Author Topic: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down  (Read 35746 times)

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Offline madworm

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http://www.freerouting.net/

The creator of the FreeRouting auto-router worked for Zuken at one time, but developed this router 'at home'. 7 years wasted. It was released to the public (GPL) some time ago.

Zuken now claims copyright infringement, many years after Alfons was given the sack. He's retired now. The auto-router had been available as a web-application (java) for years.


More background info on yahoo mailing list:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kicad-users/conversations/topics/18109
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 09:26:45 am by madworm »
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 09:37:16 am »
Just "shutdown" the website and move it somewhere else out of reach of the "law". Maybe provide links to the new site and don't keep anything infringing on that current site?
 

Offline madworm

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 09:45:57 am »
Well, it is not even clear if there are valid copyright infringements at all.

The way I read the situation is this:

Zuken is a big company, Alfons is one person. They may just have sent him a letter out of pure speculation. The letter to him (see mailing list) doesn't seem to contain any specifics at all. It is not a c & d letter either. Could just be a scare-tactic. Alfons himself is 'tired' of the whole situation and doesn't feel like fighting. Somebody else would have to do it.

He's asked the FSF for help, but they have declined for some reason.

I hope somebody downloaded the source...
 

Offline grumpydoc

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2014, 11:41:54 am »
Quote
He's asked the FSF for help, but they have declined for some reason.
I don't think they get involved unless they own the copyright - he might get somewhere with the EFF
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2014, 02:14:51 pm »
I'm sure I saw somebody here had downloaded the source a while back.  Perhaps they would be kind enough to slap it up on github.

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Offline dannyf

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2014, 02:36:42 pm »
I haven't seen the bullying part so I should probably reserve judgment. Looks like Zuken alleged that their is an infringement - that's far from the fact that there is an infringement.

The situation looks murky from afar. The author looks to have developed some routing software for Zuken. It is unlikely that there are direct code pieces in the new open source routing software - that would be really stupid.

Is it possible that there are comparable "thought" processes between the two? If so, does that constitute an infringement? If so, the damage could be significant.

The situation, unfortunately, could be much clear to either / both parties: they know precisely what's in and not in the code. But for a 3rd party, it can be difficult to arrive at a fair judgement.
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Offline Rigby

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2014, 02:52:35 pm »
Hint: NEVER search; you may find what you're looking for.

https://github.com/32bitmicro/Freerouting
 

Offline bingo600

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2014, 03:01:01 pm »
Binaries

Grab them while they last (If Zuken vaccums the "net")
https://groups.google.com/d/topic/n8vem-s100/9UNKcHteXBI


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Offline zapta

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2014, 03:01:08 pm »
IIs it possible that there are comparable "thought" processes between the two? If so, does that constitute an infringement? If so, the damage could be significant.

Possibly he signed an agreement assigning any related IP he develops while employed to the company. The devil is in the details.

How good is said router? For example, does it work out of the box with Eagle? Is it stable?
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Offline madworm

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2014, 03:26:59 pm »
For being free, it is darn good.

Don't know about eagle.
 

Offline theatrus

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2014, 04:24:19 pm »

IIs it possible that there are comparable "thought" processes between the two? If so, does that constitute an infringement? If so, the damage could be significant.

Possibly he signed an agreement assigning any related IP he develops while employed to the company. The devil is in the details.

Those details are really nuanced, and vary widely by locale. For example, agreements such as the above are against California labor law (if entirely developed on your own time and equipment). And that's just one state of 50 in one country.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2014, 04:35:14 pm »
there is two problems with his case

1- he brought his code within zuken , showed it to them. He did not have zuken sign an NDA or evaluation only agreement.

2- and this is a bigger one : he admits that the codebase includes algortihms he wrote for Theda... (somethinf about octagonal maths). that alone is a massive problem. The algorithms were developed on zuken/Theda time. even though algorithms are not patentable , the algorithm does belong to zuken...
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Offline Rigby

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2014, 11:01:54 pm »
there is two problems with his case

1- he brought his code within zuken , showed it to them. He did not have zuken sign an NDA or evaluation only agreement.

2- and this is a bigger one : he admits that the codebase includes algortihms he wrote for Theda... (somethinf about octagonal maths). that alone is a massive problem. The algorithms were developed on zuken/Theda time. even though algorithms are not patentable , the algorithm does belong to zuken...

Potentially...  I am not a lawyer, and I'm fairly certain you aren't either.  We don't know the conditions of his employment, the details of any contracts, or anything, really.  We don't (well, I don't) know what state or country he lives in, if NDAs are enforceable in that state or country, or if an NDA was ever applied to his employment contract.  Might be that there was an illegal negotiation in there somewhere, which might invalidate everything.  It might turn out that he was put under pressure to sign something, which could invalidate something or other.

Who knows?  None of us.
 

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2014, 11:45:59 pm »
If you code for a company then all 100% of that source code belongs to them; in the forum he mentioned "All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code."     even using 1% of someone else's code is not good.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2014, 12:01:49 am »
Depends on what was written down in the employee agreement.

My previous employer accepted my request to let me keep ownership of everything I wrote while employed there, and it was in my contract.  Later, when they laid me off, I told them the code was mine and that I would gladly provide the source code in exchange for employment.  They declined.

They are unlikely to offer anyone else the same deal, nor is anyone else in this day, but it does happen from time to time.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2014, 12:17:24 am »
My previous employer accepted my request to let me keep ownership of everything I wrote while employed there, and it was in my contract.

Wow, that is really surprising, may I ask what company?

Offline dannyf

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2014, 12:24:50 am »
Quote
"All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code."

That's really unfortunate (and bone-headed too). The whole code base is then subject to legal challenges from Zuken.

Doesn't sound like a case of "bullying" to me, if that's true.
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Offline Rigby

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2014, 01:40:53 am »


My previous employer accepted my request to let me keep ownership of everything I wrote while employed there, and it was in my contract.

Wow, that is really surprising, may I ask what company?

it is an electrical engineering and software development house that does work for Caterpillar. I was the lone IT dude for a while, and touched no third party (Cat) stuff. I was 100% internal, and they didn't understand or value IT, so I was pretty much given anything I wanted except a budget and a decent wage.
 


Offline zapta

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2014, 01:51:20 am »
If you code for a company then all 100% of that source code belongs to them; in the forum he mentioned "All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code."     even using 1% of someone else's code is not good.

If it's only 1% of the code than he can just rewrite it or somebody else to do it in a clean-room mode. Contaminating free code with proprietary code is not a wise move in the first place.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2014, 06:31:35 am »
Reading this https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kicad-users/conversations/messages/18130 it sounds indeed like a very muddy situation.

Multiple companies were involved, sliced, diced and sold. Maybe, we don't know, with a change of employment contract. Two countries were involved (Germany, UK), so maybe two sets of employment laws and IP laws need to be taken into account. The change to part-time work likely included (yet another?) change of employment contract. The router was originally created during part-time work, in his spare time, but while having full access to the company knowledge and resources. And created as a showcase to convince his employer it can be done, and he actually lobbied his employer to take the code.

That is the stuff that can keep an army of lawyer busy, and help a few of them to earn the money for a second house, complete with a new Porsche in the garage.

Regarding the code. If we just assume Zuken has rights to the code and/or intellectual property rights (I said "assume"!), then copying the code around and mirroring it doesn't whitewash the code.

And a second thing, this is code developed behind closed doors, by a single programmer, for seven years. Lone heroes developing code on their own, lacking the feedback of peers and supervisors, tend to end up with rather individual and special coding styles. Typically such code is not easy to maintain.

Third, the code is supposed to be the implementation of a number of complex algorithms, some highly optimized, some not finished, despite working on it almost daily for seven years. Algorithms, that aren't documented (except one paper from 1985), and only exist in the mind of the programmer. Self-documenting code? Gimme a break.

I doubt there are many people around willing and capable of working on that code. Maybe some government organization somewhere is looking into it, trying to find out if it is really as good as he claims. But they are not doing it for the community (according to his posting the Chinese government already "expressed an interest") .

And what if the algorithm isn't as good as he claims? Then someone touching the code would sit there with legal problems, a code base hacked together by a lone hero over the time of seven years, and an algorithm which couldn't be made to work by the inventor.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 06:37:07 am by Bored@Work »
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Offline sleemanj

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2014, 09:39:55 am »
At the end of the day, Freerouting works, it does a good job (better than built in autorouters), it follows a de-facto standard file interchange format (dsn, ses) which isn't about to change, and it's written in Java so it's unlikely to suddenly stop working.  Even if nobody ever looks at the source again, it's a useful, usable tool.

The author (nobody can dispute he is the author) of the software has declared it to be GPL, and I think the recipients of the software have reason to accept that at face value, until such time as it is proven false.  I don't see anything wrong with making sure there are copies of the GPL released code (and binaries of) out there currently.

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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2014, 09:44:03 am »
The algorithms were developed on zuken/Theda time. even though algorithms are not patentable , the algorithm does belong to zuken...
If it isn't patented or copyrighted, in what sense does it "belong" to them?
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Offline dannyf

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2014, 10:21:13 am »
Quote
the recipients of the software have reason to accept that at face value, until such time as it is proven false.

That argument is unlikely to hold in a court. Let's say that someone hands you out copies of Windows (or any other stolen goods) and tells you it is all legit. You are still liable to be prosecuted.

Quote
If it isn't patented or copyrighted, in what sense does it "belong" to them?

You probably have far more un-patented/un-copyrighted stuff. None of them belong to you then?
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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2014, 12:02:07 pm »
The algorithms were developed on zuken/Theda time. even though algorithms are not patentable , the algorithm does belong to zuken...
If it isn't patented or copyrighted, in what sense does it "belong" to them?
It depends on whether Freerouting and the software from Zuken share the same sourcecode. If that is the case Zuken could claim partial copyright. Some companies like to claim copyright on any code written by their employees during their employment even if they wrote the software in their spare time. That is a bit of a grey area.

For this reason I have written the same software from scratch several times instead of copying and pasting it. In the EU there are no software patents so there is no way to claim the idea.
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Offline Marco

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2014, 01:08:30 pm »
You probably have far more un-patented/un-copyrighted stuff. None of them belong to you then?
If someone can make a copy of it without first depriving me of physical ownership they are perfectly free to do so, by law and by any reasonable ethical standard.
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2014, 01:11:44 pm »
Let's say that someone hands you out copies of Windows (or any other stolen goods) and tells you it is all legit. You are still liable to be prosecuted.

That somebody would be unlikely to be the sole and only programmer responsible for the creation of the entire codebase comprising "Windows".

In this case, the somebody is, unarguably, the sole programmer responsible for Freerouting, and he says he released it as GPL, and he released it as GPL before this Zuken stuff blew up, and before the Zuken stuff blew up nobody in the slightest bit questioned if the release under GPL was anything but completely 100% valid.

Not to mention to be prosecuted, you have to have violated some agreement, or law, in the jurisdiction in which you are bound.  So which agreement or law and in what jurisdiction, did  anybody who received or distributed the GPL released copy of the source commit said violation. 




« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 01:13:19 pm by sleemanj »
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Offline dannyf

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2014, 01:25:13 pm »
Quote
depriving me of physical ownership

How can you claim ownership if it doesn't belong to you?

Quote
In this case, the somebody is, unarguably, the sole programmer responsible for Freerouting

I thought it was established earlier, by the very author, that he is NOT the sole programmer responsible for Freerouting - he said, in a forum somewhere, that 1% of the code came from Zuken, reproduced below for your reading enjoyment:

Quote
in the forum he mentioned "All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code."
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Offline Marco

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2014, 01:56:44 pm »
That is completely non sequitur, the quote doesn't even suggests he did not code that part independently.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2014, 02:12:01 pm »
even though algorithms are not patentable , the algorithm does belong to zuken...

This is a really poor way of putting it, if it's not patented all the algorithm can be is a trade secret ... you could say they owned (past tense) the trade secret, which might be true depending on his contract, but that's not quite the same as owning the algorithm.

In the mean time the algorithm can not be called a trade secret any more though. If he was wrong in sharing Zuken only has a claim on him, not on the algorithm. Contributory infringement can't be claimed either because the algorithm was opened up in a way third parties could not possibly know of trade secret claims ... the genie is out of the bottle.

PS. they might still own copyright depending on his contract and local laws, but that has little to do with the algorithm ... which unless patented is solidly public domain.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 02:14:48 pm by Marco »
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2014, 02:26:29 pm »
he said, in a forum somewhere, that 1% of the code came from Zuken

Where does that say that he did not write it? 

Zuken claims he wrote some of the code while under employ, not afaik that he took work somebody else wrote.

Nobody is saying he did not write it, only when and where did he write it, or for who it was written.

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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2014, 02:57:02 pm »
Even if he typed in all the code it does not mean he might have the right to license it under the GPL. He might have already licensed, assigned to, given away, handed over, or whatever the rights/code/ideas to, e.g. Zuken. For example as part of signing his employment contract.

And by his own description he already had that idea and wrote some code while being employed. That won't help his argument that he can license all the code.

Anyhow, now that the issue is discussed publicly you will have problems with plausible deniability. If he doesn't have the right to license it and you get the code you would get unlicensed code. I.e. now you would knowingly take part in a copyright violation.
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jucole

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2014, 03:51:52 pm »
Grab them while they last (If Zuken vaccums the "net")

The more it's mirrored, the harder that is.  Here's an S3 hosted copy.

yeah! free software for all rocks!! - now they can make a claim for extra damages and loss of revenue against him!   I think you need to brush up on "the unwritten rules"
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2014, 04:04:14 pm »
even though algorithms are not patentable , the algorithm does belong to zuken...

This is a really poor way of putting it, if it's not patented all the algorithm can be is a trade secret ... you could say they owned (past tense) the trade secret, which might be true depending on his contract, but that's not quite the same as owning the algorithm.

In the mean time the algorithm can not be called a trade secret any more though. If he was wrong in sharing Zuken only has a claim on him, not on the algorithm.
If the algorithm was made on 'zuken time' (meaning he invented it during working hours) it is now intellectual property of zuken (or whatever was the paying party at the time. The IP may have been sold from Theda to zuken or whatever. Point is : you invent something during working hours : belong to your employer unless you have written proof it doesn't. Words are volatile...

So, two things are problematic :
1) does he have a written release of ownership to him? No ... Which brings in 2:
2) the ip is property of zuken. Having it in his freerouter is amount to theft. He gives away IP , that isn't his to begin with. If they want to get real nasty : theft of ip, industrial espionage and they can claim financial loss as people are using the ip whenever a board is routed with that code.

This is a big can of worms....

The fact that the code is now up for everyone to see, And recopy , makes this an even bigger problem. Not for freerouter or the code but for the writer. At least as long as he only delivered binary blobs and kept his mouth shut it would be hard to prove...
Now the code is out and he admitted the algorithms are in there... Run for the hills...
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Offline marshallh

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2014, 05:33:24 pm »
As far as the actula software, which I used to use a lot -

It is both an automatic and manual push/shove router.
You export designs from Eagle or kicad, or anther package to specctra DSN file.

You can then route the pcb manually by hand (which is very nice and good for digital boards) or you can use its autorouter (which is very good, better than Electra and altium's autorouter, and loooads better than Eagle's piss poor router)

The problem: It does not scale well. It is best for 2layer boards. It works with 4layer boards, but is vastly slower.
Board area and total traces affects performance as well. I did a dual fpga design with it, and it ran slower than 1 FPS on my quad core i7.

It is best for hobbyist boards, and makes EAGLE somewhat usable by bypassing the routing.
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Offline zapta

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2014, 05:50:48 pm »
As far as the actual software, which I used to use a lot -  ...

Does it handle ground polygons (mixed with signal traces)?   If so, how does it work, do you export the polygon from eagle or add it later?

Also, when you are done routing, do you import it back to eagle (to generate gerbers, DRC, etc)?
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Offline madworm

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2014, 05:53:40 pm »
Suppose they have known about it for years and tolerated it. Now they suddenly change their mind. That is quite weird.

It would be best if they made precise claims as to what part(s) of the code (line-numbers) supposedly violate(s) their copyright or whatever. Claiming ownership of the whole thing is a bit overzealous. It might be inspired by 'their' algorithm, but they surely can't claim ownership of stuff that he coded in the 7 years after he left them.

They should either make precise claims or shove it. There's nothing wrong with defending ones property, but these unspecific all-or-nothing claims... I hate it.

And in case he should get sued, a little crowd-funded support would certainly be possible ;-)
 

Offline Marco

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2014, 05:56:39 pm »
If the algorithm was made on 'zuken time' (meaning he invented it during working hours) it is now intellectual property of zuken

Fine, tell me then ... if it's not patented and it's public knowledge under what law could the algorithm possibly still be considered intellectual property?
Quote
Point is : you invent something during working hours : belong to your employer unless you have written proof it doesn't. Words are volatile...

As I said before it could very well automatically have been a trade secret, but however painful that is to Zuken or the Freerouting author that's NOW completely irrelevant to US. It was their responsibility to keep their trade secrets secret, when it's no longer a secret it's also no longer a trade secret. Unless it was patented this is now a contract issue between them and concerns us not one iota, without a patent that algorithm is public domain.

This is one of the reasons to patent something in the first place, trade secrets are very fragile ... you can make any trade secret you know a non trade secret, just post it here or on usenet and it's done. It might have consequences for you but not for anyone else wishing to use the former trade secret (assuming no other IP laws apply).
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 05:58:49 pm by Marco »
 

Offline marshallh

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2014, 05:58:43 pm »
As far as the actual software, which I used to use a lot -  ...

Does it handle ground polygons (mixed with signal traces)?   If so, how does it work, do you export the polygon from eagle or add it later?

Also, when you are done routing, do you import it back to eagle (to generate gerbers, DRC, etc)?

Yes you can have it via to an internal polygon... but it makes it much slower. the polygon is part of the DSN you exported with a ULP run inside eagle.

After you're done routing you generate an eagle SCR script and run it inside eagle, and it rips up and lays down all the tracks as you did inside freerouting.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #39 on: June 15, 2014, 08:39:32 pm »
Quote
Suppose they have known about it for years and tolerated it. Now they suddenly change their mind. That is quite weird.

Of course the net effect of Zuken doing this is that more people now know about FreeRouting, which is out there and can never go away.

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Offline Rigby

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2014, 03:18:29 am »
And by his own description he already had that idea and wrote some code while being employed. That won't help his argument that he can license all the code.

depends on the way his employment terms were worded.  some let you have the things you create on your own time, some claim ownership of everything you do during your employment (with none of the payment, responsibility, or liability that can often go with some of that stuff, of course), and some just want the stuff you write while employed that could be useful for your work efforts.

in all cases, always claim that you simply do not author software outside of work hours.  even if you write a million lines of code at home, off hours, and they get the cops to take your PC as evidence, deny deny deny.  if they can prove you wrote it during off hours, take a defense of "how can my employer own my free time or the work I do on time I am not paid for," or something like that. 

that door should work both ways, and does if you say it should.  if they want your personal time, tell them they need to pay for that time.  they need to supply you with a computer they own, a network connection at home that they pay for, a good, ergonomically sound chair and desk, coffee/soda provided free and all that. filtered air, etc. all the trappings they have at the office.  asking for all that is how I maintained ownership of all the code I wrote.  they didn't want to do any of that, so I asked why they thought they should be able to reap benefits from work they do not support.

there is probably a first amendment argument, too, if this chap is in the US.

I am not a lawyer.  don't listen to me too much.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2014, 04:05:45 am »
Yes you can have it via to an internal polygon... but it makes it much slower. the polygon is part of the DSN you exported with a ULP run inside eagle.

After you're done routing you generate an eagle SCR script and run it inside eagle, and it rips up and lays down all the tracks as you did inside freerouting.

That's sound very good. For me, eagle weakest point is the manual router (I am very happy with the auto router).
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Offline madworm

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2014, 08:38:17 am »
Sooo... things might change after all!

Although it seems Alfons himself doesn't want to escalate the conflict, I at least think it has become a little bit safer to keep the sources of FreeRouting available online (e.g. on github).

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kicad-users/conversations/topics/18240;_ylc=X3oDMTJzOXRiNXE4BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzE2MDI3Njk4BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNzI4MTk0MgRtc2dJZAMxODI0MARzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDdm1zZwRzdGltZQMxNDAzMjUxMDQz

Quote
I saw about your case a couple of days ago.

The Free Software Foundation will pay Till Jaeger,
a German Lawyer, to look at your case and give you advice.
If you wish.

I hope this isn't too late.

--
Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 08:44:45 am by madworm »
 

Offline gildasd

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2014, 08:26:49 pm »
If you add a couple of constants to an algorythm or "shape shift it" by numerical means, does Zuken (for example) still hold the proprietary rights?

I'm electronically illiterate
 

Offline engidea

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #44 on: May 03, 2016, 10:18:48 am »
Hello Everyone

Having some time available I had a look at the Free GITHUB repository of FreeRouting

I am writint to this gorup to point out that Alfons really did an incredible job of writing Freerouting but as far
as what I understand at the moment there is nothing special in it beside standard Vector, planar arithmetic and binary trees for searching.

Trying to follow the spirit of FreeSoftware, the current "exploration" is also on Github at
https://github.com/Engidea/FreeRoutingNew.git

I will continue to look into it until I have time

I try to commit working versions and I do respect the various discalaimers/licences that where posted on the original files.

We as a community should really be more vocal for FreeSoftware

I normally test what I change using Kicad and a board that I use as reference, however, if any of you wish to do some more testing, you are welcome. Please don't scream if something does not work.....

Damiano
 

Offline CJay

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #45 on: May 03, 2016, 12:10:34 pm »

It depends on whether Freerouting and the software from Zuken share the same sourcecode. If that is the case Zuken could claim partial copyright. Some companies like to claim copyright on any code written by their employees during their employment even if they wrote the software in their spare time. That is a bit of a grey area.


I've had similar clauses in contracts relating to hardware and software designs but it was only enforceable for designs that related directly to the employer's business. 

One particularly nasty clause that I hope was unenforceable, tried to give the employer rights over any and all future designs relating to their business, which I was told by a director would apply to any work I did no matter if I was working for them or not as they'd assume it was created using knowledge I had gained while in their employment.

While I was and am in no position to be able to fight that if they got legal about it I'd have loved to see them try it in court.

 

Offline janoc

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #46 on: May 03, 2016, 01:28:57 pm »
One particularly nasty clause that I hope was unenforceable, tried to give the employer rights over any and all future designs relating to their business, which I was told by a director would apply to any work I did no matter if I was working for them or not as they'd assume it was created using knowledge I had gained while in their employment.

While I was and am in no position to be able to fight that if they got legal about it I'd have loved to see them try it in court.

You shouldn't have signed the contract with such abusive clause in the first place. Strike it out and hand the paperwork back to them. They either accept or they won't.

Sometimes employers will try such things to see whether they will get away with it, but you are not obliged to accept that. Legal or not, it is abusive - nobody can claim copyright on your brain, otherwise you could never ever work for anyone else. They could always harass you by claiming that you couldn't have done this or that without using their "secret sauce". You would probably prevail in court, but why to even let it go that far - just don't accept such crap in the first place!





« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 01:30:39 pm by janoc »
 

Offline CJay

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2016, 01:54:09 pm »
One particularly nasty clause that I hope was unenforceable, tried to give the employer rights over any and all future designs relating to their business, which I was told by a director would apply to any work I did no matter if I was working for them or not as they'd assume it was created using knowledge I had gained while in their employment.

While I was and am in no position to be able to fight that if they got legal about it I'd have loved to see them try it in court.

You shouldn't have signed the contract with such abusive clause in the first place. Strike it out and hand the paperwork back to them. They either accept or they won't.

Sometimes employers will try such things to see whether they will get away with it, but you are not obliged to accept that. Legal or not, it is abusive - nobody can claim copyright on your brain, otherwise you could never ever work for anyone else. They could always harass you by claiming that you couldn't have done this or that without using their "secret sauce". You would probably prevail in court, but why to even let it go that far - just don't accept such crap in the first place!

Should have made it more clear, I didn't sign that contract, I spotted the clause and refused to sign, they withdrew the job offer, refusing to rescind the clause.

The company is long gone now, they disappeared after a very expensive legal battle concerning copyright violations. Seems they wanted to protect their IP but had no respect for anyone else's.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2016, 01:57:31 pm »
If you code for a company then all 100% of that source code belongs to them; in the forum he mentioned "All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code."     even using 1% of someone else's code is not good.

If it's only 1% of the code than he can just rewrite it or somebody else to do it in a clean-room mode. Contaminating free code with proprietary code is not a wise move in the first place.

While it doesn't matter from a legal standpoint, it is interesting that everyone on both sides of this argument is rounding "far less than 1%" up to 1%.

While clean-rooming can be done, the rub here will be identifying which lines of code need to be re-done.  I am sure the records are not clear, and that both sides have different opinions on the matter.
 

Offline hs3

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2016, 02:22:50 pm »
If you code for a company then all 100% of that source code belongs to them; in the forum he mentioned "All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code."     even using 1% of someone else's code is not good.

If it's only 1% of the code than he can just rewrite it or somebody else to do it in a clean-room mode. Contaminating free code with proprietary code is not a wise move in the first place.

While it doesn't matter from a legal standpoint, it is interesting that everyone on both sides of this argument is rounding "far less than 1%" up to 1%.

While clean-rooming can be done, the rub here will be identifying which lines of code need to be re-done.  I am sure the records are not clear, and that both sides have different opinions on the matter.
I'm not familiar with the issue but has it been said anywhere that someone is using someone else's code? What he seems to be saying in that quote is that far less than 1% of the total code is those specific algorithms. So it could already be a completely new implementation of those algorithms and may be also implemented in a different way to achieve the same result. Maybe also a different programming language using different kind data structures? Just an observation and I don't know the details.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2016, 02:24:13 pm »
One particularly nasty clause that I hope was unenforceable, tried to give the employer rights over any and all future designs relating to their business,

At one company they wanted me to patent one of my inventions - fair enough, but suddenly deciding patents are important is an orange flag that the company will be sold :)

Anyway, the wording, in order that I be eligible for the bonus, was that I would do anything necessary to help them get the patent. Naturally there was no restriction on "anything" nor a time limit etc. Hmmm. No.

The twits sent out the agreement to be signed in the form of an unprotected PDF file. That enabled me to edit the PDF source, insert the word "reasonably" (anything reasonably necessary), print and sign that. The twits didn't notice, I got my money and later left the company. Subsequent PDFs were edit-protected :)

A year or so after I left they sent me paperwork which was something to do with progressing it in the US. They wanted me to sign it, and didn't even have the courtesy to enclose a SASE. It wanted me to do "anything" and didn't even offer expenses. I inserted the word "reasonably"+date+signature half a dozen times and returned it without postage. A few months later I got another, and repeated the performance. They didn't bother a third time :)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline janoc

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2016, 08:32:03 pm »
Should have made it more clear, I didn't sign that contract, I spotted the clause and refused to sign, they withdrew the job offer, refusing to rescind the clause.

The company is long gone now, they disappeared after a very expensive legal battle concerning copyright violations. Seems they wanted to protect their IP but had no respect for anyone else's.

Ah right. Then you have actually dodged a rather big bullet. For me a non-negotiable clause like that is a red flag saying "YOU DO NOT WANT TO WORK HERE!" If they treat their own staff like crap it is not surprising that they did others too. So the rest about the copyright is really in line with that, sadly.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 09:25:03 pm by janoc »
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2016, 08:44:14 pm »
I don't think I would stand in court if this was ever contested. Many countries (Poland where I live included) have special registers of clauses that are forbidden in contracts. I'm pretty sure this would qualify...

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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #53 on: May 04, 2016, 07:45:45 am »
Copyright law pisses me off, it's gotten way too strict and powerful, and is only a benefit for large companies to bully small guys and killing their many hours of work.   The penalties are also way over the top, so people feel no choice but to just comply as it's not worth fighting.  It also costs a lot of money to fight.  You're better off committing a real harmful crime than being found in violation of IP laws. It's also very easy to be in violation due to how broad some trademarks, patents, etc are.   For example there was this youtube channel that decided to trademark the concept of reaction videos.  It actually got approved and everything, and they started sending takedown notices to any video that had the word reaction in it.  Eventually they stopped due to the backlash, but law wise, they were in the right and could have easily kept going.

Sadly even though he may have coded this 100% on his spare time, lot of companies have very strict clauses about conflict of interest.  Some even own anything you do even if it's on your own time.  Some it's even for life.  When you are a new hire at a company you'll sign anything you have to because you need a job.  They put these clauses in there and whether or not you agree or even read them... you do need to sign to keep that job and pay the bills.   The company I work for has clauses like that, anything I make, even on my own time, they own rights to it.  I never heard of anyone actually getting nailed by it though.  I think it's more something they have so if they ever need to, they can persue it.
 

Online Jeroen3

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #54 on: May 04, 2016, 09:26:00 am »
Even if the contract doesn't state they own you're inventions at home. They can go to court and win.
But only if it's in a related field and the company can prove they have losses.

If you invent a new type of bread at home, while you work for an IT company. It's not theirs.

Something to be aware of when contributing or working on open source stuff.
 

Offline CJay

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2016, 11:33:42 am »
I don't think I would stand in court if this was ever contested. Many countries (Poland where I live included) have special registers of clauses that are forbidden in contracts. I'm pretty sure this would qualify...

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Probably not but can you afford to prove it in court?
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2016, 11:35:35 am »
I don't think I would stand in court if this was ever contested. Many countries (Poland where I live included) have special registers of clauses that are forbidden in contracts. I'm pretty sure this would qualify...

Sent from my HTC One M8s using Tapatalk.

Over here it actually helps you in court if the employer has put forbidden clauses in the contract. We just sign off with a smile.
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2016, 11:40:02 am »
I don't think I would stand in court if this was ever contested. Many countries (Poland where I live included) have special registers of clauses that are forbidden in contracts. I'm pretty sure this would qualify...

Sent from my HTC One M8s using Tapatalk.

Probably not but can you afford to prove it in court?

You can't prevent a court case. That's not in your hands. If your employee sues you, it happens. Whatever you signed.
Here, you go to a labor court, where the judge knows these clauses very well.

 

Online Jeroen3

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2016, 12:18:15 pm »
Quote
Artikel 7: Indien de arbeid, in dienst van een ander verricht, bestaat in het vervaardigen van bepaalde werken van letterkunde, wetenschap of kunst, dan wordt, tenzij tusschen partijen anders is overeengekomen, als de maker van die werken aangemerkt degene, in wiens dienst de werken zijn vervaardigd.
Where labour carried out by an employee consists in the making of certain literary, scientific or artistic works, the employer shall be deemed the author thereof, unless otherwise agreed between the parties.
Source of translation
Our copyright law says that "some" works crafted during contract period are owned by the employer unless an agreement states otherwise.
I could find at least one case. Dutch case.
http://blog.iusmentis.com/2008/03/08/in-eigen-tijd-gemaakte-software-kan-toch-van-uw-baas-zijn/

Note that the interpretation of laws can differ. We only just switched from "you may copy music and movies from the internet for backup purposes use, even from alleged illegal sources" to "you are not allowed to download movies and music form alleged illegal sources". It's all in how you read them. Laws are fun.....
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 12:19:59 pm by Jeroen3 »
 

Online Zero999

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #59 on: May 04, 2016, 01:08:08 pm »
Quote
Artikel 7: Indien de arbeid, in dienst van een ander verricht, bestaat in het vervaardigen van bepaalde werken van letterkunde, wetenschap of kunst, dan wordt, tenzij tusschen partijen anders is overeengekomen, als de maker van die werken aangemerkt degene, in wiens dienst de werken zijn vervaardigd.
Where labour carried out by an employee consists in the making of certain literary, scientific or artistic works, the employer shall be deemed the author thereof, unless otherwise agreed between the parties.
Source of translation
Our copyright law says that "some" works crafted during contract period are owned by the employer unless an agreement states otherwise.
I could find at least one case. Dutch case.
http://blog.iusmentis.com/2008/03/08/in-eigen-tijd-gemaakte-software-kan-toch-van-uw-baas-zijn/

Note that the interpretation of laws can differ. We only just switched from "you may copy music and movies from the internet for backup purposes use, even from alleged illegal sources" to "you are not allowed to download movies and music form alleged illegal sources". It's all in how you read them. Laws are fun.....
Yes that's true in the UK and most jurisdictions. If someone employs a person to write some software, then the employer owns the copyright, not the employee.

However if the person being employed writes the software, outside of work, for a totally unrelated project, then their employer can't claim the copyright to it.
 

Online Jeroen3

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #60 on: May 04, 2016, 01:27:59 pm »
That is what the case was about. Someone made an open source software project, at home, and used that for work. Which was not allowed because the code at home was somewhat applicable to the code at work.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #61 on: May 04, 2016, 01:35:28 pm »
That is what the case was about. Someone made an open source software project, at home, and used that for work. Which was not allowed because the code at home was somewhat applicable to the code at work.
There in lies the problem: the two projects were related and he might have had difficulty proving that all of it was all developed outside of work.

Had it been something totally different, it would have been easier to prove.
 

Offline station240

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #62 on: May 04, 2016, 02:44:45 pm »
If you want to work on software at all outside of work, especially something that could be/is related to your day job. Then you need the agreement before you start working there.

I have a code Library I wrote entirely on my own, a software company wanted to use it, but also employ me to work on their software in general.
Suffice to say I had to force an agreement, that the Library remained mine, but the company had unlimited use of it.

If the Library needed new code/features I would add them at home, after hours or if I was really paranoid on weekends.
Hence the home computer had the paranoid config of dual independent windows installs, and yes one of them did fall over, took 15 seconds in the BIOS to switch to the other one.
 

Offline StuUK

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #63 on: May 04, 2016, 03:22:17 pm »
Pied Piper anyone  :D
 

Offline sarepairman2

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Re: FreeRouting is gone - Creator was bullied by Zuken to take it down
« Reply #64 on: May 06, 2016, 12:14:43 am »
develop that shit on a darknet website its a god damn routing program, you can draw that shit with a pencil :palm:

you can draw it on a peice of transparency with a sharpie. they gotta be smoking mad crack to make these allegations
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 12:16:38 am by sarepairman2 »
 


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