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MXS responds… so do I

In response to the story “Deconstructing Maui X-Stream” on Drunkenblog, Maui X-Stream has placed a statement on their website.

We have recently been asked whether VX30, Maui X-Stream’s video streaming software, is built on third-party code covered by a General Public License (GPL). The answer to that question is no. Some beta versions of VX30 were bundled with GPL code for purposes of testing product performance in specific customer usage scenarios. Maui X-Stream has completed that analysis and therefore no longer bundles GPL code with the current release of VX30. VX30 is an original, proprietary product created over a three-year period by Maui X-Stream employees and contractors. The kernel of VX30 employs breakthrough innovations created by lead developer Arben Kryzieu. Maui X-Stream owns the copyright to VX30, and patents are pending on VX30 technology.

In other words, it is all a lie. They wrote VX30 all by themselves and it does not contain any GPL code. It did it in the past, but not anymore. Of course, this is already an admission of guilt, and their claim that they currently do not use anymore GPLed code is less than convincing.

As one of the authors and copyright holders of phpAdsNew I also have something to say about this. If you have read the story on Drunkenblog you probably already noticed my claims that VX30 Adstats is a derivative work of phpAdsNew, so when Maui X-Stream claims to own the copyrights of VX30, they are also claiming ownership of something that is mine. Up till now I’ve only reached this conclusion based on some screenshots in the VX30 Adstats manual. Although I was one hundred percent certain at the time, why take my word on it? Why not let the software speak for itself?

Thanks to the Fiddler tool I was able to log the traffic that occurs between the browser and their servers when you open up their website. That is when I noticed they were using VX30 Adstats on their own website. Of course I did not know the username and password needed to log on to the system, so the only comparison I could do is from the outside. But that comparison already proved to be more than enough.

First, take a look at the website of phpAdsNew. On several locations on that website you will notice the phpAdsNew logo: two arrows – two shades of blue – placed in a circle. Below you will see the full logo, created by me somewhere in 2001. On the phpAdsNew website you’ll also find a screenshot gallery for the installation process. Take a close look at some of the images used in the installation interface.

<%image(20050518-phpadsnew.gif|339|75|phpAdsNew logo)%>

I know quite a bit about the internal structure of phpAdsNew, so I know exactly where phpAdsNew would store some of the artwork used in the installation interface. Does VX30 Adstats use the same location? Well not only that, it also uses many of the same images. Take a look at the following screenshot.


Notice the phpAdsNew logo. That is not the only image on the VX30 Adstats server that features ‘my’ logo:

Of course MXS can claim they created those images and we stole them, but why would they use the phpAdsNew logo on those images? No reason I can think of. In reality, I personally created those images, for use in phpAdsNew and MXS copied those images when they created VX30 Adstats based on phpAdsNew.

Is that all the Adstats server has to tell us? Well, not exactly. phpAdsNew is licensed under the GPL and a copy of the GPL is provided in a file called ‘LICENSE’. Imagine my surprise when I found that same file also on the VX30 Adstats server.

<%image(20050518-proof2.png|435|202|VX30 GPL licensed?)%>

Remember when MXS said “We have recently been asked whether VX30, Maui X-Stream’s video streaming software, is built on third-party code covered by a General Public License (GPL). The answer to that question is no.”. Perhaps it is time for Maui X-Stream to revise that statement. I imagine it would look something like this:

We have recently been asked whether VX30, Maui X-Stream’s video streaming software, is built on third-party code covered by a General Public License (GPL). The answer to that question is yes. Every single version of VX30 is based on or bundled with GPL code for purposes of limiting our development costs and profiting as much as possible from the hard work of open source projects. VX30 is an copied, closed up product created by various open source projects and stolen by Maui X-Stream employees and contractors. The kernel of VX30 employs breakthrough innovations created by the open source projects and stolen by lead developer Arben Kryzieu who now tries to claim credit for them. Maui X-Stream infringes the copyright on which VX30 is based, and has some bogus patents pending on the VX30 technology.

Okay, this may not be entirely realistic. But I am curious what they will come up with next.

7 Responses to “MXS responds… so do I”

  1. ant wrote on May 23rd, 2005 at 8:50 am

    Why are all your screen shots from Internet Explorer?

  2. Heywood Jablowme wrote on May 23rd, 2005 at 10:24 am

    MXS are scumbags … but that’s irrelevant.

    If MXS takes the sourcecode to phpAdsNew and creates their own program, but leaves all the copyright notices in and makes their modified source available, in full compliance with the GPL, the financial benfit to you == ZERO.

    If MXS strips out all the copyright notices, and does not make the source available, the finacial harm to you == ZERO.

    In other words, you’re just being a prick.

  3. rakaz wrote on May 23rd, 2005 at 10:47 am

    Heywood: Not everything is about money. Personally I don’t care if MXS made money selling GPLed software. Making money is not a sin, not even in the open-source world. The problem is that they do harm in other ways by stripping out the copyright notices.

    Ant: that was the only browser available on the computer I used to take the screenshots. I haven’t switched back to IE…

  4. Ray K wrote on May 23rd, 2005 at 11:31 am

    What kind of idiot measures the benefit or harm of an OSS project as a function of financial cost?

    Don’t you get it? If this was about money, it would have never been OSS in the first place.

    Do you consider the possibility that people do things without the desire for financial gain?

  5. sarcasticoid unit nine wrote on May 23rd, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    I can envision a whole new OSS project for fingerprinting existing OSS projects with crypto or stego technology so
    that it will be much easier to find such cunning, and deceptive plagiarism. The amount of thought that went into their deception is staggering…

  6. obscurity wrote on May 23rd, 2005 at 3:44 pm

    I believe in OSS.

    I even write OSS for friends web applications and know ful lwell the emotional pain and frustration something like this can cause when trust is broken.

    Although this isnt about the money, laws have been broken ..criminal laws and there IS just cause for a civil suit.

    It isnt about money it is about punishment, and if authorities refuse to act becasue of a financial limit for this crime, civil litigation with monitary damages as punishment would suffice.

    They are all criminals leeches and cowards. Every one of them from Jim to the pakistanis and everyone in between.

    They dont care about right and wrong, and as long as they never see a jailcell or are financially ruined they will never stop …. they will just keep creating divisions and new companies to fraudulently develop, market, advertise, and sell their stolen apps laughing all the way to the bank.

  7. FreBlo wrote on November 10th, 2005 at 8:53 pm


    If you think that someone is a "prick" for objecting to their freely given work being stolen and passed off as the work of another for profit (and also with the threatened prospect of it being patented), then the least that I can say about you is that I think you are a perfect example of another rather more anterior area of the human anatomy.

    Good luck, rakaz.