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evolutional

Ethics in compatibility software

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Ok - a message on the MS3D forums got me thinking. Some guy wanted to use Milkshape as a model-ripper and converter and felt that paying the $20 to register it was stupid as he wasn''t using t to actually ''model'' or anything. It was literally an import/export job on his part. Well it got me thinking that surely you could use MS3D''s flexible plugin system to do this; so I created a new msLib.lib - based off the .h file in the SDK that could be used to load a model and export it by another. The original SDK lib wasn''t suitable for this; I assume the author had written some form of basic protection into it needed MS3D files to work. My compatible library basically uses the freely available API specs and I''ve coded the functions myself; it seems to work as a compatible library for several 3rd party plugins; but none of the official ones (I''m assuming they need more DLLs from the MS3D distribution). Now; I get to my question... How ethical is this library and it''s import export program? It''s not complete and exists only in the semi-working proof of concept phase. Nobody except me has the source or the binaries so it''s not been released at all. Before working futher on this project; I want to know how ethical you find it - basically I don''t want to be screwing Mete (the author) out of registration money he might have received. If these people are using MS3D as an importer/exporter without using any other features of MS3D - should they feel as if they need to pay the registration fee as they are only scraping the surface of using the program. I know this parallels with people using a pirate version of Office because they "only use it to write the odd letter and don''t even use half of the functionality available". But many people have written program that can import/export and even now CREATE PDF files - Adobe''s propriety and expensive program This is why I am asking what I should do with my tiny app - continue developing it or just bin it? The last thing I want to do would be to piss off the author - I have paid my reg fee because I use MS3D frequently and felt that it was basically a bargain. I feel as if I''m trapped in a moral dilemma with this; any ideas or thoughts? Oli
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Perhaps you should just ask the author? Make it clear that you don''t want to violate his wishes like you have done for us, and your reasoning. We can give you random opinions, but really, the person who owns the software is the author, and his opinion is the only one that really counts.

-fel

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If you''re not using any binaries from the original shareware program or doing anything else illegal, I wouldn''t worry about it.

quote:
Original post by downgraded
I know this parallels with people using a pirate version of Office because they "only use it to write the odd letter and don''t even use half of the functionality available".

But Office isn''t shareware. When people are done with Milkshape 3D''s trial period they either pay or find some other software that does what they want. If they don''t need the interface, they may very well find your software does all that they need.

quote:
Original post by downgraded
But many people have written program that can import/export and even now CREATE PDF files - Adobe''s propriety and expensive program This is why I am asking what I should do with my tiny app - continue developing it or just bin it?

What''s wrong with that? If what Adobe''s software is doing isn''t that difficult and people write cheaper or free software that does the same thing (or at least what certain people need it for), I''d say that Adobe is just overcharging those certain people.

Rambling: PDF is a binary format that was based on PostScript (another Adobe creation) which was a text formatted printing/layout "language". Many programs that end up supporting PostScript for printing or simply exporting can relatively easily end up exporting (or "printing to") PDF files.

quote:
Original post by downgraded
The last thing I want to do would be to piss off the author - I have paid my reg fee because I use MS3D frequently and felt that it was basically a bargain. I feel as if I''m trapped in a moral dilemma with this; any ideas or thoughts?

Whether it''s ethical and whether the author of the software you''re imitating will be affected by your software are two different things. Go with what Felisandria said if this is your main concern.

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Thanks for your comments guys, I really appreciate them.

Null and Void - I see your point about the issue of ethics being different to the affects on the author. I suppose my problem, being an aspiring software developer, is that I don''t want to damage the author''s profits with my little app. I assume that the people that use MS3d as a ''model ripper'' would be those that rip a warez key from the net to unlock the program.

But yes, to take both your advices - I will definietly bring it up with the author.

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