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Survey: Synfire Online


Now that iLok Cloud is seemingly working fine for many users, I wonder if it may be a viable option to eventually put Synfire online. Synfire would still be installed locally on your computer, but get some of its functionality from our server.

No dongles, no license managers, no activation codes, no broken or lost iLoks anymore. In order to run Synfire, you would simply login with your user credentials. A login cookie can be cached for a week or so, so you won't need to re-login every time you start Synfire. Our servers are running 24/7 on a massively redundant cloud infrastructure, so permanent uptime can be assured. 

This would be a simple way for us keep piracy away and at the same time offer a convenient and reliable user experience. We could possibly offer an affordable monthly subscription as well, as an alternative option for those who don't want to commit to an upfront investment. The flexibility of an online service also allows for something like a marketplace for professionally made libraries and other stuff.

Actually, in our daily lives these days, almost everything is online. Many DAWs and other applications come up with a welcome screen full of messages and community options that are updated daily. It is pretty standard today.

Note that we won't change any of this anytime soon. At least not before 3.0 or even 4.0. I just would like to learn what our users think and whether it is a potential option we might consider in the future. Just testing the waters.

What do you think?

Do., 19.01.2023 - 18:17 Permalink

I object to an online solution. My studio has no online access at all, leading me to shun any product that requires being online for using it. I'm totally fine with my computer doing all the calculations involved.

Please always keep a full offline product for Synfire users available. Also no subscription-only model, please.


Do., 19.01.2023 - 19:33 Permalink

I agree 1000% with HiEnergy. I've been using iLok for Synfire for about 2 years now and I have no complaints. If you want to make the iLok cloud an option for those who want to use it I have no objection. Just so long as those of us who want to continue to use the dongle are still able to do so. I'm not interested in cloud services or subscriptions. Too many companies going that way at the moment and I'm not happy about it. It's one of the factors as to why I stopped using Reason. I hope Synfire isn't going in that direction as well.

Do., 19.01.2023 - 20:50 Permalink

I prefer a local installation too and have no problem with the iLok (even though I lost one once).

If the subscription and online offers are options that could be chosen as an alternative to a local install, I would have no objection. Anyway, I rather continue with a local software installation.

Do., 19.01.2023 - 21:26 Permalink

Yes, I don't particularly like the idea either. Above all, I want to keep control over when updates are made. During an ongoing project, I generally do not make any updates. With these online services, there is always the risk that one day you open the program and nothing works as before.

Fr., 20.01.2023 - 11:28 Permalink

Quote: "Synfire would still be installed locally on your computer, ...". It is impossible to run Synfire functions online. That would degrade performance and put way to much load on servers. Updates would not be deployed automatically. It would mainly be a login only.

Fr., 20.01.2023 - 13:37 Permalink

Is this discussion coming up right now because Cognitone just received the annual invoice from iLok?

Seriously, such a move is really only suitable for scaring away customers. I mean especially the subscription model. You can take a look at the reactions in the relevant forums of companies that have done this (Avid, Adobe, etc). Of course, this all calms down again after a while, but it's certainly not a way to win satisfied customers. 

Yes, I have read that the subscription model would only be optional. But the mere introduction or even hint of a subscription model usually causes panic. 

Fr., 20.01.2023 - 20:06 Permalink

No need to panic. I don't like subscriptions either and avoid them where I can. But there are very many users who can't afford a Pro license up front. A rent-to-own model (leasing) might work for them.

The reason this comes up is not cost. It's user experience issues with upgrades and activation. Users are confused and annoyed. The management and handling of upgrades is also very laborious. If you look at the "Upgrades" section of our store, that's how many different configurations we need to manage (manually). It would be a lot easier and provide a smoother user experience if we used our own licensing scheme.

Fr., 20.01.2023 - 21:01 Permalink

The rent-to-own model is something else. That probably would make sense. 

The permanent dependence on a server however will certainly not be to everyone's liking. The feedback here, although not representative, speaks for itself, doesn't it?

But nevermind. I'm not in panic :)

Sa., 21.01.2023 - 03:15 Permalink

I have no problem with the iLok software and dongle. But I would like an option to verify my license online too.

I dont use software with a time limited subscription. I dont like this model. In the past this was a reason for me not to use some applications.

For me written dokus and printable stuff is more important than online manuals, helpfiles or videos. I like the manual of Synfire 1 and hope we get something similar for version 2.

Thanks a lot for this great piece of software. For me it is a game changer in creating music and backing tracks for rehershing real instruments. 


Mi., 31.05.2023 - 14:45 Permalink

It would depend. Just as a copy protection - no, I am strictly against systems that are an unnecessary inconvenience for the paying customer. Are there any indications that Harmony Navigator that uses simple activation is pirated like crazy? (Edit: For me the order would be: personal license file that works on all my computers > one time activation per computer > online check per month/week/start > always online requirement > dongle > subscription)

But if the new versions 3/4+ make use of powerful, expensive GPUs that normal users don't have at home, cloud computing could make sense. Machine learning technology is quite in flux these days and specialized hardware becomes more important. (Edit: this would likely only be possible as subscription as it generates continuous costs on Cognitone side? Would depend on capabilities and price whether I'd be interested)