he Windows port of ISO Master is almost ready. That’s not a programmer’s amost, it really is. All the existing ISO Master functions work, I added a drive selector (that wasn’t needed on Linux), the nag screen works, and I set up a page on the website to accept payments via a credit card or a PayPal account. Take a look:

ISO Master on windows with nag scren

Once I decided to use GTK (rather than rewrite the GUI for win32) the porting went very smoothly. The part that’s left to do is the reason for the title of this post – the key generator.

Once upon a time I was a student, an idealistic person with no need to reconcile my beliefs with the economic reality. No longer. These days I demand to be payed for work that’s not a hobby or a favour. And writing software for windows is neither of those, I assure you.

So I’ll be doing my best to make sure using an unlicenced copy of ISO Master on windows is as painful as possible. For now I only decided on two measures: a nag screen that won’t go away for a few seconds, and a few files on the saved ISOs of the ‘Created with ISO Master demo.txt’ type.

I realise that the more annoying I make it the more likely it is that someone will be pissed enough to fork the project and leave me in the dust. So I’m taking measures to make that difficult too. Which I won’t go into, I have to keep them secret or else there’s no point in having them :)

Back to the key generator. As a minimum I need something to generate a pool of valid keys in a format that allows a much larger pool of invalid keys. A quick search suggests there is no open soruce licence management system of any caliber. Not really surprising.

So I’d have to either pay for one or make my own. I found a simple key generator online for 7$ or so, and that would be a reasonable choice for me if all I wanted was a measure to prevent cats walking on the keyboard from typing in a valid key, but I can do so much more…

I have an idea that would make key generators (the pirate’s kind) impossible. I have more ideas about how to integrate my generator with billing systems, incremental upgrades, and online validation. Hell why not – through some DRM and software patents in there too. And I have the skills to do all of these things.

So I cought myself seriously considering building a grand (but modular) licence management system that would work for any business from a one-man operation to a large enterprise. When I realised what I was thinking I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. How quickly I went from a strong believer on open source to proponent of solutions for squeezing money out of users :)