When license files meet Macs…

I don’t know about other voice engineers, but my Twitter stream sees a lot of activity around licensing and the fact that Dante himself might have trouble conceiving of a darker hell.  Thinking the entire process could not possibly get more difficult- I proved myself wrong with this particular adventure.

After having completed the ever-so-fun PAK registration process, I take my shiny emailed-to-me license file and attempt to load it to the server.  Right away the server flatly rejects my humble offering – using insulting phrases like “invalid” and “get a life”. (I *might* be exaggerating on that last one…)

What, pray tell, did the server dislike about my generous gift of a license key?  Honestly, no clue at the time. Most commonly the server’s adamant objection centers around the mac address of the server being incorrect in the license file.  So I performed a triple check on the mac, confirmed the correct part number ordered, and promptly pressed the TAC speed dial button on my phone.  (Indeed, I do have TAC on speed dial, a hazard of being a voice engineer…)

After several hrs of checking and rechecking the license file with one TAC engineer, then finally bringing in a fresh set of TAC engineer eyes, the source of the issue was discovered.  My problem was I had a Mac.  Of course, I never feel having a Mac is a problem, but in this case it was working against me.

You see, I was trying to upload the .lic file emailed to me – only it wasn’t exactly the file that had been sent. Outlook for Mac had “helped” me out and converted my license file to Classic Mac format.  Guess who doesn’t truly appreciate license files in anything other than Unix UTF-8 format?  Yep, pretty much any Cisco Unified voice server.

The solution was simple enough – open each .lic file and change the format from “Unicode (UTF-8), with BOM” and “Classic Mac” to “Unicode (UTF-8)” and “Unix (LF)” then re-attempt license upload. Then pour yourself a celebratory shot.

Here’s what you are looking for if doing this in TextWrangler, note this will be at the bottom of the text window:

This is what it looks like when Outlook for Mac has gotten a hold of your .lic file:

This is what it should look like when you’ve set the universe right:

For the record, there is a bug id for this issue, CSCte58452. Specifically it refers to Entourage and Unity Connection 7.1.3 – but my experience proves it’s reach extends to later versions of Outlook for Mac and of Unity Connection.

Here’s a link if you are so inclined, CCO account required: http://tools.cisco.com/Support/BugToolKit/search/getBugDetails.do?method=fetchBugDetails&bugId=CSCte58452

Publish date: 01/08/2012

16 thoughts on “When license files meet Macs…

    1. yep, that would work. I just download them from the PAK registration completion page now – no email involved. Does the trick as well.

  1. I’ve experienced the same issue except TAC blamed it on Microsoft Exchange server. It got to the point where I just had the email sent to my Yahoo account. Great post.

  2. Id say its more of a Outlook issue than a mac issue. Same thing will happen on a pc, or any OS if the file gets converted by some overzealous program that knows better than you do. The issue is that DOS uses carriage return and line feed (\r\n) as a line ending, whereas Unix uses just line feed (\n). Its not much, but that extra \r is enough to cause the Flex LM licence key to become invalidated because the checksum changes.

  3. Great writing Amy.

    This is a great reason for Unix/Linux in the work place, at least for Admins.

  4. I am curious about all the negative comments re VoIP. Is it just that I work for a VoIP manufacturer that I don’t see what all the complaining is about? To me VoIP is pretty simple.

    1. Oh, I don’t think the negativity is toward the concept of VoIP, but I think that VoIP has some very quirky installation gotchas. Hopefully my blog helps with a few of those…

  5. Is it mainily your experience of Cisco or have you found that consistant for all manufacuters?

  6. I haven’t had PAK file issues using Outlook for Windows, myself. If you need Outlook, I recommend using Outlook in a Windows VM. In fact, I recommend using Windows Office in a VM with nice Mac integration (like Parallels) and skipping out on any Office:Mac products. Outlook:Mac is particularly horrid, but the other apps aren’t that great.

  7. Yeah that isn’t your fault or the tool’s fault, but rather the fault of the email client which does helpfully asshole-ish things like converting files without asking. You’ll run into this problem if you also do things like pulling configs that now have messed up line spacing. Its’ like how clients keep ruining configuration files by editing them with a windows editor…

  8. It is a a result of running evil Microsoft software on your Mac. Whenever you install Microsoft software on a Mac God blinds a puppy. True fact.
    The ghost of Steve Jobs told me this in a dream.

  9. Great topic..I had a similar issue, but one a little bit more aggravating. I installed Virtual Unity Connection on a UCS B Series blade and registered my PAK after copying the MAC from the “show status” output of the CUC CLI. When I pasted it into my browser on the PAK registration page, it was in lowercase just like the SSH output. After getting my license file and uploading, I got an error stating invalid. After opening TAC case and waiting it was all because the MAC was lowercase and not uppercase…On the topic of Windows/Office/Mac…. I use Macbook with Fusion and run my Windows VM with Office apps and it is an excellent setup for a Cisco Voice Engineer, for the most part…There are some quirks sometimes with the networking and getting Softphones to work through a Fusion VM….Having both Mac platform and Windows has saved me in a pinch so many times as a Voice Engineer though.

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