably paying Thousand$ upon thousand$ of dollar$ for licensing…because they NEED the product. There’s no denying the product is good…very good and STABLE…Have you seen the price of the competiton…yikess…If I remember the software came FREE at one time bundled with Lightwave way back in 2004. They have come a long way…however…there is a verse(Proverbs) in the Bible that says…“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches”. Always good to be favorable to the ones that have been with you.


e-on posted in their forums today that they’ve decided to change their policy. It’s rather belated, but they did listen so I have to give them credit for that :


Their announcement follows :

Following this discussion, we have been reflecting internally on the License Server policy and can see why some of you feel that our policy is not fair, especially towards users who just want to use the License Server to drive a small render farm of RenderNodes.
We also understand that the yearly license fee can be viewed as unfair for those who are happy with a given release and don’t wish to upgrade to a newer version of our products. Consequently, we have decided to make the following changes to our License Server policy:

  • We will modify the Windows and Mac RenderNodes so that the License Server is no longer required in order to use RenderNodes.

  • Using the License Server will no longer require the payment of a compulsory yearly maintenance fee.

  • Compatibility with the latest versions of our software will require that you upgrade your License Server as well. Upgrades for the License Server will be available like other product upgrades. If you decide to keep your License Server under maintenance, you will continue to receive free upgrades for your License Server at no charge; if you don’t get maintenance for your License Server, you will not receive these upgrades, but you can still continue using your existing License Server with your existing software forever.


I applaud the policy reconsideration and modification. E-On makes some cool art tools. I love Vue.

I will likely continue to keep up-to-date with Vue. However, I can’t image paying $200 per year on a license server for updated versions of the software–despite the fact that it is very convenient in my circumstances.

As noted in the thread linked above, I own a wide array of commercial 3D apps that use license servers and network licenses. While the exact implementation varies, almost all licensing is agnostic as to where the license and license server are kept (locally or remote). Many companies don’t charge a dime for this (Afterworks, Ephere, Itoosoft, Di-O-Matic). Those that do charge have always been a one-time fee (nPower, Orbaz, even Autodesk, and now formerly, E-on Software).

The way Autodesk works is that you are upgrading the license itself to a network seat, so upgrades to your annual subscription are to that license (which is already a multi-seat license now). That, essentially, is how I’ve interpreted the purchase of the E-On license server usage from the beginning.

So even though they have back-pedaled on this in a more palatable fashion, it is still not very consumer friendly. The consumer simply has a higher financial burden with not one single extra service than they once received–and the customer actually gets less for the money they do spend to begin with after this new licensing policy.

How this affects their bottom line is unknown to me. I do know that it makes me personally more skeptical about making purchases.


Just to keep this all on the record, the URLs that were used above have changed. As such, I updated the URL above. And a direct link to E-on Staff having updated the E-on License Server Policy is located on Page #4 of the thread.

I’m updating this thread because my Vue stopped working and I had to re-activate my license server. The re-activation did revive my server… but it is still on a timer (going to shut off in one year according to the Server information). I’m expecting to get an updated version of the application that won’t auto-destruct based on the promise of the updated policy changes (quoted by Phil above).

I used to feel proud about funding developers of cool software. That feeling is being abused anymore.