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A few years ago, I purchased a Muse Receptor for use with my band. I’d consider myself somewhat of an early atopter.. I was fortunate enough to have an idea for the band’s live setup (namely, a hardware box that ran software synths) that someone had already implemented. I enjoyed using it for a couple years, though it tended to be not the most reliable piece of equiment ever.

Recently, the plugins I had purchased stopped working on the Receptor… I suspect because the Pace iLok copy-protection USB-stick no longer functioned correctly. So today I finally signed onto the iLok web site to see if I could get my authorizations transferred to a new iLok. All perfectly within legal parameters — We open-source advocates typically try to play by the rules, and contrary to popular belief, we’re not trying to get something for nothing :). However, to my dismay, I was presented a message that stated iLok.com was only supported on Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

Now please humor me for a moment, but isn’t the whole idea of a web page to present information in a way that is cross-platform compatible? I mean, don’t standards organizations exist to help promote web accessibility? Doesn’t the display of a web site have absolutely nothing to do with the operating system??

Presumably, iLok.com is “not compatible” with Linux because it has to install some program or ActiveX conrtol or something that lets it move authorizations to your iLok. Fine, granted. They don’t want to develop such software for Linux. I get that. But why on earth would I not be allowed to log into the web site at all? All I wanted to do was see what authorizations I had purchased previously, and try to go about ordering a replacement iLok.

I guess this means I won’t be using the iLok again, because I don’t have (and don’t suspect I’ll ever need to purchase) any Windows or Macintosh operating systems. It also means the chances of me using the Muse Receptor again for future band endeavors are slim, because the plugins with iLok protection made up a large chunk of the plugins I enjoyed using. Instead I’ll probably put together a basic box running LinuxSampler and a few free/open-source softsynths (like Bristol, Yoshimi, and Calf Organ among others).

To my albeit limited mind, copy protection measures like this are a sign of a company that is on its way out. Forward-looking companies are ones that encourage users to purchase by creating real value, not by making it more difficult for legitimate users to use their software. See ya around Pace (and Muse, by proxy), it wasn’t that nice knowing ya.

This makes me want to move ahead with my all-free-open-source-software-synth-operating-system all the more, so I can share the fun and freedom of open-source software with the other musicians I know (while taking care of the hard part, configuring the system, for them). I just wish there were about six times as many hours in a day!