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SPORE DRM on the Mac

Following up on my previous article, I did a little experiment as I installed SPORE on my Macbook Pro. I created a script to md5 sum all the files that I thought might be used to install a kernel module or a startup item.

I then did the following:

  1. Ran the checksum script
  2. Installed SPORE.
  3. Ran the checksum script again.
  4. Ran SPORE and authorized my account.
  5. Ran the checksum script again.
  6. Compared the results of the different checksum scripts.

What I discovered is that it did not touch any of these files or files in these subdirectories:

  • /Library/Extensions/
  • /Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /Library/Preferences/
  • /Library/Security/
  • /Library/StartupItems/
  • /Library/Updates/
  • /System/Library/Extensions/
  • /System/Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /System/Library/Security/
  • /System/Library/StartupItems/
  • /mach_kernel
  • /mach_kernel.ctfsys
  • /private/etc/

It didn’t change any timestamps, filesizes or md5sums. Even if something was already installed via the Creature Creator I would expect it to at least update that code or something.

I can say with some confidence that SecuROM 7 under Cider does not install a kernel module or a system startup item; changes needed to hide directories, detect if debuggers have ever been run, or hide processes.

The thing I wondered about is why it needs root access (it asks for your password) during install. So I’m not 100% confident.

That’s a big improvement over all the horrible problems that Windows users have reported. And it means it can be uninstalled and in the way Mac users are accustom to.

On the downside, it looks like the authorization is actually causing both Windows and Mac users problems. There is a thread on the forums about how you can’t have multiple accounts with one install. Despite expectations and the instruction manual saying otherwise.

I saw reports of that problem on the Amazon reviews and thought it was a very legit complaint along with the windows people who tried to install it and it failed or caused various problems.

I had only heard one report about hard drive failure and I suspect it was unrelated or a fabrication. I would expect more Mac users to have complained by now.


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