orbiter-mods.com - announcing development of open source mods repo

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Majid

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So in light of OHM being sunset I decided to allow the orbiter-mods.com search bar to search against the OF resources. Trying to deploy the changes but there seems to be some global internet outage. DO is going bonkers. I can't even login to their control panel, and SSH is timing out.

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Majid

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Anyway, on my local it looks like this. Should help out till OF resource search is fixed.
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site updated yall. I didn't want to put stress on OF servers so I didn't pull in the description, and so the search is only performed against the titles. Since the index is fully localized search happens on the client/browser and OF servers are not pinged.
 
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Majid

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Thinking of something like this for the upload interface:
1654695177142.png

Here are my thoughts:

1. imo add-ons uploaded while logged into a user account with I own this add-on checked should get attributed to logged in user
2. imo add-on uploads done while not logged in should have attribution author unknown
3. logged in users should be able to claim any uploaded addon. Claim will have to be handled on a case by case basis, probably using OF to verify identity
4. successful claim would transfer administrative rights of the addon to the logged in user

I think this model will allow for uploads of add-ons whose authors are long gone, and are neither here nor care about their work being uploaded. At the same time it'll also allow add-on devs to claim/exercise rights over their work that was uploaded without their permission.

edit:

I think a depends on field with a dropdown allowing for easy selection of dependencies will also be helpful.
 
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jedidia

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imo add-on uploads done while not logged in should have attribution author unknown
I wouldn't allow anonymous uploads, mostly for abuse prevention. Users as well as yourself could get into trouble. The claim system is a nice idea, but is ripe for abuse too. I'd add the possibility to attribute a mod to another name than your user.
 

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I wouldn't allow anonymous uploads, mostly for abuse prevention. Users as well as yourself could get into trouble. The claim system is a nice idea, but is ripe for abuse too. I'd add the possibility to attribute a mod to another name than your user.
Oh right, it’ll become a porn site very quickly without any controls… very good point.

I was thinking along the same lines for point 2. Should that another name be another user (presented as a drop down of existing users), or would it be free form text?
 

jedidia

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I was thinking along the same lines for point 2. Should that another name be another user (presented as a drop down of existing users), or would it be free form text?
Another user would probably not make much sense, since that would imply that the attributed author has an account, which would mean that they could've uploaded it themselves. So I'd make it unstructured text. But maybe give the possibility to also specify a link for the attributed user, so one could link to potentially existing but unused forum accounts, or websites that are unmaintained but somehow still running, etc.
 

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I just received this. It seems like the forum administration wants a monopoly on add-on distribution? I am planning on making a curated list of really good add-ons/provide bundles, as such file uploads on the site are really a way to take stress off OHM/OF, a way for me to share cost of distribution. It's not really necessary, since the files are publicly available.

But it does seem weird. Any opinions?

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Majid

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BTW I wasn't planning on redistributing any add-ons myself, and I don't think OF/OHM holds sole rights to these files. I politely ask OF admins to let add-on authors make their own decisions as to whether or not their files can be on my repo or not.

EDIT:
For what it's worth, I have offered my services to OHM. I just want to contribute and give back to the sim that's made such a power impact on my life. Because I didn't get a response, and because I don't think using the forum resource manager for add-on distribution is good UX, I decided to create my own thing.

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jedidia

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But it does seem weird. Any opinions?
It's not weird. It's normal. By uploading to OH, authors gave OH, or the organisation behind OH, implicit distribution rights. OH doesn't have the right to pass these distribution rights on to another party without the original authors consent. What Xion is saying is that it's not legal to trawl OH for mods, or to take mods from there and re-upload them to another repository without permission by the authors. He's telling you this because he has to, because if there was ever an issue and he might be interpreted as endorsing redistributing mods without their authors permission, he might get into trouble. He's probably also telling you because he's not sure whether you understand the legal situation, and wants to prevent you from doing unneccessary work if you don't.
I had just assumed that you were aware that what you planned with re-uploading mods from inactive authors was technically illegal, but would probably not lead to any trouble as long as proper attribution is given.

BTW I wasn't planning on redistributing any add-ons myself, and I don't think OF/OHM holds sole rights to these files
If you're operating a site that offers them for download, you are, in fact, distributing them in a legal sense. Also, no, OHM does not have sole rights to these files. Their authors do. That's exactly the problem.
 

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Well I am not going to upload anything, it'll be users that upload. I'll offer a claim system to give add-on devs full autonomy over their work. I am going to simply offer a repo, it'll be the uploader's responsibility to ensure proper rights, and add-on devs will be able to claim any work uploaded without their permission. Just like youtube. Also the site is under construction and it's not currently redistributing anything at all.

As such, your site in its current form will need to be altered to exclude any content held by Orbiter-Forum or OHM.

So yes this statement is indeed very werid.

Once again, it'll cost me less per month to not have to support file storage. I can simply fetch whatever I want from OF. I want to help. With the resource manager in its current state and lack of search I thought I can do something quickly to help and built search, for which I needed to pull the resource manager index. It was done with utmost care to not stress the OF server.
 

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BTW I wasn't planning on redistributing any add-ons myself, and I don't think OF/OHM holds sole rights to these files. I politely ask OF admins to let add-on authors make their own decisions as to whether or not their files can be on my repo or not.

EDIT:
For what it's worth, I have offered my services to OHM. I just want to contribute and give back to the sim that's made such a power impact on my life. Because I didn't get a response, and because I don't think using the forum resource manager for add-on distribution is good UX, I decided to create my own thing.

View attachment 28941

Yes you did. And, as I've said to you privately, you're free to create your own thing. That's absolutely your perogative, and I have watched the thread with some interest (and mild concern) to see your progress. Since we're speaking publicly about it, I'm going to break this response into two parts; the first, my official position as a forum administrator here, which is a position I've discussed in staff channels with the other administrators and moderators, and secondly my personal response which is, as you might expect, my own.

So, let's begin by reiterating, as we've laid out in the update to the Terms of Service and as @jedidia summarised above - the add-ons uploaded to OHM do not belong to OHM. They belong, legally, to the authors of that content. OHM has an implicit right of redistribution of those add-ons by virtue of the fact that the content creators who own absolute creative control of their content chose to upload them to OHM in full knowledge and with the express purpose of using OHM as a distribution point for their content. That's what grants OHM the right to distribute add-ons, and why we've enshrined something similar into the forum's TOS now to reflect that so that uploaders to the service understand what uploading content to a repository means and to formally agree between the two parties what rights they do and do not confer to OHM by the act of uploading content. Edit to add: No such right exists in transference, which is to say that an addon uploaded to OHM does not become re-uploadable to another repository - the implicit right does not transfer.

Our concerns as forum staff, and the curators of this repository of addons, is of consistency, of user fragmentation, of confusion around where certain add-ons should live, around what sites can and cannot be "trusted" as curated sources of what is, effectively, arbitrary software created by unknown people, often (pretty much always) unsigned. We feel that users should have the protections afforded by a team of curators and a well-proven product to ensure that what they download is not malicious, is fit for purpose, and is obtained in compliance with appropriate copyright law. The systems we have produced and provided, both OHM and the Xenforo Resources section alike, meet those needs well, allowing good transparency and allowing our moderation team to quickly and correctly respond to issues that come up in the operation of a repository such as this.

We benefit directly from the generous donations that our members give to us in order to operate the site, and the infrastructure behind the forum makes use of Digital Ocean's distributed network for file delivery. The files themselves aren't actually served by the forum server, they're offloaded to an edge CDN, which makes concerns about "stress" on the forum server far less significant or relevant. While this isn't necessarily public information, it's also hardly a secret, but you should perhaps understand that our administration and moderation teams largely comprise industry professionals who manage and operate large-scale sites on a daily basis for commercial purposes, and we understand how to manage them correctly.

As has been made clear, if users choose your platform to upload their content to, that's their choice. Our concern is entirely your site's "scraping" of the resources located here, and offering up what appear to users to be "alternative" downloads, regardless of where the content itself resides.

Well I am not going to upload anything, it'll be users that upload. I'll offer a claim system to give add-on devs full autonomy over their work. I am going to simply offer a repo, it'll be the uploader's responsibility to ensure proper rights, and add-on devs will be able to claim any work uploaded without their permission. Just like youtube. Also the site is under construction and it's not currently redistributing anything at all.



So yes this statement is indeed very werid.

Once again, it'll cost me less per month to not have to support file storage. I can simply fetch whatever I want from OF. I want to help. With the resource manager in its current state and lack of search I thought I can do something quickly to help and built search, for which I needed to pull the resource manager index. It was done with utmost care to not stress the OF server.
Your statement is confusing. If you are going to permit content creators to upload their own work, why do you need a "claim" system at all? We need one for the OHM content here to resolve the disparity between old add-ons uploaded by people without an OF account. Are you planning to permit users to upload works they don't own the rights to redistribute?

What follows this point is no longer a viewpoint expressed in discussion with other forum staff, and should be regarded as my personal opinion alone:

With the utmost respect, the best way in which you can help the community is by being a considerate member of it, and by contributing your development talents to Orbiter itself, or content for the program. When you reached out to me most recently, the OHM project was already shelved, and work had already begun laying the groundwork towards this migration. It would have been inappropriate to bring you into that development effort as you are not staff here on the forum, and the work requires some privileged access to the backend here which, quite honestly, I don't feel comfortable granting you given your previous history.

Your site is embryonic and I appreciate that, but you should understand that the technical challenges that face managing a repository such as OHM are the easy ones to overcome. The current backend for the site is, by necessity, complicated (and, for what it's worth, open-source) - I have been reminding myself just how much hard work went into producing it as I make changes to it to better enable us to move away from it. When I look at what you've posted here, I do not in honesty believe you have an adequate grasp on the problem you're trying to solve, and have some misgivings about your current efforts towards solving them. Your current site is extremely insecure, and if you were to be offering uploads at this moment I would be cautioning people to be mindful of the evident security issues before considering doing so.

Our efforts are directed solely towards finding and providing the best experience for people, both for add-on developers and consumers alike. What you're doing here, however, runs contrary to that, and rather than providing assistance, has been a distraction to those efforts.
 
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Anyway, on my local it looks like this. Should help out till OF resource search is fixed.
View attachment 28921
This looks like it could be very helpful in terms of mods search, but the current implementation seems to have a bug: if I click one of the search results, I always land on a OHM/O-F page of a completely different mod.

On the subject of redistribution, I think as long as there are only links to the real distribution site, there is no legal problem. At least in the EU, linking is not automatically distributing. "Framing" could be problematic, but I don't think that this is the approach here?
 

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This looks like it could be very helpful in terms of mods search, but the current implementation seems to have a bug: if I click one of the search results, I always land on a OHM/O-F page of a completely different mod.

On the subject of redistribution, I think as long as there are only links to the real distribution site, there is no legal problem. At least in the EU, linking is not automatically distributing. "Framing" could be problematic, but I don't think that this is the approach here?

Somehow you always break everything I work on! :poop: The index changed due to migration. I have rebuilt, please hard refresh.
This is the correct behavior: https://www.loom.com/share/62def968f4274b46965140c2177e083e

edit: my recording tool captured only the current tab, but it has the right links now.

In light of the discussion I've changed the design to this, and will not accept uploads unless that box is checked:
1654757778062.png
 
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Face

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Somehow you always break everything I work on! :poop: The index changed due to migration. I have rebuilt, please hard refresh.
Hey, at least I'm not sending you some kind of a C&D letter, right? :p

Works now after the refresh, thanks!
 

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If you are going to permit content creators to upload their own work, why do you need a "claim" system at all? We need one for the OHM content here to resolve the disparity between old add-ons uploaded by people without an OF account. Are you planning to permit users to upload works they don't own the rights to redistribute?

In case someone violates copyrights and distributes without the author's consent, the claim system will provide a recourse for the authors. OF should have this too, because nothing prevents some rando from signing up and uploading addons they don't have right to distribute.

Our efforts are directed solely towards finding and providing the best experience for people, both for add-on developers and consumers alike. What you're doing here, however, runs contrary to that, and rather than providing assistance, has been a distraction to those efforts.

I want to thank you and all the forum staff for keeping the lights on and providing this service. None of this is to belittle your efforts. Having said that, the year is 2022 and Orbiter's add-on distribution is not up to modern standards. I think moving the add-ons to resource manager is best with what yall had to work with, and I appreciate the efforts. But it's not a good experience for users imho.

I discovered Orbiter back in 2005, and so I consider myself an advanced user. Despite of that I feel hesitant/unwilling to try add-ons because they are too damn complicated to install. I want SSU, I have no idea where to start. I want to be able to run AMSO with a click of a button. I want to be able to get SSU with a click of a button. I don't want to have to hunt down and install dozens of dependencies.

The add-ons are the bread and butter of Orbiter IMO, and the current add-on journey for the user is not good. My goals with orbiter-mods.com are 2:

1. Provide a mechanism for easy add-on installs. I'll create bundled "experiences" of add-ons that go really well together. The idea is for the user to go orbiter-mods.com and be able to select from say: Mercury, Gemini, STS Lite, STS Hardcore, Apollo Lite, Apollo Hardcore, etc

The user then should be able to download a "recipe file" that gets executed by a client that I'll distribute against a fresh Orbiter install. This will allow users to quickly and easily configure their sims for notable use cases.

This will be for me as much as anybody. I want to be able to play Mercury/Gemini in Orbiter 2016 but right now I simply can't because I don't know where to start.

2. I want to improve at flying the sim and help others improve. I am still bad at orbital mechanics and transfers. Orbiter has a wonderful replay system but I don't know where to get good replays. In addition more structure for what to do in simulation would be appreciated.

To that end the second purpose of the site will be to distribute user created "challenges". The KSC to Wideawake thing got a lot of engagement from players. I want to create a place for users to share more of such challenges. I want to distribute a client (MFD) that'll allow users to automatically upload replays/results so that users can try and rank/compete in doing these challenges.

So for instance, I could create a challenge called "Moon circuit" or something with waypoints in LEO, some station in lunar orbit, some base on the moon. The "Challenge MFD" could download new challenges from the site, could install any needed add-ons automatically and configure the sim for the challenge.
 

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@Majid just build your own system ba
1. Provide a mechanism for easy add-on installs. I'll create bundled "experiences" of add-ons that go really well together. The idea is for the user to go orbiter-mods.com and be able to select from say: Mercury, Gemini, STS Lite, STS Hardcore, Apollo Lite, Apollo Hardcore, etc

The user then should be able to download a "recipe file" that gets executed by a client that I'll distribute against a fresh Orbiter install. This will allow users to quickly and easily configure their sims for notable use cases.

This will be for me as much as anybody. I want to be able to play Mercury/Gemini in Orbiter 2016 but right now I simply can't because I don't know where to start.
This is a good idea and you should develop it, but independently for OH. Store IDs and links but do your own categorization - basically create an addon database. Also store proper author information (including contact), that you can use to ask for distribution permissions regarding the actual add-on files.

Taking files and reuploading them somewhere else is problematic. I don't want you to do it with my stuff, it feels almost like stealing. I'm very serious about this. (n)
It's problematic already to keep track of them on OH, let alone across other sites. Just don't.

Communication is key here, and you need to get addon creators on board. Ask before acting, and give people an easy way to access and manage their stuff and you'll be OK and making friends.;)
 

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Yall, the idea was never to infringe on the rights of add-on devs, being one myself. There might be conversations happening on discord/elsewhere that I am not privy to so please let me set the record straight.

I have no intentions of infringing on add-on devs or OHM. The site is totally independent, and will have better controls than OF in ensuring that addon dev wishes are respected. The site will not host content their respective rights holders don't want uploaded there. Period, end of story.

During the migration process, the add-on search was not working. I thought I'd spend the half an hour to allow for rudimentary search capability against OF. There are no plans for this to stay on the site. It's just search, that links back to OF, so I am not sure where the concerns are coming from. But forum admin just enabled clouflare hotlinking protection. These actions seem user hostile. Precisely what's wrong with linking?
1654768863317.png

The search was like half an hour worth of effort yall to allow users to get a decent search experience. There are no plans for this to stay, and in fact I can remove it right now if everyone wants.

The search is working again for those that want to use it.
 

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I can simply fetch whatever I want from OF
If by "fetch" you mean pipe the data through your server for user convenience, then you should talk to the OF staff if they'd consider that ok. Also, you should clearly mark in the download that the file will be delivered from another site.
If you just link to the OF page where the mod can be downloaded, then there's not actually a problem. There's not really any reasonable objection anybody could make to that.

So there might also be a communications issue here: From what you wrote so far, I always had the impression that you were planning to host the mods previously on OH, and I suspect most people thought the same. If you're not actively going to host the files, a lot of the issues go away. If you're not even piping the data through your server, there's no issues whatsoever.
 

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If by "fetch" you mean pipe the data through your server for user convenience, then you should talk to the OF staff if they'd consider that ok. Also, you should clearly mark in the download that the file will be delivered from another site.
If you just link to the OF page where the mod can be downloaded, then there's not actually a problem. There's not really any reasonable objection anybody could make to that.

So there might also be a communications issue here: From what you wrote so far, I always had the impression that you were planning to host the mods previously on OH, and I suspect most people thought the same. If you're not actively going to host the files, a lot of the issues go away. If you're not even piping the data through your server, there's no issues whatsoever.

Actually the implementation I was thinking of would not have any data going through my servers, and my servers would only host metadata. The idea was for the user's client machine to download everything, just in an automated fashion.

But clearly forum admin even objects to linking, as evident by turning on the cloudflare protection. So for example:

1654769550225.png

Just links to: https://www.orbiter-forum.com/resources/xr5-vanguard-crysis-cell-skin.1934/

But orbiter-mods.com referer was blacklisted. The site is no longer sending any referer information when redirecting.

I do want to also allow for hosting, but that is really secondary. But at the end of the day, I am comitted to ensuring that addon-dev rights are respected.
 
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