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Why so much hate against USB security dongles (like iLok and Steinberg key)

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
1. They take up valuable USB space.
2. They can get lost.
3. They can go bad.
4. Recovery policies differ from developer to developer.
5. Developers tacitly assume you are a pirate who can't be trusted not to share your libraries.
6. YOU have to purchase an additional piece of hardware for THEIR protection, not yours.
7. They expect YOU to purchase a new dongle every couple years to avoid failure.
8. To prevent having to pay exorbitant replacement prices, some developers make YOU pay for insurance for THEIR piracy protection.



I nominate this post for best summed up post about why usb dongle suck
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
VSL is literally the only company whose products are so good that I am willing to put up with eLicenser. I got rid of everything else on that device, except Steinway desktop apps, which I don't know if I'll keep as they still haven't worked their way into my regular workflow and I have primary apps for all three roles (DP, Finale, and DSP Quattro).
 

Geocranium

Active Member
Actually, in most cases that's not true. With most kontakt library developers you are allowed so many activations, after which further activations are blocked. At which point you need to contact to developer to have another added.

I went through a phase of having two defective computers delivered one after another, and I had to contact several developers to ask if I can have another activation please. There wasn't a problem when I explained what had happened, but I had to wait for a reply from support in their normal working hours and I was without some libraries for several days.

The weird thing was it didn't seem to have a logical pattern to it. I had some Project Sam Libraries fail to authorise, whilst others did - go figure.

I think this is because programs like Kontakt have no true 'de-activation' method - unlike the Adobe Suite - so developers understandably put a limit in. I initially contacted NI about this, as the authorisation was through Native Access, but they redirected me to the developer - so it is obviously the developer who has control over this.

And if this happens to you, you can bet that is going to bite you when you least need it.....

But this problem is not because of digital licenses, it's because of how developers are implementing them. The only reason a dongle is more convenient here is because of an arbitrary limitation put on activations by the developers. I'm not defending NI's way of handling licenses, because I think they got it wrong too.

A good example of digital good handling is Steam. You pay for the software and then it's tied to your account. You can then install the Steam client on however many computers you want and install any software that you have owned on your account. There are no "activations" with codes and whatnot, it's all just tied to your account. All you have to do is log in.
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
The point I was making was that you shouldn't go around thinking you can just activate software over the net whenever you like. When you least expect or need it, you could well come up come up against this, and it could be very inconvenient to say the least.
 

Geocranium

Active Member
The point I was making was that you shouldn't go around thinking you can just activate software over the net whenever you like. When you least expect or need it, you could well come up come up against this, and it could be very inconvenient to say the least.

Sure, but it's irrelevant to the point I'm making and discussion I'm having. I know I can't just activate my NI software whenever. I've had to contact support for additional licenses in the past. I'm not talking about the current reality of things, I'm talking about how poor our current license implementation is, and how other companies/developers are already lightyears ahead of the shitty dongle model.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
A very solid example of this, that I was quite familiar with for the 21-½ years I worked in Pro Audio (up until late March of this year), is that there is often no internet, or poor reception, at venues. So if you are depending on the plug-ins for an instrument's sounds on-stage, or as part of P/A mixing, forget it. This is one more reason why I also hate the trend away from desktop apps and towards web-apps. Lemmings over the cliff. This idiocy will self-correct at some point; also true for dongles.
 

Geocranium

Active Member
A very solid example of this, that I was quite familiar with for the 21-½ years I worked in Pro Audio (up until late March of this year), is that there is often no internet, or poor reception, at venues. So if you are depending on the plug-ins for an instrument's sounds on-stage, or as part of P/A mixing, forget it. This is one more reason why I also hate the trend away from desktop apps and towards web-apps. Lemmings over the cliff. This idiocy will self-correct at some point; also true for dongles.

Do you really think it's more likely that in the future that software will self-correct to become less dependent on the internet, or that internet connectivity will expand to include every last space, venues included?

In the future, everything is going to be connected to the internet. There will not be places you can go to escape it, unless you're in a tin-foil bunker. Right now, the majority of people are within reach of the internet for the majority of their day to day life than not, and it's only going to get more ubiquitous.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I've lived in a dead zone since 2006. I do not see much likelihood my area will get prioritized over the next ten years (for proper cell coverage, and even wireless quality; regular internet is OK here but a generation or two behind).

Money rules. When you're in an area that is adjacent an uninhabited region, it isn't economical to place cell towers to improve that coverage, so we get bypassed. Perhaps different technologies will take over, but attacks on the internet are also likely to rise, and much faster than responses to such attacks.

I had worked in the industry for only six months when I made an observation that still holds true today just as it did in 1981: there is roughly a five year cycle of distributed vs. consolidated as the main paradigm. This is how technological innovation works; the bottleneck is addressed because it defines the overall performance of the greater system. Then the infrastructure reacts accordingly, until the bottleneck moves.

I suspect this situation is different outside the USA, but here, we are already reaching the peak performance of internet, especially with the burden that ever-large-and-more-complex layers of security continue to add to the equation. I am already seeing a trend again away from distributed (which is now unfortunately called "cloud", which I refuse to use as a term because it evokes instability and lack of integrity of data). The five year cycle continues unabated. Rinse and repeat.
 
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