Jump to content
pbognar

Steinberg to go dongle-free - Not a Deal

Recommended Posts

Is the loss and damage consideration that serious? I used to manage licences for specialist software in a international organisation. We had around 60 dongles and we lost or broke 3 or 4 in around 10 years, usually during demob and international shipping.

Other licencing methods were more problematic. Worst were geographicly restricted authorisations. We had a licence purchased in the US that could not be authorised from a Mexican ISP address.

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind simple activation over the internet, I just have to put the broadband USB dongle in for 5 minutes and all done.

I don't like the Steinberg dongle, it's annoying having some piece of hardware running in the background just so I can use the software. It hasn't caused any trouble and it's in the back so I don't see that continuously glowing red light but I would prefer the option of some sort of activation over the internet.

It's no good for my laptop that I am taking on holiday. I wanted to take Cubase with me to work on some songs and also do some advanced training videos but that is not going to happen because I don't feel comfortable traveling with the dongle and it hanging out of my laptop. If I lose it, I don't know what would happen.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2021 at 11:10 AM, Paul_in_wales said:

not sure why you think they have zero usb ports - the ports aren't USB A, but an adapter or hub than costs  a few dollars solves that.

And now you have one piece of hardware that doesn't work unless another piece of hardware is present. Invariably, you're gonna lose that hub the moment you need it the most and... You know the rest.

 

On 3/7/2021 at 12:20 PM, artturner said:

really hate that when I buy a door, I have to also buy a lock. Why should it cost me money just because some people are thieves? And that lock seriously slows me down going in and out of my house. If I lose my key, then what? I'm locked out!

Doors don't require locks to work for starters. You have the choice to not use a lock, but that's your own security concern. The analogy doesn't work because a door prevents access to a physical object that can be taken. None of the software that makes use of ilok needs it to work. It's just there to prevent people to use it without paying steinberg. If you want a better analogy, ilok is like buying a door to your house but you don't own the keys that open it.

8 hours ago, Maestro said:

Personally, you buy an entire PC to use your DAW, so I'm not seeing the point.  The dongle isn't really that big of a deal, and I don't think that rationale is totally appropriate considering we buy hardware to use software fully ALL the time - including things that plug into our USB ports - Audio Interfaces, MIDI Controllers, etc.

You don't necessarily need an OS to make the PC function. As I mentioned before, the software doesn't need the dongle to work. This is different than OSes not working without a PC. The same applies to MacOS. You don't need an Apple device to run it as it has been proven time and time.

8 hours ago, Maestro said:

Steinberg has a Zero Downtime Policy.  That is a "solved problem."  Dongles are sold at Guitar Center.  Many people can just drive to the store and get one.

Said downtime policy failed when they released Cubase 11 and many people couldn't use the software because of that. Comparing with the software solution, you don't even need to be connected to the internet for it to work. The license only has to be present in the machine.

Secondly, many people have internet, but not all have the luxury to have a music store that carries that piece of equipment. The vast majority of music stores around the world don't sell software, let alone dongles.

8 hours ago, Maestro said:

There is nothing with the eLCC software that interferes with PC performance or gives it additional reasons to BSOD.  It has existed over a decade.  We have enough data to say this - definitively.

Fair enough.

9 hours ago, Maestro said:

Even when they get rid of the dongle, I wouldn't be surprised if it remains optional and a TON of people continue to use it.  I think I will likely keep my licenses on the dongle because having to manage machine licenses is a PITA - particularly when replacing machines.

For ilok maybe. For the eLCC, it's two clicks away to send your licenses to cloud and other two to generate new licenses for transfer. Much faster than driving to a store to buy a new dongle.

9 hours ago, Maestro said:

If they gave two activates for the software, people would keep one dongle in their desktop at all times and use the other one to move between their laptop or whatever.  If one Dongle breaks, the other is still pristine in the desktop, so it's less disruptive - and owning the dongle is less risky overall.

Invariably, you're gonna lose one of those dongles, then not buy another one because you already have the desktop one. Then you're gonna lose the desktop one.

9 hours ago, Maestro said:

I think the policy behind how many activations you get for the software exacerbated the "complaints" about the dongle.  A lot of software that uses iLok gave 2-3 activations; even when they were dongle-only.

A lot of new ilok software only gives you one activation because they work on the assumption that you'll either move that dongle around or have the same cloud session across.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Maestro said:

There is nothing with the eLCC software that interferes with PC performance or gives it additional reasons to BSOD.  It has existed over a decade.  We have enough data to say this - definitively.

I'm sure that's mostly true. There was an issue some people talked about a little while ago when they bought some AIR product (I think) on a cheap deal; it bundled an older version of the iLok driver, and then blue screened their computer when it conflicted with the newer version. Certainly a rare exception rather than the norm, but I'm just saying it can happen.

I'm very glad you and others here are happy with your dongles; may they continue to function flawlessly. I'm happy to use the plugins that I do that don't use a dongle. We all choose the software that suits our purposes and workflows best.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, antler said:

I'm sure that's mostly true. There was an issue some people talked about a little while ago when they bought some AIR product (I think) on a cheap deal; it bundled an older version of the iLok driver, and then blue screened their computer when it conflicted with the newer version. Certainly a rare exception rather than the norm, but I'm just saying it can happen.

I know this isn't what you referring to but the very early steinberg USB elicencers definitely ran slow and there was talk of it slowing down the application but the later USB dongles don't have this particular issue - apart from that I haven't seen many other widespread issues with the elicencer.

I'm not really sure if anybody can guarantee that whatever SB replace the dongle with will be better - They are particularly paranoid about piracy so it's likely to be massive amounts of code deep within the application - probably running at a very deep level within the OS - will be super buggy (it's Steinberg) so will likely cause more crashes and issues, possibly run slower than the elicencer, Will take up masses of dev time better spent on other bugs and issues...Won't work until at least version 3. ... Will be restrictive in how many times/machines you can licence  etc etc etc

Apart from the physical aspect of the dongle for people using laptops I'm struggling to see an upside to a software solution to anti-piracy.  I'm sticking to the elicencer as long as possible.  I don't particularly see this as positive move.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, simon said:

Apart from the physical aspect of the dongle for people using laptops I'm struggling to see an upside to a software solution to anti-piracy.  I'm sticking to the elicencer as long as possible.  I don't particularly see this as positive move.

Dorico Pro and SpectraLayers Pro are the first "Pro" products from Steinberg that don't need the USB dongle to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

You don't necessarily need an OS to make the PC function. As I mentioned before, the software doesn't need the dongle to work. This is different than OSes not working without a PC. The same applies to MacOS. You don't need an Apple device to run it as it has been proven time and time.

The PC is worthless without an Operating System.  This retort is as weak as weak can be.  The entire purpose of a PC is to run computer software.  How are you going to use your DAW without it?  Well, I guess you can always get an MPC or Maschine+...

Quote

Said downtime policy failed when they released Cubase 11 and many people couldn't use the software because of that. Comparing with the software solution, you don't even need to be connected to the internet for it to work. The license only has to be present in the machine.

Nope.  This has nothing to do with the dongle.  It had to do with the activation servers being completely overwhelmed when the Cubase 11 release happened - particularly with the way upgrades work.  When you upgrade a Cubase License your older license is removed and the new license replaces it.  If the servers are swamped, it can time out in the middle of this happening, resulting in an orphaned license.  98.6% of people got this fixed automatically when the world stopped spamming the check button and the servers weren't completely swamped.  Even people who were not using dongles for products ran into issues, because the dongle had nothing to do with it.  Don't think you even understand what happened there.  PreSonus and other companies have had server issues in the past when there was a mad rush to get their products after a release.

This is why many companies do staged rollouts for digital products.

You can say that Steinberg's Activation servers are shite... but again, this has nothing at all to do with the dongle.  Even people using the soft elicenser software ran into the same issue - this is why they tend to shut down their entire store when this happens 😉

This can happen to any company, given the right circumstances.  Servers don't have unlimited resources, and bad things happened when they are overwhelmed.

Quote

Secondly, many people have internet, but not all have the luxury to have a music store that carries that piece of equipment. The vast majority of music stores around the world don't sell software, let alone dongles.

If you can afford Cubase a $20 dongle is not a problem, and Amazon is everywhere.  I don't think many people in third world countries are buying $550 DAWs.  Ignorable "issue," really.

Quote

For ilok maybe. For the eLCC, it's two clicks away to send your licenses to cloud and other two to generate new licenses for transfer. Much faster than driving to a store to buy a new dongle.

Even faster is unplugging the dongle and plugging it into the other computer, and having it just work immediately without constantly having to move activations between PC <-> Cloud <-> PC.  Even my Steinberg software that doesn't require a dongle is on a the dongle, for this very reason.

Quote

Invariably, you're gonna lose one of those dongles, then not buy another one because you already have the desktop one. Then you're gonna lose the desktop one.

No, when I lose one I will get another and use the warranty service to get a new activation code, but I won't lose access to the software because I have another.

You're really relying on the worse case scenarios and then positing them as invariants...  Interesting.

But I don't lose them, because I have an attachment that plugs into the Kensington lock slot on my laptop, so the dongle is attached to it.  It doesn't move until I unlock and detach it.  But hey, not everyone thinks about these things...  Maybe someone will use a fence cutter and steal it, one day?

Quote

A lot of new ilok software only gives you one activation because they work on the assumption that you'll either move that dongle around or have the same cloud session across.

Nope.  A lot of the older iLok software only gives you one activation because they worked on that assumption.  Most new iLok titles give you 2-3.  Even Pro Tools gives you 2-3 activations.  Older items like the Exponential Audio plugins only give you 1.  But they're usually on sale for almost nothing, anyways.

I have tons of iLok'd software, and what you say is definitely inaccurate.

Edited by Maestro
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

Dorico Pro and SpectraLayers Pro are the first "Pro" products from Steinberg that don't need the USB dongle to work.

I think a lot of their VST Software can use the Soft eLicenser, though bundles like Absolute may require the dongle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, TheSteven said:

Don't have a problem with dongles but I have NO interest in the the iLok cloud.
I'd rather depend on a dongle than on my WiFi & ISP provider.

Worried about wear on your dongle?  If we're talking about your USB dongle (instead of a groupie problem) then break down and spend $2 on a USB Extension cable and just leave it permanently connected to the dongle.
Breakage worries?  My iLok3 is a small profile metal beastie.
image.png.01c8c0e77e73bc94229a68cbe5f64627.png
If I accidentally slam it while it's plugged in (another good reason to use a USB extension cable) it's more likely to damage the USB port than the dongle.
My eLicenser is made of plastic but it is also low profile.
 

That's not a very elegant solution if you have to use a laptop, which is why most people don't like having to move the dongle back and forth.

Even a USB Hub is better, and at least has ports for other things (thumb drives, peripherals, etc.).

And wear on the dongle is secondary to wear on the USB ports from constantly inserting and removing the dongle.  Those ports go bad, often long before the dongles themselves; especially on cheaper, mass-produced, OEM MOBOs and many laptops.

Edited by Maestro
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, antler said:

I'm sure that's mostly true. There was an issue some people talked about a little while ago when they bought some AIR product (I think) on a cheap deal; it bundled an older version of the iLok driver, and then blue screened their computer when it conflicted with the newer version. Certainly a rare exception rather than the norm, but I'm just saying it can happen.

I'm very glad you and others here are happy with your dongles; may they continue to function flawlessly. I'm happy to use the plugins that I do that don't use a dongle. We all choose the software that suits our purposes and workflows best.

That's because iLok allows installation of that version over newer versions.  Steinberg's eLCC will error out if you try to install an older version over a newer version, and will update the older version with a newer version if you install in the proper order.

iLok's software doesn't do that, so  you end up with all sorts of issues when vendors bundle the older PACE installers into their plug-in/application installer, and don't update the installers when PACE does.  That was the issue with the iLok software from AIR and SONiVOX.  Also, PACE uses a different type of driver architecture for their iLok software, while eLCC installs as userland software.  This is why you have a driver installation dialog when first installing the iLok software, but nothing like that with the Steinberg eLCC.

This conspiracy about software running deep into your OS has never applied to eLCC, or been associated with Steinberg's hardware copy protection.

Unrelatable situations.

The issues with performance affected most USB dongle solutions many years ago because the tech was simply slower and less mature.  Slower USB flash devices.  Slower USB Ports.  Slower computers, etc.  This hasn't been an issue for a long time.  iLok, eLicenser, Codemeter, etc. These have all been performant for years.

Most issues people run into, these days, have to do with people not keeping the software up to date - or activation server issues during mad rush/promotional periods/product release or update times....  All of this can and does happen to products that have never used hardware copy protection, since that's an issue with server resources.

Edited by Maestro
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Maestro said:

If you can afford Cubase a $20 dongle is not a problem, and Amazon is everywhere.  I don't think many people in third world countries are buying $550 DAWs.  Ignorable "issue," really.

That's not the issue here. The issue is availability.

9 hours ago, Maestro said:

I think a lot of their VST Software can use the Soft eLicenser, though bundles like Absolute may require the dongle.

The Absolute Collection doesn't need the dongle to work.

9 hours ago, Maestro said:

Even a USB Hub is better, and at least has ports for other things (thumb drives, peripherals, etc.).

And if you need to use a powered hub, that's one extra power brick you have to carry with you at all times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Maestro said:

This conspiracy about software running deep into your OS has never applied to eLCC, or been associated with Steinberg's hardware copy protection.

Unrelatable situations.

That's nice to know - I wasn't aware of this and assumed that eLCC was just Steinberg's similarly coded version of iLok. That said, I'm still perfectly happy with the dongle-free software that I'm using: I have good alternatives to Cubase, Wavelab, HALion, Spectral Layers, VSL libraries, and there's nothing currently in my wishlist that uses eLCC.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...