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The Icon Bar: News and features: More trouble for VirtualAcorn (updated)
 

More trouble for VirtualAcorn (updated)

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 12:56, 14/2/2002 | , , , , ,
 
More trouble is brewing for VirtualAcorn after John Kortink has found that the VA CD comes with some of his Shareware without his consent.

John, author of utilities such as Translator, Creator, PackDir and creator of the Viewfinder graphics card, is a little upset at the inclusion of software that requires his approval before being included with other products. Although VA have offered to remove the offending software - Translator, Creator and Earthmap - from future releases, they did not initially issue a recall or scrap the latest batch of CDs. If they didn't, John was talking about a criminal lawsuit on the advice of his lawyer.

This comes just after the release of v1.10 of the software (and hence, probably a new batch of CDs), and Paul Middleton's continued attack on emulators in the Foundation newsletter of 8th February.

Update: the current batch of CDs have now been scrapped.

Source: Usenet
 

  More trouble for VirtualAcorn (updated)
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
Richard Goodwin Message #90087, posted at 12:57, 14/2/2002
Unregistered user I don't know much about Dutch law, but I'm pretty sure that under English law copyright violation is a tort not a crime isn't it? And wouldn't a court order to do (or cease doing) something also be a civil case?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90088, posted at 13:30, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90087
Unregistered user Nah, I put it on the forums first! :-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90089, posted at 13:41, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90088
Unregistered user John Kortink seems to be on the side of ROL here, judging by the tone of his announcement. Has this logical problem been sorted out yet, ie:

ROL -> Desktop RISC OS, RISC OS 4
Pace -> Every other version of the OS

It seems just a complete grey area...? (Although I'm on Pace's side)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Graham Message #90090, posted at 14:28, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90089
Unregistered user Damn!
I had this news article all written out and ready to go, I connect to the net and find you've beaten me to it again.

Seriously though, I don't think it's a question of sides, John's just annoyed that his software was included without him being consulted first.

They're not the only company to have done this sort of thing (which doesn't make it any better) by the way.

I've ordered my copy of VA this morning (when I heard the news) in case VA doesn't survive.
;-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90091, posted at 14:53, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90090
Unregistered user "Virtual Acorn are supplying my software illegally. Which may come as no surprise looking at the recent controversy about them supplying a free copy of RISC OS 3.11 as well, for which they claim to have permission."

It seems like he's taking sides to me!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90092, posted at 14:57, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90091
Unregistered user Just to make it clear though - I'm on John's side when it comes to the disribution of his software - it looks like VA have got this totally wrong.

Sorry, all this could have been done in a couple of posts. My brain's hurting today. :-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #90093, posted at 15:11, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90092
Unregistered user And now it looks like Jason's getting stick for ArcCommand by the original author of Starship Command :(
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #90094, posted at 15:22, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90093
Unregistered user Just received Aaron's reply (ta, Paul!)
----------------------------------------------
Firstly one of the products in question (!Earthmap) is shown as freeware. The two others (!Creator & !Translator) are Shareware. I read the licences supplied with these products before including them. Firstly we make no charge for the extras supplied with the disk image (they are free with the VA5000 program). Johns licence also says that "you may spread this program freely". And that you may not incorporate it/or a part of it in another product. Well we have not incorporated it with in a product. It is not part of the product, it is an extra that users might well find useful and wish to register, therefore earning John revenue.

As far as we were concerned we were freely distributing these applications, for no charge, as per his licence.

I have spoken the someone from the Association of Shareware professionals with regard to this earlier today and he has confirmed my interpretation of the licence supplied with the applications in question. Of course John has asked us not to include these products, and they have been removed from the new build at his request.

When John Kortink sent me an e-mail a couple of days ago I immediately offered to remove the offending items from the new build (which I was working on at the time). I then sent him a confirmation e-mail saying that they had been removed. I have already said to John in a private e-mail that I was sorry, and that I though we had acted within the terms of his licence.

As an ex shareware author myself I would have though that the widest distribution possible of an item of shareware would lead to more registrations.

We did make strenous attempts to contact all authors concerned. We plainly did miss people for which I am quite happy to apologise. The disk build had to be done in a short time scale and was assembled with the help of a number of testers who suggested applications that they thought should be included.

If anyone is unhappy about a product being included then please do tell me and I will of course remove it at once, as I have done for John.

I am quite happy to apologise to John publically, as I have done privately, so John I am sorry that we included these products without contacting you first. We were simply trying to promote RISC OS applications to a wider audience and thought that this would encourage development of RISC OS software, and registrations for shareware authors.

Aaron (VirtualAcorn)

-------------------------------------------------

Which sounds resonable...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Steffen Huber Message #90095, posted at 15:23, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90094
Unregistered user Concerning VA and RISC OS 3.1: I have followed the discussion for quite a long time now.

According to RISCOS Ltd., they have an exclusive desktop licence for RISC OS, not just RISC OS 4. They have a licence for the original RO 3.8 source code and a licence to develop it further and selling those versions, as long as they are supplied as ROMs for ARM based computers.

If all this is true (and to be honest I have not seen *anyone* who knows the licence agreement between RO Ltd. and Pace/e14 who has commented otherwise), it is technically not possible that the VA guys have a valid licence for RISC OS 3.1, because Pace is not even allowed to grant them one.

Concerning John's software, there is nothing to discuss. The VA guys do not have a valid licence, and they opted to distribute the software anyway. There is absolutely no room for interpretation here.

There once was a similar incident with one of WSS's software pieces and a PD CD. However, both parties came to a highly sensible agreement - it looks like the VA guys are not interested in it. It is really a shame that because of this John will have to sue them.

Before someone asks...I have bought VA myself, as no matter if they have a valid RO3.1 licence or not, I am allowed to use RO3.1 with the emulator because of the highly sensible German copyright law.

Steffen
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #90096, posted at 15:26, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90095
Unregistered user Steffen - according to the Foundation letter, ROL only have rights to RISC OS > 3.7; Castle have 3.7; and ROL has absolutely nothing to do with RISC OS 3.11.

It would also appear that ROL only have a gentlemen's agreement on Select, which is not a ROM-based OS either; even if VA only have a verbal agreement rather than a fully legal one, it's still as good as the one ROL have! :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90097, posted at 15:42, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90096
Unregistered user It all sounds like an unfortunate situation between VA and John - I can see both points of view. Although that's hardly helpful! :-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #90098, posted at 15:45, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90097
Unregistered user I sold my Acorn some while ago now. Part of my reason for jumping ship was that it appeared that new hardware (new advanced hardware) was never going to arrive.

What delight, though, when virtual acorn arrived. Now I could have my acorn desktop (which I miss) on my PC.

But it appears the bickering and backbiting continues - the eutopia of everyone pulling together during difficult times just hasn't happened.

It makes me wonder whether those in charge of acorn products actually want to make a success out of things or are just playing at it.

It's no wonder that the Riscos world has never been taken seriously. I still follow the news items to see what is happening in riscos world but it appears very little.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Steffen Huber Message #90099, posted at 15:52, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90098
Unregistered user Hi Richard,

I cite from one of the Foundation newsletters:
"In March 1999 RISCOS Ltd entered into a Licence Agreement with Element 14 Ltd for the future development and marketing of RISC OS within the desktop market.

That Agreement means that no other company can have a licence to distribute any version of RISC OS within our target market. Use of RISC OS on a desktop or portable PC falls into our target market.

RISCOS Ltd does not Licence earlier versions of RISC OS to anyone as we do not have the source code to be able to support those versions.
"

It looks to me as if my interpretation was correct, and yours was wrong. Or can you cite a different newsletter?

Steffen
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90100, posted at 16:01, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90099
Unregistered user But how can ROL object to something they don't even own the source to, wheras Pace do?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Steffen Huber Message #90101, posted at 16:04, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90100
Unregistered user Hi Richard,

concerning Select: RISCOS Ltd. obviously had to ask Pace if they were allowed to do it - because Pace has a controlling interest in RISCOS Ltd. The agreement was that Select only runs on top of RISC OS 4, so that ROMs are needed in every case. It might look a bit "strange", but it is certainly not a "gentleman's agreement" as you said, but covered by the original licence. In both Pace's and RO Ltd.'s opinion.

By the way, I have just posted a reply to Aaron's (IMHO) rather strange views on Usenet.

Steffen
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Steffen Huber Message #90102, posted at 16:12, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90101
Unregistered user Hi John,

I don't really understand your point. What has the access to source code to do with what is allowed by a licence and what not? It is really very simple. RO Ltd. have an exclusive licence for RISC OS (all versions!) for their part of the market - they choose to sell RO4, because they have the source for it. Pace owns RISC OS itself and can give licences to anybody they like - as long as they don't violate other agreements (like their licence agreement with RO Ltd.). The outcome is simple: Pace can't give a licence for any version of RISC OS to anybody who sells it into the desktop market. Therefore, VA can't be sold with a valid RISC OS licence, no matter what Pace are saying.

All this is only true if RO Ltd. are telling the truth of course. However, I have no reason to doubt that.

Steffen
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #90103, posted at 16:12, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90102
Unregistered user To continue Foundation newsletter #20...
-------------------------------
The only exception to the usage of earlier versions of RISC OS by third parties is Castle Technology who already had a manufacturing agreement to use RISC OS 3.7 prior to our Agreement with Element 14. Castle do not however have source code access to RISC OS 3.7.
-------------------------------------------

Castle = 3.70;
ROL = 3.80+;
ROL don't have access to 3.11.

Which bit is wrong?

RISCOS Ltd. have been harping on about not being able to "rip" ROM images, and that the only legal versions are ROM based ones. But Select is not ROM based, which thus contradicts their earlier statement. If they have an arrangement with Pace, then fine; but then, why can't VA have a similar arrangement with Pace for emulation, which isn't for the same desktop ROM usage?

And of course there's the version of RISC OS for embedded devices, which isn't desktop at all - it leans rather more towards the STB market, which is of course Pace's territory.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #90104, posted at 16:17, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90103
Unregistered user Basically the whole thing's petty - ROL have no use for RO3.11, and VA have asked Pace for access to it for emulation (not for installation into desktop machines) which they agreed to, none of the hardware manufacturers think this will in any way cut into their sales, but Paul Middleton's got a bee in his bonnet and won't back down.

As for the software included in VA, no doubt APDL has been distributing this stuff for ages and just bundled it together. He seems quite apologetic and willing to deal, but everyone seems to be out for blood these days. Or maybe I'm just annoyed because of the Starship Command thing :(
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #90105, posted at 16:19, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90104
Unregistered user This discussion is silly. John Kortink is clearly not going to take this to court, because the court would have to make an estimate of his financial losses. Since his software is freely distributed on the internet, he has made no losses whatsoever. If anything, he would have made money from shareware fees.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90106, posted at 16:21, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90105
Unregistered user I know what you mean about the Starship Command thing Rich - I liked the tone of your news article! :-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Steffen Huber Message #90107, posted at 16:35, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90106
Unregistered user Hi Richard,

is it really that difficult to understand?

The bit that is wrong is "RO Ltd. = 3.8+". Please show me a reference for that. It is true that RO Ltd. don't have access to the 3.11 sources (or in fact any other source than their own RO4 one). Does this matter? Not at all.

I will try an example. Where I work, customers are usually granted to get the source code for the stuff we write for them (and potentially others). This does not mean that they can do what they want with this source. They are e.g. not allowed to redistribute the software. They are usually not allowed to make changes in every part of the software without consulting us. You see, if someone has the source code for something means nothing. It all depends on the licence. And RO Ltd. tell us that they have an exclusive desktop licence (minus Castle, but this is well known and explained) for every version of RISC OS. What is so complicated about that?

As I understand it, the licence RO Ltd. have indeed says that the product they sell must be ROM-based. For this reason, Select is sold as something like a "support abo with regular upgrades for the RISC OS 4 ROMs you have bought". You are not allowed to use Select without RO4, and RO4 always comes in ROMs, and therefore everything is just fine. Again, I can't see why this is complicated to understand or even to accept. And it also explains nicely why RO Ltd. are not allowed to sell a RO4 licence to the VA guys - their licence does simply not allow it! However, it looks as if the only ones who care about the legality of anything in this game are RO Ltd. themselves :-(

"Embedded RISC OS" is easily explained, too - it looks like the exlusiveness granted to RO Ltd. is not "mutually" - i.e. RISCOS Ltd. can sell in whatever market they like, but they only are "protected" from competitors in the desktop market.

Now please tell me that you have at least understood my point. You are of course still free to believe that RO Ltd. are not telling the truth, but it would be nice to see some evidence for that.

Steffen
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #90108, posted at 16:54, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90107
Unregistered user What tone, John?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90109, posted at 16:55, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90108
Unregistered user See the quote I posted!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #90110, posted at 16:59, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90109
Unregistered user It's a shame when VA came out it was the only time someone came to me to talk about the Acorn/RISC OS market in the last 10 years.
It's normally me telling them, it was a nice change, and now all this.

Peter Darnell
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Graham Message #90111, posted at 20:07, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90110
Unregistered user Slightly off topic, I'm utterly stunned at the news about ArcCommand.
I assume (not knowning the full facts) that the original author has a problem with the remake that Jason created.
I wasn't aware that the remake used any of the original code, so where is the problem?

Can we have some more info on this please?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90112, posted at 20:11, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90111
Unregistered user Have you see the news+comments at Acorn Arcade?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #90113, posted at 20:38, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90112
Unregistered user I can't believe this - Aaron is making enough of a grave for himself pissing off ROL etc. now he's bundling other people's software too!

Why doesn't VA just ship with UniBoot, the rest of the RO3 disk image and a few essentials - e.g. SparkPlug?

And maybe a website with a list of recommended software to download.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #90114, posted at 20:43, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #90113
Unregistered user Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, Aaron does a lot for RISC OS, and I'm sure he never meant any of this to happen. Give the guy a break!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #90115, posted at 09:03, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #90114
Unregistered user This whole thread shows up something very 'sad' about the current RiscOS scene. I thought we were all on the same side and that we were all trying to promote and improve RiscOS for the benefit of all of us.

If we cannot take each other seriously and support each other in a constructive way then RiscOS will not last.

Ian Cranna.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Walker Message #90116, posted at 09:48, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #90115
Unregistered user Shipping VA with just RISC OS 3.1 and the universal boot sequence would be pretty grotty. It's nice for people (who have perhaps not used RISC OS for yonks) to have a load of software 'ready to use'.

Ian: You are spot on. Legal issues aside, this whole 'ROL vs. VA' situation is just stupid.

The bit that annoys me the most is that Paul Middleton it obviously worried that RISC OS 3.1, running on a software emulation of an A5000 (i.e. 1991 technology), is a threat to his company. Is he suggesting that RISC OS 4 (and/or 4+) might not be that different to 3.1? Oh dear. I think that maybe he's right. We'd better all pack-up now... :-/
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
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The Icon Bar: News and features: More trouble for VirtualAcorn (updated)