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IVAO model matching rule set removed from server


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This is just a brief note to the vPilot user base to let you know that I have removed the IVAO model matching rule set from the vPilot server so it is no longer available for download within the client. If you'd like to know why, read on:

 

I did so because IVAO wants their model set to be used only when flying on IVAO. While I'm not explicitly violating the IVAO user agreement by providing the model matching rules file, I am acting against their wishes, because I'm enabling vPilot users to violate the IVAO agreement. I've been on the fence about this issue ever since I released vPilot and saw that many users wanted to use the IVAO model set with vPilot on VATSIM. Someone created a model matching rule set for the IVAO models and I posted it for download, figuring I wasn't technically doing anything against their user agreement, and I can't stop users from distributing that file among themselves anyway.

 

However, I recently became aware of another network (not IVAO) that was reverse engineering some of my code and using one of my clients on their own network. I sent an email to that group asking them to stop. This made me reconsider my decision to post the IVAO model matching rule set for download from the vPilot server. For me to continue to enable users to act against IVAO's wishes is really just hypocritical behavior on my part. As such, I will no longer provide that file for download, nor distribute it through other means, and obviously I won't be using the IVAO model set on my own system. (I just use World of AI models.) I also will not knowingly allow the vPilot forums to be used to distribute the file or provide support for using the IVAO models with vPilot.

 

Lastly, I encourage every vPilot user to delete the IVAO model matching rules from your vPilot configuration and respect the wishes (and user agreement) of the IVAO model set developers. Obviously, you can keep on using the IVAO model set on VATSIM and there's essentially nothing anybody can do about it, but I hope you'll all consider joining me in this one small effort to "do the right thing". Those of you that do so, you have my thanks.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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You have support from me! Great job, and thanks for the awesome work on the clients you have developed

Hoo Jiong Sheng

Training Director, VATSIM Southeast Asia

Senior Controller & Divisional Instructor

Director of Flight Ops. (Overseas) - Singapore Virtual Airlines Group

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VATSEA Website | VATSEA Discord

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Do you have any tips on how to go about installing the vast amounts of different airlines included in WOAI?

 

It's been a while since I set up my WoAI models, but if I remember right, I just downloaded each airline that I wanted and unzipped them manually.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Do you have any tips on how to go about installing the vast amounts of different airlines included in WOAI?

 

It's been a while since I set up my WoAI models, but if I remember right, I just downloaded each airline that I wanted and unzipped them manually.

 

Seems like a bit of a pain if you wanted the major airlines but having to click download on each one, could take a while for sure

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Hi Ross,

 

Interesting topic.

 

I understand where you are coming from, especially considering the situation with your client being used elsewhere.

 

However, IVAO are essentially distributing "free to use" AI models/liveries. They have their own in house team who make sure that the library is structured correctly & kept up to date, but apart from that, you can get them anywhere. Also, as far as I'm aware the non stock AI liveries are user contributed.

 

Perhaps it's time we had our own in house team of "model matchers" that can keep the library up to date. We already have the ability to download/update files within vPilot, so surely it wouldn't be difficult to implement?

 

I'm more than certain there would be enough volunteers to make it work.

 

vPilot was a huge step in the right direction to bring our pilot experience in line with that of controllers. If we sorted out the model matching, all that's left is the voice quality and we're good to go!

 

Cheers.

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there was/is a project already in the works for an in-house model set which will accept submissions from the general user. its one of the projects being done by the Swift team which Ross has previously mentioned will support when thats done.

 

hope can support ice ai /sky ai

 

Ice AI and Sky AI are the same team and they have had issues with developers with the way they have chosen to conduct themselves.

 

the models are free, but people often mistake free with "do whatever you want with them". IVAO also uses many of these same free models, the difference is they went through the proper channels and got the permissions.

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With Matt's idea, we could also implement something to take into account the numerous VATSIM VAs that use callsigns that are either used by a small airline, or just don't exist at all.

 

CXA (Xiamen or Canadian Xpress), DVA (Delta [Virtual]), UKV (UK Virtual), etc.

 

This would require a lot of work, like most of VATSIM's global projects but could be beneficial in the long run.

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there was/is a project already in the works for an in-house model set which will accept submissions from the general user. its one of the projects being done by the Swift team which Ross has previously mentioned will support when thats done.

 

I remember this project from about 2 years ago. Is it still alive?

http://vrep.vatsim-germany.org/Flyer.html

Deon Mathews

VATSIM Marketing & Communications Team

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I remember this project from about 2 years ago. Is it still alive?

http://vrep.vatsim-germany.org/Flyer.html

 

 

No, not as a separated project. But this team has been already integrated into the Swift project team.

Do you want your Virtual Airline to become an official partner on VATSIM or to participate in the VAA Program?
Visit https://www.vatsim.net/pilots/virtual-airlines

Tim Wong
Director of Virtual Airline Relations
VATSIM.net Virtual Airlines and Special Operations Administration
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Yes, VATSIM absolutely needs its own model set which could be distributed with the pilot clients. A lot of new vPilot users [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that the client comes with a default model set and they get confused when it tells them to download a model matching rule set and then find out that downloading the rule set does not actually download the models. That's the only hurdle that is preventing vPilot from being literally an install-and-go-fly client.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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the models are free, but people often mistake free with "do whatever you want with them". IVAO also uses many of these same free models, the difference is they went through the proper channels and got the permissions.

Interesting -- I didn't know that.

 

Yes, VATSIM absolutely needs its own model set which could be distributed with the pilot clients. A lot of new vPilot users [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that the client comes with a default model set and they get confused when it tells them to download a model matching rule set and then find out that downloading the rule set does not actually download the models. That's the only hurdle that is preventing vPilot from being literally an install-and-go-fly client.

I wonder if someone in the VATSIM community would be willing to take on the project of obtaining the correct permissions and bundling an entire model matching package, much like IVAO's, but starting this project now, in advance of the swift client's release. At a minimum, it would be done for the swift release, and at best, we could all make use of it much sooner than later. Any volunteers to lead the project and see it through to completion?

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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First and foremost, this is a very admirable move on your part Ross.

 

Secondly, and not as nice, is the mentions here of the "SWIFT" pilot client. This has been in development for nearly 3 years. The progress updates have been sp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] and the dev team routinely has what seem like year long absences (from key members) altogether. I could be wrong, but all the signs point to vaporware. Unless, they kick things into high gear, I wouldn't hold your breath on SWIFT being released anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong.

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I did so because IVAO wants their model set to be used only when flying on IVAO. While I'm not explicitly violating the IVAO user agreement by providing the model matching rules file, I am acting against their wishes

 

I have several daughters. As they get older I like repeating a feminist slogan - "well behaved women rarely make history."

 

People and groups have all sorts of wishes. Generally speaking, because they are rational, those wishes are furthering their own goals and usually the status quo. The problem is that certain kinds of wishes are utterly unenforceable, given time and critical m[Mod - Happy Thoughts].

 

There are a few basic rules of computing that we've discovered over the years. The first is the open hardware standards always beat closed standards. MicroChannel was essentially DOA. NuBus is a relic of history. I'm sure you can still buy SPARC (and certainly POWER) chips but why would you? It was certainly in the best interests of their vendors and manufacturers for us to use this hardware (and in some ways it might have been superior) but it restricted what we could do and over time the market moved to openness. That killed the revenue pipeline for future enhancements to the point that someone as stubborn as Steve Jobs admitted defeat and put x86 and PCI in Macs.

 

The second rule is that software is a commodity, and open software wins. Unless you have a legacy infrastructure running on Windows, there's no practical reason to start new development on that platform. There's a lot more support for open Linux variants, and when you need to spin up 50 server instances to handle a busy day, the LAST thing you need to worry about is whether you're licensed or not. My old employer got so mad at Microsoft's audits that they resolved to boot Microsoft completely out of the company - the costs of the transition were still smaller than the risks of breaking compliance or handling licensing. The user's interests and vendor's ceased to be in alignment. The user won. Again.

 

What's been interesting over the years is that even the proprietary software is starting to be given away. OSX is free. And while they make life difficult for people hacking the hardware (as with iPhones) what's happened more and more is that instead of fighting people who do things other than what the author wants, they submit gracefully to what the users want and eliminate the desire to rootkit iPhones. You don't need to build a Hackintosh when a Mac has the latest hardware, even though it's a pain for Apple to manage a continually advancing hardware lineup.

 

Despite the rise of free software, you can still make millions (or billions). It's no longer in charging for a piece of code (and engaging in a losing battle with your legitimate and illegitimate users to secure it) but in providing an overall service that adds value. Software runs on your own hardware; you control who gets access and for how long.

 

I was reading John Walker's AutoDesk file the other day. For those of you who don't know who he is, he once upon a time founded a software company that was almost as big as Microsoft or Google. 20 years ago he predicted some of the trends that would consign his company to second-tier status, and he also put together a good discussion of the ways to combat piracy - defense, deterrence and incentive. (You can read it here - it'll wait until you get back.)

 

 

This was a little bit of a detour, but history tells us that we get progress in only one way - when people do unexpected things with existing technology. It's pretty ironic if you think about it - you have a community whose entire existence was based around hacking Microsoft's multi-player code in unintended ways, now insisting that we use things in the "approved manner" because its in our their interests to do so. If you followed that back to its logical origin this place would not exist at all.

 

However, I recently became aware of another network (not IVAO) that was reverse engineering some of my code and using one of my clients on their own network.

 

With respect, but what are you doing that's particularly novel? You read data from SimConnect every frame or 6Hz. You put it into a (hideous) colon-limited format that was embarr[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing 15 years ago and send it over a network socket. You get some data back and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] it to SimConnect. I'm not suggesting that it's particularly easy (it's not), but in the grand scheme of algorithmic programming, it's not NEW.

 

I have an asynchronous multi-threaded message processing pipeline as an ACARS server. It was marginally interesting in 2004, and I've written about a half-dozen others since professionally. There's probably a half million or so in existence around the world. They're not special, and it's why I released the code a decade ago. I still think it would make a better FSD, but I've given up on that.

 

Software is like children. You can't be an effective parent if you fall into the two most common traps of parenthood - [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming your child is particularly special and above-average, or wanting to control what he or she does. My children are unique, and talented in certain ways. But they're not perfect or particularly special and they're going to do all sorts of things I didn't expect (or want at the time) them to do. I thank my lucky stars every day I didn't do what my parents wanted me to do.

 

Apart from your hurt feelings, what tangible losses do you suffer when someone uses your free software in way you didn't intend or want?

 

Obviously, you can keep on using the IVAO model set on VATSIM and there's essentially nothing anybody can do about it, but I hope you'll all consider joining me in this one small effort to "do the right thing".

 

The "right thing"? For whom?

 

It's certainly not the right thing for the user. If they like the IVAO model set, why should they be precluded from using something that enhances their flight simulation experience? I'm not sure it's better from IVAO's perspective (even if they don't realize it) because anything that exposes a user community to their software might serve to get them to use that network. I'm not surprised if they don't see it that way - all my interactions with them have been with a unique desire for control that's either cultural or the result of an overly strict toilet training experience.

 

People didn't realize it at the time, but when Joel put the lock into SB3 a decade ago to limit its usage, it put a nail in VATSIM's coffin. It meant that instead of being around chaotic, unpredictable evolution of software, it turned this place into lock-down (not-so) intelligent design based around incomebency protection rather than building a better service for its users. If VATSIM is such a fabulous network it requires no client authorizations. It requires no code obfuscation. It requires merely its own merits as a service to stand alone. Same with IVAO, and it's telling that both are so insecure. Given that the protocols haven't changed much in a decade and a half, I wonder what would happen if the software all got opened up and people could mix and match on either (or a new?) network.

 

Given the amount of time and effort put into ensuring this cannot happen, it seems there are a lot of people very frightened by that prospect. Things that frighten a lot of people tend to be very interesting.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Lukes reply above is perhaps one of the most interesting reads I have had on these forums in oh... 13 years. While I still admire RC and his contributions, as well as his intentions behind this decision, Luke hits the nail square on the head multiple times in that reply. Thanks for taking the time to write it Luke.

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Obviously, you can keep on using the IVAO model set on VATSIM and there's essentially nothing anybody can do about it, but I hope you'll all consider joining me in this one small effort to "do the right thing".

 

The "right thing"? For whom?

 

It's the right thing because IVAO wants their model set to be used only on IVAO. You, me, or anyone else can question their motives all day long and perhaps even convince them to change their minds, but until they do, I'm going to respect their wishes. Deliberately acting against their wishes, when I want others to respect my identical wishes, is wrong. That's a fact irrespective of the validity of the reasons behind their wishes.

 

I'm not sure it's better from IVAO's perspective (even if they don't realize it) because anything that exposes a user community to their software might serve to get them to use that network.

 

Perhaps you can elaborate on this because I see this statement as a contradiction against other points you've made. Here you point out the value that their software has in getting people to fly on their network, yet you say (paraphrasing) that the software is not where the value is and I shouldn't care about people hacking vPilot.

 

Of course I don't think vPilot (or any other tech) is where the bulk of VATSIM's value resides, but I do think it represents a not-insignificant portion of the value. One cannot seriously claim that vPilot didn't add some amount of real value to VATSIM, given that it helped make getting on VATSIM as a beginner pilot a much less arduous experience. You say vPilot is nothing new, and that's true when you talk about the network protocol, but it's not true when you talk about things like ease of use and other things that separate one pilot client from another.

 

Just like IVAO doesn't want their model set to be used to draw users to networks other than IVAO, I don't want vPilot to be used to draw users to networks other than VATSIM. Therefore it is purely hypocritical for me to act against IVAO's wishes by enabling vPilot users to use the IVAO model set on VATSIM.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Deliberately acting against their wishes, when I want others to respect my identical wishes, is wrong. That's a fact irrespective of the validity of the reasons behind their wishes.

 

Your first sentence I think explains it all. You didn't much care about their desires or wishes until your users started doing things contrary to your wishes.

 

I get that. My point is that unless your users' wishes are unreasonable, they win. Wanting to use an IVAO model set on VATSIM (or vice versa, vPilot on IVAO or NEXSIM) isn't the end of the world or a crime against humanity. It may offend your sense of order or offend the VATSIM founders, but I challenge you to make a case where it hurts the interests of the users and the community. And at the end of the day, are we here for our own interests or the community? Marinakis told me a decade ago that there was no VATSIM stakeholders or community. Will you do so as well?

 

Here you point out the value that their software has in getting people to fly on their network, yet you say (paraphrasing) that the software is not where the value is and I shouldn't care about people hacking vPilot.

 

Their software is one piece of the overall service, but every time the relative merits of IVAp are mentioned, people talk about the quality of VATSIM ATC. My personal belief is that it's a combination - it's the ease of use, the user friendliness, the quality of the ATC, the processes and ability to proceed to do what you want - it's a lot of things. A lot of things that are services, not code. If VATSIM is superior, it will survive even if vPilot, SB, AVC, vSTARS, FSD and the lot are given away because the value is in the service and the network effects.

 

Just like IVAO doesn't want their model set to be used to draw users to networks other than IVAO, I don't want vPilot to be used to draw users to networks other than VATSIM. Therefore it is purely hypocritical for me to act against IVAO's wishes by enabling vPilot users to use the IVAO model set on VATSIM.

 

And that's fair. What you're saying is that you value VATSIM above the hobby itself. To be frank, I don't care about VATSIM versus IVAO, or Delta Virtual vs. 1000 other virtual airlines. At the end of the day, I want this hobby to grow and succeed because I love it and that's my interest. It won't grow or succeed with every big fish in a small pond defend their ever-shrinking turf.

 

Why did you write vPilot? Why did VATSIM get to the point where a single individual is one of the last fingers in the dyke against software obsolescence? (Wait, I know!) If you decide to move on, did you create something that can survive your departure?

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Wanting to use an IVAO model set on VATSIM (or vice versa, vPilot on IVAO or NEXSIM) isn't the end of the world or a crime against humanity. It may offend your sense of order or offend the VATSIM founders, but I challenge you to make a case where it hurts the interests of the users and the community.

 

Clearly we agree that software is at least part of the value equation. So if we allow that value to bleed off to another network, that hurts the interests of the users and the community in this network. I know you prefer to think of the users and the community as a single entity, not separated by networks, so you probably won't think I met your challenge there.

 

My personal belief is that it's a combination - it's the ease of use, the user friendliness, the quality of the ATC, the processes and ability to proceed to do what you want - it's a lot of things. A lot of things that are services, not code.

 

I agree that the value comes from a lot of places that are not code, but the code adds value too.

 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that VATSIM would be doomed if I made vPilot available for use on any network, and I don't think IVAO would be doomed if they didn't try to keep their model set for their own use. My opinion also does not lie at the opposite extreme (where yours seems to) ... I think reality is somewhere in between.

 

And to be honest, I don't feel all that strongly about it either way. I realize that I could give away the vPilot code today and it likely wouldn't have any noticeable effect on my enjoyment of this hobby. It's not like those effects are measurable or quantifiable anyway. The worst thing I might notice is a few users saying something to the effect of "Now that network XYZ has a good pilot client, I'm going to fly there instead of VATSIM."

 

At the end of the day it doesn't matter one bit, because IVAO doesn't want their software used on other networks, so I'm not going to deliberately act against their wishes. I had a vague feeling of uneasiness with supporting the use of the IVAO model set within vPilot since they day I released it. It just took someone hacking vPilot to help me realize exactly where that feeling came from, namely that I was being hypocritical. Whether or not my wishes (or those of IVAO) are valid in your opinion (or that of anyone else), is completely irrelevant.

 

And that's fair. What you're saying is that you value VATSIM above the hobby itself.

 

I don't see that as a valid distinction. Does my preference for German cars hurt the auto industry?

 

If you decide to move on, did you create something that can survive your departure?

 

Yeah, VATSIM has my permission to use the code if I abandon it.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Clearly we agree that software is at least part of the value equation. So if we allow that value to bleed off to another network, that hurts the interests of the users and the community in this network. I know you prefer to think of the users and the community as a single entity, not separated by networks, so you probably won't think I met your challenge there.

 

Yes, I think that's one big difference of viewpoint we have - there are different overlapping groups that will look at each change differently. Certainly, if things fragmented, in the short term there would be some loss to VATSIM as user counts decreased. If something truly better came up, that might have much greater effects. But to the community, and the users, I don't think you could argue that it would be a bad thing. In the long run, it would be absolutely fantastic.

 

Whether or not my wishes (or those of IVAO) are valid in your opinion (or that of anyone else), is completely irrelevant.

 

That's certainly true. I cannot change your minds, and you cannot enforce your wishes on your users. We have, as General Gogol said - "Detente". It's still a shame. While some of us may have more expansive views and wishes than others, we are all myopic. We only get progress when people do unexpected things with what we have created, our wishes be damned. Again, we will agree to disagree on this.

 

Yeah, VATSIM has my permission to use the code if I abandon it.

 

How well is that working for XSB?

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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