1. bounce007's Avatar
    I want to apologize to EA and others I may have offended by posting the bar file for Tetris. It was not my intention to cause any harm. Hindsight is 20/20 and my actions lacked legal propriety.

    I simply wished to highlight the ease with which PlayBook apps could be extracted. It seriously took me less than 15 minutes to do this. I am a BlackBerry enthusiast, lover and 'experimenter' and I would never want to jeopardize the further development of the PlayBook.

    Sincerely,
    Bounce007
    peter9477 and BuzzStarField like this.
    11-11-11 10:25 AM
  2. mgm1979's Avatar
    Forgive my ignorance, but what's the harm in extracting a bar file that comes standard/stock on EVERY PlayBook that is purchased??? It's not like someone can take that file, and install it on another device (Android, iPad, etc...)???

    Of course, then there's the flip side of this...why would anyone WANT to extract the file, in the first place???
    11-11-11 10:30 AM
  3. howarmat's Avatar
    Long ago when the PB was first release extracting the bar files was discovered. So some people did that and then noticed you could extract the bar files off the PB, remove the appication file (swf i think for a flash based app) then you could recompile that and distribute or even resubmit to app world as your own.

    This basically shows no security for devs and their apps. I am not sure if this was corrected yet or if you can still do this freely.

    Not sure if this has anything to do with the issue at hand or not.
    11-11-11 10:40 AM
  4. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Forgive my ignorance, but what's the harm in extracting a bar file that comes standard/stock on EVERY PlayBook that is purchased??? It's not like someone can take that file, and install it on another device (Android, iPad, etc...)???

    Of course, then there's the flip side of this...why would anyone WANT to extract the file, in the first place???
    It's the principle of the thing. The owner of the property is the only individual who can decide how much to charge and how it should be delivered. Actually, for what its worth, I have exactly the same issue with people repackaging Android apps and self-signing them for installation on Playbook.
    peter9477 likes this.
    11-11-11 10:41 AM
  5. peter9477's Avatar
    @bounce007, it's cool. :-)

    I think many of us have extracted apps like that by now... but it's not the extracting that's the problem: it's the distributing.

    Unfortunately, pirates like to distribute, so we'd like RIM to use some of their Powerz(tm) to make the backups less easily extractable. We've suggested encryption, or simply not backing up all the app executable content since it's still up there on App World available to re-download at any time.

    There's an open ticket in the issue tracker, and a sort of promise that they're "looking at it and discussing what to do" or something like that, but so far no actual action.

    Meanwhile, there are mechanisms available that can be used to make the "distributing" part fairly ineffective... specifically the "dynamic licensing" mechanism, or the rough equivalent with a "license pool".

    You won't have seen this being done with PlayBook apps yet, unfortunately, except in one case I'm aware of, since RIM hasn't yet provided us with any APIs by which we can make use of that without grossly inconveniencing the user. We need an API which lets an app read its own license key when launched, so it can verify that it was actually paid for (or installed legitimately).

    At the moment, the only way to make use of the license stuff would be to have the user manually copy/paste the license key from App World into the app. I experimented with this in Battery Guru. Some of you may have seen the silly dialog that pops up with the big scary license key in it, but no way to copy it from there short of doing a screenshot or writing it down with a pen? That dialog isn't my doing... that's RIM's brilliant view of what makes for a good user experience. :-(

    The dialog is actually not even needed, however, since if an app has a key, you can copy it by merely tapping on the key that gets displayed in the app's App World listing after it's installed. (You can see that for Battery Guru by finding it in your Installed list under My World, then tapping on the entry. That brings up the description and screenshots, and you'll see the license key there. Tap on it, and it's put right into the clipboard.)

    I used the license pool approach for the key in Battery Guru, but didn't go any further with it at the time since a) it's incredibly stupid to think users should have to do this by hand, and b) none of this is documented anywhere, so until I did it I don't think any developers knew what this would look like.

    In future developers may start to implement more use of keys like this, but as things stand it would be tricky to train all the users in how this is supposed to work, let alone support people who are (justly!) confused by it all or who don't have English as their native language while the app's help info is English only. Would be a support nightmare!

    So, RIM should do something to improve the hole in the backup archives that makes it too easy to pirate, but they should even more urgently be improving the license key support so that apps can easily and with a great user experience (i.e. entirely transparently, if possible) grab their license key in order to validate it, to prevent pirated copies from being used.

    Phew... sorry, just thought I'd take the opportunity to start the process of teaching people about this license key garbage, in case RIM never does get around to fixing either problem and we end up with no choice except to have people do the copy/paste maneuver. By the way: any time someone has a chance, bug RIM about this. Go tweet @BlackBerryDev right now and tell them to add an API for app's to read their own license keys! kthxbye. :-)
    BuzzStarField likes this.
    11-11-11 10:41 AM
  6. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Long ago when the PB was first release extracting the bar files was discovered. So some people did that and then noticed you could extract the bar files off the PB, remove the appication file (swf i think for a flash based app) then you could recompile that and distribute or even resubmit to app world as your own.

    This basically shows no security for devs and their apps. I am not sure if this was corrected yet or if you can still do this freely.

    Not sure if this has anything to do with the issue at hand or not.
    Thank you. This has everything to do with my objection to the original post. RIM has not corrected the problem yet but this fact should not be used to make and end run around authors' basic rights.
    11-11-11 10:50 AM
  7. bounce007's Avatar
    Forgive my ignorance, but what's the harm in extracting a bar file that comes standard/stock on EVERY PlayBook that is purchased??? It's not like someone can take that file, and install it on another device (Android, iPad, etc...)???

    Of course, then there's the flip side of this...why would anyone WANT to extract the file, in the first place???
    Well the harm in being able to extract an app (free or priced) is that, once that app is extracted it can be distributed to whomever the extractor pleases. This leads to piracy... which totally undermines the efforts of the developer. Even though an app is free, users are IN MOST CASES prohibited to distribute it.

    To answer your question "why would anyone want to extract the file in the first place?", I do things like this as a hobby and simply for the challenge. I like experimenting with things like this because it's fun to me. Another person may want to extract a file because he intends on distributing it. Ignorantly, I distributed the Tetris file because it was free. I would never distribute a priced app and I haven't distributed the priced apps I extracted.

    Long ago when the PB was first release extracting the bar files was discovered. So some people did that and then noticed you could extract the bar files off the PB, remove the appication file (swf i think for a flash based app) then you could recompile that and distribute or even resubmit to app world as your own.

    This basically shows no security for devs and their apps. I am not sure if this was corrected yet or if you can still do this freely.

    Not sure if this has anything to do with the issue at hand or not.
    Lol it is in a way pertinent to the matter at hand. Flash based apps with swf files are, for me, easier to deal with when extracting and you don't have to "side load" them. Just navigate to the swf file and click on it and you can use them.
    11-11-11 11:12 AM
  8. howarmat's Avatar



    Lol it is in a way pertinent to the matter at hand. Flash based apps with swf files are, for me, easier to deal with when extracting and you don't have to "side load" them. Just navigate to the swf file and click on it and you can use them.
    yes this is true if you just want to use them, but i was looking at the bigger issue of resubmitting and making money off them.

    Either way is bad for business
    11-11-11 11:17 AM
  9. bounce007's Avatar
    Either way is bad for business
    I am in agreement.
    11-11-11 11:29 AM
  10. kbz1960's Avatar
    Did bounce get a spanking? At least you meant no harm.
    bounce007 likes this.
    11-11-11 12:10 PM
  11. maxrdlf's Avatar
    You can extract also CODs from BB phones and resubmit them to app world I think you can extract apps for any platform COME on....
    11-11-11 02:17 PM
  12. mgm1979's Avatar
    ok, I guess I was thinking of the Tetris app/bar file in the same light as 'shareware' amongst PlayBooks...I mean, EA already got paid for that app from RIM and/or continues to get paid via royalties on PB's sold (I don't know which model, exactly...)

    Obviously, for paid apps, I see the problem...I definitely read the OP with tunnel vision, lol...
    11-11-11 02:36 PM
  13. robsteve's Avatar
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet and may be the main objection by EA, is Licensing. In the case of the PlayBook we have seen this were apps are not available in every country.

    If for example, Tetris was licensed by another company other than EA or not licensed by EA in other parts of the world, there could be a copyright infringement if it is distributed outside of EA's territory.
    11-11-11 03:39 PM
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