On Fri, Mar 24, 2006 at 02:54:49PM +0100, Jesús Dugarte wrote:
After a good night sleep I woke up this morning still thinking about
your question. Where I live and work (Venezuela), there are two
situations that aren???t very unlikely to occur, being piracy software a
very profitable business as it is here:
- I walk into a company office (not one of my costumers), for whatever
reason, and find my product installed in a computer.
Sounds like an easy sale to me. A quick explanation of the facts should
result in either money being handed over or the software removed – or
you’ve got some killer evidence for an injunction and lawsuit.
- Someone calls me (not one of my costumers again) very aggravated,
complaining about my product, company or service quality, because some
non-identified technician installed my product in his/her company, and
something is wrong (whereas the product is malfunctioning due to poor
support, or this ???non-identified technician??? disappeared out of the blue
leaving them without support -and suddenly that is our fault-, etc.)
Sounds like an even easier sale to me. Sure, people are going to be
pissed off when they call you because they’re being eaten alive by a
but I’m sure you deal with pissed off people on a regular basis
fact of doing business, I’ve decided), so you should be able to calmly
explain the situation to them and sell them your support.
These situations have actually happened to me and my company in the past
and, besides the fact that I???m flattered that my products might be as
popular as to be the target of the piracy business ;-), they may (and
has in some cases) damaged the image of my company, product or service.
That???s when we decided to go with a software key licensing system to
protect our products.
Since a software key system will only protect you against the
anyway, there’s no reason why you can’t add a key system into your Ruby
– anyone who knows what they’re doing in the unauthorised reproduction
will get around it no matter what, and your idiots won’t know Ruby well
enough to get around it anyway.
I???m not saying ???I won???t do it unless a can compile/obfuscate my source
code???. Not at all. I will do it despite my fears and old habits, just
because I???m thrilled and excited with the technology and the
possibilities (for fun and for business) it gives me.
My question is: Does this happen to you in the open source community? Do
you get these piracy/fears situations? How do you handle it?
Since my software is (almost invariably) FOSS, I’m thrilled when people
“pirate” my code – it’s validation that I’ve done something useful, and
it’s another potential support sale in the future. I have had the
experience of walking into a client site and seeing something I helped
running on their systems, and it was a huge buzz. I’ve not had a random
person call me up to scream at me for some FOSS that I helped write not
working, and I doubt it’ll ever happen – and if it does, I’ll be happy
attempt to convince them of the practicality of a support pack with my
As other people have said, compilation/obfuscation does nothing to solve
unauthorised duplication problem. A strong licence agreement, visibly
executed at the time of software installation, is probably the best you
do, absent a move to a hosted service business model.