Activation logic has been reworked to be simpler and more generous. You are free to upgrade to the new activation model or to continue using the old model. The changes below apply to Manifold 9, Manifold 8, and SQL for ArcGIS Pro:
The Activation dialog is reduced to only ask for a serial number. Activation keys and system IDs are reworked and removed from the UI.
Each serial number starts with 4 activations, with each of these activations regenerating perpetually. Activating the serial number on a new system spends an activation. Attempting to activate the serial number on the system that the serial number has been activated on last does not spend an activation, since the use of the license on that system has already been authorized. Attempting to activate the serial number on a different system asks the user if the license should be moved to the new system. The move spends an activation. In order to protect the user from quickly spending all activations by mistake, there is a forced 24-hour waiting period between activations. Activations also regenerate over time so that in any given 365 days the user can move the license between systems up to 4 times.
Activation is always done over the web. Activation of Manifold 8 using the Manifold 8 license server is not supported. In the future we are going to provide means to activate Manifold products on systems that have no direct access to the Internet, which will also do what the license server was doing for 8. For now, users who have no direct access to the Internet or need to use the license server should continue to use older builds: 9.0.174 and 8.0.30. Also, users of Manifold 8 who are using Manifold 8 as a web server have to make sure that the user account used for web sites can be logged in interactively so that they can launch Manifold 8 under that account interactively to activate it for the first time.
Activation does not need admin rights on the system. If the product is used from multiple user accounts, it will have to be activated separately for each user account, but since repeat activations on the same system are free, this spends just one activation for the first user and doesn't spend any more activations for other users.
The product periodically checks the status of the installed license over the web. The check is performed at product startup. The check is infrequent, fast and tolerant to slow or disappearing connections. Each successful check authorizes the use of the product on the system for multiple weeks. The user can explicitly check the status of the installed license and refresh authorization using the Check License button in the About dialog. If the product is started as an interactive session (normal use), the check is performed in a background thread, to minimize startup time. If the product is started as a non-interactive session (a call into an ODBC driver or into an object model, from a third-party application), the check is always performed in the calling thread, to avoid spawning new threads because the calling application might not be prepared for them. If there are multiple copies of the product being started simultaneously, they coordinate access to the license data between themselves to minimize the number of checks, and if a particular copy cannot access the license data for a prolonged period of time (10 seconds or more), eg, because the copy performing the check takes a long time to do this, it fails to start.
Activate and Activate Extension commands in the Help menu are removed. Command line activation switches are removed. The About dialog no longer displays the initial part of the serial number. The API calls in the Manifold 8 object model that return various hashes of the serial number for the installed license return empty strings.
Compatibility with older builds
Each Manifold 8 and Manifold 9 serial number may either continue using the old activation model or switch to the new model. If you install 8.0.31 or 9.0.175 and launch it, it will ask for the serial number. You can pass the serial number for the Manifold 8 or Manifold 9 license that you already have, and if you do this, the build will switch the serial number to the new activation model and activate it on your system. The switch will reset the number of available activations, so you will have 3 activations available = 4 granted at the start minus 1 used to activate on the system. Builds that use the old activation model will continue to function on systems that have already been activated using the old model, but you will not be able to get any new activation keys for the serial number that you switched to the new model. If you want to continue using the old activation model and want to use builds that use that model on new systems, do not use the serial number to activate the new builds.
For more on activation, with examples, see the New Activation page.