Subscription Advantage allows Citrix customers to obtain updated versions of their Citrix products while they keep with Subscription Advantage. In this post I give a brief overview of the license-file mechanics of Subscription Advantage for Essentials and along the way try to explain what means.

It’s all in the license file

All of the information we going to discuss is contained in the .lic files downloaded from MyCitrix.com. If you already installed your licenses, you can find them in the C:\Program Files\Citrix\Licensing\MyFiles folder. Here an example:

INCREMENT MPS_SMB_RN CITRIX 2005.0914 permanent 5 \
VENDOR_STRING=;LT=Retail;GP=720;CL=SMB;MLC=75;SA=0;ODP=0;NUDURMIN=2880;NUDURMAX=525600 \
DUP_GROUP=V ISSUED=05-Oct-2005 NOTICE= \
SN=LA-9999365386-09664:244383 START=14-sep-2005 SIGN= \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX

Subscription Advantage is based around dates, there are a few in this license, lets take a look in more detail:

START=14-sep-2005 This is the activation date of the license – the date on which, for licensing purposes, you bought the product. The relationship between the actual date you handed over the cash and the date in the license file can be somewhat complicated – but as far as licensing is concerned this is the purchase date. Attempting to use the product before this date won work – in practice you shouldn ever see one issued in the future, so that not a concern.

ISSUED=05-Oct-2005 This is the date you this particular license file from MyCitrix. In this example, we waited until 5th before downloading the file.

permanent This is actually a date. Normal Citrix licenses are perpetual, meaning that you can continue to use copy of the product you purchased indefinately. For evaluation licenses, and similar this field will contain a date, for example: 15-Oct-2006. For those licenses, the product will not be licensed after this date.

2005.0914 This is the date we been working towards, it the one that actually controls Subscription Advantage. In this example the date is 14-Sep-2005. Interestingly, all licenses – even those without Subscription Advantage – contain a date here.

Why is the date that controls Subscription Advantage in a strange format, and how does it work?

Date-based versions

The date 2005.0914 in the example above is actually a version number, in the form major.minor, where major is a year and minor is month and day. Also, notice how in the example above, the date is the same as the start date (i.e. the date the product was purchased). From now on, we call this the version date

Although you purchase Access Essentials 1.0 or 1.5, each version of the product actually has an embedded date which is version number actually used for licensing purposes. The simple rule is that a license file is valid if the date in the license file is later than, or the same as, version date embedded into the product. This means that any Access Essentials 1.5 license will also work just fine with Access Essentials 1.0 - what’s important is the date you purchased the license, not which version you bought.

Representing Subscription Advantage

So we know how date-based versioning works, how does this fit into Subscription Advantage? When you purchase an Access Essentials with Subscription Advantage, the version date is set one year on from the purchase date. In our example it would be 2006.0914:

INCREMENT MPS_SMB_RN CITRIX 2006.0914 permanent 5 \
VENDOR_STRING=;LT=Retail;GP=720;CL=SMB;MLC=75;SA=1;ODP=0;NUDURMIN=2880;NUDURMAX=525600 \
DUP_GROUP=V ISSUED=05-Oct-2005 NOTICE= \
SN=LA-9999365386-09664:244383 START=14-sep-2005 SIGN= \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX

Any version of Essentials with an embedded date or before September 14th, 2006 will be licensed. How can you tell which versions of Essentials allowed to use with your license file? For that you need a handy decoder table:

Product Version Embedded Version Date
Citrix Access Essentials 1.0 2005.0427 (April 27th, 2005)
Citrix Access Essentials 1.5 2006.0317 (March 17th, 2006)

Your license file will work with any version of CAE where the date in this table is on or before the date in the license file.

Subscription Advantage renewals

So far we only looked at your initial license – which may include one years Subscription Advantage. To enable you to continue to qualify for new releases beyond your initial year, you have to renew Subscription Advantage. When you do so, it entitles you to an UPGRADE file like this:

UPGRADE MPS_SMB_RN CITRIX 2006.0914 2007.0914 permanent 5 \
VENDOR_STRING=;LT=Retail;GP=720;CL=SMB;MLC=75;SA=1;ODP=0;NUDURMIN=2880;NUDURMAX=525600 \
DUP_GROUP=V ISSUED=09-Sep-2006 NOTICE= \
SN=LA-9999365386-09664:244383 START=14-sep-2005 SIGN= \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX \
XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX

This file actually modifies your original license file, replacing the old date with the new one (2007.0914) – the dates break down like this:

  • The original license was purchased September 14th, 2005
  • With 1 years Subscription Advantage, it would license any product released before September 14th, 2006
  • After renewing Subscription Advantage, it now licenses any product released before September 14th, 2007

If you renew Subscription Advantage you don’t have to actually download and install modified license file straight away – remember normal Citrix licenses are perpetual. You only need to download your new license file when you want to update to a newer version of Access Essentials (which isn’t covered by your old license file).

Summary

Let recap. We taken a look at Access Essentials license files and some of the mechanics of how they work. We seen why the date you purchase Essentials License matters, not which version you purchase. Finally, we seen how renewing Subscription Advantage entitles you to new product releases.

So what does it mean be be Subscription Advantage? In terms of license files, it means that you have the right to download a license file with a date in the future – entitling you to any new an embedded version date up to, and including, that date.