Why must this program "run from the hard disk containing your operating system"?!?!?

Discussion in 'Mixing, Post-Production, and Effects' started by alanb, May 10, 2019.

  1. alanb

    alanb Senior Member

    Jul 11, 2006
    I picked up Digital Brain Instruments' Transformer "audio morphing and processing tool" some time ago.

    It is a standalone (though REWIRE-able) program.

    It looks like a powerful and very useful program, and I can already think of hundreds of uses for it (and it makes me feel less bad that I can't afford Krotos' tools), but . . .

    Transformer Error Message.jpg


    Are there legitimate, non-creepy, non-nonconsensual-data-siphoning or privacy-compromising reasonable and technologically valid purposes that would justify this (or any) program's requirement that it "run from the hard disk containing your operating system"? What might they be?

    Are there any known illegitimate, creepy, nonconsensual-data-siphoning or privacy-compromising purposes that we should worry about when a new program from a currently-unfamiliar developer demands OS drive placement?

    I'm wondering what Transformer is prevented from doing when its .exe file is double-clicked on the D: drive of a Windows PC, instead of the C: Drive . . . why might it make a difference as to how Transformer functions?

    There are many reasons why I prefer to install programs on drives other than my OS drive.

    I don’t think that I’ve ever seen this requirement before and, of course, we now live in an age where way too many programs on way too many devices (and, often enough, the devices themselves) are surreptitiously siphoning away data about each of us without our knowledge or consent.

    So, I’d really like to understand what’s going on before giving Transformer access to my OS drive, (which is not where I would normally situate it).

    @EvilDragon, who knows so much about so much, regarding the ways and wiles of the Wonderful and Frightening World of Audio Application Programming: do you have any idea?

    Does anyone?

  2. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon KSP Wizard

    May 25, 2010
    Maybe install it to your OS drive, then track down its various folders and copy them to your other drive while creating symlinks to those folders back on the OS drive?

    But overall this could just mean they did some lousy/hacky programming. I can't think of a reason from the top of my head as to why would a program require this sort of thing.
    whiskers and alanb like this.
  3. pmcrockett

    pmcrockett Senior Member

    Nov 3, 2014
    Saint Louis
    Shot in the dark guess: the program needs to access system files to run, and it makes assumptions about the paths of those files based on the drive the program is installed to. In other words, my first guess is that it's just poorly designed rather than that it's doing something malicious.
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  4. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

    Apr 2, 2010
    Pottstown, PA
    I mean no disrespect to the developer, it is reasonable that OS internals are not their forte, but I have to agree on the poor programming suggestion. MS Windows is not the most programmer friendly environment, but it is, at this point, well documented, and restrictions like this are not necessary.

    That said, if a developer is really good at the musical aspects I will tolerate (and fix via SymLinks as ED suggested) some restrictions.
    whiskers and alanb like this.
  5. OP

    alanb Senior Member

    Jul 11, 2006
    Thanks for the feedback, everybody!!

    There doesn't even appear to be a folder structure — there's just the executable file itself.

    I wrote to Digital Brain Instruments, and this was their response:

    I know folks who have done interesting things with Max MSP, but I've never worked with it myself.

    I checked out the cycling74 FAQ, and it says:

    . . .

    [emphasis added]

    It says here that Transformer was “Made With Pluggo,” but Pluggo was discontinued in 2009.

    I've asked Digital Brain Instruments whether they've moved on to Max4Live, and whether it's the Max runtime or the Pluggo runtime that’s installed. I would be concerned if it’s the Pluggo runtime, since I assume that it hasn’t been updated in about a decade.....

    Are there any Maxfolk here who can offer some additional insight? Thank you!!!

    More as this story develops.
  6. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon KSP Wizard

    May 25, 2010
    I still see no reason why this shouldn't be fixable with symlinks. But overall, yeah, shoddy programming.
    whiskers likes this.
  7. PaulieDC

    PaulieDC 1967 Bizzarini GT 5300 Strada

    Oct 16, 2017
    Absolutely right. I've been the lead software developer for a global semiconductor company for almost 20 years, and I see stuff like this time and time again. Developers are like chiropractors, auto mechanics and any other profession where you don't know if they are top level or hack until you work with them. In fact, often companies will bring in contracted developers because making them staff is way to expensive. And even then they pay for less-than-pro level developers. Big mistake. So that's where stuff like this comes from... because the one guy or gal who was put in charge of development is bringing with him his or her "style" of programming, and when the developer thinks more about the tech instead of the UX which is the User Experience (not just User Interface), you get software with limitations like this. For the developer, this is a safeguard because if they enforce that you can ONLY install in C:\Program Files, etc, then they avoid an issue where a custom install caused some problem and then they have to deal with figuring it out from the half-baked description collected by the Customer Service rep who initially got the email. In fact, a bad past experience probably caused this meatball to put in this limitation. And the project manager isn't going to intervene, the concept will sound good to them... "who cares if the stupid customer doesn't like it, that's how we programmed it, deal with it." There's a reason I quoted that, lost count how many times cowboy programmers have said that.

    So I switched from Studio One to Cubase 10 Pro on my main tower. Registered the software and a annoying USB key with my new Steinberg account. That key nightmare fits this post, REALLY BAD UX GOING ON THERE. But, it is what it is. So I went to the Steinberg Shop and put a Cubase upgrade in my cart because I MAY upgrade my AI copy on my laptop, the version that came with a UR12 interface I got for the laptop, my mobile scratch pad. The weboage says "Have an account? Login here!". I tried three times, kept telling me my, get this, password was wrong. TRANSLATION: I don't have an account. Wait, I registered my software... and then I see "it": The developer actually puts a note under the Login box saying that your Steinberg account won't work, you have to make a separate Steinberg Shop account, and the two are not connected. Are you kidding me?? Who on God's green earth decided this was the way to go? It gets better... they email you a cryptic password and then you have to copy that and hunt on the SHOP site to figure out where to change that before you forget. C'mon Steinberg, this is like 1997 programming. Hooray for you, you win the User Experience Rotten Tomato award AGAIN. However, I do believe they are finally learning. When I jumped over to Cubase 10 Pro, I went through a few vids for 9.0, 9.5 and 10 explaining all the new user interface features they've added. I knew ALL of them already because Studio One had this stuff 3 years ago, lol. But I'm glad to see Steinberg's effort to get up to date. Imagine if Steinberg gave you FIVE full Cubase installs managed by just a username and password which also worked with the Shop, and also gave you a dashboard to manage those, so if you had to reinstall or got a new PC, you just hop on and clear your activations, just like managing a Kindle with Amazon. Studio One gives you that. THAT'S why I'm going ballistic on Steinberg and their ridiculous Key in practically every post now, I had no idea. With NI and EW and PreSonus, life was dongle-free. Thing is, in my noob state I can see already how Cubase is the way to go for VI composing... so I'm committing to it and that's fine, just feel like I have a pencil stuck in my nose 24/7.

    ANYWAY, that's why alanb's software is saying that. Some rocket surgeon's decision on what they think is acceptable to the user.
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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