Lasting Availability – Not a Matter of Choice

Since 2003, CmSticks have been available to protect and license your software. One great advantage of CodeMeter is that you do not have to change how it is integrated in your software. Software protected by CodeMeter that was bought in 2003 will function just as well with a CmStick bought in 2015. Even form factors that were invented much later, like the CmStick with flash memory (CmStick/M) or CmCards supporting SD, microSD, CF, and CFast standards can be used without any changes required on your part. The only action needed is to update the CodeMeter Runtime.

Let‘s look behind the scenes to learn how this degree of reliability and availability has been achieved.

Smart Card Chips

Every CmStick and every CmCard comes with a smart card chip that includes Wibu-Systems firmware for its CodeMeter functionality. In addition to the firmware, the smart card chip is the place to store your keys with state-of-the-art security.

The evolution of smart card chips is mainly powered by the consumer market, which is used to short product lifecycles. Later models are not always compatible in this world.

Wibu-Systems Is Thinking Ahead For You

For us, it is important that software developers like you have permanent and reliable access to compatible CmSticks. We have long-term framework agreements in place to guarantee that our chosen smart card chip is available for the longest viable period. Even then, any smart card chip has an end of life. That is why we are always looking ahead and keeping an eye out for promising successors.

How Can I See Which Smart Card Chip Is Used?

You can see the version of the smart card chip by checking the box mask of CmDongle’s serial number. Current CmDongles have serial numbers starting with a “3-”. This stands for the third generation of the dongle, which uses a smart card chip produced by Infineon Technologies from Germany. All CmSticks without flash memory were already switched to the current smart card chip, while their flash-equipped peers are set to follow in 2016.

Do I Need a New CodeMeter Runtime?

Technical progress means that the hardware used for CmDongles is not always available in fully compatible versions. In these rare cases, an update to a current version might be required.

Standard features might change as we develop and improve compatibility with modern PCs. Wibu-Systems will make sure that the new standard features can be used on all runtime versions that were released within the last two years.

One such change is the transition form a Mass Storage Device (a CmStick with a drive letter) to a Human Interface Device (a CmStick without drive letter). 

Supporting New Functions

The firmware of CmDongles can be updated with updates from Wibu-Systems. Secure signatures are in place to make sure that no fake or tampered firmware will find its way onto a CmDongle.

Updates also allow us to roll out new functions to CmDongles that are already being used in the field. Technical limitations might mean that some new functions cannot be retrofitted to all older generations of CmDongles.

Availability? – Of Course

Even though individual components might only be produced for a short period of time, our CmDongle is a product that you will be able to buy in compatible versions for many years to come. We are dedicated to keeping the CodeMeter API backward compatible at every turn, so that you do not need to change anything in your software. We will keep innovating to make sure that new CmDongles can be used with new interfaces coming into the market, while staying compatible with the trusted old connectors. Existing functions will remain available in future models.

We can say with confidence: “Of course a compatible version of our products will stay available for the long run. All you need is to update the CodeMeter Runtime – and often, not even that.”


KEYnote 30 – Edition Fall 2015

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