For those of you who don't know, iLok is a two stranded software licencing regime. And I didn't know . .
On the one hand there is the software version, which until a week or so ago, and despite the hardware overhead which my machine can just about bear, was what I had had to install to run plugins and loop libraries from UVI and Softube.
Over the Christmas break I took advantage of a special offer to acquire the Lexicon LXP bundle, which said it needed iLok V2 to run. As I already had V2.6 on my PC I was of the opinion that I was OK.
As it transpires iLok V2 refers to a piece of hardware.
Here is the review of the iLok V2 USB dongle I am about to post on Thomann's website, but don't hold you breath for it to be published:
"5 stars for Thomann as usual. Excellent service.
'Portable and Convenient' it says on the packet. Well, it IS portable . . . The key itself looks fragile, and has a detachable connector cover that will be easily lost. The best I can say about it is that it is plug and play and it works. It will probably never be moved from the USB port on my PC that it has invaded. It might be of some use to a professional AVID user who has more than one workstation, but that's it.
But if I could I would give this device (and its ilk) minus infinity. I'll explain. I use a number of iLok secured plugins, but, and this is the key factor, they are secured with release V2.6 of the software version. So when I bought a Lexicon plugin that said it needed iLok V2 I thought 'that's OK, I have V2.6 . . ' Wrong. So in order to use my new mid priced plugin I am forced to pay for a piece of USB port blocking hardware that has no other use whatsoever, increasing the cost of the plugin by more than 30% before it can be run. At the very least software companies mandating its use should be obliged to provide a physical iLok. It's like buying a car, only to be told you can't use it unless you pay out another few thousand to get the keys. Although my PC has 8 USB ports I also had to buy a hub to add more. Before iLok there was the Cubase eLicencer (another unnecessary and irritating loss of a valuable USB port, and criticisms of the iLok apply equally to this waste of space and computer resources, but at least Steinberg supply it), my graphics pad, keyboard, mouse, MPC, Novation controller, audio interface, and external hard drive.
Of course software needs to be properly protected, but the compulsory use of this kind of outdated, proprietary, expensive and computer clogging hardware is definitely not how to do it. iLok hardware could potentially be an optional purchase for people who need portability, where there is then a clear added value proposition, and for no other reason. Had I known Lexicon's requirements I would never have parted with my money. I certainly won't be buying anything else from them, or indeed any one else who supports iLok hardware, as I regard the requirement to use a physical iLok as showing complete contempt for their customers and nothing short of blackmail as well as at a stroke hamstringing computer connectivity. If products using this scam are boycotted maybe it will die the death it so richly deserves.
Once again, as a legitimate software user I am forced to wonder why software companies make it so time consuming and difficult to use products I have paid for. It's like they hate their customers. I'm starting to hate them back."