Charles Moore's Mailbag

The iEmulator and 'Other Red' Controversies

Charles Moore - 2006.12.12 - Tip Jar

This week's Mailbag was huge, so we've separated out comments on two topics: The iEmulator program and the Other Red controversy. - Tip Jar

iEmulator 'an Illegally Rebadged Version of' Q

From Benny Li

Hi Charles,

After the CherryOS scandal, I was skeptical when I read about iEmulator in this week's Miscellaneous Ramblings (see iEmulator a Good x86 Emulator for PowerPC and Intel Macs). It appears that iEmulator is an illegally rebadged version of the open source and free Q. See http://www.kju-app.org/blog/?p=6/

Q is a Mac OS X front end to the QEMU open source processor emulator.

Benny

From Tuomas Rosberg

Mentioning iEmulator in Low End Mac should include mention about Q and QEMU, the open source software that forms the core of the product.

I wish to point You at the view of developers of the software. Read "Oops - they did it again" at http://www.kju-app.org/blog/?m=200608

Thank You for Your time

Tuomas Rosberg
Hämeenlinna
Finland

Hi Benny and Tuomas,

Thanks for your comments.

As I mentioned to Bruce, I have no experience with iEmulator (indeed, I had never heard of it before), and I'm highly doubtful that he was aware of any controversy regarding copyright issues. He just likes the program.

I don't in any way condone code pirating, but it's not the consumer's responsibility to sleuth such things out before they purchase a program in good faith.

If one is aware of any such issues pertaining, it becomes a matter of consumer ethics.

Charles

iEmulator Repackaged Open Source Software

From Andrew Main

Charles,

The iEmulator note was intriguing, so I took a look. The website looks good, but $24 seemed awful cheap for such functionality. Seeking more background, I checked MacUpdate and VersionTracker, where user notes led me to the webpage for Q, the free & open source project on which iEmulator is apparently based. iEmulator claims to have added considerable value to Q, but Q's developers seem to feel differently:

http://www.kju-app.org/blog/?p=6

"Actually iEmulator checks out our code, changes the icons, name, removes the link to the mother homepage and finally adds a price tag."

I'd have to try both of them for a while (which requires paying for iEmulator, no refunds apparently) - which I'm unlikely to do - to get to the truth of it, but I guess I'm inclined to believe the open-source guys.

A while back someone was packaging various open source apps - OpenOffice, The GIMP, the BOCHS PC emulator, etc. - with fanfare, burning them on CDs, and selling them as if it was some kind of big deal (i.e. different from what anyone could download for themselves). They seem to have gone away.

Just thought you'd be interested in some background.

Andrew

Thanks for the further info, Andrew. I hadn't heard of the program until I received Bruce's note.

If the code is pirated, which seems to be the case, then shame on the iEmulator "developers", value added regardless.

I'm inclined to believe the Open Source guys too.

Charles

'Other Red' Seems Hokey

From: Andrew Main

Charles,

I've never had any dealings with Jack Campbell; the MacMice he sells appear to be good, though some of the other hardware toys he was selling a while ago seemed questionable. But so far as I know he's the only individual person who has rated an entire MacInTouch Reader Report forum all to himself (and not for reasons of flattery):

http://www.macintouch.com/mactable.html

And more recent comments on his 'Other Red' scheme:

http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/fraudreports/topic4449.html

Maybe he's "reformed" and "trying to make good", etc., but somehow he just doesn't seem to be able to do anything without making it smell hokey. This whole "Red" scam is hokey enough to begin with; I guess maybe it deserves to attract remoras like Campbell.

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Jack certainly seems to generate a lot of heat, but I haven't yet seen anything other than innuendo and conjecture about Other Red being fraudulent. No "smoking gun" so far. MacMice and Other Red operating from the same server doesn't quite cut it. Jack has been up front about his involvement with the project.

I only know Jack through occasional email correspondence about his products (which I mostly like) over the past several years. Based in this cyber-acquaintance, perhaps I'm just gullible, but I like the guy, and he's designed some really great computer mice.

Charles

Uninformed Opinion about 'Other Red'

From Rich Brauer

Dear Mr. Moore,

You wrote:

"Jack Campbell is quite up front about the Other Red program being a frank 'clone' coat-tailing the Product (Red) program.

"Being as the point of all this is (or should be) helping people who need help badly, I don't perceive any ethical failure here. Other Red isn't in direct competition with Product (Red), and the two programs logically compliment each other. Obviously, Other Red will benefit from coat-tailing Product (Red), but if that means the African orphans get more support than they might have if they had called the program "Alternative Purple" or some such, isn't that a good thing?"

The fundamental flaw in your thinking (and I don't know much about Product (Red), either, BTW, so please don't take this as a defense thereof), is that all charities are equally worthy. And that's just not at all true. 501c(3) charity status is not a frivolous undertaking. It will take the IRS a minimum of 6 months to approve you, after a comprehensive application, with written clarifications often requested and supporting documentation. Of course, Mr. Campbell skipped that part of the journey to charity nirvana.

Campbell's charity is registered in Kenya *only*: <http://www.ukundakids.com/images/regdoc.jpg>,

Every legitimate charity that solicits in the United States, and I do mean every last one, is registered with the IRS and the Secretary of State wherever they are headquartered. And if you're unfamiliar with the corruption endemic to Kenya, I encourage you to investigate. There is a specific reason that Other Red does not solicit donations: It's frickin' illegal!

In other words, the problem with something like Other Red is not that the concept is wrong. It's that the donor is ultimately trusting a man who's already been convicted of fraud and tax evasion, who registered a "charity" in Kenya, has posted virtually no information that can be adequately fact-checked (try actually parsing the text of the websites - there is virtually no actual information, only cheap marketing verbiage.)

For an example of charity that I'm not terribly fond of but still at least operates by and large legally, check this out: <http://www.theirc.org/about/financial.html> That's the kind of thing you want to find on a charity's webpage. Which is exactly the opposite of Campbell's pages.

Whenever I read Mr. Campbell's boiler plate, the most astonishing is always the sense of grandeur. If, for example, you glance at the Other Red site and the Ukunda site, you'll be shocked at the vision. Much less the disparity. They currently provide some kind of care, of an unspecified sort I might add, to 65 children. But supposedly that's going to ramp to 2000 within a year. Please forgive me if I'm a little unclear on the practical mechanics of that transformation.

His prose is routinely short on practical facts, and always full of grand metaphors and promises of more to come.

You wrote:

"As for Jack Campbell's past legal problems, whatever they were (as you say, they apparently had something to do with fraud and tax evasion), he says that they took place 14 years ago and that he completed his post-release supervision seven years ago, so unless anyone can produce contradictory documentation, it's time to let that matter rest."

There's certainly a lot of truth to that sentiment. Ex-felons deserve an opportunity to return to the community. However, there are two solid arguments against it. First, there have been slews of complaints about Mr. Campbell's business practices since his release from prison (please reference, among others, the MacTable discussion on Macintouch). Allegations of fraud, copyright infringement, et al. have been leveled.

Second, if a man kills someone with a meat cleaver, it may not be the wisest idea to hire him as your butcher. If a man was once willing to commit fraud and tax evasion, you don't necessarily want to send him cash overseas based on a scanned document and a promise that if you buy that product he's offering, he'll give 10% to the cuddly orphans.

Maybe Mr. Campbell's charity is perfectly legitimate, and he's doing wonderful work in Kenya. But, and I capitalize this because it bears noting: YOU, SIR, HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING. AND YET, YOU WERE STILL WILLING TO ENCOURAGE YOUR READERS TO TAKE PART IN WHAT AT FACE VALUE APPEARS TO BE A SCAM!

You owe the readers of Low End Mac an apology, and at the very least a caveat along the lines of, "It might be better to not be an early adopter here." And as a "journalist"" you should simply be embarrassed. Uninformed opinion is not what I'm looking for at LEM.

Thank you for your time,
Rich Brauer

Hello Mr Brauer,

Thank you for sharing your views.

However, methinks thou dost protest too much, based on the evidence you've presented, which is essentially supposition and hearsay.

I only know Jack Campbell through sporadic correspondence over the past three or four years and what I've read on various websites, some of which have been highly uncomplimentary, to say the least.

Your objections to Mr. Campbell seem to be largely predicated on his rhetorical style and unproven third-party allegations. One of the primary reasons for registering charities with the IRS is to be able to issue tax deductible receipts, which is something Other Red is not offering.

Mr. Campbell acknowledges his past legal problems, but he's served his time, and unless someone can present evidence of current wrongdoing, I reiterate, he deserves to be given the benefit of doubt.

I try to be prudently skeptical, but not cynical - a challenge in our present world.

If Other Red is a scam, it is certainly an unusual one, in that the charity, as you acknowledge, explicitly refuses to accept direct donations of cash and only benefits from a 10% "royalty" on Other Red program products. That would appear to be a policy based on philosophy rather than legality. If there is some legal impediment to a charity, or an individual for that matter, accepting donations, perhaps you will enlighten me. Whatever, your "send him cash overseas based on a scanned document" scenario does not apply here. He's not asking anyone to.

If you buy, say, an Other Red MacMice Danger Mouse, you pay no more for the product than you would if you bought a regular white or black Danger Mouse, and you get what I consider to be an excellent product at a fair price. Indeed, while I have probably close to a couple of dozen computer mice of many brands and configurations, the ones I use 90+ percent of the time are MacMice products - The Mouse and Danger Mouse being my favorites entirely on the merits of function and feel. The potential for "rip off" in this instance is low.

Worst case would be MacMice failing to hand off the promised 10% donation to the African orphanage - or that the existence of the orphanage itself is a hoax - but is there any evidence that either is the case? Not that I've been made aware of.

You're right; I have know way of knowing, but apparently, neither do you. Until someone presents information (rather than conjecture) to the contrary, I'm disposed to assuming provisionally that Other Red is what it purports to be. If I'm proved mistaken, I will retract, but I won't apologize for endeavouring to a priori think well rather than ill of a project that seems "at face value" to be commendable.

Charles

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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