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View Full Version : OT - Clever Marketing? Rigol Oscilloscope "hack" turns $400 tool into $1000+ tool



superUnknown
11-12-2014, 12:15 PM
I'm wondering if you guys think this is a leaked hack and a very wily ploy to sell a lot more product, or if it's a legitimate black-market hack?

Background: Rigol, a Chinese instrument maker, has been making good quality scopes for dirt cheap. They are super easy to hack, so you can unlock all the bells and whistles for free.
They are an excellent value, and well built. Is this another form of dumping to kill the competition?


http://youtu.be/nXehxmJxrI8

macona
11-12-2014, 12:30 PM
Previous rigols have been similar. Yes, you can make it run faster. BUT! The front ends on the signal inputs are not the same between the scopes. There are hardware differences. Just because you can enable it in firmeare does not mean the hardware will match the spec. Heck, my old Tek TDS340 is only rated for 100mhz but I can see signal waveforms faster than that, it just means your accuracy goes to hell.

superUnknown
11-12-2014, 12:54 PM
Previous rigols have been similar. Yes, you can make it run faster. BUT! The front ends on the signal inputs are not the same between the scopes. There are hardware differences. Just because you can enable it in firmeare does not mean the hardware will match the spec. Heck, my old Tek TDS340 is only rated for 100mhz but I can see signal waveforms faster than that, it just means your accuracy goes to hell.

Not sure if the front end is different or not, but you also get SPI, I2C, RS232 decoding, extended memory depth. It seams to good to be true.

macona
11-12-2014, 01:38 PM
Well, it is just cheaper for them to make the same basic scope and just change a few parts in the front end, technically what they are doing is unlawful.

superUnknown
11-12-2014, 01:44 PM
sorry, just to clarify. The hack is unlawful? or the selling the same scope with locked out features is unlawful? In either case why is it unlawful? Not trolling, just interested to get your opinion.

The Doctor
11-12-2014, 02:00 PM
The Hack would be unlawful. If you watch the video, you will see the you enter your serial number, and it gives you a code to unlock the features. This is exactly the same thing you are doing if you buy a trial version of, for example, Adobe Photoshop and then register it with a key generator. You are getting features you do not pay for.


As to the manufacturer, they are doing nothing legally wrong. If they choose to, they can produce a scope with 10 GHz bandwidth and 100 channels and sell it in a form where you can only use one channel, and only 10 MHz of bandwidth. It would be a terribly stupid thing to do, as they would never recover their development costs, but it would not be illegal. But if they do sell an underspeced product, they are always free to offer you upgrades to a higher level of performance for a fee.


That said, I have two views on this. First is that I doubt the hacked scope is truly up to the spec of the higher model. I would expect accuracy to drop at the higher end of the frequency spectrum, but that does not mean that the hack is useless. I use many analog scopes well past their rating when I just wanted to see what a waveform looked like, not necessarily get an accurate measurement.


The other point is, it is Chinese. They are the masters of hacking, and care nothing about the intellectual property of others. If I had one of these scopes, I would apply the hack without a second thought.

Forrest Addy
11-12-2014, 02:07 PM
Theft. The same something for nothing mindset used to justify hacking a free upgrade to an oscillocope motivated the theives and conquers of history as they plundered whole civilizations: "Hey, if I don't do it someone else will."

Who ever or whatever the Chinese may or may not have hacked, the other guy's bad begavior does not justify your own.

superUnknown
11-12-2014, 02:33 PM
Theft. The same something for nothing mindset used to justify hacking a free upgrade to an oscillocope motivated the theives and conquers of history as they plundered whole civilizations: "Hey, if I don't do it someone else will."

Who ever or whatever the Chinese may or may not have hacked, the other guy's bad begavior does not justify your own.


You are morally correct, but in practice... pretty tough not to put in a simple set of numbers and get 3 times the features. Is hacking simple thievery in another form? Is it outsmarting the mega-corp to ones own benefit? Shades of grey?

I saw a chance to upgrade my tool. Is putting a pipe on the end of a ratchet instead of buying a bigger ratchet stealing?
I think Rigol has benefited by leaking simple hacks.

MrSleepy
11-12-2014, 02:39 PM
Some time ago I was looking for a decent.. yet relatively inexpensive portable USB logic analyzer.

http://www.zeroplus.com.tw/logic-analyzer_en/products.php?pdn=3&pdnex=list

I eventually bought a Zeroplus LapC 16128 above (made in Taiwan) , mainly because of the quality of the software , and the 30 odd protocol analysers that came in the deal.(which are fantastic btw)

http://www.zeroplus.com.tw/logic-analyzer_en/products.php?pdn=10&pdnex=list


It seems that all the models use the same board (partly stuffed for 16 channel versions) and asic.... the hacker fratenity have been able to buy the cheapest version ,and by swapping memory chips,and using keygens to register protocols etc..they have converted them into the most expensive versions.

I assume that the numbers are small...which is why Zeroplus continue to use the same cost effective start point for the models... And the same will be true for Rigol.



Rob

lwalker
11-12-2014, 05:12 PM
You are morally correct, but in practice... pretty tough not to put in a simple set of numbers and get 3 times the features. Is hacking simple thievery in another form? Is it outsmarting the mega-corp to ones own benefit? Shades of grey?

I saw a chance to upgrade my tool. Is putting a pipe on the end of a ratchet instead of buying a bigger ratchet stealing?
I think Rigol has benefited by leaking simple hacks.

I read a few years ago that Rigol was the supplier of Agilent's (aka hp) lower end scopes and by purchasing a Rigol you were getting the same device but at a lower cost since it didn't have the Agilent badge.

I find it hard to justify the "stealing" comment. I used to work for a manufacturer that did the same thing: it was cheaper to make all our machines with the same hardware and enable a particular feature at a customer site by a Field Service technician entering a special code than it would have been to install the extra hardware in the field. Of course the customer had to pay for the upgrade! I see this as the same thing.

I like to believe that if I buy something, it's mine to do with as I please.

On the other hand, as a software developer I understand the frustration of releasing a free preview version of software and having someone who might otherwise have been a paying customer "cracking" it to get the full version for free.

Yeah, it's far from black and white.

Leadfootin
11-12-2014, 07:58 PM
eevblog.com has been covering this for some time. Apparently the hack works reasonably well within certain limits, all the features available is probably more useful though. The scope certainly performs well for a 50 mhz but certain types of waveforms create a user beware situation as with all digital scopes. Non-repetitive fast waveforms will not always give the expected results and the sampling rate is halved if more than one channel is in use. On the other hand my 70 mhz Rigol (not hacked yet) is very good.

Overall I would buy this scope based on need as an excellent deal, perfect for a first time purchase. Just check out the scope school video on eevblog.com for how to get the most out of your scope.

As far as hacking goes, to each his own and I suspect the vast majority never get hacked even though it is a simple firmware code entry to do so.

Forestgnome
11-12-2014, 08:38 PM
I read a few years ago that Rigol was the supplier of Agilent's (aka hp) lower end scopes and by purchasing a Rigol you were getting the same device but at a lower cost since it didn't have the Agilent badge.

I find it hard to justify the "stealing" comment. I used to work for a manufacturer that did the same thing: it was cheaper to make all our machines with the same hardware and enable a particular feature at a customer site by a Field Service technician entering a special code than it would have been to install the extra hardware in the field. Of course the customer had to pay for the upgrade! I see this as the same thing.

I like to believe that if I buy something, it's mine to do with as I please.

On the other hand, as a software developer I understand the frustration of releasing a free preview version of software and having someone who might otherwise have been a paying customer "cracking" it to get the full version for free.

Yeah, it's far from black and white.
I work at Keysight (used to be Agilent), and I'm pretty sure that if our company found out someone was enabling licensed options without buying them litigation would ensue. Especially if the hacker was associated with a business entity. We have pretty tight controls on license key generation.

lwalker
11-12-2014, 08:53 PM
I work at Keysight (used to be Agilent), and I'm pretty sure that if our company found out someone was enabling licensed options without buying them litigation would ensue. Especially if the hacker was associated with a business entity. We have pretty tight controls on license key generation.


Does that mean they're going after eevblog?

adatesman
11-12-2014, 09:37 PM
I work at Keysight (used to be Agilent), and I'm pretty sure that if our company found out someone was enabling licensed options without buying them litigation would ensue. Especially if the hacker was associated with a business entity. We have pretty tight controls on license key generation.

Not sure what has to do with non-Agilent/Keysight hardware, but good to know.

superUnknown
11-12-2014, 11:17 PM
I work at Keysight (used to be Agilent), and I'm pretty sure that if our company found out someone was enabling licensed options without buying them litigation would ensue. Especially if the hacker was associated with a business entity. We have pretty tight controls on license key generation.

Hey do you get deals on old gear or new DMMs? :D

danlb
11-13-2014, 02:05 AM
I wonder about the legal enforceability of such "locked" features.

When I buy software, I agree to the license via the "shrink wrap" agreement. By using the software I agree to the terms. I always thought that was hoaky, but the courts allow it.

When I buy an oscilloscope, a car or a hammer, am I also agreeing to some software agreement if I use the tool that I buy? Maybe not.

Case in point; I bought a TiVo digital recorder. TiVo wants you to agree to use their service, and asks you to agree to their terms if you do. I never signed up for their service, so I never agreed to their terms of use. I created my own TV listings source (legally obtained) and hacked the device to use it. On the one hand, I was not complying with their license. On the other hand, I never agreed to it and never used their software as they defined it. Was that stealing? Nope. I paid for the hardware and the application that was running on it.

So if Rigol does not have legal language that prohibits you from inputting a code to enable features, it's not illegal.

Dan
P.S. personally, I feel that if they don't want people to hack it, they should not include all the software with all the features on all the units.

macona
11-13-2014, 02:28 AM
I am pretty sure the serial generator violates the DCMA.

J Tiers
11-13-2014, 08:36 AM
I am pretty sure the serial generator violates the DCMA.

Everything violates the DCMA.

New laws are designed to make you a criminal. (Old laws were designed to maintain reasonable societal behavior). They are ignored until you are wanted for some reason, then there is nearly always a way to find you guilty of something. Have you not yet figured that out?

The Doctor
11-13-2014, 12:56 PM
I am pretty sure the serial generator violates the DCMA.

Well, it's actually called the DMCA, which stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And that is an American law, only applies to Americans. If you are living in some other country, that law doesn't mean jack ****.

ikdor
11-13-2014, 01:07 PM
I work at Keysight (used to be Agilent)
Just out of curiosity, why does your company change their name every ten years? It seems quite a waste to let go of such a valuable name each time. Like Coca Cola changing their name to something nobody knows.

Igor

Paul Alciatore
11-13-2014, 01:40 PM
Yea, I was just getting used to Aglient.



Just out of curiosity, why does your company change their name every ten years? It seems quite a waste to let go of such a valuable name each time. Like Coca Cola changing their name to something nobody knows.

Igor

Forestgnome
11-14-2014, 12:51 AM
Just out of curiosity, why does your company change their name every ten years? It seems quite a waste to let go of such a valuable name each time. Like Coca Cola changing their name to something nobody knows.

Igor

How do you think I feel? I keep stumbling whenever I answer the phone. Unfortunately the test and measurement business is the "cash cow" that keeps building businesses that end up spinning us off. And we never get to keep the name. Fortunately our long-time customers still remember us as the old HP.

boslab
11-14-2014, 01:18 AM
Plus the rebranding costs millions, I saw 4000000 spent on changing a logo, that was for the artwork!
And it was the worst orange colour (corus) I had ever seen, turned out that it was the same colour as the Dutch football team!
If you buy an oscilloscope for example, it's yours to do with as you like, hack it shoot it with a 12 gauge, take it to bed, if there are features in it that you can unlock, well if the manufacturer is stupid enough to even differentiate between models with a bit of software that's their problem, to be honest I think half the chips in stuff these days have bloody countdown registers to decide when the chip fails, very few out there could even find them if there were!
Mark

JRouche
11-14-2014, 01:35 AM
How do you think I feel? I keep stumbling whenever I answer the phone. Unfortunately the test and measurement business is the "cash cow" that keeps building businesses that end up spinning us off. And we never get to keep the name. Fortunately our long-time customers still remember us as the old HP.

Hahaha.. I get it. I still see it all as HP, even though its a diff name. I have some nice stuff from HP, labeled Agilent. Really nice test equipment. I still think HP when I use it. JR

Leadfootin
11-14-2014, 07:46 AM
The old HP test equipment is considered collectors items. They are collected on the service benches of so many experienced techs!

Rigol has indeed made a very good scope in the 1054Z a real bargain not considering hacking. Four channel scopes were out of most shops price range up to a few years ago. The ability to show extra channels can make trouble shooting so much easier at times.

J Tiers
11-14-2014, 08:20 AM
HP never made a really decent 'scope..... Tek always did. Now, neither one apparently makes much in the way of 'scopes, they mostly pay the chinese to do it for them.

That said, I like the Tek THS 730 and 720. Don't have one, do want one. The best feature is the isolated inputs, good to at least 1200 or so volts.

Does this Rigol item have isolated inputs?

Forestgnome
11-14-2014, 02:58 PM
HP never made a really decent 'scope..... Tek always did. Now, neither one apparently makes much in the way of 'scopes, they mostly pay the chinese to do it for them.

That said, I like the Tek THS 730 and 720. Don't have one, do want one. The best feature is the isolated inputs, good to at least 1200 or so volts.

Does this Rigol item have isolated inputs?

You're saying we don't make a decent scope, or you can't afford to buy the best?

http://www.keysight.com/en/pc-2094872/infiniium-90000-q-series-oscilloscopes?nid=-33202.0&cc=US&lc=eng

JRouche
11-14-2014, 03:05 PM
You're saying we don't make a decent scope, or you can't afford to buy the best?

LOL!!! How much is that beast... Look impressive from the specs. JR

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x461/_GLE_/HSM/beast_zpscfbd3fa4.jpeg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/_GLE_/media/HSM/beast_zpscfbd3fa4.jpeg.html)

JRouche
11-14-2014, 03:17 PM
I dont have an HP scope, mine is an old Tek. Works for me. I do have some cool old HP stuff. Again, VERY OLD, but good enough for my enjoyment. JR

HP 8640b sig gen.
HP 6626a DC power supply. VERY COOL.
HP 5345a counter.

Forestgnome
11-14-2014, 03:21 PM
LOL!!! How much is that beast... Look impressive from the specs. JR

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x461/_GLE_/HSM/beast_zpscfbd3fa4.jpeg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/_GLE_/media/HSM/beast_zpscfbd3fa4.jpeg.html)

I'd say about the price of a good-sized house. I seem to remember hearing that fully-optioned it would be around $400k. Here's the scope that's supposed to be on my bench this next year: http://www.keysight.com/en/pd-1632320-pn-MSO9104A/oscilloscope-1-ghz-4-analog-plus-16-digital-channels?cc=US&lc=eng

We really sell quite a large range of scopes. Being all digital, sample rate and memory depth costs $$$. Not like the analog days. The scope I'm replacing is an old 1980B. It's amazing how much you have to spend on a digital scope to get the appearance of the resolution of an analog scope. I look at swept detected RF signals a lot, and I like to see very fine details that indicate parasitic oscillations, so I need the resolution. That's why I've kept my analog scope so long.

The Doctor
11-14-2014, 03:28 PM
LOL!!! How much is that beast... Look impressive from the specs. JR

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x461/_GLE_/HSM/beast_zpscfbd3fa4.jpeg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/_GLE_/media/HSM/beast_zpscfbd3fa4.jpeg.html)

Don't ask how much, just ask how many digits :) 20 to 63 GHz bandwidth in a digital storage scope? Up to 160 GSa/s sample rate?And I can see that it's four channels as well. I can't believe that even exists, but if it does, I'm guessing at least a few $100K. What about probes? What type of devices do they use to achieve that performance? Can I get a hack to open it up to 200Ghz and enable all the features? That would make the sale :D

JRouche
11-14-2014, 04:06 PM
Don't ask how much, just ask how many digits :) 20 to 63 GHz bandwidth in a digital storage scope?

Right! I saw that also. 62gig!!! What band is that even part of. Our radar only operated around the 10ghz range... JR

mike4
11-14-2014, 06:06 PM
If someone purchases a product , it is theirs to with as they please , not for any manufacturer to dictate how or what the product is used for or what features are enabled.

The attitude displayed by a lot of companies often decides if their equipment is purchased or used.

I once bought a high end DMM and when I wanted some features unlocked i was told that I would have to pay a yearly fee , which over the life of the instrument would have almost tripled the initial purchase cost.
It was sent back to them in a plastic bag after I had driven over it with a dozer and made sure it was destroyed with a note of what they could do with it on arrival . Along with a request for a full refund as their product was unfit for use as advertised.

I dont take too kindly to any dictating business , particularly suppliers of what i regard as consumable tools.

Michael

J Tiers
11-14-2014, 08:55 PM
You're saying we don't make a decent scope, or you can't afford to buy the best?


I have universally detested the triggering on every HP 'scope I have ever used. Including digital ones. For some reason, Tek has always had the best trigger options.

lakeside53
11-14-2014, 09:34 PM
I once bought a high end DMM and when I wanted some features unlocked i was told that I would have to pay a yearly fee , which over the life of the instrument would have almost tripled the initial purchase cost.
It was sent back to them in a plastic bag after I had driven over it with a dozer and made sure it was destroyed with a note of what they could do with it on arrival . Along with a request for a full refund as their product was unfit for use as advertised.



Michael

Not sure I see the issue. If you bought the DVM with none of the feature you hadn't paid for, then you could have paid for the extras you wanted and installed new software or firmware updates. They just made it easy for you.

mike4
11-15-2014, 04:22 AM
The unlock code should be supplied with the instrument to the original purchaser , so if at any time while you have that in your possession , functions can be unlocked or removed .

The debate over whether it is legal to hack into a device and enable functions to me is totally meaninless.

If I purchase a device I expect to be able to tailor it to my requirements without any any further input from the maker or supplier , or any further payments from myself.

To me that is the same as purchasing a vehicle and then paying for the keys to enter it and start the motor.
I only made the mistake of purchasing that type of device once, as all that I have now are fully optioned and ready to use out of the box.

If there are any so called upgrades , then I simply send the old unit back , and ask for the later model and access codes.

No issues with the current suppliers.

Mihael

J Tiers
11-15-2014, 09:33 AM
There is no inherent "right" to get every feature the machine is capable of.... There is a significant cost to adding features. Even software features cost a significant amount, despite the fact you cannot "see" the software itself the way you can see a physical feature.. So if you pay for one level, there is a legitimate fee for getting the optional features.

Mike, what you are asking for is essentially like buying a computer, and then trying to assert a 'right" to every program that is capable of running on the computer.

There seems to be a sense of entitlement present in all your posts. And that is puzzling, since you seem to be a hard working type. What if your customers all thought they were "entitled" to free work from you in the future just because they each had paid you for one job? It's nearly the same thing as what you seem to assume.

If you buy a car, a basic model, would you assume you would receive the fully loaded all-option model? It seems so.

It strikes me that if you think that, you must be having a rather interesting life.............


All that said, the chinese, as a group, seem to refuse to play by the rules. That being the case, I can definitely understand the attitude of doing unto them as they have already done unto others. And in this case, the company seems even to encourage the behavior.....

AD5MB
11-15-2014, 11:11 AM
even if you have 0.000 interest in business, you should read http://www.sherline.com/business.htm

in particular:

Manufacturing Overseas

A quick way to get screwed in this world is having your product manufactured in third world countries. The first thing you should realize about third world countries is that they have very intelligent dedicated workers and managers but what they lack is the capital to carry out their own plans. Giving them the capital to develop your product could be an error. The moment you can’t buy all they are capable of producing, you’ll find yourself competing with a product that is very similar to yours. Under their name they will look for new markets for your products. Look what happened to the U.S. manufactures of outboard motors. American manufactures now have to compete with several Asian manufactures. This would have been inevitable, but I’m sure the process was accelerated when American companies had their “low-end” models built in Asia.

we play by our rules, they play by their rules, they invoke our rules when it benefits them.

superUnknown
11-15-2014, 01:39 PM
even if you have 0.000 interest in business, you should read http://www.sherline.com/business.htm

in particular:

Manufacturing Overseas

A quick way to get screwed in this world is having your product manufactured in third world countries. The first thing you should realize about third world countries is that they have very intelligent dedicated workers and managers but what they lack is the capital to carry out their own plans. Giving them the capital to develop your product could be an error. The moment you can’t buy all they are capable of producing, you’ll find yourself competing with a product that is very similar to yours. Under their name they will look for new markets for your products. Look what happened to the U.S. manufactures of outboard motors. American manufactures now have to compete with several Asian manufactures. This would have been inevitable, but I’m sure the process was accelerated when American companies had their “low-end” models built in Asia.

we play by our rules, they play by their rules, they invoke our rules when it benefits them.

Hahaha, Heineken beer learned that the hard way 150 years ago! Tsin Dao anyone?

mike4
11-15-2014, 05:50 PM
There is no inherent "right" to get every feature the machine is capable of.... There is a significant cost to adding features. Even software features cost a significant amount, despite the fact you cannot "see" the software itself the way you can see a physical feature.. So if you pay for one level, there is a legitimate fee for getting the optional features.

Mike, what you are asking for is essentially like buying a computer, and then trying to assert a 'right" to every program that is capable of running on the computer.

There seems to be a sense of entitlement present in all your posts. And that is puzzling, since you seem to be a hard working type. What if your customers all thought they were "entitled" to free work from you in the future just because they each had paid you for one job? It's nearly the same thing as what you seem to assume.

If you buy a car, a basic model, would you assume you would receive the fully loaded all-option model? It seems so.

It strikes me that if you think that, you must be having a rather interesting life.............


All that said, the chinese, as a group, seem to refuse to play by the rules. That being the case, I can definitely understand the attitude of doing unto them as they have already done unto others. And in this case, the company seems even to encourage the behavior.....

When I buy something , I specify what I want that product to be capable of , not as many here assume , I dont buy a base model expecting full features , in fact I often ask for some things to be removed before delivery , eg cup holders , ash trays , ask for other things to be fitted like removable GPS units , two way radios ,under body tool boxes , full screening on radiators to help prevent blockage of fins .

And many sales people dont want to do that , therefore they loose a sale , or their service people never see the vehicle again.

Same for a pc , what use is a box of electronic components that does nothing , for it to be useful it must come with the specified and required programs loaded and fully operational or again no sale.

I cannot see why I should have to give every detail of how I specify my equipment to anyone other than prospective suppliers .

I am someone who thinks on their feet an does so on a daily basis , and NO CUSTOMER ever expects something to be done for free as they all know what they will be told.

I also am capable of filling in the blanks when a customer asks for a shaft to be make for their loaders water pump , no whining about it I just find the appropriate material , make the shaft to dimensions taken from the pump and old shaft , fit bearings and seals order a new gasket kit and send the finished pump back or go to site and fit the thing , them drive the machine for an hour or so to fully test the repair if necessary.

Michael

J Tiers
11-15-2014, 06:22 PM
When I buy something , I specify what I want that product to be capable of , not as many here assume , I dont buy a base model expecting full features , in fact I often ask for some things to be removed before delivery ,

But you expected the meter to have all the advanced features without paying the extra dunnage for them.....

Dude, I think you are busted.... your act has been described.

mike4
11-16-2014, 02:56 AM
Why should I have to pay for features in any machine or tool , meter just because some sleaze wants to drag more money out of me for something that is available but "locked out " in software?

That is what should be made unlawful, not someone releasing a way to allow owners to utilize the equipment to its full capacity .
That would also cut down on the plethora of half arsed models being pushed onto unsuspecting customers.

I have another example , I purchased a vehicle , a warning light came on way out in a remote area , managed to get to a phone called the dealer who was as useless as tits on a bull , the service department could only say " bring it in and we will examine the problem ".

I found a code reader with error clearing ability which pointed me in the direction of fuel and some more detail was also provided by a more knowledgable and considerate service person , it turned out to be low primary fuel pressure caused by a partially blocked fuel filter , cleared the code after replacing a filter and also fitted a primary filter prior to the main filter , no more problems .

If the first so called service person had alluded to the fact that I may have picked up some dirty fuel all would have been ok.
But their attitude of customers dont know anything and we will make more money by not giving out any information is what makes me mad, same for people who want to charge for locked features.

They would sell more devices and have more happy customers if they provided an unlock code for anyone who wanted to use it .

I purchased the original meter with the belief that all features were available , not at some ridiculous extra charge for a nine digit code and and A4 page of instructions.

Squark on about the moral or legal BS as much as you like , to me when I buy something it and its contents are mine to change as I see fit with all instructions and necessary codes provided, I do not hold any manufacturer or supplier liable for any damage to the product or me ,as what happens after it leaves their premises and enters my shop is something that is way beyond their control .

The original DMM was at the time a decent top of the range Tectronix , but as the supplier found I dont take too kindly to someone wanting to charge for something that is already fitted , just deactivated .

It was not a pretty sight after a D6 had passed over it on a concrete floor.

I would do the same again only now its demise would be posted on Utube for all to see.

macona
11-16-2014, 04:10 AM
Then you should probably never buy a CNC machine, virtually all the controls I have worked on have their optional features locked behind a password of some sort. You want the feature and they will send you a code specific to your machine or send a guy out to enable it.

Same thing with a lot of higher end software like PCB design software. You want more than 1000 pins, autorouter, etc, they have a code they will send you for it.

You dont own the software inside your device.

mike4
11-16-2014, 05:00 AM
macona, That is precisely my beef with a lot of the equipment which is marketed by many companies.

As I have said when I purchase any tool or machine it is my property to do with as I please , add or remove features ,change attachments so that i have something that suits my specific requirements .

But if that equipment is purchased from a European or US and some Asian based businesses it is nothing but a financial cash cow for the maker or supplier.
Which is something that everyone knows I do not agree with , but if a supplier will include the unlock codes so tailor their equipment to my needs then they will get my machine and tool purchases over those who want to charge around $1k or more to unlock some software just so that I am bound to their system.
The current methods employed by many software suppliers are not conducive to purchases by people like myself , to me software is employed by the suppliers to extort money from customers , if a machine is not supplied as a fully operational system at delivery , then the fireworks starts.

I do realize many here have or do work with some quite sophisticated software and have put quiie a deal of effort and time into either writing or refining programs and whole systems for various markets .

However to me a program that is supplied with a machine should be able to have features enabled or disabled by the end user to be able to tailor it to their specific needs.

An example would be an operating system ,many may like icons , others might want text rather than pictures, I prefer to read text , and be able to drop certain features like autofill or memory intensive background operations which do not really benefit operations.

I will just keep on working with manual equipment as it is able to be changed at will without paying someone to come along or send a code which is only good for a single use.

Same applies to my tooling if I cant have what I want then I will find some person who is willing to give me full access or other method to get the result which I require.

If that means supporting Chinese or other suppliers whom many here regard as unscrupulous then so be it , computers and other electronic control equipment which requires software is useless without full open software and if the preferred makers wish to continue along their current path I will not be eagerly following them .

Any product can be copied and altered slightly to render most patents useless , which is another way to defeat the inbuilt lockouts .

The attitude of intellectual property is owned by an entity or individual is another area of contention , I believe in if some thing is developed and marketed , anyone should be able to access that and change it at will without any fear of legal or other comebacks.

I like linux over microsoft because of that , so it seems that if I require any software to control a machine then I will need to write it using bits and pieces which already exist and changing them to fit my application.

I could go on with this for quite a while but I am starting to believe that I am just one who does not blindly follow the flock , I prefer to think outside the accepted norms and go my own way .

Yes I do tread on toes but they are not mine so it doesnt hurt , I do ruffle feathers and sometimes will even pull the tail feathers out of turkeys in my travels through life .

There are quite a few people here who can work with the current ways and systems , I am not one of them , if I see a different way to do something which will work and freely benefit others as well as my self then thats acceptable to me to pursue that road.

One really pissed off person

Michael

mike4
11-16-2014, 06:53 AM
macona,
Nothing personal towards you with the previous post , it is something of a pet hate with me as to software and the way that a lot of people regard software as their exclusive property , not my way of thinking at all .

I believe that software is only a part of a machine or tool and as such it should be able to be modified as the purchaser of the equipment sees fit, which obviously many people will verhmently disagree with .

Well let them give plausable reasons other than intellectual property or other so called legal reasons, if I had the time to write a control program for a distance measurement system one of the things that I would do is to make sure that that software was made available for any purchaser of the system to modify .
I dont believe in locking something up and charging for tweaks or similar , I believe in free distribution of software .
That way all users will benefit and can share their changes without an individual or corporation making a huge amount of what I regard as unearned income .

Also if it was able to be modified there would be many versions which would work on many different models of the equipment , no inbuilt obselescence of hardware as is current with a lot of electronics and more people would be able to afford to buy and use the gear, rather than a restricted group.

I believe in encouraging open competition with no restrictive processes as is the current system of people having to buy from a source which is locked and slowly chokes out older versions either by hardware incompatability or changes in the software to make earlier equipment no longer work.

I would prefer to have a minimum lifespan of at least 10 years , then a transition period with the new gradually taking over so that customers can plan and change or stay with the system that they have if it suits their needs.

That would stop the monopolies from choking out smaller operations and then upping the costs as is the way currently . I call it freedom of choice where no one is forced in any way to buy the latest if they dont want to or if the latest is nothing more than some marketing hype , just a cheaper made jazzed up version of the older stuff.

And before everyone jumps in and says what would I do if a customer wanted a change to a previously made part , there is absolutely no correlation between a part and some software program one is a piece of material that has been made to a customers design from a lump of raw material whereas software is lines of code written like a book (to keep it simple) which is then "licenced "for a price with the proviso that it mush be only used in a particular way and not changed in any way .

I will now go back to working on my business in my way on a computer that is running a proprietary operating system over which I only have one control , the format command.

Michael

RandyZ
11-16-2014, 10:45 AM
How is this different than you buying a tool post grinder and then modifying it to suit your needs. Should you be afraid that Dumore is going to come after you for altering their patented design? Not if it is for your personal use and you are not sell modified copies on the open market.

macona
11-16-2014, 04:15 PM
Randy, you are comparing apples to oranges. This is not modifying a scope to work at a higher frequency, a friend did that to a tek scope and it worked. This is more like downloading a free version of a program and using a serial number generator to crack it to full operation.

There is a lot of time and money involved in writing software and it is not a job that "once it is done, it is finished". There are constant bug fixes and other modifications being made.

There really is no inbuilt obsolescence of hardware. I dont know of one hardware engineer, and I know a lot, that design something thinking, ha! they are going to have to buy something new in 5 years when I change this. Heck, most semiconductor manufacturers try to keep pin patterns the same when they move on to a new design if they can.

Yes, apple changed their 30 pin connector to a smaller connector... after 10 years. Thinner phones needed a thinner connector and most of the pins in that connector were no longer used.

Change happens, it does not mean it is planned obsolescence.

Forestgnome
11-16-2014, 07:40 PM
Hard to argue with someone who doesn't believe people have rights to their own ideas. I guess ideas aren't things, so they can't be stolen.

mike4
11-17-2014, 02:29 AM
Hard to argue with someone who doesn't believe people have rights to their own ideas. I guess ideas aren't things, so they can't be stolen.

As I have clearly stated in several posts , the software is only a part of the device or machine , and I am now specifying open source systems from people who are willing to supply to my specifications , the sales manager said that he could not see why anyone would withhold software or updates as without the software the products are just so much scrap material .

Asian manufacturers do not have the same difficult attitude towards my requirements .

I dont have any allegiance to a business who just wants me to pay for something ,that should be a part which can be changed at will by the owner of the equipment anytime .

I make changes to OEM equipment which often result in easier removal for servicing or will last for longer than the plastic bits supplied originally , I dont expect any continuing payment from a customer for these mods either , I just like to see that person return with another problem to solve .

J tiers , my repairs are NOT a rough patchup either , when a customer want a machine fixed the repair is carried out in a way that often exceeds the originals specs , but not very often does someone expect a complete teardown and repaint as time is often against them, that machine cant be out of operation for more than a couple of days and also I dont always know what the part is out of as I will only have an assembly delivered or brought in to the shop.

And I dont enquire either as its not my business what its out of or used for , I just make a part and re-assemble with new seals and bearings/bushes. and call the customer to collect .

Michael

mike4
11-17-2014, 04:05 AM
This is what i have been searching for and I personally like this as I can modify and use as well as distrubute.

The term 'Free and Open Source software'(FOSS) denotes a type of software license that allows the licensee, among others, to continuously use, adapt and distribute a certain piece of software without fearing its discontinuation. The fact that Open Source software cannot be discontinued is probably the most important reason why FOSS is quickly gaining uptake in the machine and automation industry. When you ask the manufacturers of industrial products why they prefer FOSS, you frequently hear responses such as: 'the machine builder needs complete control of his machine... independence from discontinuations..., or 'avoiding vendor lock'. The Open Source Automation Development Lab's manager, Carsten Emde, explains.


Cant do that with any of the proprietary offerings !!!!
Michael

superUnknown
11-17-2014, 12:58 PM
Hard to argue with someone who doesn't believe people have rights to their own ideas. I guess ideas aren't things, so they can't be stolen.

That really is an odd construct of capitalism, no? An idea is property. "You can't use my idea, because it is mine, no stealin'"
Obviously, people need a profit motive in order to think of ideas, otherwise no one would ever bother to develop ideas, right?

Leadfootin
11-17-2014, 01:55 PM
This is a very clever marketing tool as only a few who buy it will see the need for the hacked features. All in all it is a very good piece of kit some current complaints aside. A trigger jitter problem has been noted on a couple websites but watching the videos I will rarely see it and can fairly easily circumvent it. Just knowing it is there makes it easy to avoid.

I own the one step up 1074Z-S 70 mhz version which performs very well. This is in addition to my 100mhz Tektronics scope so it is familiar territory. Far far better than the hand held scope meters which do have their place but generally not on an electronics bench.

MarkK
11-17-2014, 06:23 PM
planned obsolescence is a fact and manufactures collusion is real too

Interesting film "The Light Bulb Conspiracy"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfbbF3oxf-E

danlb
11-17-2014, 08:52 PM
Randy, you are comparing apples to oranges. This is not modifying a scope to work at a higher frequency, a friend did that to a tek scope and it worked. This is more like downloading a free version of a program and using a serial number generator to crack it to full operation.

There is a lot of time and money involved in writing software and it is not a job that "once it is done, it is finished". There are constant bug fixes and other modifications being made.

There really is no inbuilt obsolescence of hardware. I dont know of one hardware engineer, and I know a lot, that design something thinking, ha! they are going to have to buy something new in 5 years when I change this. Heck, most semiconductor manufacturers try to keep pin patterns the same when they move on to a new design if they can.

Yes, apple changed their 30 pin connector to a smaller connector... after 10 years. Thinner phones needed a thinner connector and most of the pins in that connector were no longer used.

Change happens, it does not mean it is planned obsolescence.

How, exactly, is it functionally different if I add a capacitor to a scope to change a feature instead of typing in a code to make that same change? I know one is (possibly) illegal, but if it were not illegal, what would be the difference? If I have a tool grinder with a spot where I can add a jig to do special cutters, is it wrong to make that jig myself, and put it in that spot, thus enabling that feature?

I respect you a lot Macona, but I can think of several counter examples to each of your points.

The job is often finished before the software is properly finished. I have a router that has a flaw and no updates since it was sold. They wrote the software and abandoned it. I have lot's of devices like that, including modern smart phones. Until there is a rule that says that software must be maintained, most of it will be abandoned within 5 years. That's my experience anyway.

It's not always the engineers who design in obsolescence, the management does too. Sometimes deliberate, sometimes just by selling products made as cheaply as possible. I have a car with headlights guaranteed to fog over within 8 years (it's started already at 5 years). $250 each to replace. My 12 year old car had the same problem... That sounds deliberate to me.

Change happens, and sometimes it is planned obsolescence. MS word 95, 98, 2000, 2003 anyone?
Dan

lakeside53
11-17-2014, 09:16 PM
You can still run MS95, 98 or whatever... Just don't expect any updates and you'll need to run it on the obsolete hardware and OS. I have some laptops around with Win98 and Office 2000. They still work fine if I can be bothered to run them (NOT). I ran Office 2000 for a very long time until I was convinced 2003/7/10 was SOOOO much better, then I paid for the updates.

Typing in a code to unlock without paying is simply stealing. That "feature" had a price which you elected not to buy, then and you decide to just swipe it for free.

danlb
11-17-2014, 09:19 PM
Hard to argue with someone who doesn't believe people have rights to their own ideas. I guess ideas aren't things, so they can't be stolen.

There are a lot of people who think that way. If I do too, that does not mean that I'm infringing on their property, does it? :)

Seriously, the patent system was designed so that a person could be rewarded for their effort after they worked on something for a long time. That was in the day when your total market for most products was in the thousands. Real popular items might sell tens or hundreds of thousands of units in the 17 year span that the patent held. Today you can sell to an audience of hundreds of millions, and recoup your investment in months.

Copyright was originated in the 1700's to promote learning. The first one was actually called "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned" and applied only to books. Books were hard to write and hard to produce and distribute. It might take a lifetime to recoup your investment. Extending copyright to music, programs and other IP is a relatively new development. You really don't need a "lifetime + 50 years" copyright to recover your investment on software.

But that brings up the point that I should have started with. Is a license key copyrighted? I say it is not. License keys are simply a copy protection mechanism. Is decoding license keys illegal in the US? Yep. The software business made sure of that. Personally, I hate the licensing systems. I've been bit more than once when the people charged with keeping keys up to date failed in their duty, causing system wide outages. The most insidious was the virtual disk software that continued to run until the computer was rebooted, whereupon you would find all your disks "missing" and no way to boot the system to input the key. The fact that the license was paid up did not matter if the new key was not entered.

Sorry for the rant. Long day.

Dan

dp
11-17-2014, 09:22 PM
There's probably some viable reasons why companies offer switched on features for a fee. One reason is many features appeal only to a few because the features are essential. One feature that appeals to the many is cost. So the Acme O`scope company invents a software scalable system, creates a single channel assembly line, sells the model at a price that appeals to the masses but is still programmatically upgradeable for a price for those with deeper pockets and greater need. It should be assumed there is greater overhead in those added features in the way of support, training, and bug fixes, so this is a cost effective way to create a quality product with broad appeal and which is also profitable.

Intel does this all the time when they build microprocessors. If it won't run and 3gHz try it at 2.5gHz. If it runs, cut the price. No waste, happy customers. What's not to like?

danlb
11-17-2014, 09:38 PM
You can still run MS95, 98 or whatever... Just don't expect any updates and you'll need to run it on the obsolete hardware and OS. I have some laptops around with Win98 and Office 2000. They still work fine if I can be bothered to run them (NOT). I ran Office 2000 for a very long time until I was convinced 2003/7/10 was SOOOO much better, then I paid for the updates.

Typing in a code to unlock without paying is simply stealing. That "feature" had a price which you elected not to buy, then and you decide to just swipe it for free.

Starting around 1995, MS started changing the storage format every few releases. It came out in the European law suit that the changes were deliberate to prevent interoperability and to spur sales of the new product.

If entering a code to use a feature present on your phone is stealing, how about these similar concepts;

1) A street "performer" puts up a sign that says "You owe me $10 for each picture you take." He has never performed anything. Is it stealing if you disregard his wishes and take his picture?

2) Your cable company gets lazy. It makes all of it's premium channels available to every house without a descrambler. That saves them a fortune. They tell you that you are not to look without paying a fee. Is it stealing if you look at a channel that you have not paid for?

3) You have a car with a navigation system that won't let you change your destination while driving (to keep you safe). You learn that you can press all four corners of the screen at once to access a screen that lets you enable changes while the car is moving. Is that stealing?

If the cable company does not want me to watch HBO, they should not beam it into my house. If the o-scope maker does not want me to use parts of their software, they can keep it off my unit. The use of license keys is just their lazy way to sell multiple models without incurring the overhead of stocking and advertising multiple models. Unlike returning a faulty o-scope, it's been my experience that it's almost impossible to get a refund for a license key.

I would say that the occasional use of unauthorized keys by people who are too cheap to buy a more expensive model has zero impact on their business.

Dan

danlb
11-17-2014, 09:41 PM
Intel does this all the time when they build microprocessors. If it won't run and 3gHz try it at 2.5gHz. If it runs, cut the price. No waste, happy customers. What's not to like?

And there is no penalty when you add a better cooler and short the pads that make that 2.5gHz a 3 gHz unit again. Nothing at all wrong with it, legally or morally.

Dan
P.S. Many processors run faster without failure if provided with a better cooling system.

wierdscience
11-17-2014, 10:25 PM
Still another possibility- Let's say company A is exporting product into a foreign country and that country has imposed an import tariff on all products in that category except those which fall below a certain number of features.

Company A decides to build their product to meet the requirements to fall just under the tariff limit so they are able to export them and not pay the tariff.

Now let's say company A's customers find out there is a simple hack so said device suddenly has more features than it was imported with?

Not saying that's the case with the O-scopes,but it has happened elsewhere.

fixerdave
11-17-2014, 11:14 PM
... The term 'Free and Open Source software'(FOSS) denotes a type of software license that allows the licensee, among others, to continuously use, adapt and distribute a certain piece of software without fearing its discontinuation. The fact that Open Source software cannot be discontinued is probably the most important reason why FOSS is quickly gaining uptake in the machine and automation industry...

Yes, and no. I am a strong proponent of open-source software. FOSS is a great ideal, but reality isn't quite as perfect as it would seem. "Feature regression" is actually a fairly common problem. The latest distributed version breaks support for something that used to work well. It happens. It's all well and good to say "you've got the source" and can do whatever you want with it, but you do have to be able to make said wants happen. The truth is that when the latest version drops support for something and if there's no community around what was dropped, it's dropped. Sure, you can use the old system, but it's not getting patched, it's legacy... just like running Win98 for something. No new hardware support, no security patches, just little old you out on your own.

Yes, an automotive company can take control over a particular system and pay programmers to keep it up to date, but that doesn't really mean it's not discontinued. 'Can' is a lot easier than 'will'.

Don't get me wrong, I'll take FOSS over proprietary every chance I can. But, it still has its issues.

Back on topic... I like the distinction between hardware and software for licensing. If you don't agree to terms of service, and you rarely do when buying devices with embedded processors, does a company have any legal right to protect the software? I mean, the last time I bought a router (the network kind), I don't recall seeing any stupid "by opening this envelope you agree to abide by our terms of service" statement. Might have been there, but I don't remember it. Anyway, said router has an embedded and upgradeable operating system in it. So, can I pull it out, disassemble it, rewrite it the way I want, and put it back in? It's software, and most proprietary software says you can't. But, if it's embedded in hardware and there's no activation process that makes you agree to terms of service, are there any terms of service? Maybe the manufacturer only has the "you've voided the warranty by doing this" option. Does it make any legal difference if they put a lock on it? I suppose there's an actual answer out there, probably depends on each country's laws though.

Morally... I can choose to void a warranty on a device if I want. No problem with that, my change and I own the resulting problems. But... embedded software? Take, for example, a car where "tuning" the chips is pretty common these days. Just rewrite a bit of code and the engine can put out substantially more power. There was a Montecarlo SS, if I remember right, a ways back that came stock with a supercharger. Change the chip and the engine produced a few hundred EXTRA horsepower, and burned out pretty quick while doing it. Yes, it voided the warranty. But, they sold a lot of those cars knowing full well people were going to do it. The only moral argument about that is that the car company was skirting the fleet emission standards by doing it that way. But, there was no lock to bypass. What if there was a lock? That makes it a pretty good analogy to the scope.

If you had a car that you could performance tune by rewriting the curves but said rewriting involved breaking a digital lock, would it be immoral to do so? No moral issue without the lock... just doing the digital version of a port and polish. How about that as an analogy... would it be immoral to pull the head off a car and do a port and polish if the manufacturer used a security fastener to lock it down? Would you go "oh, a security fastener, I guess I'm not allowed to do that" or would you break out the drill?

Does that reshape the moral argument to HSM standards? ;)


David...

P.S. Me... I'd break out the drill.

macona
11-17-2014, 11:25 PM
1. No, a person in public has an expectation of privacy and laws are that anything you see in plain view on the street you can photograph for the most part.

2. As long as the signal is not encrypted there is no issue.

3. No, a hidden feature would not be covered.

Oh, I know people using keys won't make a real difference, heck if I had a rigor scope I would probably do it too. Would I feel bad, nope. The fact is that most piracy does not really effect the sales of a product, there have been many studies to back this up. I am just letting people know that is IS unlawful in the US to do this.

lakeside53
11-17-2014, 11:29 PM
I have less of an issue with rewriting or modifying for your own use. At least you bought the first one and didn't steal the extra premium ($$) features :)

Unlocking premium features without buying (or authorization of the owner) or blatant copying/unlocking of non-purchased software is theft. Same with audio, DVDs, cable channels and more in a very long list. And it's slippery slope... one day you are stealing a $1 song download, a $20 DVD, a $75 application/OS program, and next a $10,000+ cadcam package. The value really doesn't matter to the offense, but some justify it that way.

dp
11-17-2014, 11:37 PM
And there is no penalty when you add a better cooler and short the pads that make that 2.5gHz a 3 gHz unit again. Nothing at all wrong with it, legally or morally.

Dan
P.S. Many processors run faster without failure if provided with a better cooling system.

Adding your customizations is not the issue. It is using the vendor's customizations outside the terms of the license agreement that causes problems. I wonder too how many over-clockers burn out a CPU then turn it in for warranty replacement.

The OP's question though is: is the vendor making the software available on the honor system a form of dumping. Just my opinion but I think it is. Dumpers accept that anything you do to prevent a competitor's sale is good for business especially in high markup products. If you can drive some of them out of the industry, so much the better.

fixerdave
11-17-2014, 11:43 PM
I have less of an issue with rewriting or modifying for your own use. ... Unlocking premium features without buying (or authorization of the owner) or blatant copying/unlocking of non-purchased software is theft....

Okay, argument by analogy here...

You are deciding between buying 2 cars. The Pinto economy car or the Pinto SS. From reading magazine articles you know that the only difference is a chrome SS badge and a larger bore on some intake port. You know you can pull off said intake port and make the economy version have the same amazing power that the SS version has. But, the intake port is bolted on with a security fastener.

Is it immoral to buy the economy version, drill out the fastener, and bore out the intake port? Do you see this as modifying your car, which is your right even though it may void the warranty. Or, do you view this as "unlocking premium features without buying" them?

Sorry, I like philosophy and, for some weird reason, I find this interesting...

David...

macona
11-18-2014, 12:09 AM
No, the main difference is IP. There is no real intellectual property involved with a different carb on an engine or removing that screw. Though , like you said, what may happen is with that screw gone you have voided any warranty. Also, if the screw is a proprietary design and you started machining and selling the screwdrivers for them you might be in trouble because they will probably have a patent on that design.

Hardware vs software analogies just do not hold up. They are covered under two different kind of law.

Forestgnome
11-18-2014, 12:45 AM
There's probably some viable reasons why companies offer switched on features for a fee. One reason is many features appeal only to a few because the features are essential. One feature that appeals to the many is cost. So the Acme O`scope company invents a software scalable system, creates a single channel assembly line, sells the model at a price that appeals to the masses but is still programmatically upgradeable for a price for those with deeper pockets and greater need. It should be assumed there is greater overhead in those added features in the way of support, training, and bug fixes, so this is a cost effective way to create a quality product with broad appeal and which is also profitable.

Intel does this all the time when they build microprocessors. If it won't run and 3gHz try it at 2.5gHz. If it runs, cut the price. No waste, happy customers. What's not to like?

Exactly right! If a company like Keysight was selling all of their instruments with the idea that all of the options would be turned on, the base price would be considerably higher than it is now. They would sell fewer instruments, but of course it would chase away the hackers who couldn't afford them.

Forestgnome
11-18-2014, 12:50 AM
Okay, argument by analogy here...

You are deciding between buying 2 cars. The Pinto economy car or the Pinto SS. From reading magazine articles you know that the only difference is a chrome SS badge and a larger bore on some intake port. You know you can pull off said intake port and make the economy version have the same amazing power that the SS version has. But, the intake port is bolted on with a security fastener.

Is it immoral to buy the economy version, drill out the fastener, and bore out the intake port? Do you see this as modifying your car, which is your right even though it may void the warranty. Or, do you view this as "unlocking premium features without buying" them?

Sorry, I like philosophy and, for some weird reason, I find this interesting...

David...

No, it wouldn't be unlocking a premium feature. Same thing as writing your own firmware for the instruments. Someone with skills could do that. A company could certainly write the firmware in such a way that features aren't loaded until the license is purchased, but I suspect that the firmware is less buggy and runs faster if everything is integrated from the start. It improves product quality.

lakeside53
11-18-2014, 12:56 AM
Okay, argument by analogy here...

You are deciding between buying 2 cars. The Pinto economy car or the Pinto SS. From reading magazine articles you know that the only difference is a chrome SS badge and a larger bore on some intake port. You know you can pull off said intake port and make the economy version have the same amazing power that the SS version has. But, the intake port is bolted on with a security fastener.

Is it immoral to buy the economy version, drill out the fastener, and bore out the intake port? Do you see this as modifying your car, which is your right even though it may void the warranty. Or, do you view this as "unlocking premium features without buying" them?

Sorry, I like philosophy and, for some weird reason, I find this interesting...

David...

What Macona said...

fixerdave
11-18-2014, 01:35 AM
... Hardware vs software analogies just do not hold up. They are covered under two different kind of law.

Laws are easier... it just depends on the country you're in. If there's a digital lock you have to defeat and you live in the US, then it's illegal. If you live in a lot of other places, it comes down to terms of service. Terms of service are dependent on what you agreed to when buying or using the product. However, many embedded systems have software but don't have any terms of service.

Legally, the analogy is much the same. Other than the lock, it comes down to terms of service. If, in buying an Economy Pinto, you have to agree to not upgrade it, you are signing on for terms of service. Perhaps drilling out the security bolt is a legal violation in California like the caps on pilot screws. I actually think it's a good analogy for the scope. Even with the scope, it's not really about "stealing" the IP. It's just about buying the lesser model that already has everything in it and then doing a simple published modification to get additional performance/features.

Removing the software from the argument makes it, in my opinion, a little clearer. Software has a lot of baggage right now, what with all the media wars going on. There's too much "copyright is stealing" propaganda. Copyright and stealing are two entirely different kinds of laws yet some groups deliberately try to blur them together. So, I removed software and, with it, all that mess. I think the car intake is a very good analogy to the original scope question. Two (or more) models being sold. Relatively easy hack to upgrade a lower model to a higher set of features. And, a lock.

The question I'm asking is about morals, not laws.

If there is no terms of service (and the scope may very well not have any either) and it's not illegal where you live to bypass security screws or digital locks, is it immoral to deliberately buy the economy model with the intent of upgrading it?

I say no, it is not immoral. It would be immoral to buy the economy model, upgrade it, re-badge it as the higher model, and then try to sell or otherwise pass it off as the high end unit. But, if I bought a unit that had more features/performance in it than the existing configuration supported (they were locked out) then I think it is morally okay to modify it as I see fit, accepting that this would void the warranty. I see it no different than performance tuning an engine. If an engine is engineered (has IP) to produce 200hp but is detuned to produce only 80hp and sold as an economy model, then re-tuning to the best of my abilities is okay.

I will go further and say that if a company wants to maintain IP over a product then they must either establish clear terms of service before purchase/use or not ship the product with the enhanced features. I would view downloading copyrighted firmware that I was not authorized to use and installing it in a device to enable extra features as immoral. But, with no clear agreement to not do so, throwing a switch to enable existing features... That's fair game.

David...

danlb
11-18-2014, 02:24 PM
In the end it seems to become a question of morals vs laws vs rights. Throw in special interests and location and it becomes very murky.

Forestgnome says enabling a feature is theft. If you define theft as an act that prevents an owner from using or owning something, then it does not pass the test.

Someone else (I'm getting too lazy to look up who) said it was a moral issue. That would seem to imply that some harm was being done to Rigol. As the end user, it might cause you to buy a product that you otherwise would not have, so it might be to their advantage. According to the dictionary, immoral acts could also be licentious or lascivious. I don't know anyone who is that excited about enabling features.

Someone else said that you don't have the right to enable features. I have to wonder when we got to the point where the seller of a product had more rights to it than the buyer. I find it hard to say the seller has rights when I can't see what the rights are until after I buy it and put it to use.

Copyright was called out too. If copyright is considered to be a work that is stored in some form (it is), then license keys fail the test. The license key is result of a hash of some secret, some algorithm and some information about your unit. The key is virtually never stored on your device until you put it in.

The legal argument is the only one that unquestionably applies, and only in certain countries. The DMCA makes it illegal to try to get a code to unlock anything. Pretty straightforward. It does not matter how badly the lock or encryption is implemented. It does not matter if you just guess at the key. It's illegal. BTW, In my cable TV analogy, there was US case law that says that a TV broadcast that is not encrypted can be illegal to intercept if the broadcaster says so. Special interests make for interesting laws.

Dan

superUnknown
11-18-2014, 02:54 PM
This is THE best forum on the internet!:cool:

lakeside53
11-18-2014, 05:53 PM
Someone else said that you don't have the right to enable features. I have to wonder when we got to the point where the seller of a product had more rights to it than the buyer. I find it hard to say the seller has rights when I can't see what the rights are until after I buy it and put it to use.

Dan


Forget the county... you don't have the right (legally or morally) if you didn't pay the legitimate seller for the features, or were not given permission to do it "for free". The seller of a product with tiered options makes it easy for you to do that - pay the price and you can unlock. They could instead send you a new piece of code (disk, rom, internet) each time you want a new feature tier (we're not taking bug fixes etc) and make you pay it that way... not so easy for most users, and difficult on some systems.

andywander
11-18-2014, 05:56 PM
If someone purchases a product , it is theirs to with as they please , not for any manufacturer to dictate how or what the product is used for or what features are enabled.

The attitude displayed by a lot of companies often decides if their equipment is purchased or used.

I once bought a high end DMM and when I wanted some features unlocked i was told that I would have to pay a yearly fee , which over the life of the instrument would have almost tripled the initial purchase cost.
It was sent back to them in a plastic bag after I had driven over it with a dozer and made sure it was destroyed with a note of what they could do with it on arrival . Along with a request for a full refund as their product was unfit for use as advertised.

I dont take too kindly to any dictating business , particularly suppliers of what i regard as consumable tools.

Michael

...and I'm sure they promptly issued your refund.....