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Using IDL with a local license file on your Mac

You would believe that a company that sells software licenses for thousands of Euros would make it as easy as possible for their users to use their software once they have rightfully acquired a license. With ITTVIS’s IDL this is unfortunately not the case. Instead of selecting the license file with a file picker you have to do all sorts of tricks if you want to use IDL with your laptop while on the way.

Since I was lucky to get a machine-specific license for this software (that is needed for data reduction in astronomy) and was then struggling to get the software to find the license file, I here want to briefly describe what I did to make it run.

I placed the license file into /Applications/itt/license/license.dat, edited /etc/hosts so that it includes the line       burtschermac

where burtschermac is the name of my Mac on our institute’s local network and the name for which the license was issued. After restarting my Mac and entering /Applications/itt/idl704/bin/lmgrd on a Terminal to start the IDL license server, MacOS X asked me if I wanted to accept incoming network connections from that server which I accepted. Then it worked.
Thanks to Marco Piroth and Kees Dullemond for help.

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