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Thread: iLok thread

  1. #1
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    iLok thread

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    I dig this new plugin forum - so far the posts and discussions have been great and very helpful - a veritable Eden of knowledge and teamwork. But I already started screwing that up by mentioning iLok in I think at least two threads, which pulls the thread OT and starts senseless debates, lowering the value of the discussions and disrespecting the original poster. So maybe we can have the senseless debate here

    First - a little about me - I have an extensive software background outside of audio, mainly enterprise software (with me at different times as a developer, development manager, and lawyer), but also in some open source projects. Pretty much all my income derives from intellectual property, and if it weren't protected, I'd be doing something else, like digging ditches or shoveling poo. With this background, I can *totally* *appreciate* the problem of piracy, and I can see how it's a much bigger deal for plugin developers than it ever has been for me -- the big companies that use and pay for the software I wrote have auditors who make sure they don't pirate, after all.

    I myself have avoided iLok, except for installing the software on a computer other than my DAW so I could check out a free plugin -- I have already spent more time installing, configuring, and updating the iLok software than I have been able to spend with the plugin. Beyond that, all I have are the horror stories on the Internet - knowing that there are surely many more perfectly happy users who don't write stories (and a few who do).

    But let me say that I see two fundamental issues, based on my software experience:

    1) There is not "one throat to choke" - there is a diffusion of accountability because for each iLok plugin, you're dealing not with one company but (at least) two - the developer and the iLok people. In my experience this is a recipe for bad things to happen - nothing against the iLok people or the developers - I certainly get into trouble myself when there are a lot of moving accountability parts in a project. Sometimes there's no getting around it. But with plugins, there are plenty of companies getting around it.

    2) Copy protection can't be totally transparent, but there's some threshold of intrusion into a user's workday (even when things are working as they should, but *especially* when something breaks) beyond which you just have to call foul - you've heard it said a thousand times, but by putting the extra burden on paying users, you're in effect forcing the good guys to pay a part of the price for what the bad guys are doing -- when you do this by raising prices, that's one thing, but when you do it by eating up the good guys' time and attention and reducing their productivity, the effects are not uniform, and they can impact some people much worse than others (and some people much worse at certain times than at other times, e.g., when a deadline is approaching)

    It's these two issues *together* -- with their potential for multiplicative interaction -- that make me steer way clear of iLok. I have nothing against copy protection, and even nothing against dongles. But based on my software experience, I know better than to accept the risk created by those two issues when it comes to something that's important to me (like finishing a project).

    I brought up the subject once with an iLok-using developer by asking if/when they would stop using iLok. I got quickly brushed off as if I were pro-piracy or something -- and the developer stopped replying to my issue of trying to get the iLok system and the developer's own authentication system to both work so that I could actually purchase one of their plugins (still more of my time down the drain and an illustration of the issues above). Left a bad taste in my mouth. I bet that developer spent a lot of time and energy on the iLok implementation and I suspect they have some sort of contract with the iLok people - it's human nature to think the worst of anyone who challenges all that. But still...

    Anyway, I'm done - what an embarrassingly long post. I won't bring up the subject in any other threads.

  2. #2
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    Anyway, I'm done - what an embarrassingly long post
    And I actually read all of it, too.

    I don't have any direct experience with iLock, but I do with other hardware keys like Sentinel's hasps, Steinberg key, and UAD DSP system. I always prefer hardware keys (I'm purposely avoiding the word Dongle to keep your thread on track!) over soft keys. My company recently converted its software to internet keys. What a PITA that is. It takes me and two other guys to stay on top of the issues that come up from it.

    The hardware key was so simple. You can load software on any number of platforms and just move the key around to utilize it. I like that with Cubase. I have it loaded on my desktop and laptop and just bring the key along when I need it.

    The one nice thing with iLock (and I guess it's the main selling point) is you only need one key to unlock software from many different companies instead of one key for each. Imagine how many USB hubs you would need if you hd to have a key for each plug.

    The other problem with soft keys is reauthorizing after a computer rebuild, which we all need to do from time to time. You have reload software then reauthorize it and most companies give you a limited number of authorizations. So you have to send an email and get them to reset your account. I hate that. I want to reload all my Toontrack products and I haven't done it for that reason....

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    Yeah - I don't know much about the technology, but maybe if there were an open standard file format and storage scheme, then multiple companies could allow you to store their authorization files on a single usb thumb drive (along with whatever else you could get to fit on the drive, maybe) and then you'd be able to enjoy the portability of a single dongle while looking only to each company (and not a third party) if/when there are issues.

    Waves lets you move your licenses to a USB thumb drive - I haven't tried that yet - mine are all installed on my DAW computer. If I get a new computer, I'll need to uninstall the licenses on the old one and move them to USB or to the new box. And if the hard drive fails on my old system, then I'm in trouble. Sigh. But still better than what I've experienced and heard about with iLok, I have to say.

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    I use the ilock software with a virtual dongle for my eventide plugs...works flawlessly

    My 32bit rig has pro tools on an ilock but i never use it

    Tbh my new rig came with eight usb ports, and ive got two powered hubs running out of it with a further ten usb ports...sticking an ilock in isnt a problem of space...plus, like my uad plugs, i know these are not cracked. Im not anti or pro piracy but i like having the stuff i paid for only available to those who pay.
    Quote Originally Posted by jimistone View Post
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    The one nice thing with iLock (and I guess it's the main selling point) is you only need one key to unlock software from many different companies instead of one key for each. Imagine how many USB hubs you would need if you hd to have a key for each plug.

    The other problem with soft keys is reauthorizing after a computer rebuild, which we all need to do from time to time. You have reload software then reauthorize it and most companies give you a limited number of authorizations. So you have to send an email and get them to reset your account. I hate that. I want to reload all my Toontrack products and I haven't done it for that reason....
    +1
    Like is like still like the worst.

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    I myself have not had any issue with Ilok install/update whatsoever. Does not mean others might.

    It is true that you will hear more from those who have issues than the majority who don't. Same thing for pretty much anything.

    I am just another lucky one.
    PC Win10-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 10 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 5 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    I'm another one who has never had any problems with it. It's like everything else in life: you never hear anything about the guy who gets up everyday, goes to work, and treats his family well. You only hear about the guys who beat their wives and children.
    XploZiveToyz
    "Remember: Children should never be allowed to play with XploZiveToyz!"

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    To be honest I would prefer it if everything I had used ilok for authorization.

    But in terms of my favorite to least here they are:

    1. ilok or other (most of my plugins and my daw)
    2. unlock program (native instruments and the like)
    3. key file (smaller vendors)
    4. a request for a serial number or unlock code (toontrack, older iZotope stuff)
    5. anything else that is more complicated than need be
    My home studio ---> www.nerolstudio.com

  9. #9
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    good to hear good stuff -- and from people I've learned to trust

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