This is documentation about the Global Phasing licensing system for SHARP/autoSHARP.


1. Introduction

Here we want to explain our licensing policy and tools for the typical academic user and our so-called "production version". For other types of licences please contact us directly.

The licensing system is actually fairly simple and large parts are automated anyway. All our software should give you a similar set of tools on their main website:


For SHARP/autoSHARP this should look like this:


Let's now walk you through the licensing issues and the various tools available to you:


2. Principle

Our software is licensed to a specific institute, department or research group and not to a specific individual. It is therefore not necessary for different people within the same group to request their own licence.

What exactly constitutes such a group depends on your circumstances and organistational structure: it could be everyone working under the same PI, a centralised computing resource etc. If in doubt, please ask around your collegues or contact us.

3. Initial request

The initial licence request will require filling out a form with details of the licencee and some contact details.


The important points here are:

  • The institute, department or research group should be given in detail - not in the form of some abbreviations (those might be well known to you or within your country, but not to us). So rather use "Fabulous New University" instead of "FNU".
  • If several research groups within one institute are treated as separate entities within your organisation, details about the particular research group should also be provided (e.g. "John Smith lab")
  • The details will include the name and (most importantly) email address of a person acting as contact. The email address has to be one clearly related to the institute - Googlemail-like or personal email addresses will not be accepted. Ideally, you should use the contact details of someone likely to stay within that group for longer (e.g. the head of the group).
  • At the same time of this initial licence request, machine-specific information is required to generate a set of licence keys.
  • Please make sure to read the notes explaining in detail what is expected in these forms.

After submitting this initial request, you will receive an automatic email with the so-called 'Request ID': this is the most important item to remember! Together with the email address you used, it gives you access to the automatic tools (renewal, download etc).

4. Renewal

The renewal of an existing licence is fully automatic - all you need is the initial request ID and the email address associated with that request.


5. Troubleshooting

If you have lost the information regarding your initial Request ID, you should be able to use the reminder tool to get a list of all request IDs in our database (the lowest numbered one should be your initial request ID). All you need to remember is the email address initially used.


Once you know this initial Request ID, all other tools should work as expected in conjunction with the email address.

So the two important items to remember are: email address and initial Request ID.

If you have any problems that aren't described on the relevant Wiki, please contact us at one of these addresses:

autoPROC: Wiki

6. Format of our .licence file

Our licence keys are sent to you via email - usually as an attachment, but also inlined into the body of that email (with some explanation how to extract it). To ensure you have the correct format of the .licence file:

  • lines starting with '#' (in column 1) are not comments, but an integral part of the licence keys:
    • you can't modify/remove them
    • the text following the '#' character needs to be on a single line
  • each licence key comes as a set of 6 numbers (large integers most of the time)
  • the .licence file should follow the newline encoding of the platform you are installing the software on: saving the .licence attachment on Windows and transfering it wrongly onto a Linux box, could result in problems. You can test this via the following command(s) - which should return just "ASCII text" to you:
      % file .licence

An example is here:

# ACME University. Lab. of W. E. C.
 501346086 2264953344 1790647866  402850873  939129266  425550355
 501346086 2264953344 3739406289 1013961354 3592265063 2666654618
 501346086 2264953344  932501673  124333761 3398399565  511199297
 501346086 2264953344 3774650380 3241072097 3996466129 1491898129