Apprentice Local Licensing FAQs


What is local licensing?

Traditionally, Houdini asks the hserver process for permission to start. Hserver runs on the local machine and acquires the license token from the main Houdini License Server process (sesinetd), usually on a remote host. For more information about hserver and sesinetd, please visit www.sidefx.com->Support->FAQs->About Licensing.

While this architecture is flexible and necessary for Commercial workstation and network licensing, it is needlessly complex for Apprentice and Indie users. To simplify licensing, Houdini can use local licensing for Apprentice and Indie. In this mode, Houdini verifies the licenses locally by itself, never contacting the hserver or sesinetd processes.

On startup, Houdini looks in the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file to decide which licensing mode to use. $HFS is the environment variable used to identify the installation location of Houdini. Note that only node-locked (workstation) Apprentice and Indie licenses can be used in the local licensing mode. For Commercial licenses, the sesinetd licensing mode is mandatory, but it can also be used for Apprentice and Indie.

How do I know which licensing mode Houdini is using?

The Houdini License Administrator (hkey) specifies the licensing mode in the Server Information tab.

How do I switch Houdini from using network to local licensing mode?

If you have installed Apprentice or Indie licenses in network mode, you will need to copy the “licenses” file to “licenses.local” within the following directory:

  • Windows: C:\Windows\keys
  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/

Then, you must set the licensingMode parameter to localValidator in the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file. $HFS is the environment variable used to identify the installation location of Houdini. You can simply add the following line to that file:

licensingMode = localValidator

Now the Houdini License Administrator (hkey) will report “Licensing mode: local licensing” in the Server Information tab, and Houdini will use the local licensing mode.

Optionally, if you don't intend to use network licensing at all, you can shutdown the hserver and sesinetd processes or services.

How do I switch Houdini from using local to network licensing mode?

If you have installed Apprentice or Indie licenses in local mode, you will need to copy the “licenses.local” file to “licenses” within the following directory:

  • Windows: C:\Windows\keys
  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/

Then, you must set the licensingMode parameter to sesinetd in the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file. You can simply look for the line containing the licensingMode assignment and change the right-hand side value to sesinetd:

licensingMode = sesinetd

If the sesinetd process is not running, you will have to start it manually.

You must have Administrative rights (root, sudo) to be able to stop/start the license server.

Windows:

You can start and stop the Houdini License Server in the Services area of Windows.

  1. Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
  2. There is a service called Houdini License Server that you can start

Linux:

  1. Run the sesinetd startup script located in /etc/init.d
  2. Usage: /etc/init.d/sesinetd start

Mac:

  1. launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist
I have two versions of Houdini. Do both of them use local licensing?

Each installed version of Houdini can be configured independently of other versions since the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file is specific only to a single version. $HFS is the environment variable that points to the installation of Houdini. For both versions to use local licensing, you will need to edit two Licensing.opt files. However, all installed versions of Houdini will use a single licenses.local file because this file is common to all versions.

Howerver, the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file can be overridden by $HOME/houdiniX.Y/Licensing.opt. If you edit the overriding file, all Houdini versions X.Y will adhere to that configuration.

Why is the “Change License Server” option grayed out in the License Administrator when I am in local licensing mode?

Since Houdini is not using a license server in local licensing mode, it does not make sense to change the server. The option will become active if you switch to network licensing mode.

I have problems installing licenses in the local licensing mode. Fields are grayed out in the License Administrator.

Make sure that you have sufficient file permissions to create or write to the “licenses.local” file in the following directory, based on your platform:

  • Windows: C:\Windows\keys
  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/
What do I do if I'm having license trouble?

If you are experiencing difficulties with any part of the licensing process:

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Under the View menu, select "Diagnostic Information"
  3. Save the file and attach it in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com

If you don't have a graphical display, you can type "sesictrl -f > file". Attach the file to an email and send it to support@sidefx.com.