John_Cillis

What's going on with prying eyes?

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Not to start a flame war, but I had a web outage today.  I decided no prob, I will just sim for a while.  So I fire up Xplane11 and Xplane11 comes up with a block showing my registration key, saying I had to run the program in demo mode because they cannot verify me online, like they already had before.  I did not uninstall or reinstall the simulation.

This really puts a twist in the "which is better" controversy.  Lockheed Martin does not practice this, I had an Internet outage for nearly a month after I first installed P3DV4and it ran with no quibbles.  Laminar makes a good product, but to require a product to have a web connection in order to continuously use it opens up a back door into our systems.  This is not about licensing, it is about Ransomware to a certain extent.  And if I need to, I will take it to court unless Laminar gets its act together and has, like Steam, an offline option of using the program.  Steam is not Ransomware, even though my Lockheed Martin install is not thru Steam.  You have the option to have it enabled or not, it is your choice.

I know this may sound like a malevolent post, and the response from the higher ups in the community will decide my next course of action.  They either stand with me or against me on this one, and there is no room for negotiation, because such Ransomware infringes on our US Constitution.  I am so livid I have sent a copy of this post thru back channels to people I know and trust, and who have worked with my family for decades, in the government, health, hospitality, nuclear and aviation fields.

I guess I will understand the penalties of what I am exposing, and I will take the consequences if I am asked to leave the forums.  Because I am sure others know about this and like people who watch others getting murdered, they either stand sadly silent or overtly support this type of arm twisting on the casual consumer and casual pilot, and students of the art out there., not to mention those that want a glimmer and hope of flying some day.

John

 

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It doesn't require an always online connection, but does expect you to be online once a week or so in order to verify the license. The alternative is to buy a license dongle or the DVD in order to use it always offline. I'm not sure why you can no longer activate and use the software, but I've never had any problems with it, and I use X-Plane offline and have it installed on two computers (my gaming and development machines). If you contact LR's support then I'm sure they'll have the problem sorted out.

This is the norm these days, and most software/games have a similar approach, especially those bought on Steam. Some games don't work at all without an Internet connection, others, just like X-Plane require it to be authenticated every few days. As much as we may all hate it, this is here to stay and will only get worse in future. We can perhaps blame piracy etc (but pirates will always find a way to get around these limits). I no longer buy games from some of the worst culprits, mainly EA games, and will go for games that aren't so draconian, and X-Plane is very mild in comparison. 

Whilst P3D doesn't seem to need an online internet connection, it seems some addons do. The same applies in X-Plane, half of my addons fail to function when they can't call home (especially X-Aviation stuff). 

 

 

 

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I always buy the big main products directly from the Publishers own Portal.  They will obviously issue updates first so no waiting while third parties wait to receive theirs. Although I do have Titles that run through Steam - Jack Nicklaus Golf, Aerofly and Real Flight 8,  I'll avoid buying through Steam if I can.

I wasn't aware that XPlane phoned home every few days.

 

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What do you mean by having to fly online? I understand some software might require you to use their server but other than that...I don't get it. I fly a lot with X Plane and use real weather every time which comes from the internet but I'm not on any server...that I'm aware of. Does using real weather from the internet qualify me as using an internet connection?

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52 minutes ago, Will273 said:

Does using real weather from the internet qualify me as using an internet connection?

It means you are connected to the internet and your copy of X-Plane can valid your key.

As Tony said, X-plane requires you to validate your license from time to time. This is not ransomware, just legit copy protection. Maybe they should run a check every time you have a connection (example when using real weather), and allow for a couple of days of running without internet, instead of having a fixed number of days to check (I suppose that is how it works).

John just had bad luck, such a rant was not necessary, sorry to say. 

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As they used to say back in the 60's: Just because your're paranoid do'sent mean someone's not following you... 

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I don’t think XP11 requires an internet connection every time you use it, but it will “phone home” to verify the license at intervals of a week or two. If no internet connection is available, when a license check comes due, you will have the problem you describe.

For years, XP was only distributed on DVD, and required disk number 1 to be in the DVD drive whenever running the program. The online license check arose when XP began to be offered as a digital download. As Tony pointed out, it is possible to order a hardware dongle from Laminar that eliminates the requirement for the online check, and if you installed from DVD, it may still be possible to use disk 1 for verification as was the case in older versions of XP.

Add ons for X-Plane sold by X-Aviation have a similar interval-based online reverification requirement, (every 14 days), though you can force a reverification at any time through the plugin, which will reset the counter.

I understand your frustration, but I don’t think that there is any legal case to be made that this is “ransomware”. You are not being asked to pay any additional fees. Since you do not actually own the software, but have only purchased license to use it, publishers have pretty broad latitude in using various DRM techniques verify that a valid license exists.

I do object to, and will not purchase, any flight sim add-on that requires a continuous internet connection solely for DRM purposes. Active Sky would be an exception, since by its very nature, it would be of little use without the ability to download updated weather weather information in real time.

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27 minutes ago, overspeed3 said:

As they used to say back in the 60's: Just because your're paranoid do'sent mean someone's not following you... 

I prefer the phrase: "It's not paranoia when their really out to get you!" LOL

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Ok so when I'm flying and using downloaded real weather X Plane gets validated then? I'm using the disks and have disk 1 in the drive when flying although there have been times when I didn't need it. I remember back in the day when I didn't have to be online to do anything but if I wanted to connect with the internet then I'd have to use dial-up. Now it seems whenever I turn on my computer I'm automatically online....like I don't have a choice anymore. I think some of the games that come with your computer...like card games or whatever don't require you to be online but other than that I'm not sure if there's anything you can do that doesn't require an online connection now that I think about it. Makes it easy for the Government to keep track of everyone.

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23 minutes ago, Will273 said:

Ok so when I'm flying and using downloaded real weather X Plane gets validated then? I'm using the disks and have disk 1 in the drive when flying although there have been times when I didn't need it. I remember back in the day when I didn't have to be online to do anything but if I wanted to connect with the internet then I'd have to use dial-up. Now it seems whenever I turn on my computer I'm automatically online....like I don't have a choice anymore. I think some of the games that come with your computer...like card games or whatever don't require you to be online but other than that I'm not sure if there's anything you can do that doesn't require an online connection now that I think about it. Makes it easy for the Government to keep track of everyone.

No, if you are using the disks, from time to time it will ask you to put disk 1 in the drive. You don't have to have it in all the time. And you don't have to be connected to the internet to validate your copy.

Now, if you are using the downloaded version and you are connected to the internet , it will check the registration key you received at install time from time to time on the servers(one time every 2 weeks I guess). If you happen to be offline at that moment, then it will refuse to get out of demo mode. Next time the internet connection works during startup of X-Plane, it will validate the registration again for the next 2 weeks.

I only used the real weather example to prove that X-Plane sometimes  uses the internet connection.

And right, nowadays you can not do much without the internet. If you want to fly with real weather for example, you need the connection.

And I really don't know what this has to do with the government. If they really wanted to keep track of you, they better need to know your cellphone number. Google and Facebook know much more about you then the government (unless you happen to live in China, there the government keeps track of your every move in cyberspace). 
If you want to be paranoid, yes, it are scary times, and we must keep our eye on the law makers to keep us secure from abuse. That is why it is good we have something like GDPR in Europe. The number of sales pitches by phone and unsolicited (spam) mails dropped dramatically here since its implementation.

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In an ideal world I would rather not have any of my purchased software phone home for periodic authorization. But that ideal world wouldn't include software piracy. I enjoy having a range of high-quality payware available for my flight sims, and here in the real world, much of that high-quality payware wouldn't exist without a means to protect it. Software developers deserve compensation for their work, and when I pay good money for a product, I don't want others getting a free ride. So I'm okay with the current system.

For one thing, "phoning home" and system profiling ID is a far less Draconian solution than copy protection methods used in the past, like the nasty ones that placed hidden root-level programs on your drive. At least X-Plane provides an alternative with the USB dongle if you have an unreliable Internet connection, or need to spend extended time offline, traveling, etc. Another option is the Steam version of XP11, which has an offline option. 

As for the DVD's, I believe this is probably the last version of X-Plane that will be distributed that way,. Fewer computers are being marketed with optical drives, and IIRC there were problems getting all the scenery on "only" eight discs last time. Maybe they'll offer a USB thumb drive version for XP12? Anyway, I think online authorization of one sort or another is here to stay. 

P.S. to the OP: I appreciate a good rant, but the colored text doesn't help the argument. 😉

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Thanks guys!  I understand the security issue and agree. I'm on DSL and the X Plane 11 demo I tried to download said it would take 10 hours...well that's out so what's someone like me to do if I wanted to get the whole simulation?

Edited by Will273

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1 hour ago, Will273 said:

Thanks guys!  I understand the security issue and agree. I'm on DSL and the X Plane 11 demo I tried to download said it would take 10 hours...well that's out so what's someone like me to do if I wanted to get the whole simulation?

You can still buy XP11 from Laminar as a DVD set, same cost as the digital download (plus shipping):

https://www.x-plane.com/product/x-plane-11-dvd-set/

Unless you're being charged based on data size, that download time for the demo doesn't seem too unreasonable for a slow connection. I've bought AAA games on Steam that take 12 hours or more to download.

Note: The XP11 demo contains the full flight simulation and default aircraft, and only lacks the additional scenery outside the Seattle demo area. The demo is also time-limited, but you can re-launch the demo any number of times. Once you buy the program, you can use the installer to download only the scenery areas you actually need, not the whole world (which does come in the DVD set). 

Edited by Paraffin

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I hear you man, I hear you!

As a matter of fact, a lot of times when I am using X-Plane I hear something out in my garden, and when I check it´s just some cat. Now THAT is clever, isn´t it. A harmless cat! Anyone else would go "oh, it was just a cat", and keep simming... but NOT ME! I know that Laminar is up to their wicked ways and if it means training cats to see where I fly and which plane I use - well, it´s certainly not beyond their means!

We all know that Austin has more money available than Jeff Bozo and that other rich guy combined, and his thirst for world domination is thinly disguised, if you ask me. Did you watch the last Q&A? I just FELT them leech information from my computer while I was watching it, and youtube is in there with them, obviously. Probably facebook, too - they use that a lot.

Needless to say I am putting out a lot of catfood - I will bring them back to my side eventually, then they will spill the beans who did what to them and the police in my hometown will be ready to make a trip to someone´s home in the good U S and A - I call them daily to be ready when I have the cats all reigned in.

Stand by for further reports - and oh - I wouldn´t be surprised if this message will be replaced by some harmless kitten video... did you ever wonder why there are SO MANY of them out there?

Think, guys!

 

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My copy appears to phone home every single time I use it.  there has never been a time when I fired up XPlane without an internet connection and it let me run in full mode.  I find it annoying but since Im aware there is the USB option, I put up with it.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, sightseer said:

My copy appears to phone home every single time I use it.  there has never been a time when I fired up XPlane without an internet connection and it let me run in full mode.  I find it annoying but since Im aware there is the USB option, I put up with it.

 

 

I suppose after reviewing all the responses I just have to be tolerant and complain to my ISP when there is a problem, rather than Austin.  Because in the end having the option to buy both his product, P3DV4 and all my other sims and add-ons online is worth it since fewer and fewer big box stores and big box electronics stores carry the PC titles our hobbyists like.  I remember it did not used to be like that in the early days of MSFS, I could walk into the big software stores and buy tons of scenery and add-ons for the sim.

People complain about the loss of brick and mortar stores but in our crowded cities housing was becoming expensive because of the amount of land these stores were taking from the home and apartment builders.  The movie "Batteries Not Included" was prophetic in this regard.

John

Edited by John_Cillis

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Thanks for all the replies. Well I'm using the disk set for X Plane 10 so I'd probably do the same for X Plane 11 but would like an alternative if they stopped with the DVD/disks. I remember trying to download something for X Plane...not the demo but something else and it was big...like the 10 hour thing and I kept getting disconnected every 10 or 15 minutes. I eventually went to the library and used their computer and got it done in no time. As long as they keep selling the disks I'll be happy. Thanks for letting me know the 10 hours sounds normal for a big download with a slow connection...I'll make arrangements for the wait next time.

Edited by Will273

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