Hello Reverser+,

Here are a few of my thoughts about your September.htm letter. 

First of all, I am a total newbie, I haven't cracked anything yet by
myself (I have been working on something for over a week, but hadn't
had much success yet). The path that brought me to your website was
rather contorted. A few month ago I didn't even know that there is such
a thing as warez  ( quite na´ve, you can say) !!! When I first heard
about it, I didn't believe it, then I found some of the sitez, and I
was disgusted by all the sex and porn connected to them (I understand
the logic behind it though). That lead to my learning about the
existence of cracks, key generators and serial numbers (I shamefully
admit I downloaded Oscar, and used some of the resources in it ). But
then I discovered that there are actually sites where one can learn how
to crack (and a lot of other useful things that I didn't know before). 

I loved the idea of learning how to crack, because in general I like to
do things by myself, w/o asking other people  to do it for me. Also,
like most of the people coming to your site, I was fascinated by
computers and the intricacies of their workings (I have my own PC at
home and did a lot of upgrades myself, installed and ran both Linux and
Windoze). I was always annoyed by how little freedom one has in Windoze
as to modifying the ways programs work, and discovering the pages on
reverse engineering was a revelation. A long time ago (another time,
another place :-), I used to work with Assembler for Z80 (on a machine
with 48 K of RAM, that didn't have enough room for the compiler, source
code and object code at the same time, so I would compile, from a tape,
100 bytes at a time), so I enjoyed learning about 80x86 Assembler. Most
of the knowledge I have acquired (little as it is), has been somehow
related to your site. I can understand your being angry regarding the
people t!
hat use the knowledge they gain from your site to make "public cracks"
and make money out of them, but think about it from this point of view:
any kind of knowledge can be used for good purposes and for bad
purposes. Should we stop teaching Physics, for example, because people
will learn to make nuclear bombs ? If we do, what happens to the rest
of the people, that just wanted to learn it because they learned  (as
little as we know about ) how the world around us works. 

All the essays that are on your site are a good  teaching material. It
is true that there is a certain redundancy in there, but that is a
natural thing to happen by the very way the database evolved. I agree
that one (not necessarily you, since you might consider it a waste of
time) might go through them, and whenever there are more cracks on the
same type of scheme, keep the ones that are well written and discard
the rest, especially at the beginners level: it is less important what
the target is, it is much more important to teach the logical process
through which one finds the point where to crack and how one does the
crack.  Also, maybe unconsciously, the people who write the essays
learn by the very act of doing it. I found this many years ago, while
teaching, that actually teaching others is not always a very altruistic
thing, the (hidden) purpose of it is to  advance our understanding of
the very subject we teach. A well written essay will be a proof that
the author und!
erstood what and especially why he/she is doing it and the acceptance
of that essay on your site meant a confirmation (yes, a public one, for
sure, but maybe in the author's own eyes, too). If you will continue to
publish well written essays, be they at the beginners level,
intermediate or advanced, that will implicitly contribute to the very
education of the authors, beside that of the readers. 

The ideas about the new sections that you want to bring into your site
are great. I think that is a logical next step in the development of
any reverse engineer: modify the target so that it will be enhanced. It
is, as far as I can tell, much harder, but it is very useful. If for
many the first part of the process, the cracking part, is just a
competition with another person, the author, this second part is a
competition with  one's self, and I believe that this is the kind of
competition that advances knowledge. 

The idea about essays showing a  general approach is good, but you
cannot keep it at the abstract level w/o risking to loose your reader:
look at what happened with the mathematicians, the books they are
writing now can only be understood by the people in their own (narrow)
field, and thus they are losing touch with the rest of the world. Like
it or not, it seems that we, humans, learn best by example. And someone
was making a good point: the authors will not be harmed by their
programs being used as examples in an essay because if someone was only
interested in deprotecting the program, there were easier ways to do it
than going through the process of reading and understanding the essay,
and than cracking the protection. You could, as suggested, even
'reward' them (I know it sounds quite materialistic), if their
applications are deemed useful (how does one define usefulness, though
? ) by helping them build better protection schemes. 

Thank you for all you are doing,