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Old 08-13-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
Nate the great
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Hamstersoft Ebook Converter rips off calibre

A hot new ebook converter popped up just over a month ago, and it turns out there's a problem with it.

Hamstersoft was hailed by all the tech blogs as this great new way to covert ebooks from one format to another. It had a simple interface, foolproof operation, and a lot of enthusiastic users.

Unfortunately, the Hamstersoft Ebook Converter is also a pretty egregious example of copyright infringement. According to John Schember (a calibre contributor) the Hamstersoft Ebook Converter uses large chunks of code from the calibre ebook library app and doesn't comply with certain GPL (GNU General Public License) conditions.

You can find the full details over on John Schember's blog. It's technically complicated and quite long. You can also find a basic summary here.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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I don't know if people boycotting that company will help the situation, but personally I'll stay away from them and their products. Thanks for the summary. I also thank John for the details on his blog. I'm getting an education in various subjects around here, in a constant barrage.

Last edited by unboggling; 08-13-2011 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:51 PM   #3
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I'm for the boycott. I'll spread the word to anyone I see using it. Even though I've never heard of it until now.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:56 PM   #4
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I hadn't heard of HamsterSoft either, but I strongly support Calibre and the ideas behind the GPL.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:22 AM   #5
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^this
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:28 AM   #6
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Well you know you have a good piece of software when someone steals it I guess.

Ethically speaking the Hamstersoft people should have contacted Kovid and others announcing their intention to utilize any of the calibre code.

Saying that, I once worked on a contract project for an entrpreneur who was a professor at a major university in British Columbia. I was warned by co-workers to not leave any source code around till I was paid. I heeded this warning and was let go without payment (they thought they had the source code). After receiving several threatening phone calls, to which I responded rudely they paid me and I gave them the source code. Was not perhaps my finest hour but I needed the money.

Hamstersoft may not be able to comply with the GNU licensing because they do not have the ability to do so (copy of their sourcecode and/or rights to it).

I suspect they will not prosper.

Helen
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:56 AM   #7
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Exclamation Hamster FAQ

Quote from the Hamster FAQ:
Quote:
Hamster Free eBook Converter made by HamsterSoft and based on Calibre-engine created by Kovid Goyal and inherits all GNU GPL 3.0 restrictions.


NOTE PLEASE: Everybody may use Hamster Free eBook Converter on any computer at home, in business and government organizations without any restrictions and any amount of hosts. You don't need to register or pay for Hamster Free eBook Converter. No one needs to pay for any further updates and plugins.

Source code
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Quote from the Hamster FAQ:
According to John's blog, that source code package is incomplete, and does not contain the key sections which relate to Hamstersoft's GUI or the changes they may have made to calibre.

Graham
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:22 AM   #9
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Was not perhaps my finest hour but I needed the money.
I would say the opposite - it was indeed one of your finer hours. Well done on standing your ground.

(as a software developer myself).
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:53 AM   #10
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Quote from the Hamster FAQ:
I find it is better to read the full details of the referenced article before posting, otherwise you end up posting irrelevant information.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 08-14-2011 at 07:32 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:26 AM   #11
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I find it is better to read the full details of the referenced article before posting, otherwise you end up posting irreverent information.
Irreverent information is the most amusing information, don't you know?
And often the most relevant, too.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:31 AM   #12
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Irreverent
You gave me a great laugh at myself at the expense of my own spelling.
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:37 PM   #13
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Leaving ethics aside, if it uses a better conversion plugin for mobi than calibre, I'm sold, if it stole the same flawed thing then I'll stick to Amazon's solution...
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:36 PM   #14
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Since it is M$ ONLY they will not even tempt me to try it ;-)

happy Linux user for past 5 years ;=]
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by johnnyb View Post
Leaving ethics aside, if it uses a better conversion plugin for mobi than calibre, I'm sold, if it stole the same flawed thing then I'll stick to Amazon's solution...
It uses calibre for all conversion. It's just a fancy GUI on top of calibre. I haven't looked in a bit but Kovid was completely rewriting MOBI output. I don't know if he's completed it or not.
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