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Coder ethics.

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by jonsidneyb, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    In my mind the answer is that what I am going to ask is unethical. The only reason I ask I am a bit conflicted about it. I think it is unethical but I can craft and argument that says it is ethical.

    The situation.

    Lets say there is a piece of commercial software for vB4 and it is not available for XenForo. If I bought the software then hired a coder to make it work with XenForo (I don't even know if it possible or not) to me seems unethical. On the other hand the software would be paid for by me and the coder that modified it would be paid by me as well.

    I can argue that I bought the software and can do what I want with it.

    I can also argue I financed someone to work on someone elses software and the coder might start selling the modified version of the software cutting out the original coder. That to me would be very unethical.

    If this is unethical I will not go down this path.

    What are your thoughts on this.
  2. Sador

    Sador Well-Known Member

    You could always hire someone to build you a similar addon rather than a porting of a paid one, of course..

    I think it might be unethical to just pay someone to port it, but it depends a little on the ToS of the coder you bought it from, I guess.
  3. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    There are feelers out there about making something but there have been no bites so I don't think anyone is interested in building it. I started a thread asking about coders for hire to try and shop for someone that might take this on.

    Putting out requests have been unsuccessful.

    I am not sure but I think it might be a modestly complex piece of work.
  4. mrGTB

    mrGTB Well-Known Member

    Nice thought in theory, but the creator of that software may have a very different view. Also remember, when you purchase software you are agreeing to certain terms tied in with your license, some of those terms could be that you do not have the right to modify it's code e.t.c.

    If they do state things like that, you don't have a leg to stand on quite frankly.
  5. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Isn't this part of the XF vs VBSI case? XF ltd. are accused of using VBSI ideas/secrets to create their product.

    In another sense, the way I see it is there's nothing wrong with creating the same product as someone else, it's how you create it that matters. Copying their code is a no-go, but if it's coded in a completely different manner then I don't see why you can't. The fact you're buying the software and then asking the coder suggests you're looking for "inspiration" in their code, which would be unethical IMO.
  6. mrGTB

    mrGTB Well-Known Member

    Well that is pretty much what happened with vBGallery ages ago. The coding was different but the product overall looked the same. Proceedings was started by PhotoPost which in the end Brian backed down and vBGallery ended up being owned by PhotoPost soon after. Changing the code doesn't necessarily mean you can get away with things.
  7. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Changing the code doesn't, but if they coded it entirely differently it'd be a different story. I think the problem here is that you already own a license to the software that you're asking to be ported. If you didn't, you could just ask someone to create you whatever you needed.
  8. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    I will got get someone modify it. I was feeling guilty even thinking about it.

    The creator of the software was going to port this over long ago. I was actually going to buy it for vB4 but held off after I stated thinking about leaving vB.

    I will keep trying to contact maker of the software and see if they still plan to port it over. I have a message out to them but have not heard anything back.
  9. mrGTB

    mrGTB Well-Known Member

    Well there's no harm asking the creator of that software if they have anything against you paying to have it ported over for XenForo, if they say no go ahead and do it. Problem solved, you have no worries about doing it. On the other hand, if they say yes they do have issues you doing that. You know exactly where you stand doing it.
  10. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    That's what I will do.

    If they reply to me and tell me they are not going to port it over I will see if they are OK with someone seeing if they can make it XenForo compatable for me.
  11. jadmperry

    jadmperry Well-Known Member

    There are too many unknown facts to give an opinion. Would the coder be copying large swaths of original code? Would they be just using it as a template? Are they using the original code to reverse engineer a process? Does the original code have copyright or other IP protection....

    Based on the original hypothetical though, I don't think its problematic. You did not ask a legal question, you asked if it was "ethical." Maybe there is unwritten/unknown to me coder rules of ethics that are involved here. But, my hunch is that the legal and ethical issues line up pretty closely.
    Mert likes this.
  12. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    Not being a coder myself I really don't have answers for you. Since I am not going to ask anyone to attempt this I am going to keep trying to contact the creator and if that fails try and have something created from the ground up. I will need to find a coder to talk to if I reach that stage.

    This was one of two things I was waiting for before I moved. I actually thought this would have been ported over last year.
  13. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    I don't find this unethical, so long as you respect the software's license agreement.

    I can't recall the number of times I have had to modify software, both open source and proprietary, to get it to work under a setup the original author(s) probably did not anticipate or care to address. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, it's what you do afterwards that matters.

    Some license agreements may allow you to fork the project entirely, and freely publish your modifications, even sell them, while others may not. Simply respect the license (as should whoever you choose to do the work) and you should be fine. If you're still feeling guilty, consider submitting your modifications as patches back to the original developer.
  14. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    If I where to have it modified to work I would not have control of the work as I would have to hire someone to do it. Since I could not be able to control what happened to it outside of my install of it I don't think I could ethically do this. I am going to try and keep contacting the creator of this and see if they are going to port over in the time period that I have. If they are not going to I could see if I could get something made from the ground up that does the functions I want. I have a feeling what I want done will be very difficult to do but I don't know for sure.

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