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Last post Author Topic: Continued software development?  (Read 3966 times)

Asudem

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Continued software development?
« on: December 03, 2015, 08:40:41 PM »
Greetings,

I have found some dead, open-source, software and wish to carry on the program's development. When I announced that I would be continuing the development, I got a much bigger response than I anticipated, and many wished to donate to the cause. I was looking for some sort of pay-what-you-want-model software site, but nothing but videogames came up. I managed to find this site and believe this would be the perfect place to post the software and continue it's development by user generated feedback.

My question is, am I allowed to do this here because it's not my original code?
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 12:08:30 PM by Asudem, Reason: Changed topic to make more sense. »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2015, 08:58:03 PM »
Greetings,

I have found some dead, open-source, software and wish to carry on the program's development. When I announced that I would be continuing the development, I got a much bigger response than I anticipated, and many wished to donate to the cause. I was looking for some sort of pay-what-you-want-model software site, but nothing but videogames came up. I managed to find this site and believe this would be the perfect place to post the software and continue it's development by user generated feedback.

My question is, am I allowed to do this here because it's not my original code?

My question is for the experts here. My instincts say please give us some info on exactly what the original licenses are, because if you're going to use funds to continue development I've heard of some chain-of-ownership problems even if it's "dead" (Coma?) and when you switch from "labor of love" to any kind of funded, sometimes things get weird.


Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2015, 09:07:59 PM »
My question is for the experts here. My instincts say please give us some info on exactly what the original licenses are, because if you're going to use funds to continue development I've heard of some chain-of-ownership problems even if it's "dead" (Coma?) and when you switch from "labor of love" to any kind of funded, sometimes things get weird.
There's not a shred of license info in any of the sources uploaded, nor commented into the code. The program's development was confined to a web form thread from start until the author mysteriously stopped posting months ago. I found the program for my own purposes but ran into bugs wanting to use the software in the way I wanted, so I found a post with the source code and fixed the bug, whom it turned out many other users were having.

If I wanted funds to continue development, I would have tried a gofundme or something. I would like to see the program continue to be free for everyone, but those who wish to show their appreciation with donations can. I didn't even realize this was a thing that people do. Programming is my labor of love, but I'd never fund a program. I'd rather give it away and interact with my users to give them the best application possible for their needs!
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2015, 09:29:15 PM »

Sure, have at it, all I wanted to do was post a quick caution note because just because a dev "mysteriously stops", he might come back one day.

So good luck!


Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 09:31:52 PM »
Sure, have at it, all I wanted to do was post a quick caution note because just because a dev "mysteriously stops", he might come back one day.

So good luck!
Ha, I hope he does, I have much to discuss with him! Perhaps a github collab would be in order then! I'd over a good percentage of my donations too!
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

mouser

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 09:38:46 PM »
Asudem, welcome to the site!

You seem like you have a great attitude about this issues -- and open source folks are lucky to have people like you interested in continuing the development of software they've started -- most will be thrilled with what you are proposing.

So, go for it and welcome to the site -- I look forward to hearing more about what you are working on :Thmbsup:

Having said that -- do keep in mind that donations are exceedingly rare these days and if getting donations is important to you, you are almost certain to be dissapointed.  But getting encouragement is certainly something we can help with here.

Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2015, 10:07:56 PM »
Asudem, welcome to the site!

You seem like you have a great attitude about this issues -- and open source folks are lucky to have people like you interested in continuing the development of software they've started -- most will be thrilled with what you are proposing.

So, go for it and welcome to the site -- I look forward to hearing more about what you are working on :Thmbsup:

Having said that -- do keep in mind that donations are exceedingly rare these days and if getting donations is important to you, you are almost certain to be dissapointed.  But getting encouragement is certainly something we can help with here.
Wow, such an honor for a newbie like myself to get such a heartfelt welcome from a high ranking authority! I've only posted my first piece of original software and already this place feels like home. Like I said, donations would be highly appreciated, but are never expected from me. I want to learn while helping other people! I want to create programs to solve everyone's computer headaches and automation needs!
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

ewemoa

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 10:46:50 PM »
There's not a shred of license info in any of the sources uploaded, nor commented into the code.

IANAL, but IIUC, in the U.S. the default policy is that the original author holds copyright over the original at least for some duration (which mysteriously seems to get longer).

Any how, I have my fingers crossed that no ill will come of this.



P.S. Are you a Greek mythology fan?

Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2015, 10:56:31 PM »
IANAL, but IIUC, in the U.S. the default policy is that the original author holds copyright over the original at least for some duration (which mysteriously seems to get longer).

Any how, I have my fingers crossed that no ill will come of this.



P.S. Are you a Greek mythology fan?
I hopefully wish to address this by adding a killswitch in my software, permanently rendering all distributed copies disabled and unrunable if any legal action were even hinted at. I just don't know if that violates the upload policy here because it's kind of crippleware?

P.S. Do you read everything backwards? =P
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

mouser

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2015, 11:31:02 PM »
i think the killswitch thing might make people quite uncomfortable.  especially for a new piece of software from an unknown author.. people get nervous about things that communicate to a server and do weird things, and they want control over their own computer.
the best thing you can do if you are modifying someone else's open source code is keep the source code available and let people use that -- and there doesnt seem any reason to put a kill switch in open source software..

Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2015, 11:34:43 PM »
i think the killswitch thing might make people quite uncomfortable.
I had a sinking feeling that that would be the case. It's unfortunate, but this software has questionable morals to it, but as far as I've researched, nothing illegal. Just another utility to do something you could do with already existing software for free, this just makes things super easy to do it. And if you're gonna do it, go for broke or go home as they say.
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

40hz

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2015, 12:47:09 AM »
i think the killswitch thing might make people quite uncomfortable.
I had a sinking feeling that that would be the case. It's unfortunate, but this software has questionable morals to it, but as far as I've researched, nothing illegal. Just another utility to do something you could do with already existing software for free, this just makes things super easy to do it. And if you're gonna do it, go for broke or go home as they say.


FWIW putting a killswitch into the software would make for a very good legal argument under US law that you were aware there might be some sort of potential legal issue and you then tried to cover yourself with a technical fix if there should ever be a problem.

That won't fly too well in a US court, which tends to adopt the position that if you thought there might be a problem, you should have either gotten it straightened out before you went ahead - or just not done it at all. The fact that you expressed concern going into it is enough for someone to argue that you willfully did something you knew was wrong.

If you left out the killswitch, you could at least argue there was no intent to do something that might result in legal action. That wouldn't be enough to get you completely off the hook. But it would go a long way towards mitigating the consequences, since intent has a significant bearing on what penalties may be handed down following legal action.

The other thing is that using somebody's codebase without their specific permission (or a license) can land you in trouble if they ever show up again - as others here have pointed out. The fact that you're not charging for it won't matter. Sony and other game companies have shut down and taken legal action against people who have come up with free mods for their games. And in one situation there was a company (I think it was EA) who actually sued someone for innocently offering a free patch to fix a bug in the company's game code. So be careful with "abandoned" or "comatose" code. It still belongs to whoever originally wrote it - even if they stopped developing it and walked away.

Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2015, 12:54:16 AM »
Well, 40hz, when you're right you're right. I don't own the code nor can I get the author's consent to continue it, and what the program does is morally questionable to the point where I could see someone not wanting it released. The binary has actually been pulled down before, but strangely the source was not. It's sad to think it, but I should best leave my edits personal and closed source.

EDIT: Actually... I'm fairly confident I could hack these bugfixes into a trainer which modifies the program's memory. It could be run in conjunction with the original program, or does something like that have just as little legal ground as modifying the original source?
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 01:13:53 AM by Asudem, Reason: New idea »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2015, 01:15:59 AM »

And killswitch aside, it's not about legal action, the guys are right that unless it's *public domain* it's copyrighted and needs that license, you can't just decide "oh well, it sat there". If there was a license to mod it, that's why I was asking, but without one you're stuck, and killswitches in programs raise a WHOLE OTHER mess related to security.

wraith808

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2015, 04:12:33 AM »
All of these arguments are theoretical, and not necessarily based on your current situation.  I've noted that the software in question isn't mentioned anywhere.  Is there a reason for this?  If you could post what the software is, where the site to get it is, etc., we could possible give more concrete answers based on facts, rather than assumptions.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2015, 06:55:33 AM »
All of these arguments are theoretical, and not necessarily based on your current situation.  I've noted that the software in question isn't mentioned anywhere.  Is there a reason for this?  If you could post what the software is, where the site to get it is, etc., we could possible give more concrete answers based on facts, rather than assumptions.

I was struggling with that one myself, until I spotted this: Official MSPA Notifier thread. MPSA appears to be (an animation form of some kind?) MS Paint Adventures

Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2015, 07:20:35 AM »
All of these arguments are theoretical, and not necessarily based on your current situation.  I've noted that the software in question isn't mentioned anywhere.  Is there a reason for this?  If you could post what the software is, where the site to get it is, etc., we could possible give more concrete answers based on facts, rather than assumptions.
Yes. The software itself throws morals into question, and I'd rather not just outright post what it does as a first impression of who I am as a programmer. I could have gone ahead and posted the software without discussing it first, but honestly I wanted to make sure it was alright to first, which it's becoming increasingly more difficult to come to a conclusion about. If you would like a description of the software I would be more than happy to PM it to anyone.

I was struggling with that one myself, until I spotted this: Official MSPA Notifier thread. MPSA appears to be (an animation form of some kind?) MS Paint Adventures
Well, the MSPA Notifier is my own personal from-scratch project. I began writing it from the ground up in 2011 I believe, and it's been my most successfully distributed project to date. I've learned a lot simply by improving the software over the years, but it is in no way a continued version of anyone's code but my own. If a stylized and custom RSS reader falls under the category of not legitimate program for this site, I'm not sure how long I would last here as I do a lot of web based automation.
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

wraith808

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2015, 10:52:04 AM »
I'm still not getting why, if Stoic Joker's research is not correct on the software, you don't just post the link to the software and the name?  We're not going to judge you based on that fact, and it would help us to help you, since you're coming to us asking the question?  We'd be able to give you academic answers based on the facts of the software in question, rather than generalities that may be right or wrong?  That's the only reason I'm asking.

Everything that everyone has told you so far is correct... in certain situations.  But, they are not correct in all situations, and may not even apply to you.  Asking questions, especially on software rights and such is the right thing to do, and should IMO have no reflection on you that you're asking the questions.  Unless these questions come into play after the software in question is created.  We've had experience with that on DC, and it's not exactly something that I'd like to repeat, as it was an ugly scene, that divided a lot of people on the question.

Asudem

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Re: Continued software?
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2015, 10:59:57 AM »
I'm still not getting why, if Stoic Joker's research is not correct on the software, you don't just post the link to the software and the name?  We're not going to judge you based on that fact, and it would help us to help you, since you're coming to us asking the question?  We'd be able to give you academic answers based on the facts of the software in question, rather than generalities that may be right or wrong?  That's the only reason I'm asking.

Everything that everyone has told you so far is correct... in certain situations.  But, they are not correct in all situations, and may not even apply to you.  Asking questions, especially on software rights and such is the right thing to do, and should IMO have no reflection on you that you're asking the questions.  Unless these questions come into play after the software in question is created.  We've had experience with that on DC, and it's not exactly something that I'd like to repeat, as it was an ugly scene, that divided a lot of people on the question.

Here is a link to the software. The author states here that "This will most likely be my last release."

I'm really interested in what people will have to say now that the software has been revealed and it's author only exists as an anonymous 6-post user on a web form, lol.
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

wraith808

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Re: Continued software development?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2015, 05:36:55 PM »
You're liable to run into the same problems that the person that did it on DC did in the long run.

No released license assumes closed source.

some more information:

http://programmers.s...icense-can-i-fork-it

http://programmers.s...ult-software-license

http://blog.codingho...license-any-license/

http://choosealicense.com/no-license/

Of course, the interpretation is going to be left to the particular judge, the particular courtroom, and the particular day (I'm not kidding), but if you've gotten that far, you're most likely already screwed.

Asudem

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Re: Continued software development?
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2015, 05:44:12 PM »
...you're most likely already screwed.
Oh well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Looks like I won't be releasing the code and just doing my own thing with it then. Any thoughts on a trainer, wraith?

EDIT: So, I may have found a creative alternative to this software, which I'm very certain I can post on this site and much broader audience will find it useful!
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 11:07:52 PM by Asudem, Reason: Alternative solution found »

mouser

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Re: Continued software development?
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2015, 01:34:36 AM »
Quote
EDIT: Actually... I'm fairly confident I could hack these bugfixes into a trainer which modifies the program's memory. It could be run in conjunction with the original program, or does something like that have just as little legal ground as modifying the original source?

I can't comment on legal issues, I can only say that it sounds like a recipe for a lot of unfun fragile work, and you might enjoy more spending your time doing pure coding on a different project...

Asudem

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Re: Continued software development?
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2015, 01:33:58 PM »
I can't comment on legal issues, I can only say that it sounds like a recipe for a lot of unfun fragile work, and you might enjoy more spending your time doing pure coding on a different project...

You are right. I have thought of an elegant solution to my problem and can address it in a very healthy, safe, and legal matter.

I bet I could make that trainer in minutes though... the challenge is tempting, but I would need the originally uploaded binary for it to work.
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

Asudem

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Re: Continued software development?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2015, 09:17:37 PM »
I apologize for the double reply, but the author of the original software just came out of the woodwork with this:

Quote
Hi guys,

Here is the lastest source code, http://www.filedropp...om/mfcrecordersource

Please feel free do do what you wish with it.

Enjoy

Does THIS give me permission? Or does he need to include a license? The author sent me a PM saying I may do whatever I wish with the code!
If I do it more than 2 times I want to automate it in C#!

mouser

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Re: Continued software development?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2015, 09:42:51 PM »
 :up: