Hacks, cracks and your community
In the past week there has been a kind of airy atmosphere over at Delphi developer (Facebook group). The general theme has been dealing with piracy and hackers, which led to members of the group standing up for each other and becoming more public.
The week began by Slobodan (of Delphi 1-2-3) catching another member in actively promoting and pushing cracked copies of his work (as well as TMS, Mitov and other software houses). As expected he was furious. Especially since the guy doing this was also chatting and talking to him like he was a friend. The phrase “two-faced crook” fit’s the bill here.
Some piracy is to be expected, but when it get’s up close and personal the objective view is quickly replaced with a subjective and personal experience.
At the same time I found a crack for Smart Mobile Studio online, which made me very sad. I mean, we have set the prices as low as you can possibly go – and we did this exactly to avoid piracy. Who in their right mind would go to the trouble of hacking $100-$300 software? Especially when it’s a development platform which gives you so much productivity in return for so little investment.
And to make matters worse, we have free licenses for students – so the whole “oh i cant afford it” argument is null and void. If it’s good enough to crack, download and use – then it should be good enough for people to buy and support. I can understand why people pirate software that costs thousands of dollars – but pirating $300? Seriously?
I mean, Adobe could very well lower the price on their software, because the astronomic price tag leads to piracy, even by medium size companies. I’m using an ancient version that I picked up for $100 on a store sale many years ago – and I wont upgrade either because I have no use for all the fancy effects in modern Photoshop. So it would be better for Adobe to even out the number of sales vs. price and earn the same or more amount of money – but diversified over a larger user base.
The same can be said about Embarcadero. I have met plenty of companies with 3-5 developers that are using cracks. To avoid awkward moments where they fall over themselves to hide this fact, I tend to calculate a new Delphi license into my project price, listing Delphi or Smart Mobile Studio as a project dependency. So if we use Delphi then they have to buy a license unless they already have a valid EDN registered version. If only Embarcadero knew how many Delphi versions I had sold for them..
Either way – the theory of price vs. piracy is true, but also not true. Hackers will crack your product because they like the challenge. But most users will prefer a valid product if they can afford it. Although I must admit that even that theory (in the scientific sense) is overdue for a fresh peer-review after this.
What made my week sad and dim was the fact that, in the comment section of the piracy download, another known member of Delphi developer had commented. A person I had talked to quite frequently and that I regarded as trustworthy.
In the end I simply had no choice but to kick both individuals from the group. We can’t have a group where people openly pirates your hard work – only to socialize with their victims on top of stealing from them.
People are people
On the positive side of things people really engaged in these cases. Programmers that are otherwise silent on most subjects all came out to say their piece regarding the situation. The Delphi and object pascal community has always been one of the best programming groups in the world, but this time I was proud of my group – because the people in the group are helpful, insightful, responsible and warm. There is a reason why the group is bigger then the official Embarcadero group 🙂
Peter (lieutenant admin) had a meetup with Glenn (second lieutenant admin) in Coventry, UK face to face. I really wished I could have attended, but with the damage to my lower back, 3 kids and loads of stuff to do – I will have to wait until next time. But once again the forum turned “personal” and we all ended up discussing cognac and having a laugh 🙂
But the fact that we have now moved on from a purely “digital forum” onto meeting face to face and building a real and tangible community is noteworthy. I hope to organize a full group meeting in the future, much like pasCON or IT Dev-con. But this time purely for pascal programmers.
The Delphi developer group has become a place of co-operation, a place where solid programmers go to find like-minded and establish co-operation across nationality. We have job listings every week (more or less) and a very active forum.
One of the things I look forward to is Peter’s multi-lingual projects. He has been working for quite a while on a new way to deal with in-app translation. So it’s going to be quite exciting trying this out later.
We also have X number of projects initiated by members, with other members from around the globe working together with great results.
Come join us!
If you havent joined the group yet, be sure to head over to Facebook and join our group. We are now 2.400 people and counting — all object pascal users with a healthy mix between Delphi, Smart Mobile Studio, Oxygene and freepascal 🙂