Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolerated?

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Wuzzy
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Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolerated?

by Wuzzy » Post

Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolerated?
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by rubenwardy » Post

What does "tolerate" and "not-tolerate" mean to you?

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Linuxdirk » Post

rubenwardy wrote:What does "tolerate" and "not-tolerate" mean to you?
For example: Not tolerating ad-infested forks would be not allowing them to parasitize the Minetest infrastructure. But this is something that is endorsed and wholeheartedly welcomed by some of the responsible people.

https://github.com/minetest/master-server/issues/32

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by duane » Post

a fork can simply announce itself as normal Minetest server anyways
I'm sure you read this already, so what's your solution?
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Linuxdirk » Post

duane wrote:… so what's your solution?
There is none. Same with hacked clients: Just ignore that this happens and assume that people be honest.

Don’t use intentionally malicious edge cases as your default for decisions.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by duane » Post

Linuxdirk wrote:Don’t use intentionally malicious edge cases as your default for decisions.
So the developers are supposed to just say, "Bad boy! Don't do that."? If someone is smart enough to link an ad platform into their client, getting past any open-source block would be trivial. Certainly the developers' opinion of these people isn't going to matter to them as much as the money they're making.

Again, what's your solution? Or are you just griping that the world doesn't work the way you want it to.

You just stated that the developers "wholeheartedly welcomed" these bad people, so I think I'm justified in throwing a little hyperbole back at you.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Hume2 » Post

DISCLAIMER: I'm not defending the illegal forks, I'm just taking it realistically.

I agree that these proprietary forks are illegal but I am not going to blame them because I have other things to do. And I guess, the other people here have similar excuses.

All the discussion about these forks are about "what should be done" but what has been actually done so far? How many companies were blamed for violating the lGPL license? I guess, nothing was actually done against them. So this discussion is only about rant. Please, don't follow up this discussion unless you have a serious intention to do something.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by GayJesus » Post

1 seems to be the only option for Android and Apple. Maybe wrong but believe Multicraft dev has contributed to Minetest.
and there's this recent thread
"The Minetest android client sucks!"
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=24171

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Wuzzy » Post

My problem is that Android is full of proprietary forks that quite frankly violate the license but nobody cares.

Players are abused by denying them freedom and subjugating them to ads and forcing them to “pay up”. Some apps also lock down certain features (like privileges) behind a paywall. In-app purchases in Minetest forks are a thing. *puke*
Serving ads nowadays often also means violating the privacy, many ads are implemented in a way that they track users; it wouldn't surprise me if that's the case in the bad forks as well. Minetest is abused as well, as players from ad-infested clients join servers. It sucks if you play online and suddenly you get a screen-filling, non-skippable ad in the middle of a combat or chat. This detoriates experience for ALL players involved, even those on the official clients.
Another problem is that these apps generate money. This means they will have resources to pollute the Internet with even more crap. This is a system that rewards abusive behavior. Abusive behavior should not be rewarded.

My point is, these Android forks are bad for players, yet nobody in the Minetest community, not even the core devs, seem to care. Or at least nobody seems to take it serious enough.

So, I ask again: Why are these proprietary, abusive, ad-infested forks tolerated?

“tolerate” is defined as “doing absolutely nothing about them”.
Last edited by Wuzzy on Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by rubenwardy » Post

Are you willing to spend time and serve DMCAs to take the apps down? You have a share of the copyright of Minetest, so can do that

I did one or two a while back. It's whack-a-mole and time consuming. My time is better spent elsewhere

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Wuzzy » Post

What was the result?
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by duane » Post

Wuzzy wrote:My problem is that Android is full of proprietary forks that quite frankly violate the license but nobody cares.
People do care. I care. I hate it when free software is abused. However, I try to be realistic about this stuff, and no one (including you) has suggested a reasonable solution yet.
Players are abused by denying them freedom and subjugating them to ads and forcing them to “pay up”.
No one has denied you freedom if you walk into a cage and close the door behind you.

I suspect that you're exaggerating the damage this does. I would never run an application with advertising in it under any circumstances. I don't even watch television. However, that's obviously not a problem for most people. My friends and relatives frequently use ad-apps and don't think twice about it.

If someone is really upset about the application, they'll delete it, and if they have half a brain, they'll find a free (as in freedom) alternative. If they don't, I don't feel like baby-sitting them through the process.

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

By the way, if anyone here is motivated by anger at the idea that someone is making money from their software, or the author isn't getting credit for it, you get ZERO sympathy from me. As in tough noogies, suck it up, buttercup. If I give software away, I'm not going to fret much if I never even get a thank you for it. I did it because it was the right thing to do. That should be all the motivation you need.

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

Ok, to try to speed this rehash of a problem (we all already knew about) along, how about I make some actual CONCRETE suggestions. They're not going to please anybody, but at least there might be some reasonable discussion.

Bad idea one:

Spend a lot of time and/or money on legal action, bearing in mind that free software license lawsuits usually fail, since the law doesn't really consider free software to be a thing. Actions that don't target the person behind the software are likely to result in the product being renamed and reposted, so you accomplish nothing. Any volunteers?

Bad idea two:

Change the license to forbid any commercial use. This has been done by other projects, but it doesn't really solve much, just makes a statement. It's difficult to change the license of a big software project, because you (theoretically) have to have the consent of everyone who ever worked on it. Otherwise, people like me, who like the gpl, will object.

I don't like exclusionary licenses on principle -- even if I hate the people being excluded.

A new license still requires big money for lawsuits if you really want any effect out of it.

Bad idea three:

Let everyone in the world know that minetest is free, which also includes explaining to them what minetest is, what freedom is, what software is, and what licenses are... and why they should care, because they generally don't. If you succeed -- and you'll have to do it repeatedly (Ever tried to explain something to a distracted three-year-old? That's the general idea.) -- no one will bother using these evil, nasty mineclone clients. Again, this costs time and/or money.

Do I hear a volunteer? ::crickets chirping::

Silly idea:

Get yourself a therapist and try to calm down a bit.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by FreeGamers » Post

Is the Minetest official client successfully competing against these forks on the marketplaces? Rallying behind it to bump it up in SEO on those platforms might help. Maybe some server side checks to hit non-official clients with a message to use the official client could combat some of the questionable forks. I would use a software module lthat does that.

Ads are pretty nasty these days. They often border on malware, spyware, and half-baked pay-to-win games. Its worse that it a large portion of the user-base of this software is children and young people. But if users want to install and tolerate this stuff, part of that is certainly on them (and their lack of knowledge of the software choices).

If the license isn't going to be enforced, why have a license at all? Can this process be steam-lined? Forms or threads to report abusive software setup then guides on how to send DMCA's to violators. I imagine this problem will continue or amplify without precedent or a policy on that is adhered to.

Personally, for now as a server op all I can do is request that people use the official app by discussing it with them occasionally and linking back to the official project page as a software source. Its not good to take advantage of the good will of others.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Linuxdirk » Post

FreeGamers wrote:Is the Minetest official client successfully competing against these forks on the marketplaces?
I did a quick test by randomly checking a few apps being returned for “minetest” search. In median the downloads range from 500,000 to a few million (some have 10 million and more downloads) for each of the apps. Official Minetest app is at 100,000

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by duane » Post

FreeGamers wrote:Maybe some server side checks to hit non-official clients with a message to use the official client could combat some of the questionable forks.
That works until the fake clients announce themselves as an official client. I can guarantee that there is no technical solution for this issue. Any software solution would have to involve changing the license away from open source, because if the source is available, it's easy to get around. Anyone who can hack the client to include ads can do it.
If the license isn't going to be enforced, why have a license at all?
You have a license because without one your chances of perpetuating the project go from small to none.
Can this process be steam-lined?
This link might help. I've never attempted it myself.

Code: Select all

https://copyrightalliance.org/ca_faq_post/how-do-i-send-a-dmca-notice-to-get-infringing-material-taken-down-from-a-site/
If you run a server, you might put in some information about where to get the official client with warnings against using any hacked versions -- maybe a big sign near the spawn, or an information node. I wouldn't expect people to pay much attention though.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by FreeGamers » Post

Yet when there are violations the license is ignored. You guys could put someone on DMCA duty, it seems like not being punitive about it will only let the situation get worse over time.You have to be a copyright holder to issue DMCA's. Overall, it would be better if we could figure out ways Minetest could compete against the other products on the software market to increase its positions on them. Easier said than done, I know, but its ridiculous that it shouldn't be the most prominent.

I use the announce mod on my game/server to automatically broadcast a message every 15-20 minutes or so. I will add messages to use the official client from minetest with a link. I'll also ask players to rate the app if they enjoy it. I hope others will do the same to help the engine/community out too.

What are some of the license violators? I avoid Google Play but sometimes I do a search for Minetest and I can see quite a number of clones and derivatives, which I understand is not a violation in of itself.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by runs » Post

The snake that bites its own tail...
Ad-infested = No violation. Open Source aims to put all the ads if you want, desire or whatever reason. All the Open Source believers have to tolerate all kind of advertisements = Freedom.
Spyware= Illegal if not informed previously.
No code = Violation of the GPL.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Mantar » Post

Yes, putting ads in doesn't necessarily violate the user's freedom; those clients are generally obeying the license terms. If users actually WANT to use the adware version, then that means the official client either needs to be improved to match whatever tweaks went into the adware version to make it more attractive, or made more visible via marketing, and then users will happily move to it.
Adware versions, provided they give source code, aren't a licensing problem.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by FreeGamers » Post

Minetest is LGPL isn't it? Not publishing source code or sharing a derivative is a violation of that. Either way, best to promote the official app where possible.
Ads do violate user-freedom, unless your IP and fingerprint are obfuscated. Advertisements are definitely spyware. They track and are personalized by their nature. That is part of their purpose, tracking, spying on users and where they go. They are not just billboards. They're a common payload for malware too. They're not a great source of income either but spam enough of them and I guess it adds up to quite a bit of chump change. If you can just fork a program, insert adds with your referrer code, and spam it out to the Internet and a bunch of kids, I guess its a low effort source of income. I'm sure a lot of these developers game their app up with purchased reviews and installs. Minetest can't do that.

The standard for what constitutes a well-behaving program has been lowered. Advertising, data-mining, in-app tracking, are all acceptable in the current generation of mobile apps, especially if its from a known brand-name. Even coin-mining in some circumstances is tolerated. That's part of why proprietary software sucks. Not only can you not control what the software does, you cant even see what it does. Many of the the mobile games and apps that are pitched to kids on YouTube videos and in advertisements are just cheap half-baked games meant to get your data and get your cash through gameplay feedback loops dependent on kid's parent's wallets. Boo.

Manter, I agree that a more compelling official Mintest app experience needs to be bundled to make the software more competitive. I like how the server list works. It seems to do OK at prioritizing good player experience servers.

They can fork in junk and shill it on marketplaces but we have the absolute best community and group of developers and players.Thats one reason to not be disheartened by the copycats! :)

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by paramat » Post

Wuzzy, i expect you already knew this in some rational part of yourself, but people in the MT community, and core devs, do care and do take it seriously.
Rubenwardy's response summarises it up perfectly, core devs care and take it seriously but rightly decide their very limited time is better spent maintaining MT.
I think it is unreasonable to describe this as 'tolerating', due to what that implies.

There are only a few active core devs with very limited time, but contributors to MT can issue DCMAs, so it makes sense that contributors do this to help core devs spend their time on MT development.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by Chiantos » Post

Concerning illegal forks, it's mostly a google-related problem.

The DMCA are managed on the Playstore as for Youtube or the rest of Google. They don't look if you're right, the robot looks first if you're important enough financially, not if you're in your right or not ... It often boils down to that, to what Google can lose or gain financially ...

In the case of Minetest, Google has more to lose by delete "illegal" products that will often bring him more than the little legal forks on their Store. They can withdraw some from time to time ... but this is usually to avoid paying and keep the money for themselves ...

I had tried a DMCA in the past, Google threw it away and suggested to settle it myself in court law ... (not money for this ...).

How many friends bloggers, youtubers, devs ... regularly lose money because of Google ...
It's as if your boss could decide to cut your salary or pay someone else to steal from you.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by duane » Post

FreeGamers wrote:Minetest is LGPL isn't it? Not publishing source code or sharing a derivative is a violation of that.
This is not the GPL we're talking about, it's the LGPL. As I understand it, you only have to publish the ORIGINAL source, as in put a link to github anywhere on your website, or in your client. It's not a high hurdle, assuming these people even care enough to meet the requirement. That's one of the reasons that some wise folks discourage the use of the license minetest currently has. (I'm not fussed, but I wouldn't say no to GPL3+ either.)
They are not just billboards.
You do realize that you're preaching to the choir here, right? Most of us know that ads are dangerous and don't allow them on our systems for that and other reasons. You seem to be missing the point though. A lot of people are aware that ads can be dangerous, but DON'T CARE. Many, especially young people with lower impulse control, aren't that fussed if something might possibly mess up their phone. They'll just get tech support, or daddy or their local geek to fix it.

And well-written malware doesn't mess anything up, it just hides on the phone and does its job quietly. That makes it all the more sinister to you and me, but most people just don't care that much as long as they don't see the consequences. Maintaining control over their computer/phone isn't a priority for many people.

It may not be a matter of people choosing a bad client, as much as "It's the top link. Why should I spend any time looking for another one? Stop bothering me."
Overall, it would be better if we could figure out ways Minetest could compete against the other products on the software market to increase its positions on them. Easier said than done, I know, but its ridiculous that it shouldn't be the most prominent.
Impossible, I would say. Again, the source code is right there. It's trivial to put it into another project, especially if you've already done it once.
You guys could put someone on DMCA duty
Do I hear a volunteer? : )

I agree that no one should lose heart over this. I hope no one is even losing sleep over it. Don't worry about things you can't control.
Chiantos wrote:How many friends bloggers, youtubers, devs ... regularly lose money because of Google ...
It's as if your boss could decide to cut your salary or pay someone else to steal from you.
Oh, golly. I'd have more sympathy if what they're doing was more productive and didn't implicitly depend on someone else's business to even exist. But, that's another topic...
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by rubenwardy » Post

duane wrote:This is not the GPL we're talking about, it's the LGPL. As I understand it, you only have to publish the ORIGINAL source, as in put a link to github anywhere on your website, or in your client. It's not a high hurdle, assuming these people even care enough to meet the requirement. That's one of the reasons that some wise folks discourage the use of the license minetest currently has. (I'm not fussed, but I wouldn't say no to GPL3+ either.)
You need to publish the modified source code of the engine and any other LGPL code, such as most of the mods in MTG, builtin, the Java wrapper, etc.

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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by duane » Post

rubenwardy wrote:You need to publish the modified source code of the engine and any other LGPL code, such as most of the mods in MTG, builtin, the Java wrapper, etc.
But if they don't directly modify it -- link to existing libraries, call mod functions from another mod, etc. -- they don't have to publish their own code, right? If all they do to the main code is put in a shim to call another library, do they only have to publish the shim? I could imagine a lot of ways to get around this, and the lawyers get to decide whether it's valid, not the programmers.

Anyway, even someone with unlimited resources might have trouble convincing a non-geek jury of any of this.

Edit: And lawyers routinely send away any juror who has actual knowledge of the subject of a case. Both sides of any case will insist on that, because they want someone they can convince, not someone who actually understands the issue.
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Re: Why are the proprietary ad-infested Android forks tolera

by rubenwardy » Post

again, any engine code or LGPL code. Their own mods can be proprietary, along with rewritten Java wrappers

I don't think copyright issues will have juries. Google tends to respect DMCA notices

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