> I have read with interest your proposal and the seven responses
> you have posted to your site to date.
> Prophecy is right in saying that there is no reason losers should
> be visiting your page to find a crack... they can post a request
> to one of the cracking newsgroups, or search astalavista. Indeed
> even the process of learning to crack, purely for the sake of
> avoiding paying for shareware, is uneconomical... you would have
> to crack far more applications than you ever could use, before
> the hours you spent learning the art paid for themselves: time is
> money, even if you are not being paid, because everybody's time
> is worth something to them. And anyway, as +ORC said, you will
> never learn to truly crack well if you are commercially minded.
> However, I find it interesting that you did not mention a very
> valid reason for moving away from software deprotections:
> bringing some "respectability" to reverse engineering. This may
> or may not be important to you, but you know, I think it is a
> noble art, and it's a shame that it's not widely recognised as
> such. And perhaps, your page as it stands now contributes to
> the bad image.
> On the other hand, what would have brought me to your page (way
> back before it had its own domain, when it contained but a few
> +ORC essays) other than a desire to learn more about how these
> cracks I'd come across were possible? There has to be an entry
> point; a place from which to recruit people... and the broadest
> possible community for that purpose is people who use cracks.
> If nobody but computer science majors get into reversing, the
> reversing world will be much the poorer for it. Imagination
> plays almost an equal part to knowledge in this business.
> However, as long as cracking-related pages continue to link to
> yours (and I think they will, even after you go through with
> this), this probably won't be an issue.
> One of the things which has happened to your site as its size has
> grown is that structure has been lost. The quantity of essays
> has outgrown the beginner->intermediate->advanced categorization
> system; there is simply too much in the category into which a
> reader falls that they already know, so that they are left not
> even trying to find a needle in a haystack, but a needle in
> amongst a thousand other needles. There needs to be a
> stronger linearity. And perhaps by moving to a more pure
> reversing emphasis, we can clear away the mess. I would really
> like to see your page build up as more of a collaborative effort:
> instead of everyone with their own little essay randomly adding
> to the pile, to make sure that people are reading what others are
> saying; treating every essay as a work in progress that may be
> made more clear with some rewriting by others; deciding where
> their own essay fits in with the others in order. To gain
> linearity; continuity; clarity. To reduce redundancy. To offer
> a holistic approach from the ground up, which maintains interest
> for the reader and does not waste time and effort for anybody.
> To gain generality and lose specificity as much as possible
> (without becoming vague of course).
> A strong approach to reversing should provide crackers with the
> knowledge to approach *any* protection scheme -- it is far more
> efficient to learn how a car works than to learn how to fix the
> rattle which comes from under the dashboard of a 1968 Volkswagen,
> then learn how to install a stereo in a '92 Mitsubishi without
> ignition noise interfering with the radio, et cetera, et cetera.
> So I don't think the pure crackers have anything to be concerned
> about with a change in emphasis; indeed they have much to gain.
> I know that you've never heard of me before... This is because
> I've never yet reached the stage where I felt I had anything new
> to add to the knowledge base; nor have I released any of my
> cracks... I hope however that you'll take my words as having some
> value. Finally I want to thank you, and to thank +ORC on the
> slim chance that you publish this and he reads it, for all that
> you've done to bring knowledge to those who would only look for
> it. I don't know how I could possibly communicate the joy I felt
> the day I applied my still-blunt reversing scalpel to shell32.dll
> and removed the patronising "The file blah.exe is a program, are
> you sure you want to delete it?" dialog box from windoze forever.
> The Lighthouse Keeper
> A postscript, in case you should publish this:
> Those in America who are interested in hardware cracking
> should check out DIVX, a new and hideously greedy commercial
> technology which is just crying out for a mod chip. Such a
> chip needs to save the decryption key sent down the phone line
> during the "free trial period" and remove the necessity to be
> connected to the phone line while playing back subequently.
> (A shame you can't deal with electronics using softice; this'd
> be a pushover...)
Well, there's actually an interesting recent essay about these matters:
dvdfuhr.htm: Dr. Fuhrball's DIVX and DVD reversing.