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Notes on the iLok issues

From the date Pace announced that they have completely changed the way we interact with our protection dongle, myriad of issues hit the users badly. Some only had minor problems while others doomed into a license-less state temporarily. Obviously the reaction was anger and frustration.

license manager

As I heard that most of the nasty bugs and issues are solved I thought I give this a try, only with my personal iLok. Right now a downtime would be disastrous, so I wouldn’t be dare to jeopardise our work iLoks. So I headed to the iLok site and downloaded the new License Manager. Although the installation went smoothly, after the first launch and a few minutes waiting, it simply crashed on me while it was frozen in the quite vague “operation in progress” state. I don’t know what operation it was as at this point I didn’t even tried to sign in yet. On the 2nd attempt it was obvious that this software is really, I mean really slow. After multiple failed attempts at signing in, at last I was successful. I think this was the 5th or sixth attempt.

After this I experienced another crash, another sign in attempt failed, then it was successful again. At this point I was less than impressed… At least I am lucky as all my licenses were there not converted into temporary state. Tried to sync the Pro Tools 11HD demo license, but the sync process failed due to “no internet connection available” message. Maybe I don’t need to mention the fact that internet had been available. But after these failures the License Manager was synced perfectly, albeit very slowly.

I’ve read many articles and blog posts about these issues with ILO’s, and to be honest I can totally understand the anger towards Pace. I agree with the Pro Tools expert blog that shouting, blaming, attacking Pace won’t help, I am certain that the Pace support team try to make things happen as fast as they can, but still I think this is a more serious issue. Pace has enormous user base, most of the developers use iLok protection. They are there to protect the developers and us, legal users. They should have been more careful with this whole upgrade process. For many of us, not mention post houses and bigger studios, these downtimes are simply unacceptable.

Remember we (the users) did NOT choose Pace as our superior protector. The developers chose them in order to protect themselves against piracy. This big failure showed that software developers shall think of other viable protection methods, because, in my opinion this was not the first big failure in the history of iLok. I can clearly remember when iLok 1 was cracked and after that incident each and every iLok protected software was available on different torrent sites. So, this is the second big warning sign.

On a closing thought, It’s really getting so bad that we, legal users struggle with the problems of our protection device. I don’t have the monopoly of wisdom here obviously, and I also don’t know what could be a plausible solution for these things, but both the developers and Pace should seriously think about the future if they don’t want to loose customers. I’m absolutely against punishing the developers for these issues, but I know some, who really considering dropping every software which tied to iLok dongle. While I think it’s not a wise decision, it can be a threat on the long run.