Blog: The Passing of the Fish Lock

David Clift

David Clift


FlexID-9 Dongle

Figure 1 – A FlexID-9 USB Dongle

FlexID-10 Dongle

Figure 2 – A FlexID-10 USB Dongle

Aldec has always used licenses to protect the software tools that their customers buy from them. One of the issues with software licensing, is having a reliable identifier to lock that license to. Much like securing your bike to an eye bolt, for which you ideally want a secure immovable object, it’s the same for software licenses; You need a secure identifier to lock the license to. This could be the address of the Media Access Controller of the computer the license is on (MAC Address), or it could be a USB ID like the FlexID-9 shown in Figure 1, sometimes known as a fish lock, because of its shape.


The FlexID-9 has been used for a long time by Aldec, but unfortunately it is not as secure as it used to be. Because of this, Aldec has been phasing out FlexID-9 support in its products. In fact, the last Aldec product that supported FlexID-9 was Active-HDL 11.1 and with the release of version 12.0 the last remaining FlexID-9 dongles now require replacement.