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Licensing FAQ

This page provides answers for frequently asked questions (FAQs) and solutions related to product licensing across our enterprise and hosted products.

This section applies to servers activated with license files. License files are denoted by a file with the name in the following format: <expiration-date>_<product-code>_<organization>_<license-key>.lic.

Do I have to switch to license files? Can I continue to activate with my key?#

While you receive both a license key and a license file with every new purchase, expansion, or renewal, license files are our recommended method for activation. License files reduce the chance of unexpected expiration and activation issues caused by network issues in customer environments. They are also much more resilient when used in ephemeral, container-based, or air-gapped environments, and resolve the need for floating license servers. Read more about license files in our License File Activation for Posit Products white paper.

While activation via license files is recommended, other methods for activation using license keys continue to be supported.

What do I need to know about file permissions and location on my servers?#

In order to activate via a license file, the *.lic file must be present in the /var/lib/<rstudio-product> directory, where <rstudio-product> is one of rstudio-server, rstudio-connect, or rstudio-pm depending on the product installed.

This file must be readable by the root user and the RunAs1 service user defined for the product. By default, the RunAs1 user is rstudio-server for Posit Workbench and rstudio-pm for Posit Package Manager, but these can be modified by the customer.

Posit Connect always runs as the root user, so it is the only user that needs access to the license file as described in the Posit Connect Admin Guide. We recommend that 0600 permissions be used to ensure only those service users can read the file.

If your permissions are not set correctly, you may receive log messages indicating that there was an error verifying your license activation. This error and its solution is described in the Errors in verifying the license activation section.

How do I use the license file in containers?#

There are multiple ways to apply the license file to a container. Our recommendation is to mount the license file at runtime with Docker, or to mount a secret in Kubernetes with the contents of the license file since that is the usual way of including a file into a container at runtime. Then, refer to the file's location in an entry-point script that specifies the license file and launches the product. An alternative method is to place the license file on a network share. Many product instances can load it from there. Ensure that the license file is stored securely so unprivileged users cannot read it.

If you are using our Docker images, use the following environment variables:

RSW_LICENSE_FILE_PATH: The variable is set to the location of the attached license file, which is accessible to your container, e.g., /etc/rstudio-server/license.lic.

RSC_LICENSE_FILE_PATH: The variable is set to the location of the attached license file, which is accessible to your container, e.g., /etc/rstudio-connect/license.lic.

RSPM_LICENSE_FILE_PATH: The variable is set to the location of the attached license file, which is accessible to your container, e.g., /etc/rstudio-pm/license.lic.


If you are using our Helm charts, follow the recommended procedures in each product's README:

Ultimately, the Helm templates set the product-specific variables mentioned above for the Docker images.

I’m currently using a floating license. What are my next steps to switch to a license file?#

If you are currently using a floating license server, the license is no longer activated on a separate floating license server. Instead, the license is activated directly on the Posit product host server.

To renew your activation using a license file, first transfer the new license file to the Posit product host server. Then, perform the following steps with slightly different commands per product to turn off activations through the floating license server:

  1. Modify the product-specific configuration file so that the <license type> variable is set to local instead of remote. This forces the server to look for a local key activation instead of the activation coming from a lease with the floating license server.
  2. Clear the floating license server information out of the license-manager (run only the commands relevant to your Posit product to disable floating license activation):

    • Modify the server-license-type value in /etc/rstudio/rserver.conf to be local instead of remote:

      /etc/rstudio/rserver.conf
      server-license-type=remote
      
    • Run the following command to remove any record of the floating license server from the Posit Workbench host server:

      $ sudo rstudio-server license-manager clear-license-server
      
    • Modify the Licensing.LicenseType value in /etc/rstudio-connect/rstudio-connect.gcfg to be local instead of remote:

      /etc/rstudio-connect/rstudio-connect.gcfg
      [Licensing]
      LicenseType = local
      
    • Run the following command to remove any record of the floating license server from the Posit Connect host server:

      $ sudo /opt/rstudio-connect/bin/license-manager clear-license-server
      
    • Modify the Licensing.LicenseType value in /etc/rstudio-pm/rstudio-pm.gcfg to be local instead of remote:

      /etc/rstudio-pm/rstudio-pm.gcfg
      [Licensing]
      LicenseType = local
      
    • Run the following command to remove any record of the floating license server from the Posit Package Manager host server:

      $ sudo /opt/rstudio-pm/bin/license-manager clear-license-server
      
  3. Finally, run the license file activation commands for your product. These commands are available in each product's respective administration guide using the following links:


After successfully activating all product host servers that your floating license server provided activation leases for with a license file, you are free to decommission your floating license server.

I’m currently using a traditional license key. What are my next steps to switch to a license file?#

To renew your activation using a license file:

  1. Transfer the updated license file to the Posit product host server.
  2. Then, follow the procedures in the product guides linked below to remove the record of the license key’s activation from the server:

    • Online deactivation:

      $ sudo /opt/rstudio-pm/bin/license-manager deactivate
      $ sudo systemctl restart rstudio-pm
      
    • Offline deactivation in the Moving an offline local activation callout.

  3. Once the previous license has been successfully deactivated, run the activation commands for your product. These commands are available in each product's respective administration guide using the following links:


How do I renew a server activated with a license file?#

To renew your activation using a license file, first transfer the new license file received from Posit during renewal to the Posit product host server. Then, run the following command to remove the old license file from the server location:

rm /var/lib/<rstudio-product>/<old-license-file>.lic

Where <rstudio-product> is one of rstudio-server, rstudio-connect, or rstudio-pm, depending on the product installed.

Once that file has been removed, run the activation commands for your product. These commands are available in each product's respective administration guide using the following links:


How can I tell if my license file is correct or if there is something wrong with my license file?#

The format of your license file can be confirmed by the output from running the cat command. The license file should be written in the following format:

-----BEGIN RSTUDIO LICENSE-----
<some lines of encrypted text>
-----END RSTUDIO LICENSE-----

Since the file contains encrypted text, you may not notice anything is wrong with your license file unless you encounter an error during activation. The most common issues for a corrupt license file are described in the The license file reports missing information section.

I’m running in an HA or load-balanced environment, how do I apply the license file there?#

The license file must be applied to each server instance within your cluster, just as you would with a traditional license key. The following links to each product's respective administration guides provide the activation commands:


How can licensing fail when using a license file?#

The license file reports missing information#

Reported error:

Error reading license file: (29): The license file is missing information.

Likely cause:

This can happen if the file contains incorrect extra line terminators, commonly after it was opened on a Microsoft Windows machine.

The output from the file command can confirm this:

$ file rdp1.lic
rdp1.lic: ASCII text, with CRLF line terminators

The license file should return the following:

$ file rdp2.lic
rdp2.lic: ASCII text

Solution:

You can attempt to redownload the file sent with your licenses to get a fresh copy of the file or use the dos2unix command (installed on Ubuntu with sudo apt install dos2unix) to fix the line endings.


Errors in verifying the license activation#

Reported error:

ERROR Error verify: (19): The product is activated however the license manager is currently unable to connect to the license server to verify the activation.

Likely cause:

This is a common indication that something is amiss with your file permission or file ownership settings for the license file located in the /var/lib/<rstudio-product> directory.


Solution:

If this error displays, ensure your permissions are set so both root and the product's RunAs1 service user can read the license file in the /var/lib/<rstudio-product> directory as described in the What do I need to know about file permissions and location on my servers? section.


Unexpected expiration when license file is hosted on a network share drive#

Reported error:

Unexpected messages in the logs indicating that your license has expired despite having a valid license file hosted on a network drive and symbolically linked into the /var/lib/<rstudio-product> directory.


Likely cause:

The license file is located on a networked location rather than stored locally on the Posit product server host and the connection to the networked location is lost.


Solution:

Locally diagnose why the networked location is being lost and ensure that the /var/lib/<rstudio-product>/<license-file>.lic file is available prior to the Posit product instance start.


Unexpected expiration when there is a valid license key applied to the server but an expired license file exists#

Reported error:

Unexpected messages in the logs indicating that your license has expired despite having activated with a valid license key.


Likely cause:

This can happen if your Posit product server has previously activated with a license file that may now be expired, but you are attempting to renew the server with a valid license key. Because the presence of a license file in the /var/lib/<rstudio-product>/ directory always overrides other activation methods (e.g., activation via a license key), a server with an expired license file always presents the activation status of the license file, not the valid license key.


Solution:

Remove the old license file from the server location using the following command:

rm /var/lib/<rstudio-product>/<old-license-file>.lic

and then restart the server.

Where <rstudio-product> is one of rstudio-server, rstudio-connect, or rstudio-pm, depending on the product installed.

This removes the expired license file from the server and allows the updated license key to activate the Posit product.


Do I need to restart my server to pick up a license file change?#

Posit enterprise products must be restarted to pick up any licensing change, including when using or moving to license files.

Can I use a license file for Posit Workbench in AzureML or Posit Workbench for Google Cloud Workstations?#

No, these products continue to use license keys on these platforms.


  1. The method to modify the RunAs user setting varies depending on the Posit Team product. By default, the RunAs user is rstudio-server for Posit Workbench and rstudio-pm for Posit Package Manager.

    The Posit Connect service always runs as the root user, so it is the only user that needs access to the license file as described in the Posit Connect Admin Guide