Pxlinux : it's over!

vbimport

#1

Hi all !

I am the author of the project PxLinux, the (very modest) Linux port of Pxscan software (by Alexander Noe). As a PX716A buyer and Linux user, I wanted to get the same features than Windows users. After all, I payed exactly the same price !

Pxlinux allowed users to perform Q-checks under Linux. SCSI commands were sent to the drive and then the drive response was collected. Gnuplot was then used to display the results of PIF/PISUM/TA checks.

Today I have received a letter from a lawyer company based in Brussels, on behalf of Shinano Kenshi, the Japanese company that develops Plextools and Plextools Pro. They ask me to remove the project from the different locations. In their letter, they accuse me (and Alexander, who received another letter), of harming “their good name and fame” and of “unfair commercial practices”. In no way I tried to harm them : not only my project was not commercial, but also I wanted on the contrary make Plextor drives more attractive to Linux users, by giving them features that were only available to Windows users. On the legal level, interoperability is perfectly fair and legal. On the commercial level, the winner was Plextor, because on various Linux sites, I used to advertise their features and the fact these features were available to all, increasing the number of potential customers, who take care to buy hardware that is compatible with their OS.

You can imagine I am utterly disgusted. I have a lot of work (that’s why the project was quite stalled these times, but had some success according to the downloads and feedback I got), and I don’t think I have the will and the time to fight back. As usual, it is easier for big companies to threaten isolated people, even if they are in their good will and rights. I am very sorry for the people who had interests in this project, or wanted to help me to develop the program further.

Kind regards to everyone who was interested by the project,
Zeb

PS: 1) to the admin site : please remove my thread http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=127340&highlight=pxlinux before the 1st of June
2) I shall try to contact Plextor and try to have a discussion with them. I don’t know if everything is lost. However, don’t expect too much…
3) I will be away for the week-end, so sorry if I can’t answer the messages until monday or tuesday.


#2

Zeb_,

I know its easy for me to say, and much harder for you. But honestly they are just trying to frighten you.

If you are sure that you haven’t stolen any of their software, or reverse-engineered any software, or anything like that, there is nothing they can do to stop you from writing and publishing your own software.

PLEASE - for the sake of all of us - and for the sake of Freedom for the individual, be a man and stand up for yourself.

Write back to them saying you don’t agree and that you won’t be taking any action at all. Say that as far as you are concerned that’s the end of the matter and goodbye.

There is nothing they can do.

If they were right - which they are not - just consider what would be the implications for freedom for individuals:

The “Windows for Dummies” books would be banned by Microsoft
You wouldn’t be able to use Nero, if Plextor supplied you with Roxio
You couldn’t buy aftermarket alloys (rims) for your Ford
None of the Omega drivers (and others) would exist for graphics cards

Its quite ridiculous. You buy the hardware, you write some software, you publish your software. Plextor have got Nothing to do with it.

Chip

EDIT: You say they have given you these ultimatums? Why don’t you ask them what they plan to do if (when) you refuse?

EDIT2: You only have to look at what they are accusing you of, to see that they have nothing to go on. “harming their good name”? You can harm it all you like if what you say is TRUE. Have you LIED about anything? NO. So you have nothing to worry about. “Unfair commercial practices”? Are you selling your tools? NO. What a load of balloney.


#3

Im not english native speaker but you ( or anobody of the forum ) could write a lettler so we could send it the plextor sales department


#4

Bad News… Plextor try to sell his PlexTools XL, and don’t wan’t collaboration from external Freeware Software Scene.

See the Nero DVD Speed, boycott from Plextor…

I think my next HD-DVD or Blue Ray unit don’t be a Plextor, but a BenQ or another, supported from all Open Software Scene not a CLOSED BLINDED Plextools only for a Win32/64 Blinded OS… :Z

Sorry for my BAD English, i have Buy Ever Time Plextor, but the time is Change, Why Spend Double for a Normal Unsupported Unit…:Z


#5

Chippy99 : I know that their case is more than thin and that certainly they cannot do a lot against me or Alexander. Interoperability is perfectly legal. I am in europe, and even in the US, since there is no decryption of anything (the burner gives clear raw data answers), I would not breach anything.
On the other hand, I cannot have a legal battle now. I have no time, I will soon end my job to do a 1-year study, so I have to do this full-time, and I cannot risk any money at this moment.
Anyway :

  • the code is still a GPL software. It is Free. If anyone wants to continue, even internally (I will use it myself, I don’t run Windows), just take it.
  • I hope there will be a matter of resolution with Plextor. Plextor Europe is usually cooperative. However, Plextor Japan decides. But I hope the software will come back - legally and freely - for honest customers who genuinely want to take advantage of the functions of their pricey Plextor burners.

I don’t know yet whet Alexander will do.
Thanks anyway for the support and


#6

Zeb: I fully understand. That’s why I said its easy for me to say, but not so easy for you.

But really I doubt VERY much whether they would bother taking you to court. There would be no point: they know they would lose. They are just hoping you will “crumble” when they send you a frightening legal letter. Don’t give them the satisfaction. At least test them out by saying that you will not comply. See what happens. Why not? You can always give in later if you have to.

Plextor’s behaviour here make me SO mad. They are completely in the wrong, yet they think they can get their own way simply by sending you a letter prepared by a lawyer. I can understand why they don’t want you to publish your linux tools, but the way they are behaving is disgraceful.

Chip

EDIT: Here’s a thought: Why don’t you tell them you don’t agree that you are doing anything wong, but - without accepting liability of any kind - you are prepared to comply with their request if they pay you €25,000!

Here’s the clever part: If they really are thinking of taking you to court, then paying you €25,000 will be a good deal for them - they would pay more than that in legal costs.

Somehow, I doubt they will take you up on that offer!


#7

I have to answer the legal letter by the 1st of June (nice, they wrote it on the 16th of May but sent it today only !!) I will make a clear answer that in no way I tried to harm them and will see…
But I am very disappointed by Plextor. Not only they sell expensive drives, but now they want to sell the software. What next ? The drivers ? And on the other hand, they have advertised their ConvertX device (video recorder) as Linux compatible, with GPL software, with a PR being : “we support free software community, blah blah…”


#8

That would be considered as blackmail… They could use it against me, saying I try to extort them. Moreover, I am not motivated by money. I don’t want to withdraw the software. I want it to be available to Linux users like me, who have genuinely put their money in their hardware, and that just want to fully use their functions.


#9

You raise a very good point about the drivers. Presumably if I wrote a driver for the PX-716A, they would threaten me as well. Its completely ridiculous.

I’ll tell you what, its not making me want to buy another Plextor product EVER again.

I’ve had 2 duff (and over-priced) drives and now this. How to drive your customers away in 1 easy lesson…

Chip


#10

I wasn’t really serious. You are right, it wouldn’t be a good idea. But do ask them what they plan to do if you refuse to comply. No harm in asking.

Chip.


#11

Wow that sucks. I wouldn’t try fighting them they have more money then you and lawyers that have nothing better to do. Looks like in the end billy boy the big giant wins again. For me if a big company can’t support the little guy its just another reason not to buy any of their products. :sad:


#12

@zeb, I am sure a lot of people on this forum will respond in your and Alexander Noe’s favour in this thread, if the responses are what I think they will be (Positive) then you can send them the link to this thread, Plextor obviously doesn’t know what the people want. Guess Eric Deppe would be in the same boat if he gave us Nero CD-DVD Speed.


#13

Actually, the PX716a model did that. Disappointing, Plextor, disappointing. A plextor model that can’t win a writing-quality or speed contest is a dud, and the 716’s stayed a dud since the first extremely flaky TLA’s and firmwares. Let’s not forget how they abused the American BestBuy TLA0101 customers.

and of “unfair commercial practices”.

And disguising a BenQ as one of their own isn’t? I think rebadges are verging on dishonesty.

It’s a pity you feel it necessary to knuckle under to a deep-pockets legal threat (and a highly irrational one at that), but your reasoning seems sound.

Best wishes on your future endeavours.


#14

It is already in the letter : “…right to claim full damages… competent courts… blahblah” They have sent copies to administrators of this web site too, they say.


#15

Is the letter confidential? Can you post it here in full and I can take some legal advice on it?

Chip


#16

I am disgusted: what do Plextor want? more money? aren’t drives expensive enough? sell a piece of junk software? and suppress any free initiative of building software for unsupported operating systems? This is pathetic. I regret I bought a drive from such greedy company.


#17

I don’t think this is confidential, but before posting it, I will try to contact Alexander and see with him. I don’t know what he is going to do, and don’t want to leave him alone with this stuff. Moreover, there is probably a way to deal with this:

  • first I will give an honest answer by the 1st of June to show my good will.
  • second I guess Slashdot and other related media will be interested, especially when Slashdot published the story of Plextor “supporting Open Source etc…”
  • third I will try to contact Plextor and have advice, indeed. I will contact the FSF (Free Software Fundation-Europe)

Now I have to go, sorry. So I shall continue the story next week.
Cheers and thank you all for your supporting comments.


#18

No problem.

I work for a large software company (one of the world’s largest in fact). I can ask our Chief Legal Counsel what the position is. In fact I will do that next week for you anyway.

Chip


#19

Zeb, I’m defiitely on your site and think most of this community will be also when they find out. Let us know if you want some sort of petition drive or can help in any way. I am glad I never picked up my order for a 716 at BB and it got cancelled. I will not buy anything from Plextor. Also, Chippy99, reverse-engineering is not illegal in the US.


#20

Just before leaving, I have an important thing to point out : the lawyers represent Shinano Kenshi, the company that writes Plextools (and Plextools Pro). They don’t say they represent Plextor actually. The plaint does not come directly from Plextor. So maybe this matter could be discussed with Plextor itself.