[Openmcl-devel] CCL images, consumer apps, and piracy

Jeremy Jones feralearthman at gmail.com
Sat Apr 9 07:55:08 PDT 2011

It's a valid question whether or not CCL code can be decompiled.  I suspect
that it might be possible to do a  fairly good job with some effort, but I
doubt anyone will put in the effort.  It should be easy to write something
that renames symbols in source files to obfuscate them.  Or after
compilation unintern them and gc to get rid of them entirely, but that could
break something.
On Apr 9, 2011 5:45 AM, "Pascal J. Bourguignon" <pjb at informatimago.com>
> Brandon Van Every <bvanevery at gmail.com> writes:
>> Hi, I'm pretty new to Common Lisp and Clozure CL. I'm using Windows
>> Vista. I have been reading a lot of materials to try to understand
>> how CLL produces standalone apps.
>> Let's say I write a commercial app for a consumer audience, such as a
>> game. Aside from a few system .dlls accessed by CFFI, it is written
>> entirely in CL. I save-application with prepend-kernel to create a
>> standalone .exe. What's to stop some hacker from extracting my Lisp
>> image from the standalone .exe, loading it with a CCL kernel of their
>> choosing, and then using my code in any way they like? It seems like
>> not only could they pirate my game, they could mod it in any way they
>> like, and easily distribute their own derivative works. If there's
>> something about the internals of a CCL image that would make this
>> difficult, I would be grateful for an explanation. Or, if it's easy
>> by default but can be made difficult, I'd welcome that too.
>> I'd rather not get into a big discussion about the merits / demerits
>> of worrying about game piracy in the first place. Recent evidence
>> from Stardock's "Sins of a Solar Empire" suggest that up to a certain
>> number of sales, piracy is not worth worrying about.
>> http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/post.aspx?postid=303512 Their
>> philosophy is to concentrate on their core paying customers, who are
>> not pirates and are annoyed by anti-piracy measures. However, the
>> evidence from other sources is that once one is selling millions of
>> copies of a game, piracy is rampant. There's a smaller market of
>> conscientious consumers who just pay for stuff, and a mass market of
>> cheapskate consumers who love to get everything for free. Suffice it
>> to say that "I am ambitious," so I keep my eye on such issues.
> So I won't question whether there's any merit in discussing game piracy,
> as requested, but I will just ask: are you already selling millions of
> copies? If not, perhaps you could wait when you have that income to
> wonder about this problem (you might then hire programmers or lawyers to
> solve it). If yes, then perhaps you could hire them right now instead
> of asking on the maillist?
> --
> __Pascal Bourguignon__ http://www.informatimago.com/
> A bad day in () is better than a good day in {}.
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