Home > Delphi, Life, Object Pascal > The never ending story, PirateLogic evidence claims

The never ending story, PirateLogic evidence claims

November 4, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Seems like this train never really stops. Despite me telling my side of the story, people still have a hard time believing that Pilot Logic have been so blatantly bad when it comes breaking the law. Not just with my libraries but also with code belonging to Embarcadero.

Back up my claims? Fine.

Fine. I have just uploaded two compare files (out of several) which shows a 1:1 compare between Embarcadero owned VGScene and PL_Orca. If you still think my colleagues and myself lack evidence, then you simply need to download Codetyphon and all its available packages (especially those >= 2 years old) and look at it yourself. Hopefully this will be enough to prove my point.

No wonder they got upset when we started to dig into their codebase. This is just one of many where license violations is the new standard.

No wonder they got upset when we started to dig into their codebase. This is just one of many where license violations is the new standard.

You can download two HTML reports from our file-compare analysis here: http://quartexhq.myasustor.com/piratelogic/piratelogic.rar

Orca = VgScene = Firemonkey

Needless to say, several people have taken an interest in this case. I am happy that most of those are positive and understand both why I got upset with PilotLogic and also why I wanted to inform the Freepascal and Lazarus forums about the dodgy practices. PL has close ties to the FPC community after all. Why sit and watch a disease infect a healthy codebase?

orca

Considering Orca is a VGScene renamed and 99.9% of the codebase is pure VGScene without change — Sternas is lying his head off. This is a clean copyright violation of Embarcadero IP.

And no, I did not set out to defend this or that – but when people call me a liar without even considering that I may be telling the truth, then I must be given a chance to defend myself. And my motivation was absolutely not to “eliminate the competition” (like some people amazingly declare). What competition? I use Delphi for native work and Smart Pascal for JavaScript. What the hell would Codetyphon have to offer? And why on earth would I be against it when I advocate both freepascal and Delphi pretty much 24/7. The more object pascal compilers and systems the better!

How would you respond when you submit a complaint about your code being taken, and the moderator laughs at you and start to post the address of where you children live? Is that ok in your book? I would imagine most men would respond rather “instinctively” when faced with such actions.

codetyp01

I am so tempted to post the whole nest of pigs, but I will leave it with this. If you have any more questions, just download and investigate the codebase yourself. They have no doubt covered some of their tracks by now – but not all of them.

When the response you get from the lead-coder of Codetyphon when posting valid questions about illegal use of your software, broken licenses and piracy is “close and delete topic” – then I guess that says it all.

codetyp02

You are a bully Sternas. But when you hit me, I will hit back. Bullies don’t seem to like that very much huh?

Piracy kills more than companies, it kills the spirit

With regards to the notion that I somehow sent my complaints to PilotLogic because I was coding a new IDE, I have this to say:

Do you know how long it takes to write a usable IDE? It’s not something you slap together over the weekend. The more complex the behavior you want to deliver, the more work needs to be invested. Lazarus have gone through what? A decade of work before it’s finally reaching a point where it’s polished and stable? Smart Mobile Studio is almost five years old, and the designer still needs plenty of work. The fact that we do live rendering of the UI in separate processes makes it much harder than a vanilla “Delphi” like designer.

It takes time to develop a professional IDE. You know why? Because you have to go through the whole evolution of thought. You end up refactoring as the approach, ideas and concepts mature. The alternative is, like Pilot Logic has done, to take the shortcut: to steal the code rather than go through the evolution themselves. To really work on it and figure it out yourself.

If I removed all moral reservations, ignored and disrespected the months and years invested by others, by friends and companies synonymous with object pascal and the community I am part of and love so much – I could probably make an IDE more or less identical to Delphi in a couple of months. If I could just steal code from TMS, Developer Express, Elevate Software and Lazarus and completely ignore the energy and time their products represent – then life would be much easier. Or would it?

But I can’t do that. I’m not wired like that. Sure I have used a pirated copy of something in my life. Im not even going to deny that. But I have always saved up, months if I have to, and bought every single one.

How could I look these people in the eye at some Delphi meetup or congregation knowing that I have robbed them of weeks, months and years? I would not be able to hold my head up straight in shame. Because when you buy a source-code license, it’s not just a “use and throw away” thing. It is a contract of trust, and a legal and moral obligation to use the technology they have offered you within the bounds of their wishes.

I still remember how tired and utterly exhausted I was after releasing Smart Mobile Studio 1.0. I had worked night and day for over a year. Weekends, nights; I’m pretty sure that product broke my marriage to be honest. I even took out a second mortgage on our house. And I was so proud that despite all the challenges involved, despite all the negative people who said it was impossible we found a way and made it happen!

And I was heartbroken when only weeks after the release I found a cracked version of Smart on DelphiFan.com. They must have taken them a couple of weeks at least to crack it, because they had given up on writing a keygen. HexLicense uses non-linear numbers so ordinary brute-force attacks are rarely successful. On closer inspection I noticed that they had disassembled the whole executable and painstakingly isolated enough code, even padded the executable to make the checksum match. So nothing is un-crackable.The only thing you can do is to buy a window of time before it happens. That window is what makes or breaks your income.

What really gutted me was discovering that people I talked with quite often was responsible for this (one of the hackers was a member of Delphi Developer). Over a year of testing, prototyping, co-operation between Eric Grange and myself – not to mention all the work Jørn Angeltveit from Optimale Systemer had done. He also helped finance the project for 12 long months. We even set the price as low as we possibly could just to make sure piracy would not become an issue. Then a prodigy coder from asia, one that talked friendly with me on a weekly basis, a person I had helped with his Delphi code – decided to allocate time just to destroy our solo release. For what? Five minutes of fame? I would have given him a free copy if he asked me. In fact, I have given away almost as many copies as we have sold. Primarily to kids and people who are in a bad financial spot but who wants to learn pascal.

I can understand that people use pirated software, no problem. But when you see up front the amount of damage it does, especially for a small company – you have to be heartless to continue.

Two weeks is what we got. I lost my house, everything. I had to start from scratch. But it was worth it, every bit of it. Because they said it could not be done.

And that my IDE work, both public and in the labs should in any way pose a threat to Lazarus or Codetyphon, is ridicules. I have a full-time job, two kids and my girlfriend, Smart Mobile Studio on the side – and I have recently started my own company. Not much time left for plotting evil schemes. Darth Vader very thin on the ground. But just why would I want to? What kind of place do you come from where people ruin other people’s work like that? It’s not how I was raised that’s for sure. I just wanted the copyright header in my own code to remain. And it would be nice if you asked rather than just misrepresent my work it as your own. I can’t even believe this is a debate.

Add to that the injury i got 3 years ago when i broke my spine in two places. This has impacted my ability to commute. I have had to say no to several high profile jobs because I would not be able to give 100%. So I declined rather than being a burden. So what kind of person would I be if I sat here plotting to destroy something for others, just to win myself. That is against everything I believe in. And the amount of code, papers and help I have issued over the years should at least give me the benefit of the doubt. Because I havent charged a dime for any of it.

Nor do I sit here and pity myself like a child. If you want it, you will find a way! I was not supposed to walk either – but I’m walking. Funny how the impossible seem to happen around people who refuse to give up. Yet curses rip to pieces the man that fears the dark. Shoot me, stab me, but I will still come after you. No force in nature is stronger than the will of a person who believe in himself. Except the same force in reverse for those that lack vision. All the power of the world is in your own mind. And I will keep doing the impossible until the day that I die – because I can.

End of case

I did not want Pilot Logic’s tendencies to infect Lazarus or freepascal, which it would almost certainly have done had we not blown the whistle on this. So in a way we did succeed. But at a personal cost we should not have had to pay.

Hopefully this time it will stick and the drama factor mellows out.

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  1. mehmetulukaya
    November 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Actually I used Pilotlogic for learning who what create alternative with by Lazarus but I deleted it.

    But normally developers not interesting what happening at background ; They think license issues is done between 3rd party library creator and provider.

    Maybe it is time to create a code similarity software for this event.

    Also I am not sure what can do you legally because of each country has got different laws and information technology is still misunderstanding…

    • November 5, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      These licenses, be it GPL, Moz, Apache or a plain copyright – is pretty much universal. What differs is typically how people translate sub-clauses, like “what does altering code” really mean. Lawyers like to twist and play with words. Pilotlogic has decided that this means they have the right not just to adapt or improve code, but to also rename every class, datatype and remove headers. However my license was a heavily modified apache license, not a GPL license. In such cases the appended clauses and modifications hold more weight.
      And when it says “You must ask the author before distribution of this or any modified version” that leaves little room for interpretation.

      When it comes to clean copyright and ownership, such as VGScene, that falls under a completely different regime. You are not even allowed to have a copy of the code unless you have the paperwork to prove you have bought the rights to use and have that code.
      Same as with delphi. If you have Delphi XE 10.2 on your harddisk and dont own it (or it exists in trial mode), then that is actually against the law.
      Embarcadero cant enforce that (no company can) without acting like the police, so they allow some degree of piracy to exist otherwise their affairs would be regarded as to strict. But as more and more moves into cloud-form, that is going to change. For the better or worse.

      But the way that Pilot logic is operating, openly with clear disregard to all those that have complained, not to mention that they with full knowledge distribute VGScene just rebranded, is in my view not a common case of piracy. These are not young men that cant afford delphi, but people who openly disregard both individual developers work and that of Embarcadero. They cant claim not to know about this either because they have been told by so many that this is wrong and that they will sooner or later get their fingers slapped. It has only been blind luck that Embarcadero havent given them something to be afraid about.

      Either way, if I grabbed FMX and renamed it to smart, then im pretty sure Nick, Jim and the guys at Embarcadero would come knocking on my door. But doing something like that is so far removed from my reality as you can get.
      I mean, the amount of time I have spent on the Smart RTL can be counted in years. Its huge. And it really is work enough for 5-6 people. I wouldnt have time to run around and steal code (none of it would be compatible anyways since no-one has done what we do before).

  2. aplikmuj
    November 5, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    The perception of free is an old one. Frédéric Bastiat centuries ago pointed out this problem. Why do you bild a fence around your trees and fool me with handing over apples as good. I could go to the tree and pic the apple on my own. The situation changes the moment cherries for example are hanging in the top of the tree. In that case more people will start to hand over coins and take the cherries from the market stand in front of the garden. You cannot even look at software downloads as a fish pond. So also the tragedy of the commons cannot give advice.

    How to treat a tree where low hanging fruits simply regrow after having been picked. Similar to the products in the shelves. If the supplier hands over goods at marginal productivity or marginal final utility of additional quantity handed over in the market place the supplier already know where to put the copy. Money in a sense of finding the appropriate quantity handed over in a specific location. In case of the latter the price and income levels do matter.

    Copying software is similar to stealing in a super market. Money is just used to determine what quantity of a good is handed over in which location. So the download is the coin.

    The problem with stealing in the super market is not the good taken away. Stealing can be seen as a new customer the first time the product is taken from the shelves. Once the quantity is extended we are forced to use money but in background just information is passed concerning the periodicity.

    From the perspective of using money once someone bought a car in case of leasing the customer perception is having traded in the car at the price of the leasing rate or the initial payment. In case of a rent we are used handing over houses at the price of a rent payment. The question what amount money is used to make the decision. Afterwards you use money in order to say, ‘Handing over the good work great n-times from now’.

    In the industrial model you potentially hand over the good to everyone and limit the access via credit – flexible ration card. As long as no shortage does arise.

    A market is not a store. A market is a place where people who don’t remember how much they did pay yesterday (or the last time) and the memory of all the quantities handed over along a price function can be found at the price sticker.

    Provision is totally independent from the distribution. When you buy Delphi for example you reside in the Embarcadero office and drink coffee with Jim. In return you send a little robot or puppy seeking for an adventure to another premise your employer. Embarcadero sends the invoice to that premise where in your case the puppy seeking adventures (think of the daemon or companion – Golden Compass) does reside even for your private copy. Just in case of the self-employed the invoice goes to a cash register beyond which only one human resides. Remember the ‘Free’ or cheap versions of Microsoft Office ;). Why should I pay for the private version if I can write the letter in the company (low hanging fruit as mentioned above).

    What do we do using money. We measure consumption in the household and consumption of investments in companies (write offs). In case of consumption the story is obvious. We don’t participate in a real trade among each other.

    The liberal philosophy of handing over goods is about not taking care what happens to a good in privacy. The value in Delphi does not lie in the price. The price is dimension (interest expectation) concerning the quantity handed over into a market from the perspective of the provider. There are other dimensions called the qualities. Interest expectation not valued usually found by market research activities turned into expressen in sales promises.

    The interest generation in the private sphere does not matter once the good is provided and by this matching the expectation do not matter concerning the trade. Once Delphi is installed (or any other software) a huge tree of interest (non valued) starts to grow. We just do live in a world of interest expectations matched or not and the perception (degree).

    Distribution via the Internet is pretty similar to extending the supply chain straight into your pantry.

    Let’s take the definition of a good in a modern fashion. A process of handing over insight in a qualified fashion no matter if provided in material or immaterial shape. From that perceptive the copy is a piece of good. At the moment you pay for the videos. The hidden asset is not considered similar to the car residing in the balance sheets of the leasing company. It’s still ‘your’ car. Ask the customer. He will not say, ‘Hey have look at the great car of the leasing company I am allowed to drive’.

    I hope I am not annoying anyone here. Even if the posts are long … Copying and handing over goods in market places in the world of goods provided in line production put to shelves is pretty hard. People usually pay the cost of living using direct cash flow. (Keynes – general observation nothing specific to Keynesianism). Once one must take credit, that’s just usual in the U.S. the price is pretty.

    The message in Europe concerning the price does hint at a position so that a copy of the RAD Studio can be found on the shelve for investment goods. Social market economy do organize access to these shelves a different way. Credit here according German law does have a different meaning. (investment money – savings). Think of the Borland deal in Russia – socialist version – the state can afford and almost no one else.

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