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computerfreaker
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Legal questions...

Well, I've been doing some serious thinking about portable apps lately... especially since I'm on a machine without admin rights. I have several questions that (hopefully) will be answered by someone with certain legal knowledge of their answer - if someone gives me the wrong answer, I might end up in trouble (which would really stink, since I like staying on the right side of things.... :P)
* I've seen "wrappers", or launchers, for freeware apps that aren't open source (i.e. CamStudio, Process Explorer, Autoruns); is doing a wrapper for a commercial app OK or is that illegal? On the one hand, the app itself isn't modified or distributed, and the wrapper wouldn't include any license keys, so the app is still bought & paid for and is a legitimate app... on the other hand, it's kinda modifying the app because it's modifying what the app does... (special importance on this question, as my favorite development environment is a commercial app that requires admin rights to install - yuck!)
* Can a wrapper be created for any freeware app (or any app at all, for that matter)? I have a couple of apps I really love, but they're not in Portableapps.com format... I don't know AutoHotkey, AutoIt or Delphi, but I reckon I could learn them...
* Safari - I was looking for Safari portable (I'm a dedicated Firefox guru, but I'm taking a web development class and my teacher uses Safari... so I really need to see what he's seeing when he opens my web pages) and found this site (moderator, please remove this link if it's illegal - I'm posting this in good faith): [link to illegal site removed by mod JTH]

Now, this site has Safari portable (at least, they claim to - I won't download it until you guys verify it's OK to do so), but I found at least 5 other sites which said Safari portable would be illegal...
Another wrinkle - this site appears to use VMWare ThinApp. I seem to recall that programs which have been ThinApped can't be legally redistributed? Or am I wrong on that??

Thanks for the advice, guys! Smile

John T. Haller
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Illegal

That's a site that does a lot of illegal modifications of freeware. It's also no longer maintained.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

computerfreaker
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Thanks for telling me

Thanks for telling me, and thanks for removing my link... I wouldn't want to get myself or anyone else in trouble.
AFAIC, that site can rot... glad to hear it isn't being maintained anymore.

John, I know you've done a lot of legal paperwork to get portableapps.com the necessary permissions, etc... do you have the answers to any of my other questions? Smile

btw, one more question while I'm unburdening my mind... if I use an Internet radio player, and download as I'm listening, is that legal or illegal?

(Boy, the curves some of these lawyers can throw... they'd make good major league baseball pitchers :P)

Thanks again, John!
Great work with PortableApps.com, btw - I won't go anywhere else to get a portable app unless it's not hosted here, and a "beta" app here whoops a final app someplace else... Smile

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

Simeon
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Well...

I am far from being a lawyer, but I understand it this way:
If you dont distribute it, you can do almost everything to an App (this includes writing a wrapper/launcher and putting it on your drive). Even if the license forbids portabalisation, I dont think someone will check your drive for illegal Apps.

If you want to be more certain, read the license and try to understand if there is anything there forbidding something (like copying it)specifically.

The problem with most payware/commercial Apps is that they use license keys stored in the registry which makes it harder to make portable. It has to be done propperly to ensure nothing is left behind.

The same applies to freeware. If the license says:" Do what you want with it I just don't want to give the source away" it should be ok.

Despite everything I said, you should be 100% certain how things are before you start doing something that might get you in trouble! Smile

Hope that helps.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

computerfreaker
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Well, even if nobody EVER

Well, even if nobody EVER checks my drive for illegal apps, I still want to do things legally... even if it cuts out an app or two I really would have wanted portabilized...
I think the key question here is "if I make a wrapper, and distribute JUST THE WRAPPER, will I get in trouble?"
The way I see it, if I can't distribute a wrapper I have no business with that wrapper on my computer either - what's illegal for me to share with you is probably illegal for me to have in the first place... (flawed reasoning there, or is my logic sound?)

Thanks for the tip about reading the licenses, I'll have to do that... (and I'll probably contact the author(s) of the various apps I want to portabilize...)

btw, just an off-topic question: what language do you guys use when you make wrappers, portable apps, etc.? I've seen AutoHotkey, AutoIt and Delphi mentioned, but never got a concrete answer... and even the "guerrilla field guide" didn't really say anything about that.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

Simeon
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ok

I think its legal to make just the wrapper. Only if its obvious that you shouldnt move the program around I'd say its illegal. But its hard to determine IMHO.

Our Launchers are coded in NSIS which is mostly used for installers but it suites our needs.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

computerfreaker
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Thanks. I appreciate your

Thanks. I appreciate your opinion... and I'll probably start learning NSIS shortly (was going to learn it last year, but I found Inno Setup instead... lazy me. :P)

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ristof
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I've been thinking about this

I've been thinking about this thing of the registry and what is "left behind" and I don't think it's all or nothing.

Some programs leave simple stuff, as if the program was actually installed and has later been uninstalled. This might be ok for some types of entries, but if the overall notion is *nothing* must be left behind, corporate IT environment etc, then it has to be done properly, as is assumed to be the case with portableapps.com

You have to wonder if a program is allowed to create autorun entries for example, without even running an installer, why permissions to do that are even given to administrators in the first place, as it can open the door to any kind of problem, hence new wave of virus activity.

I think Microsoft should really think about this more.

Simeon
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"nothing"

Every program you run creates registry entries. Some an only be deleted if you're an admin, so even official Apps from here leave them. Some tings just cant be avoided.

Just so you know.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

ristof
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Not if UAC is enabled

Would be nice if Microsoft could supply a sandbox for this type of thing.

computerfreaker
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True, but they don't... so we

True, but they don't... so we have to make do with what we have.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ristof
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Can't someone with the skills

Can't someone with the skills here make one?

Darkbee
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What apps aren't portable?

What apps do you have left that aren't portable?

Maybe you can find, if not open source alternatives, then freeware alternatives. There is very little that I haven't found there to be a portable solution for.

Failing that, you could try Registry Rapper*, which I use for a couple of non portable (freeware) apps. It's a little bit fiddly to set up but requires little, to no programming knowledge. Seems it's a dead project but it still works for me. I didn't even know it was hosted on PortableApps until I did a Google search! (I don't think it was originally, many moons ago)

*Assuming it's legal to do so

computerfreaker
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To answer both you and

To answer both you and Pyromaniac, here's the non-portable apps I have/want to have...

* Safari (yes, I know... fat chance)
* REALbasic (commercial app, and my favorite development environment)
* VB6 (commercial IDE)
* Flash MX (commercial IDE)
* JGrasp (freeware Java IDE; idk about open-source though)
* Opera (I have OperaUSB and its PortableApps.com launcher, but it sometimes leaves a registry key or two at HKCU\OperaUSB)

Other than that, and a couple of miscellaneous apps that I wanted years ago but have gradually stopped wanting, portableapps.com (and other portable app sites, although PA.c has provided the vast majority of my portable apps) has me good to go... Biggrin

Primarily, my focus is on the future - I'm taking more programming classes, and I'll be wanting to portabilize more IDE's...

The Internet music thing is troubling too; I can record songs from the "normal" radio to tapes, and really want to get some good playlists on my computer, but once again I want to do it legally.......

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

OliverK
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I saw the argument that its

I saw the argument that its just like making a backup of the stream. I guess if you you're using the streams to avoid buying the cds, you're in trouble, else, I think its okay . . . .

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computerfreaker
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Well, I'd be in trouble

Well, I'd be in trouble then... I was hoping the Internet-music policy would be like radio - "go ahead and record it". No Internet music for me... Sad

Thanks for the opinions, guys... Smile

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

consul
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any good streamers that have the record button ...

Like how realplayer has? I don't know offhand.

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computerfreaker
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hmm

hmm.... I think Screamer Radio and RadioSure do, but I don't have them so I don't know. I've also heard about SongBird, but once again I don't have it so idk for sure...

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

OliverK
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and make if you poke around

and make if you poke around just a little bit with the search function, you can find it Biggrin

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

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Screamer Radio does!

Screamer Radio does! Smile

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Doable...maybe. :-/

Since it's mostly developer stuff I'd say... good luck! Smile

I know of FreeBasic, have no idea if it's portable though. I doubt you're going to find anything for Visual Basic, you'd probably have to switch to a completely different language like Delphi or something to have any chance of finding something open source and portable.

For Flash maybe OpenLaszlo (don't know if it's portable or not) or FlashDevelop. One problem with FD is that I believe it's a .Net application so it's inherently not portable.

I'm sure for Java you could find a portable IDE solution, it's very popular. Eclipse Portable is one that springs to mind, which I've seen kicking around here.

Not sure why you need several different browsers, is this for testing compatibility of code/website design? As someone suggested, go with Chrome.

I wonder if it's worth you using some kind of virtual machine.

computerfreaker
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Since it's mostly developer

Since it's mostly developer stuff I'd say... good luck! Smile
Is that supposed to be a warning that I might not find much of anything? Or did I miss something?

I know of FreeBasic, have no idea if it's portable though. I doubt you're going to find anything for Visual Basic, you'd probably have to switch to a completely different language like Delphi or something to have any chance of finding something open source and portable.
FreeBASIC looks interesting, but not interesting enough... looks like it's still in an early beta. (And come to think of it, given MS's reputation, I'd say my chances of making VB6 portable legally are about as good as raising a hen with teeth...)

I'm sure for Java you could find a portable IDE solution, it's very popular. Eclipse Portable is one that springs to mind, which I've seen kicking around here.
NetBeans is another one I've seen around here... and that would have to be my 2nd choice if I can't get JGrasp portabilized.

Not sure why you need several different browsers, is this for testing compatibility of code/website design?
yep. Especially since I'm taking web development classes, and I use FF but my teacher uses Safari, I really need to see what he's going to see... (I got a note from him a couple of days ago, wanting to know about an alignment issue with one of my pages. It looks good to me, but not to him - browser compatibility problems strike again.)

As someone suggested, go with Chrome.
I have Chrome portable & Iron portable; didn't know they were related to Safari, though...

I wonder if it's worth you using some kind of virtual machine.
Shock
I didn't think there were any portable virtual machines... (remember, I don't have admin rights... I can probably get them from my school's help desk, but I'd rather not have to go through that again)

Anyway, I've begun contacting developers to see what they'll let me do... hopefully I get good answers Smile

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

computerfreaker
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OK...

Well, I received an answer from REAL Software...
"Based on what you have said it doesn't appear to be a violation but we reserve the right to change our position on this if further evidence suggests that it is a violation of our license agreement."
I have permission to make a wrapper for REALbasic... yay! Biggrin

Also, I found QEMU, which appears to be portable... very hard to set up though.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

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jGRASP

jGRASP is fairly easy to make semi-portable from NT/XP/Vista. If you copy the jGRASP and JDK installations to the root (for example) of the portable drive or memory stick, create a jgrasp_settings file also at the root (for example), then you can start jGRASP from a batch file with a command like:
start %~dp0jgrasp\bin\jgrasp.exe -a %~dp0jdk1.6.0_16\bin\java.exe -d %~dp0jgrasp_settings

The only registry settings used are the startup settings, and each of those has a corresponding command line flag.

Settings for individual files are stored based on file name though, so those settings will be lost for source files on the portable drive if your drive is assigned a different letter.

We'll consider making it truly portable in the near future. I suppose all that would be needed is a flag to pass in a movable root path, so that settings for all files that are relative to that root path can be stored and applied in a relative way; and for convenience, a portable option on the windows installer.

computerfreaker
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Thanks for the info! Believe

Thanks for the info!
Believe it or not, I e-mailed Dr. Cross this afternoon with the same question - never knew you were a member here! Nice to meet you! Biggrin
EDIT: Dr. Cross replied really quickly (never seen a faster turnaround on a program, except maybe on a forum!); I just sent him back a note. This could be very interesting... Smile

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

lbarowski
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Nah, I wasn't a member, I

Nah, I wasn't a member, I just signed up to answer your question.

computerfreaker
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Wow, that's really nice of you

Wow, that's really nice of you! Smile
Thank you!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

lbarowski
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jGRASP portable Alpha version available

I have an Alpha release of jGRASP ready that has portable-mode capability for jGRASP itself and for the startup settings. Settings for all source files on the portable drive are stored relative to the portable drive root, so that everything will come back the same if the drive letter changes (or for Linux/UNIX/Mac, if the mount point changes). Startup settings are stored to file instead of in the registry. No registry settings are written. The Java version used to run jGRASP as set in startup settings, if default is not selected, will be stored relative to the jGRASP installation, so you can force it to always use a Java version on the portable drive, or let it use the default Java version on the system. For Windows, the portable drive root can be detected automatically, so startup is simple (batch files are provided to launch jGRASP and the startup settings in portable mode). This will be in the jGRASP 1.8.8 Beta release, which should be in a few weeks.

Send me an email if you want to try it out now. The email address you used to contact Dr. Cross seems to no longer be in service.

computerfreaker
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Sorry about the dead e-mail

Sorry about the dead e-mail address; my e-mail provider went under.
I'll drop you an e-mail right away; thanks for telling me about the new version!
EDIT: should I use the e-mail address listed here, or do you want me to use a different one? You mentioned I should drop you an e-mail, but only Dr. Cross's e-mail address is listed.

Thanks again!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

lbarowski
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You can just email Dr. Cross

You can just email Dr. Cross and have him forward it. My daily spam is finally down to a manageable level, so I hate to post any of my email addresses, even in disguised form.

computerfreaker
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Registry rapper looks

Registry rapper looks interesting; I'll have to try that AFTER I read some program licenses & possibly contact some developers... thanks!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

Pyromaniac
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out of curiosity

what do you want to make a launcher, wrapper, for?

digitxp
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Safari => Chrome

I would guess that Chrome/Iron Portable would be as close as you get to Safari (they all use the same rendering engine).

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computerfreaker
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Didn't know that

Thanks for the info, I didn't know that!
I happen to have Chrome portable & Iron portable already, so I guess I'm reasonably close to Safari... Smile

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

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Yeah, Safari for Windows

Yeah, Safari for Windows looks extremely similar to chrome. Anybody know how that happened? Or the story behind it? Blum

crux
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Reality

There have been literally billions of cases of outright theft and counterfeiting of software. Illegal software is used in the world largest corporations every day. Are you really in a position where a small, highly technical, remotely possible mistake about a subject that very few people understand, let alone are able to make a definitive judgment (or even care) about, could ever get you in trouble?

Microsoft has spent a lot of money spreading lies about the legality of things it doesn't like. Don't believe them.

computerfreaker
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Numbers are irrelevant

The number of cases of piracy, theft, counterfeiting, etc. doesn't concern me. One of my favorite proverbs is "Right is right, even if nobody is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if the whole world is doing it."
I don't care how many people have pirated software, that doesn't make it OK for me to do it. That just means I could potentially get away with it, which still doesn't make it right.

I also don't like to do something wrong because I don't understand the topic, hence this thread to determine exactly what is and is not acceptable. Wink

Sure, MS spreads an incredible amount of FUD, but at least some of their stuff is (has to be) accurate.

As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to leave the whole legal mess alone unless I know that what I'm doing is explicitly OK.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

crux
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Do what you want.

If you are concerned about morality rather than getting in trouble as you said, then all I can tell you is that in my opinion there is nothing immoral about using software you paid for.

If you are concerned about getting in trouble, refer to what I previously posted. You will see that I was not telling you that people pirate, therefore you should pirate. I was saying that people get away with outright piracy and that nobody is in a position to make trouble for you for even in the event that you violate some technicality (which I don't think is possible for you to do anyway).

I brought up Microsoft because they tell people that Linux and open source software are legally questionable. You don't need to believe any of that. My thought was that you had read something that led you to believe that somehow using software you own could possibly be illegal.

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Re: Do what you want.

cruxIf you are concerned about morality rather than getting in trouble as you said, then all I can tell you is that in my opinion there is nothing immoral about using software you paid for.

Yep, I agree.

cruxIf you are concerned about getting in trouble, refer to what I previously posted. You will see that I was not telling you that people pirate, therefore you should pirate. I was saying that people get away with outright piracy and that nobody is in a position to make trouble for you for even in the event that you violate some technicality (which I don't think is possible for you to do anyway).

Seems I didn't make myself clear; sorry.
I didn't think you were telling me to pirate, just that I shouldn't worry about legal stuff because people get away with significantly bigger things every day. I was trying to say that, no matter how big or small, I didn't want to do anything that could cause trouble.

cruxI brought up Microsoft because they tell people that Linux and open source software are legally questionable.

I didn't know they went that far with the lies. Legally-questionable, ha.

cruxYou don't need to believe any of that.

And I don't, especially the part about Linux and OSS being somehow illegal.

cruxMy thought was that you had read something that led you to believe that somehow using software you own could possibly be illegal.

Oh, I see.
No, my concern was that modifying software I own - e.g. portabilizing it - would be illegal if the license terms say something about "You agree not to modify this software". From what I've seen, that would indeed be illegal.

Cheers!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

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Not the same thing

Modifing the software and modifing the software environment are not the same thing. Modifing the software with a hex editor such that the vendor's name is removed or vendor's icon is removed or what commands the files execute is not the same as starting the software via a launcher or from a USB drive rather than a hard drive. The former is indeed illegal, the latter is simply a end user preference.

Ed

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>>>crux:I brought up

>>>crux:I brought up Microsoft because they tell people that Linux and open source software are legally questionable.

I didn't know they went that far with the lies. Legally-questionable, ha.

crux:You don't need to believe any of that.

And I don't, especially the part about Linux and OSS being somehow illegal.

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