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PACE/iLok invasiveness, then and now?
Old 18th April 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
PACE/iLok invasiveness, then and now?

I haven't used iLok or PACE since the days of PACE Interlok, when it reduced the only computer I ever installed it on to an unstable piece of junk that needed to be replaced. Since then I have always assumed that, in order to provide their copy "protection", PACE software continued to need to be just as invasive of computers as ever, and hence I haven't touched it since then, even at the cost of passing by numerous products that I otherwise might have purchased.

However, I just had an email conversation with a developer of audio plugins who just started using iLok, in which he said that the "new Eden-based software" PACE uses is much less invasive and runs entirely in user space and without affecting the kernel. That's the first time I've heard this, and an Internet search reveals absolutely zero discussion of such a change. So I'm asking here if anyone has any knowledge of this, in particular, whether or not there really is such a dramatic difference between the stability of systems with the older PACE Interlok installed vs. the latest PACE software drivers, and at how low of a level the latter drivers integrate with a computer system. At stake: whether I consider giving up my "iLok embargo" at last.

This is intended to be a serious attempt to get real, technical information on whether or not I ought to re-evaluate my heretofore strict avoidance of iLok software, not a flame war about copy protection. Thanks for any wisdom or anecdotes you can share.
Old 18th April 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
I think iLok is stupid, but I have one and haven't had any problems.
Old 18th April 2017
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

It's kind of impossible to have a discussion about the PACE software, since they don't ever release any information on their software, other than they tell you that you have to all of a sudden upgrade to the newest version or you won't be able to access your licenses.

If your developer friend told you something about the technical details of the new software system, my guess is that he is breaking some iron-clad non-disclosure agreement.

FWIW, I have, in years past, had the PACE Interlock software flagged by my antivirus software as various forms of malware and Trojan infections. Though that's been 10 or 12 years ago now.
Old 20th April 2017
  #4
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
It's kind of impossible to have a discussion about the PACE software, since they don't ever release any information on their software, other than they tell you that you have to all of a sudden upgrade to the newest version or you won't be able to access your licenses.

If your developer friend told you something about the technical details of the new software system, my guess is that he is breaking some iron-clad non-disclosure agreement.

FWIW, I have, in years past, had the PACE Interlock software flagged by my antivirus software as various forms of malware and Trojan infections. Though that's been 10 or 12 years ago now.
The fact that they don't release that information is probably a big part of their problem, since (as you noted) the PACE Interlock software of a decade ago (the stuff that essentially destroyed a computer of mine back then) looked and behaved a heck of a lot like malware. You'd think that if they actually improved that, they'd want users like me to know so that we'd be willing to give them a second chance. But without that knowledge, it is asking too much for me to trust them on any of my computers again.
Old 20th April 2017
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
other than they tell you that you have to all of a sudden upgrade to the newest version or you won't be able to access your licenses.
I upgraded and couldn't access anything, nor start protools.....

Then I spent 8 or 10 hours trying to figure out which obscure windows upgrade it wanted, even though windows had just upgraded everything on a new install, to the point where it would not find any upgrade that was required.

Thankfully there was a post on duc that linked to the upgrade (which took about 4 hours to download, and another 3 or 4 to install).

The nonsense about always available is garbage.
Old 21st April 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
 

With some updates, people report severe problems.

I had no major issue so far. Maybe these updates are an area where my habit of procrastinating anything pays some dividends.

I have the iLok because I couldn't not resist some plug-ins and have no interest in cracked software, so there is no price advantage to be had.

However there's always the risk of the dongle to break. If you license to your computer instead of the dongle, you lose your licenses if the computer breaks.
I find the extra fee for ZeroDownTime (ZDT) bold, but am pragmatic about that as well.
It also blocks 1 USB slot.
Last not least, I don't feel too comfortable adding factors that can go wrong.

If you don't feel like you absolutely have to have some iLok protected plug-ins because there are *really* no alternative, then I'd recommend to keep your boycott.
Old 21st April 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
I'll start by saying that I avoided iLok for many MANY years due to the same reasons you mentioned. These days I'm on Mac (used to be PC) and really wanted to get into some top end reverb plugins, all of which are iLok. So I took the plunge and honestly, I haven't had any issues at all with it (yet).

I see no kernel extensions installed by the installer (see below):

Code:
fots ~ $ ll /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.*.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  42637 11 Apr 23:58 /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.activationexperience.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  41725 11 Apr 23:58 /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.iLokLicenseManager.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  36869 11 Apr 23:58 /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.licensed.bom
fots ~ $ lsbom /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.activationexperience.bom 
. 40755 0/0
./Library 40755 0/0
./Library/Frameworks  40755 0/0
./Library/Frameworks/PACEEdenExperience.framework 40775 0/80
./Library/Frameworks/PACEEdenExperience.framework/PACEEdenExperience  120755  0/0 35  4044441608  Versions/Current/PACEEdenExperience
...
./Library/Frameworks/PACEEdenExperience.framework/Versions/Current  120755  0/0 1 1751207896  A
fots ~ $ lsbom /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.iLokLicenseManager.bom 
. 40755 0/0
./Applications  40775 0/80
./Applications/iLok License Manager.app 40755 0/80
./Applications/iLok License Manager.app/Contents  40755 0/80
...
./Applications/iLok License Manager.app/Contents/__Pace_Eden.bundle/Contents/_CodeSignature/CodeResources 100644  0/80  2346  1733983281
fots ~ $ lsbom /var/db/receipts/com.paceap.pkg.eden.licensed.bom 
. 40755 0/0
./Library 40755 0/0
./Library/LaunchDaemons 40755 0/0
./Library/LaunchDaemons/com.paceap.eden.licensed.plist  100644  0/0 1074  779502300
./Library/PrivilegedHelperTools 40755 0/0
./Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/licenseDaemon.app 40755 0/0
./Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/licenseDaemon.app/Contents  40755 0/0
...
./Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/licenseDaemon.app/Contents/__Pace_Eden.bundle/Contents/_CodeSignature/CodeResources 100644  0/0 2346  29334300
However, as you can see, there IS a daemon:

Code:
fots ~ $ ps -ef | grep -i license
    0    78     1   0 Thu05pm ??         0:01.56 /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/licenseDaemon.app/Contents/MacOS/licenseDaemon --backurl https://activation.paceap.com/InitiateActivation
  501  1969  1857   0  6:36pm ttys000    0:00.00 grep -i license
fots ~ $
Now, what does that do? I'm not sure, but it hasn't caused me any dramas so far.
Old 21st April 2017
  #8
Before my last fiasco I upgraded the ilok software, and it would not run for some reason. It really didn't tell me why.

It winds up that since the last two upgrades, the PACE service doesn't always start automatically on Windows. About half the time after a reebot, I will have to find the "Dervices" window, and either Start or Resart the PACE service.

I really wouldn't mind this if it was not such a damn hassle.
Old 21st April 2017
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thanks to all of you for the information.

While I am beginning to be at least hopeful that present-day PACE isn't as destructive as Interlok was, there seems to be just enough potential for problems remaining that I think I'll take blue monk's advice and continue to avoid iLok until such a time as I come across a plugin that I absolutely MUST have and that requires it. But at that point I MIGHT now consider allowing it onto my system, whereas up until now I'd have quit making music before I'd put anything from PACE on another computer of mine.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
The main companies that I personally think iLok is worth it for are, Softube, Soundtoys, Relab, Exponential Audio and Lexicon. But, if you can make do without these vendors, then skipping iLok is always a great option.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #11
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BM Grabber's Avatar
 

NOT invasive at all IMHO
Old 22nd April 2017
  #12
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmission View Post
Before my last fiasco I upgraded the ilok software, and it would not run for some reason. It really didn't tell me why.

It winds up that since the last two upgrades, the PACE service doesn't always start automatically on Windows. About half the time after a reebot, I will have to find the "Dervices" window, and either Start or Resart the PACE service.

I really wouldn't mind this if it was not such a damn hassle.
You know you fix this by selecting start service "Automatically Deffered" instead of start service "Automatically"

You only need to do this after an update to windows .
Old 22nd April 2017
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GP_Hawk View Post
You know you fix this by selecting start service "Automatically Deffered" instead of start service "Automatically"

You only need to do this after an update to windows .

Yeah, that didn't work.

About 50% of the time it is actually running and needs a restart/
Old 22nd April 2017
  #14
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmission View Post
Yeah, that didn't work.

About 50% of the time it is actually running and needs a restart/
Interesting. Works fine here.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by GP_Hawk View Post
Interesting. Works fine here.
I have no doubt.

This is the second machine I have had this problem with. I was actually surprised to see it happen on the new machine, as I thought that some of the problems were probably due to the age and complexity of all the stuff that I had installed/uninstalled etc. on the old box. I'm just lucky I guess.
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