browse words by letter
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
dongle

more about dongle

dongle


  2  definitions  found 
 
  From  Jargon  File  (4.2.3,  23  NOV  2000)  [jargon]: 
 
  dongle  /dong'gl/  n.  1.  [now  obs.]  A  security  or  {copy 
  protection}  device  for  proprietary  software  consisting  of  a  serialized 
  EPROM  and  some  drivers  in  a  D-25  connector  shell,  which  must  be  connected 
  to  an  I/O  port  of  the  computer  while  the  program  is  run.  Programs  that 
  use  a  dongle  query  the  port  at  startup  and  at  programmed  intervals 
  thereafter,  and  terminate  if  it  does  not  respond  with  the  dongle's 
  programmed  validation  code.  Thus  users  can  make  as  many  copies  of  the 
  program  as  they  want  but  must  pay  for  each  dongle.  The  idea  was  clever, 
  but  it  was  initially  a  failure,  as  users  disliked  tying  up  a  serial 
  port  this  way  By  1993,  dongles  would  typically  pass  data  through  the 
  port  and  monitor  for  {magic}  codes  (and  combinations  of  status  lines) 
  with  minimal  if  any  interference  with  devices  further  down  the  line  -- 
  this  innovation  was  necessary  to  allow  daisy-chained  dongles  for  multiple 
  pieces  of  software.  These  devices  have  become  rare  as  the  industry  has 
  moved  away  from  copy-protection  schemes  in  general.  2.  By  extension, 
  any  physical  electronic  key  or  transferable  ID  required  for  a  program 
  to  function.  Common  variations  on  this  theme  have  used  parallel  or 
  even  joystick  ports.  See  {dongle-disk}.  3.  An  adaptor  cable  mating  a 
  special  edge-type  connector  on  a  PCMCIA  or  on-board  Ethernet  card  to  a 
  standard  RJ45  Ethernet  jack.  This  usage  seems  to  have  surfaced  in  1999 
  and  is  now  dominant.  Laptop  owners  curse  these  things  because  they're 
  notoriously  easy  to  lose  and  the  vendors  commonly  charge  extortionate 
  prices  for  replacements. 
 
  [Note:  in  early  1992,  advertising  copy  from  Rainbow  Technologies  (a 
  manufacturer  of  dongles)  included  a  claim  that  the  word  derived 
  from  "Don  Gall",  allegedly  the  inventor  of  the  device.  The  company's 
  receptionist  will  cheerfully  tell  you  that  the  story  is  a  myth  invented 
  for  the  ad  copy.  Nevertheless,  I  expect  it  to  haunt  my  life  as  a 
  lexicographer  for  at  least  the  next  ten  years.  :-(  --ESR] 
 
 
 
  From  The  Free  On-line  Dictionary  of  Computing  (13  Mar  01)  [foldoc]: 
 
  dongle 
 
    /dong'gl/  (From  dangle"  (because  it 
  dangles  off  the  back  of  the  computer)?)  A  security  or  {copy 
  protection}  device  for  commercial  {microcomputer}  programs 
  that  must  be  connected  to  an  {I/O  port}  of  the  computer  while 
  the  program  is  run.  Programs  that  use  a  dongle  query  the  port 
  at  start-up  and  at  programmed  intervals  thereafter,  and 
  terminate  if  it  does  not  respond  with  the  expected  validation 
  code. 
 
  One  common  form  consisted  of  a  serialised  {EPROM}  and  some 
  drivers  in  a  {D-25}  connector  shell. 
 
  Dongles  attempt  to  combat  {software  theft}  by  ensuring  that 
  while  users  can  still  make  copies  of  the  program  (e.g.  for 
  {backup}),  they  must  buy  one  dongle  for  each  simultaneous  use 
  of  the  program. 
 
  The  idea  was  clever,  but  initially  unpopular  with  users  who 
  disliked  tying  up  a  port  this  way  By  1993  almost  all  dongles 
  passed  data  through  transparently  while  monitoring  for  their 
  particular  {magic}  codes  (and  combinations  of  status  lines) 
  with  minimal  if  any  interference  with  devices  further  down  the 
  line  This  innovation  was  necessary  to  allow  {daisy-chained} 
  dongles  for  multiple  pieces  of  software. 
 
  In  1998,  dongles  and  other  copy  protection  systems  are  fairly 
  uncommon  for  {Microsoft  Windows}  software  but  one  engineer  in 
  a  print  and  {CADD}  bureau  reports  that  their  {Macintosh} 
  computers  typically  run  seven  dongles:  After  Effects,  Electric 
  Image,  two  for  Media  100,  Ultimatte,  Elastic  Reality  and  CADD. 
  These  dongles  are  made  for  the  Mac's  daisy-chainable  {ADB} 
  port. 
 
  The  term  is  used  by  extension,  for  any  physical  electronic 
  key  or  transferable  ID  required  for  a  program  to  function. 
  Common  variations  on  this  theme  have  used  the  {parallel  port} 
  or  even  the  {joystick}  port  or  a  {dongle-disk}. 
 
  An  early  1992  advertisment  from  Rainbow  Technologies  (a 
  manufacturer  of  dongles)  claimed  that  the  word  derived  from 
  "Don  Gall",  the  alleged  inventor  of  the  device.  The  company's 
  receptionist  however  said  that  the  story  was  a  myth  invented 
  for  the  ad 
 
  [{Jargon  File}] 
 
  (1998-12-13) 
 
 




more about dongle