Sometimes you have a conversation via e-mail that’s so bad it just warrants publication. As the author of Paint.NET I get a lot of e-mails. Sometimes they’re simple questions about Paint.NET and I reply to them. Sometimes I don’t, depending on how much time I have or if I’m in a bad mood (I try not to reply before I’ve had my morning coffee, I learned that a long time ago!). However, this is the only time I’ve had a conversation go like this …
May I please have the contact information to the main developer of Paint.NET?
Manager, Music & Editorial Content
City, State ZIP
The guy is looking for me. Simple enough. Probably has a question about licensing or using the Paint.NET name or the logo or putting it on a magazine CD or something about plugins or is writing an article about it, who knows.
Hi Amar, That’s me. What did you want to know?
Things start simple and friendly enough.
I’m actually developing some design/drawing software that exports to a device. I love that you have everything coded already and was wondering if it would be possible to use your code. I am actually not making money off the software but I can keep you in the credits and help market your products! Please let me know what you think, I would greatly greatly appreciate your help!
Ok he’s writing some software that does drawing, or managing some people who are doing it, and wonders if he can have the Paint.NET source code to work from. Innocent enough question, although it’s simply not available.
Sorry, but the Paint.NET source code isn’t available for licensing.
Best of luck,
So then he changes his tactic and tries to recruit me …
What if we joint release the software. Im developing a rim that displays images. Would be great to have you onboard!
Which is fine … but I’m not interested.
Sorry, no thanks.
Then he tries to hire me …
How much do you charge for development projects?
Which is also fine … but I’m still not interested. I really and honestly have no time for additional work of any time. My work and non-work life is already full!
I’m sorry, but I’m not available for additional work. I simply have no available time.
And then …
That’s fine. I’ll just decompile your software.
…. What? To quote a friend of mine from college, Chris Strahl,
“I’ll just decompile your software” really? He goes from “can I get something for free” to “let me employ you for something” to “fuck you I’m going to take your shit.” Classy guy.
Indeed. Look, I don’t mind if people use Reflector or whatever to study the Paint.NET binaries and get some insight into things. There are some crazy things that Paint.NET has solved in the Win32/WinForms application and graphics spaces and it’s fine if you want to know how something was done. Wholesale disassembly and copying is not okay however. The license clearly states what is allowed and what is not. I wouldn’t mind being treated with a little respect, however, and this kind of attitude is just a big fat slap in the face (or worse).
Would you hire someone who sent out e-mails like this? No. So why did MySpace Music? Firstly, if you’re paying someone a bunch of money to write or manage software and they were just copy-pasting or stealing from everyone to do it, you’d fire them. And then you’d either find someone who would do it responsibly, or you’d realize you can just hire your neighbor’s 15-year old son to do the copy-pasting and stealing for $10/hour.