It’s been a while since we announced product updates in our Blog, but we’ve not been idle, having released no fewer than 10 updates since then. Changes include UI improvements, a native port of our GUI to OS X, support for protecting files using PHP 5.5 language features (April 2014), and fixes for a few wrinkles that showed up here and there. The latest update this week is 8.3.3, which includes a 64 bit build of our Linux Encoder for use on Linux systems where 32 bit libraries are not available. We have the full release notes online.
Very different to the nature of the typical PHP program that our software protects, the ionCube PHP Encoder works at a low level where it’s manipulating bits and bytes; it has to behave the same as a 32 bit little endian program to produce binary files in a standardised format even if it’s running on a completely different architecture. Achieving this is straightforward, but with programs of this nature, producing a 64 bit version tends not to be simply a matter of recompiling a working 32 bit version on a 64 bit machine, and a process called “porting” is usually required. Running 32 bit code on 64 bit Linux has always been easy though, with the Kernel having support for 32 and 64 bit program formats, and most Linux distributions providing a package for 32 bit glibc that’s easily installed with a single command. As a result, our 32 bit edition always worked great on 64 bit, and powered our online Encoder that way.
Things changed with Ubuntu 14.04, and as this Stack Overflow article showed, adding 32 bit support was no longer a trivial exercise. The new 64 bit builds should make life much easier.
Right now these new programs are included with all the others, making quite a few with the legacy and obsolete editions included too, but as part of some major new features in version 9, we also have a new package structure to make things much neater.