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Trouble on the horizon...

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Heads up.There is (I guess) a German concern called DvData developing a FS addon called ACM (Aircraft Container Manager) that will have the ability to decompile MDL files into a format importable into Gmax. This will allow anybody with a copy of FS2002 Pro to be able to "hack" any designers work and claim it for their own with little to fear.Forum discussion at Avsim.com's FS Aircraft and Panel Design forum. See the thread "### IMPORTANT FOR ALL AIRCRAFT DESIGNERS ###".To review the features of this proposed FS addon, go to: www.dvdata-sys.at/acmThe repercussions that this FS addon will have to the FS community should not be downplayed! This will have a potential devestating effect on the amount of freeware aircraft models that may be available in the future.Regards,Dee WaldronHistoric Jetliners Group

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It would be interesting to see if MS would/will step in as this affects their .mdl files as well???? Rick Sasala

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Hi Rick, :)Yes, it will be interesting to see what their reaction will be, one way or the other. I won't second guess on that, just have to wait and see.Dee WaldronHistoric Jetliners Group

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I don't know that the issues will be as negative as one might think. Once a freeware author posts an aircraft on a public website, it would be fairly easy to establish copyright in case someone were to use a utility like this to pirate such work. I know I won't lose sleep over it--if it even works. If anything, such a tool could expand freeware, allowing GMAX novices to peer into an aircraft, learning how an aircraft is modeled, so they can then proceed with new and creative works of their own.-John

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Remeber that statement when someone steals one of your .mdl files...Rick Sasala

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>>learning how an aircraft is modeled, so they can then proceed with new and creative works of their own<

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I don't see any advantages with that program. What I see is John Doe taking a reputable freeware model, changing one or two polys, re-compiling it and selling it as his own creation. Very dark days indeed.[TABLE BORDER=0][tr][td]

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[link:www.fsworldonline.com/~timsfsstudio]Click here to visit Tim's FS Studio!] Updated August 16th!

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But then, John Doe could take a freeware model and sell it as his own right now. He could easily change a few bytes in the file to prove that it's different to the original.... Best regards, Chris

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Dee, a few months ago Tucker Hatfield stated that the new version of Gmax shipped with CFS3 will be able to import aircraft models. I remember thinking at the time that that could open up a whole new can of worms! However, I don't think it would make a great difference. If I released my Constellation I wouldn't mind a lot if someone released an improved version providing, of course, that I was given full credit. But I would draw a line at having it offered for money - unless of course I got at least fifty percent! Best regards, Chris Wright

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Not just to freeware, but payware as well.The same way someone could take one of your models, change a few minor things (like texture names) and release them as his own, so he could also take something from say PSS and do the same.If he's clever about it, he could even get away with it.

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Just for info purposes I just tested the beta version out to see what it is capable of...WOW is all I can say. It will render all of the default aircraft and most of mine, with the exception of the more complicated ones i.e. S-3B,EA-6B. By rendering I mean giving you a usable copy to import into GMAX. If you think you have problems now with others stealing your work, wait until this program hits the streets...Rick Sasala

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MDL file converters is old news folks. The program located athttp://w1.970.telia.com/~u97009239/mdl/mdl.htmwill convert mdl files from FS5, FS98 and FS2000 into DXF files. It has been released since FS98. What has changed for FS2002? I guess we have a new group of modelers, with many of them ready to pack it in now. If the MS FlightSim business unit manager has not taken any action against this mdl to dxf file converter, why would he against the one for FS2002? MS has set a precedent of not objecting to the reverse engineering of mdl files. MS even provides SDK. If you are going to attempt to stop this, you need to take legal action and that costs money, time, and wear and tear on you nerves. MS elected not to, after all it will provide more available aircraft for FS2004. Keep venting, but I bet you will decide that it is a battle that can't be won. If not, it is going to cost you money, time and nerves. For claims to be made in a court, I think you had better be able to show that it has impacted you significantly in the money area. Slightly hurt feelings don't really count. How did they damage you? See, it has to damage you before you can even think about any recourse. Just a realistic view.Also keep in mind, gmax has over 1/4kk registered users. I think all but maybe 100 or at most a 1000 will wilcome this program. So you have 99.6% of the registered gamx owners happy. I wouldn't go searching for a jury for this isssue from a group registered gmax people. After all, now they can pull in these planes and add a third and fourth wing to them. Do they care that no one will download them? No, because they will never upload them. But, after making several weird planes, they may just gain enough skills to make some in your class. Dark shadows exist, only because of bright daylight on the other side.Bob

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Yes your absolutely right! I was going to finish updating the rest of my aircraft but why bother, let someone else do it?...Rick Sasala

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Welcome to the world of "Patents" as we've known them since they began. Throw in a "pinch of sand", claim an improvement, and refile in your own name.That's the way the world works, like it or not.Bob (Lecanto, Fl)AMD, Athlon XP, 1800+MSI, K7T266 XP ProPC 2100 DDR, 1024 MBXP, Home Edition Elsa GLadiac 920, GF3/64Mb andPNY, Verto nVidia TNT 2-M64/32WD, 100 MB, 7200, Ultra 100Sound Blaster, Audigy MP3+CH Prod, VPP Yoke - Sound CardCH Prod, Pedals - Sound Card

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Why is it that the god's of freeware become restless. People, I respect your work and really enjoy it but I don't like the negativity that comes with it. I agree when somebody"hacks" ones work it can be very upsetting. Thissoftware is a positive thing that is happening. Just look at how many people have come and gone in this hobby. There are some great FS2000 aircraft out there that haven't been updated and the original designer is nowhere to be found. These aircraft have some sort of problem either with nightlighting not being displayed properly in FS2002 or has "basketball" nav lights that cannot be deactivated in favor of FS2002 lighting. I would like the option of using an aircraft of MY choosing on MY own PC for MY own use. Some of the freeware groups have no intention of updating a aircraft that I enjoy. This would allow me to update it myself for MY using. I don't care about getting the credit. I just care about enjoying the hobby of MSFS the way I like it.I have to ask some of you, do you produce freeware so people can enjoy this hobby or do you produce it to inflate an ego? I know you don't produce it so somebody can take credit for it. That wasn't the question.

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Rick-I saw your response to my post, and to this one. You have to consider these things.... And I'm saying this from experience, as I already have evidence that some are using my freeware proggie, Landclass Assistant, to release payware and shareware landclass updates:1) Releasing products on the web as freeware carries a certainty that someone, somewhere will try to profit from your work. They don't need a mdl utility to do it....2) Is the profit worth the stress? Do you think people are making thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars? Hardly..3) Why do you create? For the purpose of something to share, or for the purpose of having your name associated with the creation? Again using LC Assistant as an example, the only reason I released it was so some of the users at this forum, and at FSGateway, could proceed with projects sorely needed in the FS community. If someone posts it under the name "George Smith", there's little I can do to stop it. All they need is a cheap hex editor.4) We have copyright law. Even if someone releases my program under the name "George Smith", I have an electronic record going back to day 1, showing my work as being under my name. If such a thief had deep enough pockets, perhaps I can supplement the income from my day job with a lawsuit. Most thieves don't have deep pockets, and are found out quickly. Since the dawn of time there have been people hacking other people's work, even before the days of desktop computers. If the fear of this is reason for an author to say, "forget it", perhaps the author has to examine their motivation to stay the course. It takes more courage, IMHO, to release a product as freeware despite these risks. Not to mention the people that slam you (I still receive 1-2 "Your program stinks" emails a week--although most come from folks too stupid to RTFM).

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Don't tell the guy over at FS Planet you will never know what will happen

:-lol :-spacecraft :-lol

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Although I completely understand the reaction to this tool (I've had stuff pirated before), after following this topic since the thread "Important for all aircraft designers", I've come to the conclusion that it's become over-sensitive.Model creators have, for the most part until now, benefited from security by obscurity. On the other hand, creators of livery, gauges, sounds, effects, ground textures, etc. don't have this benefit. Nevertheless, they have been able to continue creating and thriving despite the fact that anyone can open and steal their work if they want to.So, I doubt that MS will combat this (they have bigger problems to contend with: the government, Linux, etc.). Model files will just become as open as the other components that make up aircraft and scenery. The alternative is for everyone to lobby MS to lock up every part of the sim and all its supporting files so that everyone can protect their work, not only the model files.

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If you look at this slightly different, there may be a massive benefit to the whole community (speaking as a designer for many years as well as a consumer of others fine works):Mayhap this will encourage true Free Software in this community: in place of its Freeware tradition. With Free Software, anyone and his brother are allowed - nay, encouraged - to make any changes to something you release. Depending on the license you release under, this could also include the full ability to sell such works commercially once modified - with an extremely important caveat: that ANY AND ALL internal changes, textures, etc, etc. are released back to the author and the community itself - fully and completely!Of course, the original author retains his/her absolute and full copyright on his/her original work (and of course reserves the option to not release future versions under a Free Software license). And the license he/she does release under must be followed (eg: GNU GPL or LGPL, etc). If it is not followed by some crook, a massive, wide and extremely vocal community of GPL supporters is ready at your back to help you out. And believe me when I say: the GNU GPL (GNU Public License) is vehemently enforced by said community (and thats a HUGE understatement). If this community adopted such a model, it gains the full backing and power of millions of Free Software developers worldwide (and the companies who support it).Now truly take a moment to think about the above.Just think how MUCH this community would grow with such a model as its basis! The knowledge shared between developers would simply fly through the roof... The encouragement of non-developer users to actually participate and become developers in their own right increases ten-fold... The entire community spirit would be improved in unmeasurable ways.Every cloud has its lining (and its shadows). The death of Freeware may not be such a bad thing in such an instance... It just depends upon the mindset of developers and how they wish to react. Not only would this particular instance of "trouble" be cured, but many recent "troubles" as well (such as Ferdy, etc).Food for thought,Elrond

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I have done some preliminary investigation and this is what I have uncovered:This tool is being formulated by a new race of "Pirate Aircraft Hackers from Der Fatherland" who will sit in their darkened basements, kackeling to themselves as they hunch over their monitors with this dasterdly tool decompiling freeware aircraft. Soon, they will compete their sinister plan and unleash these reverse engineered aircraft on us poor unsuspecting folk. What we don't know is that these newly reversed engineered aircraft will flash GMAX rendered subliminal messages forcing us to donate $100,000 each to Al Queda. In the mean time these new race of Ubermen will kidnap and ship all freeware and payware aircraft makers to internment camps in the Black Forest area of Germany all the while assuming their identities as US citizens to flood the multibillion dollar freeware aircraft market with millions of fake freeware aircraft. The final result is that the Trillions of dollars earned annualy in the FS addon market will be funneled ultimately to Taiwan where they will in turn fund the ultimate scheme to flood the American markets with such things as Enhanced Chia Pets, Gut Blasters, Butt Exercizers and late night infomercials allowing us to buy property for no money down. The remaining money will be placed in a trust fund for Osama Bin Ladin to remove the unexploded Tomahawk Cruise Missle lodged in his hind quarters.I, for one, will NOT stand for such unpatriotic activities in my beloved country and under direction of President George Bush will be reporting this "suspicious activity" to the nearest Girl Scout Troop Jamboree for immediate investigation!!!!---------But seriously folks, there really aren't THAT many unscrupulous people who are bent on the destruction as freeware as we know it. Quite frankly, any tool that allows enhancements and additions to the freeware community is welcome in my book.Maybe I just don't believe that there is THAT much motivation to make your conspiracy theories valid because quite frankly, who is getting rich making addon's for FS??? What will actually be affected here? Egos or pocketbooks? It seems to me with all the self proclaimed CEO's, Presidents, Managing Directors, Chancellors, Supreme ATC Commanders, Chief Aircraft Development Coordinators and Grand Maseonic Scenery Distribution Messiah titles attached to everyone who has a virtual airline or FS development group, etc... well need I say more? Mike T.Just a little tongue-in-cheek humor to remind US ALL to stop taking ourselves and our hobby so darn seriously and just enjoy.

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Whoooooooaaaaaa! Not to change the subject, but I have to....What Connie???? :) Sorry...back to your regularly scheduled program!Don

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