James, I may be in the minority, but I actually like the dongle.
When I fire up my PC and see a bunch of stupid licensers and subscription managers gobbling up over a gig of memory, leeching cpu cycles, and sometimes even doing ‘peer to peer’ software uploads for these companies (at my expense) and sending god knows what over my internet connection (sometimes in the middle of a latency sensitive project), it irks me to high heaven. Why the heck does Avid need ‘my credit card information’, half a stinking Gig of my memory, and up to 5% of other system resources, even when I’m not using Sibelius?
I’ll take a dongle over ‘subscriptions’ and contracts that give some outside company total control over the terms and use of my system (I.E. ransomware) any day. If Steinberg were to go out of business and pull the plug on all their servers today…I’d still be able to use my software. This is NOT the case with anything I’ve ever purchased from Avid, MakeMusic, etc…
I’ve also pointed out earlier where the dongle system keeps purchasing and inventory simpler for bureaucratic institutions, and people who work on grants and endowments. Buying dongle ware is more like going to the music shop and picking up a box of reeds or a new microphone. I simply write my purchase order for a simple purchase and send it to the music store in exchange for my ‘piece of equipment’. Buying something from Adobe, Avid, etc…comes with a long list of rules and issues that require the approval, resources, and management of multiple departments, with a whole new set of rules on what ‘budgets’ can be tapped to acquire them. With dongle-ware, I can tag/inventory ‘the dongle with all its keys’ as ‘equipment’ or even as a ‘consumable’ if the price is low enough. With subscription models…I’m doomed to mounds of paper work for things that probably will NOT be approved. If Steinberg sticks with a policy of ‘offering’ a dongle option, I’ll be able to buy Dorico from at least 3 different budgets…where as anything from Avid can only come from ‘one’ and about 50 different people have to ‘analyse and approve it’, then write up an ‘implementation plan’, and the list goes on.
The idea behind the dongle is simple…one license, one machine. The ‘key’ itself can go on inventory as a unique piece of equipment. It does NOT need to go online…
It’s also nice that I can roll back to any version I like and not have to re-register/activate a thing. I.E. With Cubase/Halion/etc., I can go way back to version 6 if the need arises…all off the same dongle. It takes 2 seconds to move to a different machine, and I don’t even need a network interface in the thing to do it.