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Of course it raises an ethical question, but more than that: simply copying the content of your hard drive when you leave a company is against the law of ALL countries who protect IP. The work produced for an employer is strictly its property as a business entity, and no one else's.

I don't like the term "IP" in conjunction with software. It's copyright (which is enough as the GNU Licence has proven). There are no patents involved (outside the US).

IP is a mix of trademarks, copyright and patents. Only copyright applies to software. Calling it "IP" implies there's more to it than that.

Just my pet peeve.

Shane.

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I don't like the term "IP" in conjunction with software. It's copyright (which is enough as the GNU Licence has proven). There are no patents involved (outside the US).

IP is a mix of trademarks, copyright and patents. Only copyright applies to software. Calling it "IP" implies there's more to it than that.

If the mix happens to be 0% patents, it's still could be called a mix. IP is the right term for this mix. IP also includes trade secrets.

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The meaning must lose its sense in the translation. Sorry, I don't have a better way to describe when I'm thinking. tongue.gif

I understood what it means. My point was what I said next - nothing is completely new.

Connector panes and front panel positions are not enough evidence to throw the stone

Exactly. That was my point. Plagiarism is a serious allegation and one which should not be made lightly. That was my point. Unless there is concrete evidence such action has taken place, throwing the accusation around is problematic, at best, especially if it's presented as fact.

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My point was what I said next - nothing is completely new.

...

Exactly. That was my point. Plagiarism is a serious allegation and one which should not be made lightly.

Well, there is without a doubt a serious amount of talent required to produce this framework and I don't doubt that there is a substantial part that is new. I'll refrain my complaints and wait to see how it unfolds as I'm but just a spectator in all this.

I can definitely say though that I'll skip the evaluation of this tool for now, hoping that I get more information as some people are bound to use it and comment. For that, it seems that the G# community on ni.com is still operational (as opposed to LAVA), so I'll keep an eye now and then. As I obviously have no clue as to what the GDS kernel looks like, I cannot in good conscience (as you pointed out between lines) compare judiciously the two frameworks.

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Connector panes and front panel positions are not enough evidence to throw the stone because they're part of the public domain of even password-protected VIs.

I am not a lawyer, but I don't find any basis to say that the front panel is "public domain". Maybe you are trying to say that the functional design of the API can't be copyrighted, but the layout, the fonts, and the verbal content of the front panel and the diagram should all be under copyright, just like the visual appearance of any movie or magazine ad.

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I am not a lawyer, but I don't find any basis to say that the front panel is "public domain". Maybe you are trying to say that the functional design of the API can't be copyrighted, but the layout, the fonts, and the verbal content of the front panel and the diagram should all be under copyright, just like the visual appearance of any movie or magazine ad.

Yes and no. Is it a copyright issue that most programmers use a 4x2x2x4 conpane and put object in/out and error in/out in the four corners? The styles of the controls on a front panel are all part of LabVIEW's development environment and licensed to be used as part of the purchase of a LabVIEW license from NI. Therefore, unless you have special controls/indicators specific to your app (XControls might be an example), you might well put your terminals at the same spot as your competitor, if only not to throw off the user or as part of good programming style. For all we know, both front panels could have sprung from the same copyright-free template. Thinking of it, G# might even have been programmed using a paid professional version of GDS, therefore using the GDS templates they'd rightfully acquired by paying for the software. wacko.gif (That's a lot of "ifs"... and that's another reason why AddQ should not have deleted their posts.)

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Yes and no. Is it a copyright issue that most programmers use a 4x2x2x4 conpane and put object in/out and error in/out in the four corners? The styles of the controls on a front panel are all part of LabVIEW's development environment and licensed to be used as part of the purchase of a LabVIEW license from NI. Therefore, unless you have special controls/indicators specific to your app (XControls might be an example), you might well put your terminals at the same spot as your competitor, if only not to throw off the user or as part of good programming style. For all we know, both front panels could have sprung from the same copyright-free template. Thinking of it, G# might even have been programmed using a paid professional version of GDS, therefore using the GDS templates they'd rightfully acquired by paying for the software. wacko.gif (That's a lot of "ifs"... and that's another reason why AddQ should not have deleted their posts.)

What you say makes some sense as a programmer, but I don't think it matches the law as far as I understand it (since I am not a lawyer). The LabVIEW license is an authoring tool like Microsoft Word. Whether you use Word or a pen to copy a Harry Potter novel you would still be infringing. Even if you changed every 10th word, or renamed the main character as Barry Snotter, the author's lawyer just has to convince a judge that it was a copy or a derivative work, and it's an infringement.

The fact that LabVIEW does a lot more for you than Word is irrelevant. Those parts of your LabVIEW work that are created by your own mind are your copyright. It doesn't matter whether they are what we call 'code', or whether they are color or layout, or whether they are password-protected or not.

So if you "just happen" to put controls in the same place and the same color, and with substantially similar labels, you are probably infringing, unless you can hire some expert witnesses to say "oh yeah, everyone does it the exact same way. So I would feel comfortable making a case to a judge that using the 4x2x2x4 and error in/error out is not infringing, but I would not enjoy standing up in court and trying to say that it was the merest coincidence that my front panels all appeared identical to or derivative of the copyrighted work of my former employer.

I've never seen the license for GDS, but it's very unlikely the owners of its copyright allow you to use their product to make and distribute a competing product just because you purchased a license to use their copyrighted work.

I suppose both front panels could have originated from the same public domain template, but almost nobody puts software in the public domain anymore. Even if you open source your code, the norm is to use GNU/MIT/CC/etc. licensing. The AddQ version had their own copyright mark on the help description with no other attribution, which I believe would violate all of those licenses.

It's a bit sad that the AddQ guys have withdrawn the comments, but if their lawyer isn't telling them to shut the heck up, then they need a new lawyer.

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Jon, I believe the release itself isn't illegal regardless of its origins. At most, it would be violating some ethical rules and possibly business agreements IF it was partially copied. It's possible that there are some laws about this, but it's not up to us to make a call about those. The decision whether or not to use it is, of course, yours.

Thanks Yair.

I was initially excited by the release, but as more and more information has been posted, it has soured it.

It seems a lot of people are upset by this release.

I don't like the thought of someone ripping off someone else work without consent/attribution.

I am with Francois and will hold off for now too.

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So if you "just happen" to put controls in the same place and the same color, and with substantially similar labels, you are probably infringing,

I doubt anyone can protect the public interface of an API as proprietary, but those are legal questions and way out of my experience or comfort zone. I'm not a lawyer and I don't even play one on TV. There is presumably some degree to which you can say "hey, they can't copy our API. People might think it's our product" or something along those lines, but I don't know where that line is.

I can say that there are valid technical reasons for using similar connector panes and I doubt this even has any serious ethical issues. Unless you explicitly sign a contract preventing you from working in the same field, there is nothing preventing you from building a similar product (although personally I probably would have an ethical problem with that and I doubt I would do it), and there's no logic in starting completely from scratch. You as a developer already have some knowledge and habits, the users already come to expect certain things, etc. So far I haven't seen any clear indication that AddQ has done some something wrong (except for deleting the posts and pulling out, which is a PR suicide), yet people seem to decide that they have, despite explicit denials. I REALLY dislike such judgement.

I have no idea what the technical merits of AddQ's framework are either. I asked for a demo video, but the thread kind of exploded after that, so I never got my wish.

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I REALLY dislike such judgement.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I'll be the first to admit that I am making an assumption here, but that is just the way I feel about the situation.

I also like, and think its nice, that some LAVA members are rallying-behind and supporting one of their own.

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If the mix happens to be 0% patents, it's still could be called a mix. IP is the right term for this mix. IP also includes trade secrets.

A mix of 100% copyright and 0% patents is not a mix.:nono:

Trade secrets in software? Like algorithms? Sure you can protect HOW to get an end result but not the end result itself (falling back to copyright).;)

If you don't get other protection for an algorithm (like CSS) then anyone can implement a version as long as they don't copy your code.:oops:

And trade secrets are, by their very nature, only valid when nobody knows about them. If a second company implements something which was previously a trade secret, then it's not a secret any more is it...:frusty:

Seriously, does anyone thing there's a relevant protection for software beyond copyright? Seriously.

Shane.

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Seriously, does anyone thing there's a relevant protection for software beyond copyright? Seriously.

NI had patented the graphical representation of a while loop... Probably expired now, but still that's one example.

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I will implement this in the next release. :)

Thanks for your inputs!

//Beckman

This statement seems to imply that "Fox_mccloud" is part of the development team of AddQ.

Now, take a look at this GSharp community page on ni.com where Fox_McCloud answers MattiasEricsson:

Jun 9, 2010 6:41 AM (in response to MattiasEricsson) Re: What new features would you like to see in G#? Hello Mattias!

I love the G#-Ide so big up!

I would like to be able to pick a "double nested" in placement structure from the G# function tools palette and place it in a block diagram. The first in placement structure should have a DWR and the second a unbundle.

This would further improve my speed as a programmer as I grow tired of building these nested inplacement structures. grin.gif

Thanks for all your hard work!

Simulating to be your average Joe and answering your own questions to try creating a buzz is not illegal, but that's part of what is called "deceptive marketing strategy", at least where I come from.

Here's some reading to consider. (page 21 is of particular interest).

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I also like, and think its nice, that some LAVA members are rallying-behind and supporting one of their own.

I would agree with that sentiment if you would say something like "Mikael is an active member, he's a friend, he came before, etc., so I'm going to keep using GDS regardless because he deserves it". That's a legitimate stance.

I would also agree if you say "they took advantage of their work at Endevo and that's not something I want to support". That's also legitimate.

I don't agree with that sentiment if it means accusing them of stealing code without having pretty concrete proof. Maybe they did (they say they didn't, and I'm personally inclined to believe that), but I would want some damning proof of it.

Also, just to clarify, since some people seem to have gotten the wrong idea from my bolded text - I'm not upset or angry. I just wanted to clearly get my general point of not rushing to judge people without having enough info. This applies in many places in life. Here endeth the lesson, children.

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I doubt anyone can protect the public interface of an API as proprietary, but those are legal questions and way out of my experience or comfort zone. I'm not a lawyer and I don't even play one on TV. There is presumably some degree to which you can say "hey, they can't copy our API. People might think it's our product" or something along those lines, but I don't know where that line is.

I think you are right in the first part "you can't protect an API" and wrong about the second "there is some degree to which you can [protect an API]". Unless you agreed to a license forbidding you to reverse engineer a product, I don't see how you can be prevented from doing so. I googled a little and found this discussion vaguely helpful. http://stackoverflow...ch-of-copyright (no real lawyers there either). Interesting point that the DMCA legislation may make otherwise reasonable activities into illegal ones.

I can say that there are valid technical reasons for using similar connector panes and I doubt this even has any serious ethical issues. Unless you explicitly sign a contract preventing you from working in the same field, there is nothing preventing you from building a similar product (although personally I probably would have an ethical problem with that and I doubt I would do it), and there's no logic in starting completely from scratch. You as a developer already have some knowledge and habits, the users already come to expect certain things, etc. So far I haven't seen any clear indication that AddQ has done some something wrong (except for deleting the posts and pulling out, which is a PR suicide), yet people seem to decide that they have, despite explicit denials. I REALLY dislike such judgement.

I have no idea what the technical merits of AddQ's framework are either. I asked for a demo video, but the thread kind of exploded after that, so I never got my wish.

I don't think it's unethical to start a business competing with your former employer. Many, many great businesses started that way (Intel comes to mind). Many business owners underestimate the contributions of key employees or treat them unethically. Sometimes key employees underestimate the value of an organization, and leave when they would be better of having stayed. The free market is able to sort that out most of the time, dividing businesses into winners and losers. But if you're a key employee planning to break away, you ought to be scrupulous about not copying (stealing) IP and about avoiding any appearance of copying. I would say that someone's failure to do one of those has given this LAVA thread a longer life. Is that judgmental?

And sorry about exploding the thread. I'm not trying to take any sides in this, since I don't know either of the parties personally nor do I have any financial stake in their arrangement. I was adding my opinions because there are some misconceptions going around and I thought there was some value in clearing them up, to the extent that I am able, since I am not a lawyer (did I already mention that?). However I have had plenty of dealings IP, which any lawyer or wikipedia will tell you includes copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets, so I am contributing what I do know.

If I read some of the posts correctly, there was an idea that software copyrights would only apply to a LabVIEW diagram, or that only the diagram or an xcontrol could contain protectable "code", and that the look and feel of the panels, even though they were just subvi panels, might not be protected by a copyright. I don't think you could convince a judge about any of that, so I posted. I hope I haven't irritated or bored too many people.

Trade secrets in software? Like algorithms? Sure you can protect HOW to get an end result but not the end result itself (falling back to copyright).;)

If you don't get other protection for an algorithm (like CSS) then anyone can implement a version as long as they don't copy your code.:oops:

And trade secrets are, by their very nature, only valid when nobody knows about them. If a second company implements something which was previously a trade secret, then it's not a secret any more is it...:frusty:

Seriously, does anyone thing there's a relevant protection for software beyond copyright? Seriously.

Trade secrets are absolutely IP, but I would agree that they are a terrible way to protect software. Protecting your software with trade secrets is basically assuming that none of the other 15 million programmers on the planet is as smart as you are. Even worse, if you turn out to be wrong, then they can protect the IP with patents and copyrighs, and then your trade secret is worth nothing. (That's what Shane is getting at, and he's totally correct).

There is plenty of place in the world for protection beyond copyright, namely patents. Many software people rail against them, but they are recognized under the law, so you pretend they don't exist at your own peril.

CSS is a great example. In addition to whatever copyright and patent protection they had claimed, they got Congress to write them a brand new law to prohibit formerly legal methods of imitating (reverse engineering) their product.

NI had patented the graphical representation of a while loop... Probably expired now, but still that's one example.

Absolutely. NI's copyrights say you can't make software that looks like LabVIEW, and the patents say you can't make a software that acts like LabVIEW. Both methods of IP protection have served them well, which is my opinion as an extremely minor shareholder.

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If I read some of the posts correctly, there was an idea that software copyrights would only apply to a LabVIEW diagram, or that only the diagram or an xcontrol could contain protectable "code", and that the look and feel of the panels, even though they were just subvi panels, might not be protected by a copyright. I don't think you could convince a judge about any of that, so I posted. I hope I haven't irritated or bored too many people.

You read correctly and I expressed myself too poorly (or rather, in too few words).

I agree that an arrangement of terminals to create a certain result can be copyrighted, and stated XControls as a good example of that because by using them you almost always create a unique feature from an assortment of basic units. It was however by no means a way to say that front panels were not protectable. But I felt that calling a terminal "error in" and putting it at the same place as competition is not protectable per se.

And bored people can decide not to read this thread... It will die of its own when the fuel or oxydizing agent is exhausted. wink.gif

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that's part of what is called "deceptive marketing strategy", at least where I come from.

Nearly all marketing is deceptive to some extent. Take your average beer commercial on tv. When was the last time you walked into a bar and had supermodels flock to you because you ordered a Bud Light? Marketing isn't about truth--it's about persuading people to use your product. (Which is why I failed miserably at the one sales job I had. Our service was inferior to the competition and I was too tied to the truth.)

When releasing new products marketing needs to get the word out to potential customers. They need to explain what the product is and how it can help the customer achieve their goal. Posting a fake question can be embarrassing if caught, but as you pointed out it's not illegal. I'd even hesitate to call it unethical. It's simply another way to get the message out to the people. (Personally I think a FAQ might have been more appropriate for the target audience.)

If they created multiple fake identities and spammed glowing "user" reviews across the forums, then yeah, I'd consider that unethical.

I just wanted to clearly get my general point of not rushing to judge people without having enough info. This applies in many places in life.

QFT. :thumbup1:

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That seems to indicate a lot more clearly that AddQ did directly copy (manually or using an automated tool) at least parts of the API. Is this a static subVI or is it generated from a template? Also, does this sort of thing appear a lot in the code (i.e. are there other places where you use the modified cluster and they use the normal one or vice-versa)?

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Hi Mikael,

if Symbio could show that one of its password-protected VI has been copied, even partially, it would lift any remaining doubt that some might still have.

(Not that I'm one of them)

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Hi Mikael,

if Symbio could show that one of its password-protected VI has been copied, even partially, it would lift any remaining doubt that some might still have.

(Not that I'm one of them)

Maybe Symbio could send the GDS and AddQ vi's that are in question to an independant 3rd party. Once the 3rd party has recieved the vi's Symbio could provide the passwords to their Vi's and AddQ can provide the passwords to theirs. The independant party can then provide a report on the level of similarity.

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... AddQ can provide the passwords to theirs.

If it's truely open-source, then the password should be given to all developers by AddQ. Has anyone found the password in the released documentation?

Somehow, I doubt that AddQ will release it with the current discussion. But I hope I can be proven wrong.

Password protection to prevent changing the kernel inadvertantly is ok, but I wouldn't call it open source if the password is not public. Or am I completely wrong about what's open source, and what's not?

I hope for them that they at least changed the Endevo passwords... ph34r.gif

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but I wouldn't call it open source if the password is not public.

Who said it was OS? I don't remember seeing such a claim.

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From AddQ's HP, (G# Online Manual):

G# - [..] This code is open source code per the terms of BSD-license.

G# Debugger – [..] This code is open source code per the terms of BSD-license.

G# IDE (Integrated Development Environment) - [..] The IDE is not open source and copyright by AddQ Consulting. [..]

Felix

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