Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Rip off artists.

Date of writing: 29th April 2010.
This post is a recollection of the events of 2006 to provide some back-story on the DRM.
I have used blogger to file it under 2006 for the sake of chronological reading convenience.

Back in 2006 we were working on the little black number, the H500D helicopter.

Working with Brett and Alex on this was great fun, we pushed animation to where it hadn't been, set the bar and created one of the essential X-Plane add-ons.

Unfortunately, around this time, there was another guy starting to sell helo's for X-Plane.

He approached me wanting some of the same features that I was putting into the H500D.

When I quoted him a figure to do the work, he wanted it for payware after-all, he baulked.

Seemingly uninterested I dismissed it and moved on.

Anyway, he came out with his "own" plugin that he had apparently had a programmer create for him.

Not a real big stretch, they're not hard things to make, life goes on.

So, users start reporting that if you have the H500D plugin and this new payware helo plugin installed at the same time, the sim crashes.
(This is due to a thing called symbol clashing, basically the guts of the plugin are the same and can't coexist inside X-Plane happily.)

Right around now I start getting curious.

A copy of his helo was purchased for forensic diagnosis, upon inspection it was found that he had basically stolen most of what he was selling. This included the ACF mesh and a few other things.

Having my freeware plugin stolen, hex edited (Authors and dataref names changed) and then re-sold was pretty boring.
(This ties into the DRM later...)

It was discussed openly on the Org, with facts well proven, the merchant in question provided various evasive half-apologies to some of the people involved but never admitted to stealing the plugin.

This amuses me greatly because the plugin contains a "signature" about page that contains several hundred lines of hand-carved OpenGL graphics code, stuff that is statistically impossible to duplicate without the intention of ripping me off. A dataref name clash I could accept. Custom graphics routines? Come on.

This post is a loose recollection of what happened four years ago.
There was for a time a thread on the Org that collected all the details for public record and verification.

If you would like cross reference of the facts and accusations made here please feel free to talk to any long standing member of the X-Plane community.

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