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    License Key conflict bug

    JamesMeiss

      Summary

      License Key conflict bug

      Description of the issue

      I have a reproducible bug with FM 10.0v3 on Mac OS 10.6.1. 1) I open a remote database.2) For some reason I loose connection to the database (can simulate this by pulling the Ethernet cord).3) The file is closed with the message: "Communication with the host was interrupted"4) I reestablish my network and attempt to open the file again.5) I get the message "The Maximum number of Licensed Users are currently using this copy..." with the conflict being MY OWN machine. Filemaker shuts down. I can get FM to reopen sometimes by relaunching it, but more often I have to log out.Needless to say, this is painful.   

        • 1. Re: License Key conflict bug
          WoodApple
             This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest problems with running a Filemaker network solution. If a client loses connection to the server(or crashes), the sever does not know it. Furthermore, this can cause corruption in the file (even if the user only had read-only privileges).  The corruption will seldom be immediately apparent and may not cause a problem at all but over time, it is more and more likely to. (the most common problem I have seen is a fields index becoming corrupt and finds on that field returning incomplete results.) Networks will go down, Clients will crash even in the best of environments. A Filemaker network solution will work wonderfully if these two thing don't happen but the reality is they do. I feel the license key bug is just a symptom of this much larger problem. Perhaps I am naive but I don’t understand why this kind of error cannot be captured on the server and gracefully revert all open records, unlock records, and exit the user. (Protecting the data and preventing a license key conflict with yourself.)

           

          • 2. Re: License Key conflict bug
            JamesMeiss
              

            Just to follow-up on my own bug report: This also happens on another Mac, running OS 10.5. 

            It is a big bug and makes me question the whole thing. Why did I bother to buy 6 licenses if I cannot share the data?

             

            I also noticed, as WoodApple explained that the database got corrupted after several "network disconnects". This is horrible! 

            • 3. Re: License Key conflict bug
              philmodjunk
                

              This is a known issue: http://forum-en.filemaker.com/fm/board/message?board.id=aut&message.id=1143&query.id=350847#M1143

               

              The above thread references a knowledge base article on the subject.

               

              With regards to the disconnects causing corruption, I have not seen files being corrupted due to a disconnect. I have seen the opposite where file corruption caused the disconnections. If you are having frequent client disconnects, I'd check the health of the network and my files just to rule out those possible issues.

               

              In my own experience, client disconnects don't happen very often.

              • 4. Re: License Key conflict bug
                WoodApple
                  

                With regards to the disconnects causing corruption, I have not seen files being corrupted due to a disconnect. I have seen the opposite where file corruption caused the disconnections. If you are having frequent client disconnects, I'd check the health of the network and my files just to rule out those possible issues.


                I my experience, Client disconnects cause corruption.(seldom an issue if it happens once or twice) You are correct that corruption can cause a client to crash. So a network problem that causes disconnects can cause corruption in the hosted file and even after the network is repaired you may still have disconnects due to the corruption created in the file. If you run a network that can be intermitate(like wireless networks) and lose a large amout of packets filemaker will disconnect.(even when other network applications stay online.) Running on a healthy internal network you will seldom if ever see these problems.

                 

                • 5. Re: License Key conflict bug
                  philmodjunk
                    

                  The tricky thing about file corruption is that a damaged file can seem to be just fine until obvious signs of corruption eventually appear. It is then sometimes necessary to refer back through many backup copies before you can find a "clean" copy. This makes it difficult to determine whether a disconnect caused corruption or corruption caused a disconnect. 

                   

                  I can only state with certainty that disconnects have been very rare on my system and no file damage was detected afterwards. That's not to say I'm right and you're wrong as your experiences may well differ from mine in this respect.

                  • 6. Re: License Key conflict bug
                    TSGal

                    All:

                     

                    Thank you for your posts.

                     

                    On two servers, I am running FileMaker Server 10 Advanced and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced.  Each server is hosting a number of files.

                     

                    I have two Macs.  One is running Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) and another running Mac OS X 10.6.1 (Snow Leopard), both running FileMaker Pro 10.0v3.  Trading off different servers, I am able to access each file and disconnect.  I force disconnect the server by removing the ethernet cable, and I am unable to cause any corruption or damage to the files on the server.  After a few minutes, I plug in the ethernet cable, launch FileMaker Pro and access the files again.

                     

                    FileMaker Server is solely hosting the files.  Clients access these files.  If anything happens to the clients, FileMaker Server continues.  If FileMaker Server crashes, that may cause damage to the database files being hosted, and it certainly would disconnect the clients.  I have not encountered a client causing a hosted file to become corrupt.  However, I don't doubt this is happening to you, so I will need more information to try and duplicate the problem.

                     

                    Are any other activities running on the server hosting the file?  We recommend a standalone server because other applications could interfere with the performance of the server.

                     

                    How long have these files been in production?  Did the server ever crash when these files were being hosted?  Is it just one file that continues to crash?

                     

                    Do you have a reproducible case that causes the corruption?

                     

                    Any additional information you can provide may be helpful in determining the possible cause(s).

                     

                    TSGal

                    FileMaker, Inc.

                    • 7. Re: License Key conflict bug
                      WoodApple
                        

                      TSGal wrote:

                      Are any other activities running on the server hosting the file?  We recommend a standalone server because other applications could interfere with the performance of the server.


                      Nothing else running, the server is stand alone.

                       


                      TSGal wrote:

                      How long have these files been in production?  Did the server ever crash when these files were being hosted?  Is it just one file that continues to crash?


                       

                      Some of the files(or various incarnations of) have been around since version 2. Most are newer. I am sure the server has crashed with these files on it at some point in the files history (I have not been the only developer over the years but all the files are stable in a good network environment and do not currently show any signs of corruption.) It is not a single file but the entire server that seems to become unresponsive. (Files will not close, services will not stop, ...). 

                       


                      TSGal wrote:

                      Do you have a reproducible case that causes the corruption?


                       

                      Not something I try to reproduce but 25-35 people accessing files on a filemaker server using a network that loses connection periodically causing half of the users to be disconnected 3-4 times daily for a week or more. (I suspect that corruption happens more often than once a week but only becomes an issue over time. Additionally, I suspect that it will only cause corruption if the disconnect(s) happens during certain processes, perhaps when an action on a client triggers a field to be indexed or any other action that could effect multiple records or if the user is in a non-committed record. Just some guesses.)

                       

                      As for identifying corruption, that is a difficult task as the tools we have are limited. For example, If an index is bad there is not any good way to find out, you can rebuild the index and it will "fix" the problem but you will not know the problem is there until some user says something like "I just did a find for a customer with the last name of Jones and I couldn't find it but was able find it using the job number" (Index bad on the last name field)

                       

                      None of this is an issue on a healthy network w/ files that are stable. (as mine are at the moment)




                      • 8. Re: License Key conflict bug
                        JamesMeiss
                          

                        I am not using Filemaker Server, just Filemaker Pro 10.0v3 to share the database. Perhaps the bug is only in Filemaker Pro. I have two computers running Mac OS 10.6.1.

                         

                        Disconnects in the network don't cause Filemaker on the "server" computer to crash. However the client, when it looses connection the client version of Filemaker will complain about its License

                         

                          "The maximum number of licenced users are currently useing this copy of Filemaker Pro.....License key conflict occurred with user XXXXXX"

                         

                        where XXX is Me!  It will not let me use Filemaker again. Though someone remarked that the license should be okay after a few minutes, this does not occur for me. I seem to have to logout and log back in to get Filemaker to run again.

                         

                        I cannot guarantee that corruption happens in the served database. However, I did notice that the database was corrupted after several such disconnects.  

                         

                        Both behaviors are very disturbing. 

                        • 9. Re: License Key conflict bug
                          philmodjunk
                            

                          If the original posts had followed the suggested guidelines:  How to report product issues to FileMaker

                           

                          much confusion would have been avoided. I assumed these reports were based on remote accessing files hosted by Filemaker Server. One of the advantages that FMS has over peer to peer hosting is that server helps protect files from damage caused when a client session crashes.

                          • 10. Re: License Key conflict bug
                            JamesMeiss
                              

                            Mea Culpa. I didn't think that "Server" and "Pro" would have the same version numbers, so I should have said "Filemaker Pro 10.0v3" instead of "FM 10.0v3".

                             

                            However, I did not complain about corruption, only the License conflict bug. I still do not have a work-around for that. Maybe that bug does not exist in the Server version. I have no information.

                            • 11. Re: License Key conflict bug
                              TSGal

                              James Meiss:

                               

                              If you are using FileMaker Pro and the files are being hosted by FileMaker Server, FileMaker Server keeps track of the users accessing the files.  If the client crashes, FileMaker Server doesn't know that you crashed.  It thinks you are still connected to the files.  Therefore, when you launch again and try to access the files, you will get the message that the user is still connected to the database file.  In other words, you will still get that message.

                               

                              When you crash with FileMaker Pro, you can get the License Key conflict message, because the network file still has that License Key being active.  Give it a couple of minutes, and it should reset itself.  It sounds like this isn't happening to you, no matter how long you wait.  If you unexpectedly quit, then log out and log back in.

                               

                              TSGal

                              FileMaker, Inc. 

                              • 12. Re: License Key conflict bug
                                JamesMeiss
                                  

                                I am not using the product called "Filemaker Server" since we do not own such a product--I could not afford the license, and my network use is very light. Instead, I am using the "Network Sharing" part of Filemaker Pro 10.0v3. Two Macs, both running the same product. The "client" opens the database remotely when it is open already on the "server". The version of Filemaker Pro on the server mac never crashes; neither does Filemaker Pro on the client mac--it just loses contact with the server. This happens frequently. Most often I am not actively using Filemaker on the client and no one is actively using Filemaker on the server at the time--both are idle in the background.
                                 
                                I believe you are correct that the Server does not know that the network disconnect occurred. However, I don't see why it can't figure it out more quickly. For example when I ask to reconnect, 
                                    1) Why doesn't it query the old connection to see if it still exists?
                                    2) Why doesn't it notice that I am the same computer with the same (fixed) IP address and say "welcome back!"?.
                                 
                                Moreover, given that my network is (gigabit) Ethernet (no wireless) and very robust (I can maintain a vnc and an ssh and an afp connection to my server just fine for hours at a time), it is discouraging that Filemaker loses the network connection so frequently. My experience suggests to me that the sharing part of Filemaker Pro is not very robust.
                                • 13. Re: License Key conflict bug
                                  TSGal

                                  James Meiss:

                                   

                                  Sorry for the confusion.  The Server information was included to explain how Server works, and how one place was serving files.

                                   

                                  When you unexpectedly quit, the License Key is still registered on the network, and it can take a couple of minutes for the network to refresh and flush out the License Key.  Please see Knowledge Base Article #2689 for more information:

                                   

                                  http://filemaker.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/filemaker.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2689

                                   

                                  On another note, I have a few FileMaker files that I access from a few servers (Windows and Mac), and those database files are usually open on one of my machines most of the day.  If I leave for lunch, and a screen saver kicks in, then I am viewed as "Idle", and after a certain amount of idle time, the server will log me off.  Otherwise, I have not run into any Sharing problems.  I know that doesn't immediately help you, but in my experience, I rarely lose a network connection.

                                   

                                  TSGal

                                  FileMaker, Inc. 

                                  • 14. Re: License Key conflict bug
                                    JamesMeiss
                                      

                                    Thanks for your response. I believe we are on the same page now.

                                    The knowledge base article mentions a "crash" as causing the License Key "bug", but not a network disconnect. I've made a suggestion for that page to be updated.

                                     

                                    IMHO, if Filemaker is really disconnecting because of an idle database (which is fine), then the server should release the License at the same time. Alternatively, the server should notice that I am the same computer attempting to reconnect, so I have a valid license.

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