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iamdigitalman

Why are newton developers such greedy pigs?

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This is a subject that has been picking at me for some time. I have noticed very little "free" software for my newtons, most of it is shareware. What is worse is the limitations they impose, and since the newton is no longer as popular platform as it once was, it is near impossible to register the software to unlock it fully.

 

Here is just a short list of what I have seen:

 

-The wavelan driver has not been updated in over 5 years, registration is closed, and an unregistered copy can not support WEP encryption.

-the ATA driver has not been updated in almost 5 years, it costs $60 for the full version, and the limited version can't use more than 4mb. This presents a lot of wasted space on my 128mb CF card I use in my 2000.

-Chatbuddy has not seen any development since 1998, and the latest version times out after just a few sessions. It also can not be registered, since the phone number is dead as well as the website.

 

There are, of course, many other examples, but these are the three biggest pieces of software I use on my newtons. There are no free replacements, nor can they be unlocked anymore.

 

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

 

-digital ;)

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Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

 

... and so began the quest of Richard Stahlman for free software.

 

I doubt if many of those newton developers still have a working development environment to rebuild the code without locks.

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That isn't a problem limited to the Newton. The Amiga shares it. MS-DOS shares it.

 

In a sense, I would argue that our sense of entitlement is a form of greed. Though, on the whole, I think that concepts like open source and Free software are best solution (our sense of entitlement is matched by the developer's desire to share).

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Personally you can either track down the original developer through the internet and get the software registered, or just pirate it.

 

I don't think developers are greedy pigs, if they can make a profit on software they will and if they cannot they abandon it. There are plenty of people who code free utilities for fun, but I don't expect people do it when they get bored of it and move on to something else.

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They walk a very fine line in the current state as well. They need to prevent piracy and create funds to continue such niche software. But the moment they go under or are not utilized enough, these mechanisms then go unchecked as the developer disappears or moves on. I don't think wavelan and chatbuddy were designed and planned to be left abandoned and unusable without updates. It just happens with such a small community. I agree it sucks, but I know in the wavelan case in particular, it is more work to fix it than the developer has time for.

 

TBird

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I have noticed very little "free" software for my newtons, most of it is shareware.

 

How much software have you written and distributed for free?

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This is a subject that has been picking at me for some time. I have noticed very little "free" software for my newtons, most of it is shareware. What is worse is the limitations they impose, and since the newton is no longer as popular platform as it once was, it is near impossible to register the software to unlock it fully.

 

Here is just a short list of what I have seen:

 

-The wavelan driver has not been updated in over 5 years, registration is closed, and an unregistered copy can not support WEP encryption.

-the ATA driver has not been updated in almost 5 years, it costs $60 for the full version, and the limited version can't use more than 4mb. This presents a lot of wasted space on my 128mb CF card I use in my 2000.

-Chatbuddy has not seen any development since 1998, and the latest version times out after just a few sessions. It also can not be registered, since the phone number is dead as well as the website.

 

There are, of course, many other examples, but these are the three biggest pieces of software I use on my newtons. There are no free replacements, nor can they be unlocked anymore.

 

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

 

-digital ;)

 

How many Newton developers still exist? They are developing for a dead platform with little competition so they can charge whatever they like for their products. It's supply and demand. If the dev is no longer supporting the product and won't let you unlock their crippleware versions, you can always try to hack it to remove the protection.

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I have noticed very little "free" software for my newtons, most of it is shareware.

 

How much software have you written and distributed for free?

 

Yeah! Quit yer whinin' and get codin' :)

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In spite of what I said above, I do think that if a programmer ceases support of a product they should either make an unprotected full version available for distribution or else continue to provide unlock codes for either free or a minimal fee for anyone who wants one because frequently non-commercial software is the only software available that does what you want to do and once it is no longer supported and the only versions available are crippled or protected then everyone is stuck without it's use until someone writes a new program to fill the gap which may never happen. They should also make provision that in the event of their death their software will be made available in unprotected form.

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Unfortunately not all programmers have copyright over their own code in the first place. If they're developing to hire, their employer may own the rights, and if the employer folds, those rights can end up in limbo.

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Unfortunately not all programmers have copyright over their own code in the first place. If they're developing to hire, their employer may own the rights, and if the employer folds, those rights can end up in limbo.

 

I said non-commercial software.

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If a programmer ceases support of a product they should either make an unprotected full version available for distribution...their software will be made available in unprotected form.

 

And in fact, many do. Look at all the Abandonware that's been legally released for old Macs, for example. It just makes us sad pandas when someone forgets to or can't do this.

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I do think that if a programmer ceases support of a product they should either make an unprotected full version available for distribution or else continue to provide unlock codes

 

Especially dead programmers. It is very rude for them not to have catered for this eventuality in their wills.

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I do think that if a programmer ceases support of a product they should either make an unprotected full version available for distribution or else continue to provide unlock codes

 

Especially dead programmers. It is very rude for them not to have catered for this eventuality in their wills.

 

please read my ENTIRE post before commenting. You will see I accounted for this possibility.

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Please consider that some authors do not want their software to be freely developed after they have abandoned it. It is all fine and dandy to label them as greedy because of that, but I also think that our demands for free software is also a bit greedy. It goes both ways.

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Not a small part of the problem seems to be that some software serials were generated only when you supplied the ID number of the particular Newton unit itself on which you wanted to run the package to the developer — thus you were unable, say, to move your copy of a particular title to your MP2100 when upgrading from your MP130 without going back to the developer for a new serial. This also has the effect of making use of these titles today very difficult, even when the software can be had.

 

There are, of course, developers who have released freeware versions of their titles, presumably because they did not require the Newton's ID to generate a serial in the first place, or because the code has been altered so as no longer to require the more convoluted approach. There are others who continue to sell if you prod them a little, and they often sell at greatly reduced prices. This is not only fair, but more than fair: I wish more software were still maintained in this way, rather than just abandoned along with the older hardware. But there are other developers who would, it seems, be unable to sell or to release freeware versions of their old titles without continuing to provide a modicum of support in the form of having someone to generate the serial and send it by return email. Naturally, as some of them are now disinterested/dead/departed/developing for Palm they don't want to get into that hassle.

 

In other cases, the problem is just the ephemeral nature of computers and what you find on the internet: the 19 year-old who developed a package circa 2000 as a lark now has a job with a six figure salary, a good woman and maybe a child or two, a big car and a bigger mortgage, and understandably couldn't be less bothered about old flames like Newtons. He has grown up, got a life, moved house a few times, and as he wasn't a proper company to start with, but a savant, smalltime shareware developer working from a bedroom, has no infrastructure to support the old stuff with which he once tinkered. Some of you, God willing, will be like that with your old Macs, too, in a few years' time.

 

It is a shame. I'm a Newton fan and daily user, but the software hunt for the machine can occasionally be frustrating. For many and most purposes, however, there is a large-ish (alas, not comprehensive) software repository at unna.org .

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Please consider that some authors do not want their software to be freely developed after they have abandoned it. It is all fine and dandy to label them as greedy because of that, but I also think that our demands for free software is also a bit greedy. It goes both ways.

 

I tend to agree. The counter argument, of course, is why doesn't the developer release the source code so that others can follow up? Having looked at some code that I wrote ten years ago, I know the answer: it is inelegant, looks awful, the comments made some sense at the time, but there is no easy way to explain all of the cludges and workarounds that seem bizarre if you are coding strictly to the APIs.

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Blame Apple. Top secret fees, overpriced docs.

 

Apple wanted 895 dollars for the programming manuals for newton.

 

DOCUMENTATION! Microsoft that same time frame gave away cdroms full of documentation and compilers and debugger for a grand total of 35 dollars shipped to you.

 

35 dollars for prerelease windows dev cds vs 895 dollars for apple newton.

 

Apple kept that price that high until the bitter end, and when newton was down the toilet started lowering the price for newton programming manuals.

 

heres a real laugh riot... that money for newton apps did not go to developers... some went to APPLE !

 

All newton apps to bind with the apple libraries and ship had to sign a top secret license agreement with apple with massive penalties if the follwinge information is EVER revealed. But I am revealing it here :

 

APPLE IS TO GET THREE PERCENT OF THE GROSS PROCEEDS OF ALL NEWTON SALES. (not net, Gross receipts).

 

Well than means apple is responsible for no less than 3% of the inflated price, and when you factor in the overpriced developer manuals, you get so called "greedy newton" prices.

 

That info above had a "fire and brimstone" clause protecting its secrecy from wall street, or the public.

 

Palm Pilot kicked apples butt eventually and created a Multi Billion Dollar empire, all because Palm tried to do the opposite of apple in every regard with developer relationships.

 

Apple should have PAID developers to read newton manuals, let alone have the gall to charge developer program members 895 dollars for documentation on the newton.

 

Microsofts 35 dollars developer cd-rom helped propel Windows 95 into history and jack up its stock over a third of a trillion dollars.

 

Apple is the greedy fools.

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Really?

 

That is AMAZING. It's like the iPhone but even worse. I'd love to see some scans of this secret contract bullshit.

 

Shit, if this is true then it's no wonder the Newton never caught on.

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Just so you know, from a message sent to the NewtonTalk mailing list on June 14th:
Dear Newton Users,

 

I'm pleased to announced that ATA Support can now be downloaded in a

free, unlocked version at:

http://www.kallisys.com/newton/ata/

 

The source code is also available.

 

Enjoy!

 

Regards,

 

Paul

 

 

same goes for the wavelan driver... its freenow too.

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