Author Topic: Reasons for hacking DSOs  (Read 89624 times)

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Offline Kilrah

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #75 on: March 20, 2016, 05:29:01 pm »
but does this make it OK but the same legal, ethical rules that say that you not allowed to modify "hack" and unlock a software in order to use the existing hardware in a different way than is meant to be. Following this logic the answer is No, neither making it profitable business.
It's different because in the "replacement software" case there is typically no loss of gain involved for the manufacturer. After all, if you buy $device only to throw the supplied software away you've still paid the manufacturer for both the hardware and the software you don't use, so they've got nothing to complain about. I've never read about someone explicitely restricting someone from doing such a thing with their hardware, nor if they'd have the right to in the first place. Kinda doubt this would be done. For example Apple clearly forbids in the OSX licensing agreement to run it on non-Apple hardware, but if you buy Apple hardware they couldn't care less about what other OS you run on it.

You'd probably want to open your scope's manual and read what nobody usually ever reads, where there would typically be a license agreement for the software and something stating that "by using the product you agree to it", and see if that includes something about the hardware as well. If there isn't then you're free to do whatever you want, otherwise you'd be bound to those as well providing they're legal. Whether they are is another matter, and whether variations like buying a bare scope (without $option that manufacturer sells) then replacing the firmware with something that implements the functionality $option provides (i.e. involving loss of gain) could be considered a breach etc is something that I believe has never been debated despite it happening many times in history, and if it was to be it probably would become a matter of an army of lawyers spending a couple of years to decide on, not something we can figure out here (and is why it's unknown at this point, the investment needed to find out would probably be bigger than what anyone could afford and more than what anyone would ever risk losing due to the practice).
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #76 on: March 20, 2016, 05:30:01 pm »
I don't care if that's where their money comes from, they chose to give me the software, so I'm going to use it. If you sell me something, I'm going to do whatever I want with it. Don't like it, don't sell it to me. That simple.
They didn't give anything to you, they only sold a licence to use it.
Yes they did, because you're "physically" in possession of the actual code for the feature, it's just locked.

No. You have bought and are in possession of a very large finite state machine (the executable code). You are modifying that FSM to do something you haven't bought.

There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Kilrah

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #77 on: March 20, 2016, 05:46:49 pm »
You are modifying that FSM to do something you haven't bought.
No, only inputting a bit of data to one of that state machine's inputs that has precisely been provided to modify its behavior, with nothing being put in place to prevent me from doing so other than not documenting it.
If it involved breaking encryption or other non-trivial measures that have been actively implemented to prevent such a thing, which I believe DMCA is about then it could be a problem, but it's far from being a "black or white" scenario and isn't really the case here.
For example Tektronix giving unlock modules as EEPROMS containing plaintext... Come on, 99% of your customers are EEs for which it's absolutely trivial and who might nearly even find that by accident without even looking to hack due to their inherent curiosity... it's obvious they either had no intention to protect their system, or were absolutely stupid to the level where they should be ashamed of themselves and deserve to eat it.
 

Offline mnementh

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #78 on: March 20, 2016, 06:40:27 pm »
It used to be a manufacturer made different actual hardware to produce various models with more or less capability, thereby making market segmentation. Once software-based control systems became sophisticated enough, then they were able to restrict hardware capabilities by not including the control software to make it work. This was the beginning of crippleware. Now, instead of even bothering to produce different software for the different models, they've taken the ultimate lazy-ass and made the crippleware simple toggles they can turn on and off.

There are STILL ongoing litigation that have been fought for decades over whether it is legal to SELL a hardware product yet still hold the software required for that hardware to work as a separate entity that you don't relinquish rights to; in essence SELLING something but STILL demanding that you STILL OWN some part of it. In other parts of the civilized world these arguments have been shut down in favor of the consumer, and it has been decided that you can't do that. SELL means SELL, RENT means RENT. Microsoft has gotten spanked dozens of times by these proceedings, and it is why they're moving to a services-for-hire business model.

The batshit crazy pro-corporation political climate of the US has allowed these battles to continue, and to keep common sense from obtaining scenarios like this. Even the very legality of "break-seal licensing" and "click-through" licensing is still up in the air over here.  ::)

That said... given how much real concern these very same Chinese manufacturers have for US Copyright and CopyLeft laws, and knowing that the very code in these machines is probably a mix of both stolen copyrighted code and LINUX, which license expressly requires that all such code modifications, even even that forked to use for profit, much be released back to the open-source source pool, I have very little compunction regards using the digital equivalent of a bent paper clip to "unlock" code that is probably illegally locked away to begin with, and is locked under the equivalent of a novelty pair of fuzzy handcuffs.

Bottom line is if they're too damned lazy to even make different versions of the code, but instead deliver the hardware with ALL the software fully functional on it but deliberately crippled, they DESERVE to have folks unlock their hardware once they take physical possession of it. And they deserve to have folks who know how to code release their "unlocked" source code back to the LINUX code pool, thereby fulfilling the terms of that license as the CopyLeft of that base code explicitly states.


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« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 07:58:33 pm by mnementh »
 

Offline XynxNet

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #79 on: March 20, 2016, 06:54:54 pm »
I think optimizing things is part of the "engineering dna".
Having this mindset it's only natural if you want to optimize your test equipment too.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #80 on: March 20, 2016, 09:55:52 pm »
You are modifying that FSM to do something you haven't bought.
No, only inputting a bit of data to one of that state machine's inputs that has precisely been provided to modify its behavior, with nothing being put in place to prevent me from doing so other than not documenting it.
If it involved breaking encryption or other non-trivial measures that have been actively implemented to prevent such a thing, which I believe DMCA is about then it could be a problem, but it's far from being a "black or white" scenario and isn't really the case here.
For example Tektronix giving unlock modules as EEPROMS containing plaintext... Come on, 99% of your customers are EEs for which it's absolutely trivial and who might nearly even find that by accident without even looking to hack due to their inherent curiosity... it's obvious they either had no intention to protect their system, or were absolutely stupid to the level where they should be ashamed of themselves and deserve to eat it.

By that "argument" you think it is acceptable if someone took things from your home because you didn't have the most secure  known locks on the front door.

Or do you think that is acceptable?
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline ruffy91

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #81 on: March 20, 2016, 10:03:29 pm »
It's more like someone sells you a house but wants 50% extra for the keys to the rooms. So you decide to buy the house and break open the room doors.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #82 on: March 20, 2016, 10:30:06 pm »
It's more like someone sells you a house but wants 50% extra for the keys to the rooms. So you decide to buy the house and break open the room doors.

No, it's more like your purchased a condo and you broke into the adjacent condos because they are all connected. Or maybe you wanted a deal on the house so you purchased a portion of it, with the option to buy the other rooms at a later time. Without payment, you decide to use those rooms anyway because you figured out how to pick the lock.

The arguments here are kind of funny to me, justified stealing. Because no one is getting in trouble for it, it's no longer stealing. If a manufacturer, for whatever reason they choose, writes software that is intended for sale and someone uses it without buying it by circumventing a lock system - its stealing. The magnitude and the reason does not matter. If the manufacturer chooses, they can give you the key or sell it to you but that is the decision of the IP owner. You own the physical hardware but you do NOT own the intellectual property. That means that you could, if you wanted, write your own code from scratch to make the hardware do what you want, but you cannot break a lock to use a feature that the company sells.

Like I said earlier - I have various expensive software packages on my computer that are sold in modules. The entire program is installed on the computer but only the modules I paid for will work. If I break the lock (which I know how to do), I will be treated like a murderer. I should not get the benefit of something that I was unwilling to pay for. I am not entitled to use it just because the bits and bytes are on my system drive.

Imagine if every single user of modern scopes purchased the cheapest model and hacked all the features. Now imagine you own the scope business and just spent $10mil on on options that allow you to offer a wider range of solutions to your customers. Your $10million will not be coming back to you.

Now, if the manufacturers did not include any of this on the scopes and required owners to send the scoped in for any update or add-on - that is SHITTY for everyone. I really like the idea of paying for what I need and only needing to apply a key to unlock the option. Software is essentially a rental license since no-one sells the software they only the sell you a license to benefit from it.

So when the manufacturers decide to make the options a total pain in the ass difficult - I will have many of you hackers to thank for that. Thanks in advance for pushing the industry into a defensive position where we all suffer. You people can justify all day long - but the end result is that we all suffer the consequence eventually. You cannot justify it because you think the manufacturer has made enough money, or the option is ridiculously expensive - that is their choice and there are a LOT of competitors that keep that in check.
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Offline ruffy91

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #83 on: March 20, 2016, 10:54:03 pm »
No it's not like breaking in another condo. It doesn't belong to anyone else. You bought the house with all the rooms. The business model is just not the best when you decide to build all the houses the same and differentiate between them with the keys you give the buyer.
They had exactly the same expenses, if you bought it with or without options. They sent you all the software and hardware. It's yours! You can do with it whatever you want.
If you don't have the right to do with it what you want you haven't bought it but rented/leased/licensed it.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #84 on: March 20, 2016, 11:03:58 pm »
If you don't have the right to do with it what you want you haven't bought it but rented/leased/licensed it.

Correct. You have not licensed it.

The manufacturer chooses to offer options and those options are easily accessible should you need them. Or you can steal them and say fuck you to the manufacturer. You don't own the license or the right to use the software. Period end of story. You choose to and it is relatively easy, but you are still stealing no matter what.
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Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #85 on: March 21, 2016, 12:14:20 am »
Quote
Screw the "product is worth what people are ready to pay for it, not how much it actually costs to make" paradigm. This marketing scheme is a pain for users and nobody really wants it,
If you think Agilent/Rigol/Keysight et al are simply "making extra money for nothing," with this sales model, you're not thinking it thru all the way. If the profit margin is this huge, why the hell don't you go into the oscilloscope business for yourself, lol. Or start buying stock. You're not paying for just the hardware. You're paying for the marketing, the shipping department, the R&D... and the exective's fat salary.

It's a competitive market. They have these strategies in order to STAY in business. To continue providing us with the tools we need. If profits go down, or negative, do you think the CEO is going to cut his salary first? Or are there a lot of other people like you and me that are going to be out of a job, first? The fat cats at the top are going to get paid, either way.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 12:34:51 am by KL27x »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #86 on: March 21, 2016, 12:20:39 am »
It's more like someone sells you a house but wants 50% extra for the keys to the rooms. So you decide to buy the house and break open the room doors.

It is considered polite to quote what you are responding to. If we presume it it https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/reasons-for-hacking-dsos/msg899888/#msg899888
then your note is not addressing that message.

In addition, your response is not a good point. If you want to argue by analogy, which is always weak and dangerous, then you have chosen not to buy the whole building when it was offered to you, but you have chosen to only buy part of the building. That doesn't entitle you to take possession of the rest of the building.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #87 on: March 21, 2016, 12:23:59 am »
Quote
Screw the "product is worth what people are ready to pay for it, not how much it actually costs to make" paradigm. This marketing scheme is a pain for users and nobody really wants it,
If you think Agilent/Rigol/Keysight et al are simply "making extra money for nothing," with this sales model, you're not thinking it thru all the way. If the profit margin is this huge, why the hell don't you go into the oscilloscope business for yourself, lol. Or start buying stock.
It's a competitive market. They have these strategies in order to STAY in business. To continue providing us with the tools we need.

Precisely. TANSTAAFL.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #88 on: March 21, 2016, 12:29:09 am »
Selling someone a piece of hardware but only allowing them to use half of the memory/bandwidth is stealing.

Hacking the firmware is not stealing. It may be considered to be copyright violation but it isn't stealing because the person who wrote the software still has the code. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO STEAL SOFTWARE!
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #89 on: March 21, 2016, 12:36:46 am »
If you want to buy just the hardware with no firmware on it, they can probably sell you that, too. You're not buying "hardware" when you buy a scope.

I'll give you a pile of ADC's and RAM and an LCD and CPU for $200.00. All the stuff you need to make a top end $2,000 scope. You'll have it 10 years and $30 million dollars, later. Let's see how "free" it feels when you have design the circuitry and write the firmware, yourself.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 12:40:56 am by KL27x »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #90 on: March 21, 2016, 12:41:48 am »
A machinst that I know got hacked SolidWorks and MasterCAM so that he could save money. Total value is over $20k. That isn't stealing because the software developers still have the source code?

Wow, that is an interesting argument. You can steal intangible property, and that is what this guy did. He is legally forbidden from using these two pieces if software without a license. If I reported it, do you think a lawyer will struggle to put him in jail?

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Offline nctnico

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #91 on: March 21, 2016, 01:01:16 am »
There are several open source oscilloscope software packages. The biggest problem is getting the hardware cheap enough. One of the projects I'm working on is a distributed oscilloscope which are synchronised down to a few ps over a network (albeit with special switches). This is to be released as open hardware/software at some point.

Anyway, hacking isn't always about unlocking features. Hacking is also very usefull to extend and enhance features. For example: the Tektronix logic analyser I have allows to load plugins for dissambly and protocol decoding. Someone figured out what the plugin DLL should look like and I created some useful decoder packages for it. Other hacks I did in the past was putting a higher resolution screen in a logic analyser or replace CRT screens with TFT screens.

@rx8pilot: putting people in jail doesn't help software manufacturers. The usual way is to make people pay for the software IF a lawsuit to do so has any chance of succes. The number of people going to jail for copyright infringement (yes, you really can't steal software!) is in the sub-ppm range but those cases usually involve mass scale distribution and making loads of money in the process.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Nerull

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #92 on: March 21, 2016, 01:05:12 am »
I don't care if that's where their money comes from, they chose to give me the software, so I'm going to use it. If you sell me something, I'm going to do whatever I want with it. Don't like it, don't sell it to me. That simple.
They didn't give anything to you, they only sold a licence to use it.
Yes they did, because you're "physically" in possession of the actual code for the feature, it's just locked.

No. You have bought and are in possession of a very large finite state machine (the executable code). You are modifying that FSM to do something you haven't bought.

Now imagine someone that proposed that changing parts in a machine to make it do something else was illegal. Completely ridiculous, right? That would never hold up - you own a machine, you can do what you want with it.

Some devices use resistors to select hardware capabilities. Is moving that resistor illegal?

These cases are far from as settled as some would like them to be. Courts are still divided over the general enforcibility of software licenses, but several have found that a paper license included in the box, but with no "I agree" prompt required to use the software, is unenforceable. Rigol does not prompt for license agreements, and under these rulings the software on the scope is sold, and not licensed.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 01:15:52 am by Nerull »
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #93 on: March 21, 2016, 01:19:15 am »
I did not literally mean jail time. However a fine plus a demand for immediate payment is not at all ridiculous if they have the appropriate legal requirements to do so. The point was to say that using licensed software without a license is indeed illegal and having the bits on your computer or scope does not give you a license.



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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #94 on: March 21, 2016, 01:23:01 am »
Some quick reading revealed some interesting numbers.

Copyright owner can go after $150k and the government can independently prosecute for $250k AND 5 years in jail.

http://www.bsa.org/anti-piracy/tools-page/software-piracy-and-the-law/?sc_lang=en-US


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Offline Nerull

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #95 on: March 21, 2016, 01:27:45 am »
Entering numbers into a screen isn't a copyright violation. Its maybe a DMCA violation, possibly a license violation if you're in a court where it happens to be enforceable that week. To violate copyright you must distribute something. Copying someone elses artwork and redistributing it is a copyright violation, downloading that work in your browser and viewing it is not.

Good thing too, or opening your eyes would be illegal.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 01:31:29 am by Nerull »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #96 on: March 21, 2016, 01:28:28 am »
Some quick reading revealed some interesting numbers.

http://www.bsa.org/anti-piracy/tools-page/software-piracy-and-the-law/?sc_lang=en-US
I wouldn't quote the BSA for any reliable information on the subject! The information provided by these kind of organisations is very coloured and opiniated to say the least.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #97 on: March 21, 2016, 01:38:44 am »
I guess this is why im not a lawyer,  lol.

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Offline ovnr

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #98 on: March 21, 2016, 02:23:34 am »
Quote from: rx8pilot
Words in general.

A) Not everyone is in the US and bound by US laws. Thank god.

B) I quite honestly do not give a shit about whether the law (or the EULA) says something is right or wrong or purple or tastes like oranges. I consider certain actions to be morally valid (helping old ladies across the road, paying taxes, unlocking options), and certain to be immoral (killing people, stealing someone's car, being involved in politics). In situations where my morals differ from the letter of the law, my main consideration is the likelihood of being prosecuted for breaking them. If it's low - and it really generally is low! - I do whatever I damn well please.


People like yourself who prance around with the idea that they're somehow superior because they obliviously - and obsessively - obey every single tenet of the law without consideration for common sense amuse me greatly. How in the world do you think things have progressed - by everyone blindly following our beloved leaders at all times? I think a rather large number of minorities would disagree with you there.
 

Offline Teneyes

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Re: Reasons for hacking DSOs
« Reply #99 on: March 21, 2016, 02:47:40 am »
My $0.25.    I bought the Rigol DS2000 for the features, and felt strongly that a hack may happen.
I feel Rigol knew the marketing benefits,  as the news of a hack was spread to public from the past sales of the DS1052.  And the results of new FW on sales.    Rigol setup  for large sales . Institutions would buy any options needed .Rigol setup to maximize profits. Cover manufacturing costs and get profits.  Rigol knew fully that the first DS2000 FW releases were open text and people could see BW and all options were in the FW.  And the assemble code was easy to disassemble . It would have been So easy to encrypt the FW.  Setting up some cheese to catch many sales. Look how much Rigol has become a popular Test equipment.

 On another side ,  I have tested  many features of The Rigol and report bugs in options to Rigol, with fixes occurring in new FW.
I have also recieved Beta FW to test, and token gifts . They know I have hacked the DSO.

I feel I have developed a cooperative relationship with Rigol , to Everyone's benefit.

I Love the investigation and develope of the hack as a mystery story :)
I have 4 Rigol Equipment.
IiIiIiIiIi  --  curiosity killed the cat but, satisfaction brought it back
 


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