Author Topic: Reasons for hacking DSOs  (Read 90020 times)

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Offline c4757p

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2016, 11:37:39 pm »
The notion that unlocking something that's already in the scope you bought is "stealing" is frankly hilarious and not really worth the energy behind a serious response...

I write software for a living, I can't agree with you, I want to get paid for writing commercial software.

I think we shall all agree to disagree and carry on, this topic is a flame buster.

The software is already on the scope. I'm well within my rights to "steal" what I have already bought, screw your paycheck. If you want to get paid separately for it, don't give it to me with my scope and try to hide it away.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2016, 12:23:18 am »
Quote
The software is already on the scope. I'm well within my rights to "steal" what I have already bought, screw your paycheck. If you want to get paid separately for it, don't give it to me with my scope and try to hide it away.
Uhh, you haven't already "bought it." You wouldn't have to illegally unlock it, if you had paid for it. They sell that version, too, but you didn't want to actually pay for it.

Some people want the one with the higher numbers on the stat sheet, period. Even if they don't need it. This is why capitalism works and the peons still have nice things. :) Thank the 5% that pay a crazy premium on the top end gear so you can buy a basic scope at a very good price. (One that you can even hack, and no one is going to stop you; but you did not "already pay for it.")

Are the 5% stupid for paying vs hacking? No. They just have lots of money.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 12:29:54 am by KL27x »
 

Offline grouchobyte

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2016, 12:23:45 am »
Relax. Rigol, Agilent and others hide features for convenience and can easily unlock them for money. Thats what they want, a simple unlock code and you give them money for something they already developed and spent money on. They are hoping you will be honest and pay them for their cleverness.

If an OEM assumes you are dumb and wont spend the effort to thwart their lame attempts to circumvent you then they are just plain stupid. Typical Marketing wanks( as dave calls em......LOL) need to be a little more inventive and do more of this in hardware.....but that costs more money.

Weight that against letting a few hackers unlock thieir boxes. Trust me, the beancounters win every time and the software dudes get a full paycheck. No worries.


Been in those meetings and know the tradeoffs. Its always about revenue.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 12:43:19 am by grouchobyte »
 

Offline ovnr

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2016, 12:29:20 am »
On feature unlocking: Honestly, if $MFG doesn't want someone to unlock their shiny math functions or trigger modes by entering the magic code, stop shipping the instrument with said functionality built-in but disabled! I can understand copyright, but if all you're doing is take a key generated by the instrument, apply ~math~, and enter a new key? Totally 100% fine with me. Just like removing the BW limiting components from the hardware if it can't be turned off by software - the instrument is mine, regardless of what your fancy EULA says.


Yes, I'm well aware that it's "more convenient" than having the user flash new firmware/stick a module in/return it. So what? Either keep the convenience and deal with people "stealing" your precious $1500 options, or protect it better. Expecting me to honor a sleazy agreement to Not Do The Naughty Thing just so you can make a buck more is bound to lead to disappointment.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2016, 12:32:08 am »
Quote
The software is already on the scope. I'm well within my rights to "steal" what I have already bought, screw your paycheck. If you want to get paid separately for it, don't give it to me with my scope and try to hide it away.
Uhh, you haven't already "bought it." You wouldn't have to illegally unlock it, if you had paid for it. They sell that version, too, but you didn't want to actually pay for it.

Yes I have, it's on a memory chip inside a device I paid money for, that's how buying works. No, I didn't buy it on the terms they wanted me to, but I don't care what they want.

It'd be different if they didn't preload the software onto the device - if I had to download it from somewhere and load it on, that'd be piracy. But it's already there, all I have to do is say the right thing to it to make it work.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2016, 12:35:13 am »
The reason most people would need certain features is because combined with their $80,000 education it gives them the ability to make money at their 6 figure job/company. And hacking it illegally would create a liability. If you need $1500 features and you can't afford it, then you might be an idiot.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2016, 12:37:45 am »
What does whether or not you think I'm an idiot who can't make use of the features have to do with whether using something I bought is theft?

Bloody hell there are some stupid, stupid people on this forum.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2016, 12:42:07 am »
I'm not calling you an idiot. Those features have a cost. And you are not paying for them by buying the base unit and hacking it. Therefore it is theft. The only reason you can buy your scope at the price you paid IS because other people are buying the top end stuff at a premium. And ACTUALLY PAYING FOR IT. If you want to hack your scope, then do it. But don't insinuate that the manufacturer is greedy and is "locking" features that you "paid for." That is not true.

The cost of those features is insignificant to those who need them. If you have the knowledge and expertise to need them, someone will GIVE you a scope with those features and a nice paycheck, if you actually apply your knowledge in a way that is productive to them. I.e. get off your couch and work.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 12:54:05 am by KL27x »
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2016, 12:47:17 am »
Those features have a price that the vendor wants to sell them to me for - but they also sell them to me for much less, just with an inconvenient lock attached. What part of "they're already loaded onto my oscilloscope" don't you understand?

It's not my problem that they've chosen to give them away for less than they probably should. I don't owe them charity. They're offering me a choice: pay $X to get these features ready to use, or pay $Y to get these features (but you'll have to break into them, because we're giving them to you but putting a lock on them). If $X-$Y is more than what my time doing that is worth, then of course I'm going with the latter.
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Offline CustomEngineerer

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2016, 01:29:12 am »
Well, I'm likening Rigol to Compaq and Dell because those two companies were disruptors who stole the PC business from IBM. Compaq created and sold the first ever PC Compatibles (IBM didn't think to pay to exclusively license DOS from MS, and Compaq clean-room reverse engineered their BIOS, if memory serves, and most everything else was off the shelf), and very quickly started selling better/faster computers than IBM themselves were. And Dell stacked 'em high and sold 'em cheap. There was a _long_ time during which "Business Computer" meant "IBM" for many companies, just like HP/Agilent/WhateverItIsThisMonth, Tek, etc. They seemed unassailable. They were not.

Except thats not even close to whats happening. Rigol's not a threat to the big boys, and hasn't really taken anything away from them. They may be doing very well at the bottom of the bottom, but thats not a place the big boys really even care about or try to compete in. Even Rigol's higher DS4000 and DS6000 models are no where near a threat to the established companies because they suffer from the same issues as the lower end models yet Rigol charges similar prices to the competition. If you are going to pay that much for a scope wouldn't you rather have something thats proven to work well?

The reason I unlocked my scope even though I don't need all the functionality that gets me is because Rigol doesn't seem to care and hopefully that will get me further into the future before I need to upgrade.
 

Offline ovnr

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2016, 03:22:48 am »
The reason most people would need certain features is because combined with their $80,000 education it gives them the ability to make money at their 6 figure job/company. And hacking it illegally would create a liability. If you need $1500 features and you can't afford it, then you might be an idiot.

Need and want are different things. I don't need a serial protocol analyzer; it's still convenient to not have to do it by hand.

As for affording it: There is also a difference between being able to afford something, and being willing to pay through the nose to unlock something you already own. And the whole argument that there would be no cheap scopes if there weren't unlockable features is frankly laughable. How many people actually shell out for the extras? How much extra development time does it take? Frankly it'd appear that most of the unlockables would recoup their dev cost with only a handful sales, which would leave a rather sour taste in my mouth if I were to pay the going rate.

Also, my general policy is that I spend more money on things (and companies) I like or approve of, and avoid spending money on things I don't like. And since I think the "everything is an optional extra" school of business is fucking stupid, I'm not going to support it by spending money on it. I'd rather buy a product that the manufacturer can proudly proclaim to have done their very best work on, and that is complete - not sold piece-meal to appease the beancounters. This also means that while I happily spend money on independent music, the big labels will never see a single cent from me. A fact that does not preclude me from enjoying big-label music, something I'm sure horrifies your sense of morality. I keep mine locked in a box; it's made both our lives easier.


In any event, your argument would hold more water if the cheap scopes market was slowly dying and the manufacturers were circling the drain. But the opposite is true. Food for thought, isn't it?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 03:26:34 am by ovnr »
 

Offline Keysight DanielBogdanoff

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2016, 04:19:39 am »
There's some interesting legislation on this in the USA, mostly around unlocking cell phones.

Of course, Keysight doesn't encourage, support, or aid "hacking" our scopes.  But, don't try to by a cheap scope, hack it, and sell it as an upgraded scope. In my personal opinion, that's when it becomes stealing.

Why do it? Because it's there...
 
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2016, 04:25:57 am »
Quote
And the whole argument that there would be no cheap scopes if there weren't unlockable features is frankly laughable. How many people actually shell out for the extras?
This is not laughable. This is capitalism. This is how we all eat. Giving consumer options. Without this, we live in a boring efficient society where everyone gets the same thing... the minimum that is needed for their government job, lol.

Capitalism creates a crazy wealthy minority. Must give them something to spend their money on. Am I sad because I don't have a Borghatti in my driveway? Sure. Yeah. I hate Borghotti for not selling me a car for the same cost as a Ford Focus. How dare they!
Quote
And since I think the "everything is an optional extra" school of business is fucking stupid, I'm not going to support it by spending money on it.
I don't care about this too much. When I shopped my scope, I really jonesed for the latest 4 channel lower-end Siglent, phosphor tech. I passed because because it was too expensive. Not because the other 2 channels has to be unlocked for 250.00.. Because the TOTAL cost of the scope plus upgrade was too much.

So I bought a Hantek. And no, I don't care at all that it can be hacked to a higher bandwidth. It does not bother me. I don't feel cheated. It has the specs I wanted for the price I wanted. That's WHY I bought it in the first place.

If I have a job that calls for a $10,000 scope (and if the job will net me more than $10,000) I will buy it. If will get $10,000 worth of enjoyment out of a scope just to look at it on my bench and know it's the best, I will buy it.

If I enjoy hacking stuff, maybe I will hack a scope for the sheer fun of it. Maybe I will torrent movies and music, too, while I'm at it. But I won't claim I "bought and paid for and own" this stuff, already.

When the guy paying me to write firmware asks me to lock certain features, I do it. He's paying. I'm making. No big deal.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 04:44:43 am by KL27x »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2016, 06:01:19 am »
When you buy software, you are purchasing the license to utilize the bits that make the software. I have licenses for SolidWorks, MasterCAM and other high-end software licenses. They send my media with all possible options, but only give me a key for the modules I pay for. The difference is about $10k from basic to loaded. Am I allowed to hack and use what I did not pay for just because I have the program on my computer but have no key? It is explicitly illegal and it should be.

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Online Kilrah

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2016, 07:51:26 am »
I write software for a living, I can't agree with you, I want to get paid for writing commercial software.
You got paid when you wrote the software for the high end device. The way the company finances that and how it reflects on its customers doesn't directly affect you.

It's easier to make that argument for the frequency unlock, which is very obviously handicapping a device for the sole purposes of market segmentation and future revenue stream. It's clever, effective, but it feels a bit skeevy. Charging for decoding modules and other software features is a different matter, you're adding functionality, not just de-restricting.

I happily disagree with you. The decoding modules are, like the frequency capabilities, already there, they are just turned off without the correct key. I don't see that being different from the frequency unlock.

This depends a bit on the options, let's see what Rigol offers.
Frequency capability is determined 100% by hardware, there is no additional software work involved to make use of it. So if the hardware I bought is capable of a certain frequency but the manufacturer tries to make me pay extra for it then I clearly feel robbed. Same for memory, it's there in the machine, I've paid for it, but they lock it out for no good reason.

Advanced trigger, serial decoding are software-only features, so there it makes more sense to ask for extra payment - BUT it should be reasonable, and the problem is that it usually isn't. If you can build an entire scope and its huge firmware and sell it for $400, then the comparatively tiny amount of work your engineers had to do to add decoding of 4 serial protocols to the existing firmware base certainly isn't worth $174.
I mean, I can buy a full-fledged product that includes hardware and dedicated software that did not have a base developed for another already marketed application and does much more than that for $100... so that pricing simply makes no sense and can't appear in any other way than price gouging.
Another way to see it is that by having serial decoding as an option it is obvious only a fraction of users will buy it, say 10%. It means that had they shipped it by default and priced it for same income on that feature each scope would be only $17.4 more. That's the real price of the feature. I'd happily pay $17.4 more for it even if I didn't use it, and I doubt anybody would complain about it being an excessively expensive feature they don't want. They'd do more good by selling the scope for a mere 4% more and allowing everybody to make use of a tool rather than restrict its access by asking for a disproportionate amount to a small number of users. Given that decision of theirs that appear excessievely stupid to me, I won't feel bad hacking the $17.4 feature that should have been built-in in the first place.

I certainly understand the ways a company might use to attract customers, offer devices cheaper than they can be made for and recouping costs somewhere else etc, but ultimately it is their decision of how much they deviate from "reasonable" pricing and how it affects their customers' perception. If they want to go with it even if it feels so wrong, so be it, and the consequence is that people will try to "correct" that if they can. It is totally avoidable, but in the end it makes people talk, and as previously said there is a gain from that as well that they are certainly factoring in.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 07:55:21 am by Kilrah »
 

Offline ovnr

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2016, 10:18:29 am »
Of course, Keysight doesn't encourage, support, or aid "hacking" our scopes.  But, don't try to by a cheap scope, hack it, and sell it as an upgraded scope. In my personal opinion, that's when it becomes stealing.

This is something I agree with. Don't try to make a profit on hacking stuff, unless you yourself have invested a substantial amount of work in it - for instance, if you've repaired your Rigol scope (*rolls eyes*). And never try to pass it off as something it isn't - my hacked Flir E4 is still a hacked E4, not an E8. I'd happily describe it as having "E8-like performance", but that's where the buck stops.

 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2016, 10:51:12 am »
There's some interesting legislation on this in the USA, mostly around unlocking cell phones.

US law is also different to European law as to how it treats software. As an end user, if you buy some software then you're pretty much just buying a right-to-use license as stipulated in EULAs and similar licensing conditions. In the EU, software sales in general are treated as sales of goods, i.e. you "own" the copy of your software and are free to do with it as you please as long as it doesn't violate other laws (i.e. copyright, which of course remains with the rights holder).

Quote
Of course, Keysight doesn't encourage, support, or aid "hacking" our scopes.  But, don't try to by a cheap scope, hack it, and sell it as an upgraded scope. In my personal opinion, that's when it becomes stealing.

I agree, and I'd go as far as saying that hacking should be limited to non-commercial use only.

However, I also have to say that I think the manufacturers like Keysight carry a large part of blame for the increase in hacking, which could have easily avoided by offering cheap genuine licenses without any support for non-commercial use, and by offering a way for owners of obsolete kit to unlock the once locked features (which in most cases are obsolete technology anyways) for little money or even for free.

Pretty much the only manufacturer I'm aware of that has done something like that is LeCroy. If you own any of their old high-end scopes (9300 Series, LC Series) then you can get the GALs that unlock all the advanced functionality in these scopes for $40 or so (or just download the images and burn the GALs yourself), with full approval from LeCroy.

It's a real shame that other manufacturers (like Keysight) can't offer something similar for their obsolete kit.
 
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Offline RGB255_0_0

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2016, 11:00:49 am »
There's some interesting legislation on this in the USA, mostly around unlocking cell phones.

US law is also different to European law as to how it treats software. As an end user, if you buy some software then you're pretty much just buying a right-to-use license as stipulated in EULAs and similar licensing conditions. In the EU, software sales in general are treated as sales of goods, i.e. you "own" the copy of your software and are free to do with it as you please as long as it doesn't violate other laws (i.e. copyright, which of course remains with the rights holder).
Can you cite a reputable reference for this? Something from the EC.
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Online wraper

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2016, 11:04:10 am »
There's some interesting legislation on this in the USA, mostly around unlocking cell phones.

US law is also different to European law as to how it treats software. As an end user, if you buy some software then you're pretty much just buying a right-to-use license as stipulated in EULAs and similar licensing conditions. In the EU, software sales in general are treated as sales of goods, i.e. you "own" the copy of your software and are free to do with it as you please as long as it doesn't violate other laws (i.e. copyright, which of course remains with the rights holder).
Can you cite a reputable reference for this? Something from the EC.
IIRC the legal precedent was set in the case about jailbraking the iphones.
Here it is: http://www.wired.com/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 11:05:51 am by wraper »
 

Online Kilrah

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2016, 11:11:27 am »
Quote
Of course, Keysight doesn't encourage, support, or aid "hacking" our scopes.  But, don't try to by a cheap scope, hack it, and sell it as an upgraded scope. In my personal opinion, that's when it becomes stealing.

I agree, and I'd go as far as saying that hacking should be limited to non-commercial use only.

However, I also have to say that I think the manufacturers like Keysight carry a large part of blame for the increase in hacking, which could have easily avoided by offering cheap genuine licenses without any support for non-commercial use, and by offering a way for owners of obsolete kit to unlock the once locked features (which in most cases are obsolete technology anyways) for little money or even for free.

It's a real shame that other manufacturers (like Keysight) can't offer something similar for their obsolete kit.
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Offline meeder

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2016, 11:36:46 am »
The notion that unlocking something that's already in the scope you bought is "stealing" is frankly hilarious and not really worth the energy behind a serious response...

I write software for a living, I can't agree with you, I want to get paid for writing commercial software.

I think we shall all agree to disagree and carry on, this topic is a flame buster.
Was the practice of unlocking a CPU multiplier with a pencil stealing as well? AMD surely didn't mind because they sold shitloads of CPU's once it became common knowledge.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #46 on: March 19, 2016, 12:56:25 pm »
I'm not calling you an idiot. Those features have a cost. And you are not paying for them by buying the base unit and hacking it. Therefore it is theft. The only reason you can buy your scope at the price you paid IS because other people are buying the top end stuff at a premium. And ACTUALLY PAYING FOR IT.
If that where true then Rigol would have been long gone. It is extremely foolish to structurally sell products at a loss!
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Offline Jwalling

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #47 on: March 19, 2016, 02:20:03 pm »
Pretty much the only manufacturer I'm aware of that has done something like that is LeCroy. If you own any of their old high-end scopes (9300 Series, LC Series) then you can get the GALs that unlock all the advanced functionality in these scopes for $40 or so (or just download the images and burn the GALs yourself), with full approval from LeCroy.

It's a real shame that other manufacturers (like Keysight) can't offer something similar for their obsolete kit.

Actually, Tektronix did with the TDS3000 series. With a firmware update, they enabled TDS3TRG and TDS3FFT.
That's the only one I know of other than the Lecroy GALS.

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Online Howardlong

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2016, 03:03:13 pm »
ISTR Agilent increased the deep memory on the 5000/6000/7000 series to 8Mpt in a firmware upgrade at some point.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2016, 08:10:22 pm »
By the letter of the law - unlocking a feature that explicitly requires a paid license is stealing. The law doesn't care about your feelings, it only cares about the rules on the paper. With that said, any manufacturer will balance the ease of manufacturing/support with threat of hacking based loss of revenue. If a bunch of hobbyists spend a ton of time figuring out how to circumvent a lecinse so they can get an extra feature - it's not really lost revenue so it's not worth pursuing any legal action. Technically illegal, but in the noise floor of issues that need to be dealt with.

On the other hand, if those hacks are being used by commercial companies that are making money off the hacked features - another story may unfold. This argument:
I write software for a living, I can't agree with you, I want to get paid for writing commercial software.
You got paid when you wrote the software for the high end device. The way the company finances that and how it reflects on its customers doesn't directly affect you.

Yes, it does. Or at least it can. If the company is not making money off the software add-ons because they are being hacked and not paid for. They will no longer offer those and the software team will be thinned out. While I care about today's paycheck - I don't want it to be my last one.

I would hazard a guess that the target customer of Keysight is not likely to bother with hacking software features. It is generally less expensive to just pay the money and have the features you need to do your job. My milling machines had all kinds of software locks that ranged from $500 to a few $k but with a 200 hours 'demo' mode. You could turn them on and see if they help you. After 200 hours you have to pay up if you want to keep them.  A number of people tried to hack the clock, but the software/hardware had some tamper monitor and it would brick the machine controller. I did not want that so I wrote a check, got my options, and milled parts.

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