Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here's what you need to know if you are to form an opinion about me or

Before taking in opinions or "facts" from outside sources, consider their credibility. 95% of the people you'll hear from out there have never spoken with me or any of the admins/developers involved in these little dramas so you can filter them out right off. Then there's B16 (rootzwiki). He most definitely knows how to get people's attention. He got mine. As a fellow Marine and someone that appreciated his enthusiasm for the Android community, I welcomed his offer to help rebuild AllDroid after Brent (bonez) destroyed it. He did a lot to bring attention to AllDroid, but his enthusiasm came at a cost. As a new player in the community and a non-developer, he reminded me of myself 15 years ago; sitting at an 8088 with DOS 3 and gwbasic saying, "I want to write software, now what do I do and how do I do it." Enthusiasm does not a developer make and you need to keep that in mind when he starts stating opinions of a technical nature. If you can look past that, you then must know his character. AllDroid hit a low just before Birdman rooted the Droid X and gave AllDroid the honor or releasing it to the world. At the time B16 was an admin at AllDroid though he had been quiet for a week or two stating that he was busy EASing (end of active service from the USMC). Only a couple hours after AllDroid released Birds root method via a tutorial I took hours to write, he copy/pasted to the newly launched DroidXForums (part of group of other commercially run sites), removing all mentions of me and AllDroid.

A man with any real character would have at least said, "he mike, I'm going to dick you and AllDroid". He never even had the "intestinal fortitude" (as we'd say in the Corp) to tell me he was unhappy. What's worse, he was unhappy because I convinced him that the DroidX he wanted to give away in AllDroid's name should go to a developer and not a user. My logic was that if a developer got the phone, they'd contribute to many others where a user would only benefit themselves. Apparently I did him a disservice in this way.

Now to the topic that brought all this to head today. Let me start by saying that I do not have a personal issue with Koush. I've had very little interaction with him and what I've had hasn't been all bad. That said, there have been circumstances involving he and his development that have been less comfortable. Mostly it comes down to this followers who like to get involved and run their mouths without understanding the issues let alone having the facts.

I've been seeing plagiarism in the Android community, a community supposedly revolving around the open-source community setup by Google; pretty much since I started paying attention. In some cases it's blatant (like B16 and my tutorial), in other cases, it's almost invisible (like my busybox binary in Koush's "recovery"). Oh, you didn't know about that? There's a chance I'm wrong, but according to statistics, is so small, that most companies gamble their trade secrets on this likelihood. They're called MD5 hashes and in order for 2 files to have the same hash without actually being identical, it would take a small miracle. For it to happen between two binaries built from source by two different people completely independently, would take a certain religious figure who can walk on water by some accounts. You'll find this relationship between a binary I created many months ago (you may even find it in the latest ZeusDroid ROM that I was involved in) and you WILL find it in Koush's "recovery", but you WILL NOT find my name anywhere. You also won't find Birdman's name on Koush's recovery (at least not when it released), even though they spoke early in the process and the results (which I believe to be inspired by a public project, but customized by Birdman) are so similar. I in fact made multiple attempts to contact Koush myself, directly, through Twitter and email, to inquire about CWM and feel out the possibility of collaborating on the project. Instead of responding with so much as "fuck off", apparently he began/continued work without notifying us (though he knew we were working on it). We only found out he was working on some aspect of it when he released a screenshot of the CWM UI which I later found out was just the UI and really not a "recovery" as we know it. Once I learned this, I continued work. Early this morning he released an APK on the market (which he charges $2 for) and a free version on his site.

People have got it in their heads that I'm upset he got it out first, but that's got nothing to do with it. If you don't understand that by now, start from the top and read this again please.

Now about the money/donations issue. It's interesting to me how our donors have not had a SINGLE complaint, but I hear our competitors crying of wrong-doing, begging, etc.  Here's the reality folks. With help, I invested $5,000 to obtain rights to so I could bring it back and make it what it was meant to be. AllDroid is hosted on a dedicated server with Rackspace, has a 100Mb pipe, 2Tb metered bandwidth, and 24/7/365 support. That is not cheap. AllDroid regularly purchases software for the site (much of which doesn't make it public because it's not worthy, but we're trying), and supports developers in various way to include purchasing phones and providing cash gifts. The site earns ~$25/day on a good day through advertising. Go do the math people. For you idiots out there trying to say that AD is all about money or is wrong for asking for/accepting donations, I'm guessing you can't balance a check-book. If we're lucky, a year from now we'll have enough revenue that the site is self-sufficient, but there's no guarantee that will even happen, let alone when.

Here's something else for you to chew on. I've been offered a buy-out already. Someone likes the loyalty they see in AllDroid members and they appreciate the way I run the site. I haven't taken that offer though because I'm concerned it would compromise the site and that's not something I'm willing to do given an option. If it can be done in a way that will benefit EVERYONE involved, I might go that route, but for now, we only have the generosity of our donors and our advertising (which is dependent on traffic) to pay the bills so yes, I will ask for donations and I won't feel ashamed because when they're given, that's the donors way of telling us that we're worth it and they appreciate our efforts and/or services. Don't be jealous; respect that. Just as I began writing this a $35 donation came in (that's on the bigger side of what we see). Thank you kristopher. He responds with, "My pleasure!"

If you think I'm doing so much harm by speaking up, consider the alternative: I don't say anything, the issues persist and get worse because the monopolies grow, "the little guys" can't get exposure because their work just gets eaten up by the plagiarists, and the entire community ends up stale.

On the other hand, if my point gets across and people start behaving like considerate, productive members of a group with a common goal, everyone wins and nobody has to go through the shit-storm I know I'll see despite the facts and solidity of my logic.

Bottom line: If you're going to use someone else's work, give them credit and demonstrate your maturity and integrity. If you know someone else is working their ass off on a project, let them know you're doing them same in case they want to just step back and let you run with it instead of letting them devote days of their lives only to find out after the fact that a bit of information might have saved them that time. If you want to run your mouth in public about issues, make sure you know the issue at the least. Better yet, have some facts from reliable sources, not sites who don't bother to investigate their stories, loud-mouth attention seekers who've proven they're not trustworthy, or fan-boys operating in defensive mode without facts, or reason.

Now finally, ask yourself this. Aside from causing drama like this by calling people out for their unacceptable behavior (mistakenly on a couple occasions to be honest), what's the worst thing I've ever done to this community? Now what have I contributed (there should be about 10,147 people ready to respond to this since that many saw a need to register at

I'm going to bed now. I'll be happiest if I see no comments here because I don't want to start trouble, I want to initiate change and I'll not sit quietly for the sake of the status quo. I will speak up (through AllDroid) if/when I see the need. If you don't want to hear it, don't follow @alldroid, don't follow @rainabba and don't visit the site. I gamble that developers with integrity who would otherwise want to take advantage of the resources at AllDroid will not have a problem with it because I'm looking out for them. That IS what AllDroid is all about, making a place for developers to do what they do best and exposing the fruits to the world. If the developers come and showcase their work (perhaps provide support), I expect users will follow and they become part of our little community. If everyone does right by everyone else, it should be a win-win situation and Android progresses all the more. If I'm guilty of wanting anything more than that, it's only to be associated with such a success.

UPDATE: So Koush FINALLY contacted me and instead of just giving credit where credit is due (especially given the source of the file that he mentioned), here's his response:

[koush] grabbed it from the droid x root, it's too big though, i only needed 3 functions. compiled my own and updated. btw, kind of weird to be trying to call me out on busybox... it's not like you wrote it either..
[rainabba] Not like you created that "recovery" method either but you did assemble and I'm sure you'd be less than happy if someone used it w/o crediting you. Pulling my busy after the fact doesn't make any difference either, especially since you just admitted to pulling it from our root package and can't claim ignorance to its source now. No matter, you've demonstrated your character throughout all this. I'm better off for the knowledge.
[koush] you're basically upset that i beat you to it, or that i didn't collaborate with you. it wasn't a competition to me, and i am not obligated to collaborate with you. I don't even know you. Big deal about busybox; i have like 4 copies of that sitting on my system made by different. I grabbed the first one I found that was statically compiled and worked. It happened to be the one in the droid x root package and was already sitting on the sd
[koush] didn't realize you'd get so upset about it, i'm more than capable of compiling my own.
[koush] the "recovery" method was by me and first released by open recovery. you forget i've been doing recoveries long LONG before droid even showed up. if anything, i owe them credit for demonstrating the proof of concept actually does work.
[koush] but I don't see how i remotely owe you any accreditation
[rainabba] YOu do understand how the OSS community is supposed to work right? I'm upset in general with how many major players around here treat what google created as their little playground and don't appear to give a shit about anyone else.
[koush] you dont even have any source published that i could have possibly looked at.
[koush] you're lecturing me on oss now?
[koush] do you even have a github account?
[koush] do you contribute?
[rainabba] It's the principle. If you're so capable and you knew where it came from and didn't want to pay that little bit of credit, why not just go build it. Would have taken you minutes I imagine.
[koush] i didnt know where it came from
[koush] it was in the droid x root package i found on whatever site i downloaded it from
[rainabba] koush: Oh, so I have to be on github to contribute?
* rainabba looks at
[koush] facepalm
[rainabba] "it came from the droid x root package [created by bird and rainabba]" and you don't know where it came from?!
[rainabba] You're a piece.
[koush] ok i'll give you credit for busybox in v1 of the recovery boot strap if that will make you happy
[koush] i didnt realize that i had to credit people when they COMPILED something, or find out where a copy of busybox came from that is on my sd card which floats between the 10 devices i own.
[rainabba] Ever compiled busybox koush? Have any clue how many options are presented? I took great care in selecting what went into it to keep size down and functionality up because it had to fit in ZeusDroid (a HUGE contribution to The D1 community that I was directly involved it) and we have almost no space to work with.
[koush] depends. are you compiling on debian arm or android build. i have done both.
[koush] i have also contributed directly back to dylex who maintains the android busybox port
[koush] i am guessing debian arm cause your binary is 2mb.
[koush] if you compiled against android, it would have been like 500k.
[rainabba] What's your point?
[koush] my point is, yes, i have compiled busybox. i have also contributed to busybox.
[koush] wait, why am i arguing this, this is retarded.
[koush] later

So I guess what he was getting at is a developer only deserves recognition IF they have a great impact, not for their efforts, regardless of who benefits or how. By this logic, if I steal your work and get it to market first, I deserve the recognition, not you (impact, not effort). I guess someone who's made it to a point where he has could lose sight of the fact that it's all the little contributions that make up these projects, not the less frequent (but still important) breakthroughs. I wonder how we bring things back into perspective? Why not just be honest, give credit where it's due up front and make it a mute point?

Friday, August 13, 2010

How did the name/nick/handle RAINABBA come to be?

I had a "Big Brother" (United Way) when I was around 10y/o. He was from England and a truck driver here in the US so his handle was Rainman.

He was teaching me C.B. etiquette and gave me the handle Rainman Jr.

Once the movie Rainman caught on, I got a bit older, and I got online (1200 baud bbs around 12-13 y/o), people were associating my nick with the character in the movie and it began to annoy me.

Around 14 y/o I found out that Abba was Hebrew for father.

One day it just sorta came to me like this: Abba = father, father of the rain, rainabba and BAM, there it was.

Since then I've used it as my well-known handle on the net.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Twitter shows preference towards "hackers" privacy and not members.

When I asked Twitter for account activity information for MY account (in such a way that they knew I was the account holder), this was their response. It definitely makes me think twice about supporting Twitter with my traffic. See the transcript below (edited in a few spots for security) but otherwise unaltered.


Twitter Support Admin
posted this on Jul 30 02:31 am
Tonight our account was compromised and tweets were made by an unknown individual. The account password was fairly Strong (pattern was XXXXXXXXXXX) and entirely unguessable. I NEVER have shared this password with anyone and it's used in only one other area where I also keep it very secure so I have a pretty good idea of who was abusing it, but I can't be 100% sure. Can you release to me any diagnostic information for my own account (like IPs used to access the account, or other accounts accessed in the last 24 hours by the IP of my abuser? I would identify them by certain posts they made (assuming there is an archive and I have deleted all the posts they made).


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Jul-30 2010 03:11 am.
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Twitter Support
Jul-31 2010 01:03 am.
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Jul-31 2010 06:44 am.
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Twitter Support

  • Hello,
    Twitter does not release user information except as required by proper legal process.
    We receive information requests from law enforcement at the mailing address and fax number below:
    Twitter Inc.,
    c/o Trust and Safety
    795 Folsom Street, Suite 600
    San Francisco, CA 94107
    Fax: 415-222-9958
    Acceptance of legal process by facsimile is for our convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.
Aug-03 2010 07:42 pm.
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  • So basically you're telling me to get lost and deal with it? Also that Twitter has no concern for user trust? I'm not asking for someone elses account activity. I'm trying to determine who was defacing my account and the police couldn't care less so I can't do a legal query.
Aug-03 2010 08:08 pm.