December 26, 2013

Sandbolloxed...

by Chris Randall
 



As you no doubt know, especially if you are a Logic user, there are Big Changes coming down the pike, in the form of a sandboxed version of Logic, most likely before the middle of 2014. Developers have been given a preview copy of Logic X Sandboxed, so we can test our products to see if they will work when the update occurs, and make necessary changes. The current Garageband X is already sandboxed, so you can do a quick test to have a gander at how many of your current AUs will work in Logic X Sandboxed.

The short answer is "hardly any."

There are some very big problems with sandboxing something like Logic, from a developer's perspective, and almost no benefit to the end user. (In actual fact, it harms the end user, because products he was able to use previously, and may have come to rely on, will suddenly cease to work.) We could talk in circles all day long about that sort of nonsense, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.

While this stands a very real chance of having a consumer backlash something on the order of what occurred when Final Cut X was released, that's neither here nor there in the scheme of things. Our concern at Audio Damage is to maintain a seamless transition, so our customers aren't affected. And, let's be honest, there is nothing we like more than dropping everything and spending a couple months re-building our entire product line every time Apple has a fit of the Shinies.

In that light, we had a difficult decision to make. The only thing preventing our products from working in Logic X Sandboxed (and Garageband X, for that matter) is the erstwhile copy protection. For a decade now, we've had the simplest, least intrusive copy protection that we could have and still call it that. It has done very little to prevent piracy, and is the number one (and two and three and four and five and six and seven) source of support problems. It is, in short, a gigantic fucking pain in the ass that doesn't do what it's supposed to. And now it prevents our products from working in the Apple hosts.

So, we're taking it out.

We'll begin rolling out updates next week that will eventually encompass our entire product line, removing the DRM and updating the installers and UIs (and doing some bug fixing along the way), in order of popularity. The license control mechanism in the store will continue as-is, but the current reg codes will basically become serial numbers, and will not be required during the installation process. We'll also be able to deliver the bundles as one-click installs instead of 22 separate packages, which will no doubt please our bundle customers immensely.

This is obviously a pretty big risk for us, but we think it will be a good solution in the long run. We have long been of the opinion that there are people that care about supporting a company and its endeavors, and people that only care about themselves. Both Adam and I make a living on the former sort, and we hope that will continue to be the case. I can't speak for Adam, but I'm really shitty at blanching fries.

Anyhow, my Twitter feed and the Audio Damage RSS feed are the places to watch for updates as they're rolled. If you have a specific bug report that you think we might not know about, email it to [email protected] and I'll put it in the list. We'll be doing the products in order of popularity (with shiny new digitally signed installers, natch!) so expect Dubstation, Eos, Replicant, and Discord3 to be the earliest recipients of this treatment, and so on down to the perpetual tail-end Charlie, Ronin.
 
 
 

64 comments:

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Jan.04.2014 @ 10:25 AM
tayholliday
"Sandboxing has nothing to do with the App Store. (Although a lot of App Store apps are sandboxed.)

-CR"

That's not really accurate. Sandboxing is a requirement for all Mac App Store Apps. Apple made an exception for their own apps for a while, but they're trying to be consistent at least by sandboxing Logic, etc.
 
 

 
Jan.04.2014 @ 10:46 AM
tayholliday
CR: "I personally think [sandboxing is] stupid, as (in the scheme of things) hardly anyone uses these programs, and they're terrible malware vectors."

Agreed. But, the problem is that AU hosting is something that sandboxed apps (Mac App Store apps) should be able to take advantage of. And Apple is at least somewhat justified in trying to sandbox apps in general.

I wonder what the sandboxing means for plugins that communicate with hardware directly (like the UAD stuff). Seems like that would definitely violate the app sandbox.
 
 

 
Jan.04.2014 @ 1:24 PM
ToneHead
Hah! 1996 was when I switched to Mac. I was trying to cash in on the web design gold rush and Windows 95 was just too crashalicious ... a friend had taught me how to perform the rituals of the black art of OS 7-9 manual memory management properly, so I could run Macs 100s of hours at a time without a crash (nobody believes me when I say that, but it was possible if you knew what you were doing), which made me dramatically more productive than most of my competitors who were using Windows. (Actually during that period almost all the web designers in my neck of the woods were Mac guys and the prejudice was that anyone using a Windows box was a net noobie.)
 
 

 
Jan.04.2014 @ 1:28 PM
ToneHead
mmm, the last was my response to CR's "couldn't take [Mac] any more" a couple comments ago, not sure if that was clear.
 
 

 
Jan.04.2014 @ 10:44 PM
ashtarbrian
Thanks for the cogent explanation Chris. I'm sorry if I misunderstood something, but you are saying the VST format was less conducive to things like side chaining etc (implying inter-app connectivity ((pardon my lack of specificity in terms)))...

I never gave up on my macs out of forward momentum and touring etc... but yeah 96-99 was rough, I always thought the mac i just bought would be my last and started looking into windows machines, but fortunately for me at least, didn't have to go there.... Remember the Power Computing Clones? Dark times. I got good use out of my Quadra's and 9600 towers etc, hell.... they still actually run! And for some sad reason I get sentimental with them, and/or paranoid about the stuff on them, and i keep them well past their expiration date that they aren't worth reselling...

but it came in handy, a couple years ago, a friend of mine who was re-releasing and revisiting the mixes of his entire catalog needed early 90's to early 00's mac's with protools and studio vision and opcode drivers and sample cell stuff etc.... and I had these perfectly "frozen in time" units... they were able to boot their sessions from back then without issue and do what they would with them, record by record, as i had like 5-6 systems from different years etc... ... bit hard to do now...

i guess that's why i am in the camp of screw it, and just bounce it to audio as soon as i deem it "listenable" in term of tracks and move on and not worry about fiddly crap too much, because you can spend all that time, or move on with your life, as it really doesn't matter that much anyways...

but again, thanks for the explanation... do you predict (gasp), that apple will one day allow the instantiation of a VST within Logic, or are they just going to keep making your life miserable?
 
 

 
Jan.05.2014 @ 5:15 AM
Chris Randall
Logic used to be a VST host. The ability was removed when Apple bought emagic, in favor of an in-house system. (Apple purportedly didn't find the VST licensing terms to be to their liking. Or something.)

But to actually answer your query, VST2.4 doesn't actually have sidechaining, as a "this is the sidechain input" type of thing. There are a couple ways around it, but it really depends on whether the host maker chooses to implement either of those ways, and how they do.

I personally think sidechaining is one of the many tools of Satan, a crutch for producers with no imagination. But that's just me. For an envelope follower, it's obviously a necessary evil.

-CR
 
 

 
Jan.05.2014 @ 2:54 PM
analogcre8or
Please weigh in on this CR, but if you want to use VSTs in Logic, use 'Satan's tools' on them, stack them, chain them, freq band split their signals and more, what these guys offer in the form of their new Patchwork adding to the existing MB-7 mixer has my attention at the moment...

link [www.bluecataudio.co...]
 
 

 
Jan.05.2014 @ 3:26 PM
ashtarbrian
Forgot that Logic had VST. I had Logic back then, didn't like it that much at first, as it took me like an hour how to route midi to my Kurzweil or something, said screw it, and went back to Studio Vision, and I was using TDM at that point....(no longer! screw you divi/avid((you're the one who brought up satan!))

and re: side chaining. absolute agreement in most of it's manifestations these days, but there are obvious applications for which it was designed initially in which I use it... not much of a wubbadubba guy myself, but I'd be a liar if i said i didn't use it once in awhile to help fix the rhythm of a poorly played guitar part, or to make frequency room in a mix at points... and actually some creative side chaining (like an off the grid source, well executed on a nin mix by alan moulder on the fragile, forget the name of the song...) can make some interesting nausea. but whatever, but i think we all know to steer clear of throwing it on every instance of massive :).
 
 

 
Jan.05.2014 @ 8:37 PM
Chris Randall
Protip: if you're using commercial AudioUnits, you're already using VSTs in Logic. Expert Sleepers is the only commercial dev I'm currently aware of that doesn't use some sort of wrapper or compatibility layer.

-CR
 
 

 
Jan.06.2014 @ 8:52 AM
Meteren
I do find it funny that Apple is professing a concern that Garageband and Logic will become vectors for malware, because guess who is (and always has been) most at risk of that? People who pirate plug-ins (thereby introducing un-trusted code into their system). Ah, sweet irony.

I suppose this will mean an end to AUs that use dongles as well, though. If so, then at least in that one sense Apple is genuinely preventing malware. It always burned me that the way they made the iLok/Syncrosoft/etc dongles "uncrackable" was by worming supposedly benign malware deep into your system. It wasn't the dongle itself that bothered me, it was the reckless hacking about with low-level system bits.

Good riddance to that. I don't need mystery code lying about in my machine spawning ghosts like a pile of bones in Gauntlet. I've always appreciated that you guys took the least invasive approach to anti-piracy, and I hope that this transition to no protection saves you more in support time than it ever costs you in lost sales.
 
 

 
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