User right when the houdini license system fails?

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I've recently experienced several issues with the houdini license administrator locking me out of houdini and resulting in loss of worktime. I've written support and although they do reply it usually takes half a day or more before the issue is resolved. I was curious if anyone else experience the same and if someone knows what rights you have as a customer in such circumstances?
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I have never experienced what you have, but I don't use the launcher. If you're not using the old installer, give it a try.
Using Houdini Indie 20.0
Windows 11 64GB Ryzen 16 core.
nVidia 3050RTX 8BG RAM.
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I'm not sure if it's the same issue you are describing, but I recently started using sidefx as my license server and have been having random lockout issues. It seems to happen mostly when I'm rendering in the background or have some background houdini task running, such as caching geo to disk. I don't think it's ever happened when I'm NOT doing something like that. I'll be working in the UI, and suddenly get a popup saying there are no licenses available, and houdini shuts down with no opportunity to save my work. I can use the license administrator, so it doesn't seem to be a communication problem with sidefx. It didn't happen before switching to using sidefx as a license server. It's quite sporadic, which makes it hard to track down the problem.
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Quick update on this... I'm 70% sure that deadline is causing the problem for me. It appears to be pulling a gui license when rendering, instead of an engine license. I saw a thread on the thinkbox forum, saying they are aware of the problem and working on a fix, but the thread is from 3 years ago. https://forums.thinkboxsoftware.com/t/houdini-ifd-generation-using-gui-license/25398 [forums.thinkboxsoftware.com]
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If things work fine and then suddenly start to cause problems or stop working, most of the time some environmental issues had changed. Did some things change like hardware, additional software, updates. Keep in mind the automatic OS updates. A workstation is often a changing environment due to updates alone.
As of this complicated nature I guess You are lucky to find the problem, but holding someone responsible for this is another thing.
This might be the case for systems that advertise this kind of feature, but this often works only in a very closed system with minimal system changes and very slow development.

If that kind of stability is important to You, I recommend to work on a very limited system with close to zero changes, beside of security critical updates, not automated. Redundancy would also help.
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Houdini has an ENABLE_OFFLINE_LIC environment variable. Set that to 1 and it will give you a grace period of a few days before it checks for your license again. Not sure that will help in this case, but thought I'd mention it.

EDIT: See below for correct info.
Edited by BrianHanke - Jan. 9, 2024 11:12:32
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I've recently experienced several issues with the houdini license administrator locking me out of houdini and resulting in loss of worktime.
Hi, we are very sorry to hear you recently had a poor experience with our software. With every release, we try to improve upon the reliability of the software especially around licensing and we certainly understand there is a way to go to achieve that goal. With Houdini 20.0 we have addressed several bugs regarding the grace period and have added features to better inform the user if and when there are licensing issues. I would also like to note that our current support hours are 9am-4pm Monday to Friday EST. We understand that customers with working hours outside of these hours can result in a delayed response from support. Additionally, we have an office shutdown between December 25th and January 1st which can result in delayed responses as we catch up on tickets that come in during this time.

BrianHanke
Houdini has an ENABLE_OFFLINE_LIC environment variable.
This environment variable is no longer used. Its original intent was to allow Houdini to have a grace period of 3 days when using login licensing. With Houdini 20.0 we give a grace period of 2 weeks if hserver is unable to contact the license server (on-premise or sidefx.com) and 20 minutes otherwise. In both cases, if there is a grace period with Houdini 20.0 and Hserver 20.0 the user should see an error pop-up informing of the grace period which should give enough time to save the work and address the problem.
Matt Warner
Software Developer - Licensing
SideFX
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Good to know, thanks for the clarification Matt!
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