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FlightGear needs your help!

Started by geneb, August 31, 2011, 11:48:52 AM

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geneb

Since about 2009, the FlightGear project has been plagued by a scammer that has taken the 1.9.1 version of FlightGear, rebranded it as as "Pro Flight Simulator" and is selling it for a ton of money. The prices I've seen are anywhere from $47 to $135 each.

A lot of unsuspecting people are being taken in by this scam and we need your help to stop them.

What they're doing is _technically_ legal because if you dig hard enough, you can find a source code archive of what they're supposedly selling.

Because the FlightGear project is an all-volunteer open source project, we don't have the resources to really hammer these guys.

What we need you to do is search for instances of "proflightsimulator" or "pro flight sim" on YouTube and Facebook. When you find one, please flag it as spam/scam and leave a comment pointing out that it's nothing more than a shady, re-badged version of a VERY old version of FlightGear.

For those interested in the FlightGear project, please head over to http://www.flightgear.org. The site has recently had a huge update and version 2.4.0 was released a few weeks ago.

More detail can be found in the official FG faq about this issue:
http://www.flightgear.org/flightprosim.html

Thanks for your time.

Gene Buckle, keeper of the FlightGear Build Server (http://flightgear.simpits.org:8080)
Proud owner of F-15C 80-0007
http://www.f15sim.com - The only one of its kind.

fdspcos

Gene,
Why don't the Flightgear folks include a line in their EULA that states "Not for commercial gain withouot the express...." etc.
Seems like they left the back door wide open and these folks are simply taking advantage. Shame to see that but without that in the electronic agreement there is not much that can really be done with what they are doing sadly... :(
Am I missing something?
We would look at Flightgear if we knew it was a decent platform for our devices. Gladly pay decent $$$ for the use as well.
Maybe you can give folks and over view on this platform. Maybe it needs a push!
Peter Cos
Flightdeck Solutions, Ltd (FDS)

geneb

Peter, FlightGear is an open source project that is licensed under the GPL.  There IS no EULA.

The GPL boils down to this:

1. If you change the source code and distribute the result, you MUST provide those changes for free to anyone that asks.

2. You can charge for a GPL licensed product, but you have to provide the source code with it - and you can't restrict distribution of the "purchased" version.  (For example, if I were to piss away $97 for "Proflightsim", I could make the download available to anyone that wanted it and there's no legal grounds for them to prevent me from doing this.)

The proflightsim scammers are taking specific advantage of people that don't know they're buying "free" software.  They're providing no "added value" _at all_ with this "product" of theirs.  The site talks about "bonuses" if you "order now!!"

Here's a list of these "Time Limited Bonuses!"

#1 - "Interactive Scenery Designer" - this is either an old version of FGSD (FlightGear Scenery Designer) or taxidraw - both of which are open source projects.
fgsd: http://fgsd.sourceforge.net/
taxidraw: http://taxidraw.sourceforge.net/

#2 - "Kelpie Flight Planner" - This is an open source flight planner that is specific to FlightGear.  It can be downloaded here: http://fgflightplanner.sourceforge.net/

#3 - "Aeron Combat Flight Simulator" - another open source project:
http://aeron.sourceforge.net/

#4 - "Professional Airplane Flying Handbook"   - Here's the FAA publication they're distributing : http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aircraft/airplane_handbook/
Note that this is a free, FAA published book.

These guys do all this hand waving to make un-suspecting victims think they're getting such a great deal, when in fact they're being conned into spending anywhere from $49 to $135 for things that are not only free, but in the case of the software, open source as well!

Their disclaimer page has a link to the source code in "compliance" with the GPL.  However, all it is is an ancient snapshot of the FlightGear Wiki and a completely corrupted source code archive.  The source archive has 15597 files and 15229 errors according to 7zip.  Don't take my word for it, you can download it here:

http://proflightsimulator.com/source/Source-Files.7z

If you see an ad for them on Google, report it - it's against Google's T&Cs to advertise free software for sale.

FlightGear is one hell of a good simulator - one of the flight dynamics engines is JSBSim, which many regard as the gold standard among flight simulation systems. (http://www.jsbsim.org)

Yes, the graphics & scenery lag the eye-candy sims a bit, but you can't beat the systems modelling. :)

g.
Proud owner of F-15C 80-0007
http://www.f15sim.com - The only one of its kind.

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