Internal licensing error

What do you say? Is there something wrong with the internal license? Well, just change the name of that client, and we’ll be alright!

Welcome to the world of connecting an Ubuntu computer to a Windows Server. The later years this has become quite easy, but this summer the University of Oslo has upgraded its servers. And with a new version of Windows, there is bound to be new problems on the way.

Update: After another search I found the following workaround. Just run the two following commands in a terminal:

sudo chown root:root ~/.rdesktop
sudo chmod 500 ~/.rdesktop

Now you may connect again without problems. If you want to see the alternative workaround, keep reading.

Connecting to a Windows machine running Remote Desktop is easy in Ubuntu if you use the Terminal Server Client. You just type in whatever you need in this window, and you’re set to connect:

Notice that “hmm…” in there? Well, that’s what it is. It’s a hmm…

Quite frankly I haven’t investigated what this Client Hostname is supposed to do, but it turned out to be the solution for today’s problem. And the problem is that whenever I try to connect to a University terminal server I receive the following error:

After a quick search on the Internet, the “Internal licensing error” turned out to be a common beast, but with no obvious solution for me. I realized quickly that I was not in a position to do administrative modifications on one of UiO’s terminal servers, so no luck with those suggestions. Instead I gave the good old trial-and-error approach a try.

Typing in different settings for domain, protocol, display, local resources, keyboard and so forth I came to change the Client Hostname of my Terminal Server Client.


I connected to the terminal server without any hick-ups.


Whenever I reconnect now I get the same error as above. However, if I change the Client Hostname to something new, I get back in.

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Svenn-Arne Dragly

I'm a physicist and programmer, writing about the stuff I figure out as I go.

9 thoughts on “Internal licensing error”

  1. Hi!

    I’m having this problem too with Windows 2003 server, but my rdesktop bin doesn’t save any license files under ~/.rdesktop. What version are you using?

    Please, can you linking me to the website where you picked up that information?


    1. I think it must have been this SourceForge thread:

      I’m currently using rdesktop version 1.6.0. The last I heard is that deleting the ~/.rdesktop directory might also help (it will probably be recreated). I also heard about another alternative client, but I don’t remember the name at the moment. The problem seems to be rdesktop specific.

  2. I am Facing the same problem, tried the workaround mentioned above of changing the permission of the .rdesktop folder , however it works randomly have more that 50 desktops running on ubuntu connecting to 3 different ternimal win 2k8 R2 server but issue is faced only while connecting to one of the 3 servers.

  3. Owner and permission changes do the trick!
    Now my son can access his school site from his linux box which means that he doesn’t have to install windows (which he is very pleased about).

  4. Thanks for providing a good hint to solve this problem! The chown root wasn’t necessary for me, though – deleting the license file in ~/.rdesktop and then revoking write permissions for myself (chmod 555 ~/.rdesktop) worked just fine. Another option would be to remove the directory altogether and create a file with the same name instead (touch ~/.rdesktop).

    Both ways will trigger error messages (“/home/user/.rdesktop/ Permission denied” or “/home/user/.rdesktop/ Not a directory”), but those are apparently harmless: rdesktop still functions properly.

    FTR: I’m using rdesktop 1.6.0, and I’m trying to connect to a Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. The same problem does not occur with an old Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise.

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