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Justin Frankel of Nullsoft Hacks AIM 168

Trinition writes "Justin Frankel from Nullsoft, the creators of WinAmp, as gone and hacked away at his new Parent Company's popular AIM service. He's remove the ads. Read the ZDNet article for details." Apparently AOL yanked it from the firehose page, but it's on Zeropaid.Update: 09/22 02:40 AM by H :Thanks to a couple people who pointed out that it is still on firehose.
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Justin Frankel of Nullsoft Hacks AIM

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  • by nachoman ( 87476 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:30AM (#763887)
    Personally I find this rather amusing. It seems that nullsoft is trying to cause as much trouble for AOL as possible. You will remember how gnutella was created and then removed by AOL and now this.

    I wonder if Frankel and other at nullsoft are trying to see how far AOL will allow them to go, or maybe they are just unhappy with their job at AOL. Most companies have you sign a non-disclosure agreement in regards to the software owned by the company. This would blatently infringe on this contract.

    Perhaps Frankel is doing this to get back at AOL for buying his company out (even though it made him rich). To me this course of action doesn't seem logical. It would be like a microsoft employee putting out a free version of a windows like operating system which he based on the windows code.
  • But honestly, it's something you would download and use if you just wanted to "stick it to AOL". IMHO, it's something you'd use out of principle, not practicality. Frankly, a visual spectrum is more annoying to have running on my screen than an occasional ad change.

    I think the whole concept is funny as hell, though. If he (or someone else) could write one that would show the name of the song being played, the time left, the artist, etc...that would be less annoying, and more useful.


  • I really don't see why anyone would have any sympathy towards AOL. These are the people who put advertisements in their properitary software that people pay $21.95 a month to use, a high price to pay for slow, unreliable 56k access. AOL just wants to bomard the world with advertisements in any way they can and their customers don't seem to care that they're paying to see advertisements. The worse is yet to come because the FCC seems to have given the green light for the AOL-Time Warner merger. It's going to be a AOL world as far as information goes.
  • Well, you can have the grits, grits, eggs, pancakes and grits. That hasn't got much grits in it.

    -David T. C.
  • Are my Native American ancestors the figment of those "europeans" imaginations?

    If that.


  • Like I'm really gonna download that piece of junk and leave it running just to not see ads in AIM. I think having to look at it all the time is worse than seeing ads.

  • I don't know about you guys, but I keep the damn thing minimized to the system tray.
  • If ya didn't want grits, wha'd you order breakfast for?
  • Maybe it's time for a First Post section? Taco submits a story to it randomly, and whoever posts first, wins a point.
  • The kicker is the "free time" part. Define "free time" when you're salaried. It was easy when I punched a clock. Now, it is really fuzzy...

    Not at all. Any time spent not at the office doing anything not explicitly asked of you by your employer is your "free time". This is a pretty easy definition.

    In this particular, the "not asked of him by his employer is pretty obvious", something tells me that AOL isn't going to ask him to write a clone of their software minus advertisements. So, the only thing left is, was it done at the "office".
    I'll make the guess that justin is really working to piss off AOL and would want to protect his ass, so it likely was really done at home during non work hours.

    ** Martin
  • I wish all of ./ers who can program would give their time to things like Nullsoft, and not like /dev/null soft. While I would prefer to have a full open-sourced client, crippling the AOL one seems like a nice job to me. Congrats, Justin!

  • yay! this one:

    http://jove.prohosti [] great. it's a little patching app, so you don't even need to fire up ResEdit.

    - isaac =)
  • I thought this was ZDNet! Man, I'm really confused.

    -David T. C.
  • Yeah, I've had contracts like that, as well - only from software houses, though.
    I can't see what right my employer has on _my_ code, written in _my_ free time, with _my_ compilers that _I_ bought (well, downloaded GCC, anyway...)
    I wonder how legal this actually is... OK, a contract is a contract, but "unfair contract" rules apply, over here in the UK, at least...

    Strong data typing is for those with weak minds.

  • The URL in this story is incorrect. It is actually at []. (fireHOSE, not fireHOUSE) You can actually still download it here: []. Enjoy.
  • Hey, I'm not a troll!

    I was just answering his question :)

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:31AM (#763903) Homepage Journal
    Just goes to show what happens to the bloodflow from wearing a tie around the neck. :-)

    Maybe they could buy an ad on zeropaid ;-)

    It's all true! ±5%
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Trolls .. they really whip the llama's ass!
  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <.moc.yggorhp. .ta. .3todhsals.> on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:32AM (#763905) Homepage
    He's not the first one to do this, ya know. Somebody posted the instructions in a chatroom about six months ago and I saved it in case I ever found myself running Windows and had a lot of free time on my hands (hasn't happened yet):

    Here's how you disable AIM Advertisements:

    Make sure AIM isn't running (not even the icon in the tray). Use notepad to open aim.odl. Scroll down to where there are two sections that have "advert" followed by "required". Remove the word required in both cases, and save the file. Now delete or rename your advert.ocm file (I renamed mine advert.bak). Now start AIM. When you sign on, no more annoying advertisements at the top of your buddy list.


  • There's either some real happy computer consultants [htp] out there for the extra business, or some real unhappy ones, that they either didn't have more banners up.
  • Oh, speaking about M$ folks writing operating system stuff ..

    Check out, a GPL'd project that's a shell replacement for exploder.

    Yes, it's headed by a guy working for M$ (in his spare time, of course)

  • Well, I'd like to point out to you , instead of Turing, you should really be comparing Jesus to Frank Sinatra. Sinatra is partially responsible for one of the best X-Files moments of all time, in the Christmas episode of two years ago, when his song 'Have Yourself a Merry Litte Christmas' played near the end. While he is not gay, I think we have to take into account that Sinatra actually has product, abeit indirectly, a much better Christmas episode then Jesus ever did. I agree with the rest of this, though.

    -David T. C.
  • It's not "Stealing from AOL" any more than the UNIX clients are.

    Is using Tivo stealing? Is taping a show and fast-forwarding through the commercials stealing? Is changing the channel when a commercial comes on stealing? Is using junkbuster [] stealing?

    AOL created this protocol, along with the TiK TCL/Tk client, so people could create AIM clients for alternative OS's. NONE of these clients have ads. In fact, there is nothing in the protocol to grab/retrieve ads.

    Precisely. AOL is welcome to develop a UNIX AIM client. If they put some useful features in it, I can put up with the ads. I think part of the reason AOL allows UNIX clients to get by without ads is the following:

    1. UNIX users who use AIM are far, far, far outnumbers by Windows users.
    2. It costs money to prevent UNIX AIM users from using a service that doesn't show ads. In all liklihood that costs outweigh the benefits (see number 1 for a reason why).
    3. AOL probably doesn't want to alienate UNIX folks. Why? For one they probaby know that UNIX types will develop their own protocols, e.g. Jabber []. Secondly, AOL and Netscape are buddies. It's been said that Netscape depends heavily on Mozilla. Who develops Mozilla? Right Virginia, UNIX folks (ok, not exclusively, but you know...). Thirdly, AOL really doesn't want to get people pissed at them with the impending Time-Warner deal.

    All of the above reasons boil down to one thing: it's in AOL's best interest to allow UNIX AIM development to continue.
  • do you think that he cares? the guy got an 86 million dollar pay day... he's 21...

    Think about it... if someone gave you that much money, do you think that you'd give a damn about losing your job? I didnt think so.

  • I'll assume that you got the allusion, or, do you only know it because they put it in a Matt Damon film?

    Actually it's because it was a Kevin Smith film; it's been awhile since I've seen Indiana Jones.


  • Go here: AIM_EDIT

    Do what it says.

  • I prefer my other method [] but here is another way to remove the ads, without having weird menu items appear...

    Exit AIM completely, backup advert.ocm in your AIM95 directory, then open advert.ocm in a hex editor and search for %s
    you should find:

    <A HREF="%s"&gt

    change it to something like

    &ltA HREF="

    (changing the %s"> to (die hehe)

    Anyway, save it, and load AIM, this should kill the banner ads also, and it won't give errors like it does if you just delete advert.ocm

    wee no more ads :)
  • You claim that big business exploits technology to control individuals? How is exactly? Through ads?

    I dont find ads to be exploitive. I find ads to be annoying and often dumb, but never to the level of exploitation.

    Well, how about the tobacco companies deliberately targetting ads at teen-agers, to get the maximum mileage from them over their lifetime, even when they know the product's causing them harm?
  • ooops I replied to a anon coward.

  • Did you even read the artical? They don't make money fromt he ads. All the Ads are AOL advertizements. That's why they don't care if the alternative protocol doesn't have support.

    Also, the alternative protocol was NOT made to make up for the fact that the UNIX clients won't have ads. It was made for ease of development, and it actually has a few extra features, like saving/loading your buddy list on the AOL servers, rater than on the local machines. It's not specifically crippled, it's simply a version or two behind because less time is spent working on it. I should have been clearer in my earlier post.

    "Evil beware: I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hampster!"
  • That would be legitamite, and inflame more people than removing ads from AOL, would be to work on avifile [].

    AviFile is a library, currently at 0.5, which can play a stack of Windows-only file formats, including MS MPEG 4, WMA and WMV, Intel Indeo, DivX ;-), and Cinepak. It uses about 50k of Wine code, the bare bones needed to support Windows codecs on Linux. The licensing agreements for most codecs seem to be liberal enough to make this legally OK. The 0.5 versions is quite useable.

    The current best player for AviFile is SMPEG XMMS, avaliable from
  • Course they could always sue him on the grounds that they paid him (bought the company) and he's intentionally damaging profits and attempting to damage their stock price. The SEC might be interested in locking his ass up for a bit as well.
  • When you're done with that, click on my homepage to get a small but effective ad-blocking host file.
  • They paid Perot $700million to resign his seat on the board, sign a 5-year(?) non-compete, an agreement not to try to hostile takeover GM and they bought all of his shares.

    He should have held out for more.
  • It seems like AOL's recent buy-out of Nullsoft is turning out to be quite the thorn in their side. :)

  • they have, its called (search Softrak on for it). Its been around since at least the 1st few releases of Rhapsody. Also, I would just like to say that my friend Greg hacked the AIM for Mac client ages ago, removed the ads. One would think that it would be easy with Mac resource forks and all. unfortunately no, since AIM decompresses its code eac time it starts up (thats why its so damn slow on even the fastest Macs...its basically unstuffing/unzipping its own code). But yes, he removed it and it was nice to have an AIM client that didnt take up so much window realestate :) that was way back in the 1.x or 2.x versions tho

  • by TheReverand ( 95620 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:21AM (#763923) Homepage
    That .5" by .5" square was taking up valuable room which could be used for porn and UT and watching RIAA sanctioned DVD's.
  • by slothdog ( 3329 ) <> on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:33AM (#763924) Homepage
    First off, it's, not secondly, the software is still posted on the webpage, unless I'm hallucinating.... []
  • Hee! Exactly. On my list of very irritating computer things, those tiny ads were pretty low. Is Justin just trying to prove that he wasn't a sell-out?
  • by photozz ( 168291 ) <photozz@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:34AM (#763926) Homepage
    1. He could get fired and sued.
    2. He could get promoted and told to "lay off" the special projects
    3. He could get "talked to" and fold like a napkin.

    Me, I'm guessing he gets promoted.

  • Notise up at the top that it says "AOL's loose CANON". haha, funny ZDnet, they can't spell for beans.
    a funny comment: 1 karma
    an insightful comment: 1 karma
    a good old-fashioned flame: priceless
  • was going to write a framework to support chatting within the browser. They created an API with which you could write plugins to support different protocols. All they released was the API for that framework. They might've released a plugin that let you use the Unix Talk protocol, but that's about it. They did not release anything at all that was directly related to AIM.
  • It's actually from when they were on the zeppelin.
  • my Win AIM client just put up an ad for th is page, which seems not to be an AOL site. == Time

    Time == Time Warner

    Time Warner == AOL Time Warner

    okay, so I'm stretching things a bit (and I'm not sure if the merger is complete yet... :)

    btw, this doesn't affect your argument one way or the other, I'm just making the observation.
  • You're kidding right? Let me guess, he is evil for "Stealing" money from AOL. I'm not condoning stealing money from HUGE conglomerates. BUT... I won't be shedding a tear for AOL, or shaking my fist at "evil" programmers. Everything won't be free on net. I can accept that. But slapping an AD on everything that is free & having some bean counter justify it by saying there is a huge overhead for running his service is bogus. You can't possibly think a corporation of their size doesn't consider the cost of running a service before making it free. What changed in the last few years that would make the price of maintain the AIM service rise to the point where you now need to charge or run an AD. Did we loose a shipment of code; is OPEC also holding back bandwidth? What is it? Just my opinion.
  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @02:52PM (#763932) Homepage Journal
    Define "free time" when you're salaried.

    Simply put, time spent using non-company resources is your "free time." For instance, if you go home and use a PC that you own to do anything, you own that work (unless the company has a claim to it otherwise [i.e. copyright, it started as a work project, etc]).

    Also, depending on the terms of your employment, there are "work hours" for which you get paid (even on salary). If you do non-work-related things outside of "work hours", that would be free time.

    Although I bet that some employers would see it differently.


  • ...isn't it possible that the reason AOL isn't all that upset about this is because it requires AOL software to run? Not just AIM, i mean; its a WinAMP plugin.


  • This isn't really anything new, there have been at least 2 other programs out there which completely remove the top and bottom ad bars (and cut off the slack space), the best one being "AIM Adjuster" (it doesn't work correctly with the new AIM released today (yet) but it works perfectly with all previous versions).

    There will always be a way to remove the ads from AIM, people were doing it (better) before Frankel and they will keep doing it regardless of what happens to him, only reason this is a story is cause the person writing the program is owned by AOL, not because it's anything new.

  • Yeah, in fact what the fsck's that box at the top of the Slashdot page? Come on, Capt Quesadilla, let's get rid of these evil advertisers.
  • I don't know about you, but just because someone has put an advertisement there doesn't mean I have to watch it. When I watch Farscape I shrink the window when an advertisement comes up. Am I stealing from Jim Henson? Or SciFi Network?

    I have no problem with them putting ads in the shows, but on the other hand they're not coming to strap me down and pry my eyes if I decide not to watch them either. And I think we'd be more then a little upset if the did.

    What if people just moved the window up a little so the ads were off-screen? Would that also constitute theft?
  • Perception: AOL is for dumb newbies, and AOL's IM client has annoying ads.

    So they buy Nullsoft, and get cool hacks like this. We love it, AOL loses nothing (those ads were worthless!), and AIM gets to bask in Winamp's reflected glory.

    Reflected glory!!
  • Sorry moderators, but this is way off topic.

    Your sig should read:
    Rafiki: Aahh. Change is good.
    Simba: Yeah, but it's not easy.

    Just my few cents...or maybe more

    ~KONala ^..^

  • [] is what you're looking for. [] is a guy who does security consulting, mostly in a BSD context. A great guy, too. :) (I work with him sometimes.)

    He's getting about a hundred hits a minute off that bogus link. Luckily, he's not a Microsoft guy, or you'd have crashed his system. ;-)

  • A lot of the time, I think that ads don't have power over me. Then I get scared when I want a new pair of trainers and I don't like anything but the big-brand names. Ditto with soft-drinks: I will always buy the red one in preference to the one starting with "P" - even though I don't think they taste particularly different.

    All I'm trying to say is that ads are weird - really weird. They've tinkered with my mind a little. That doesn't make me immediately scream "horrible global capitalism!", but it does make me just a little wary.

    Of course, if you want real bug-eyed paranoia, read The Space Merchants and The Merchants' War by Pohl (& Kornbluth for the first). That's a recommendation BTW...

  • by Vassily Overveight ( 211619 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:37AM (#763942)
    I was using a bit of humor since Frankel would probably continue to be a pain to AOL whether or not he was still associated with them. However, Perot really was paid off by GM just so they wouldn't have to listen to him any more. From here []:

    Perot sold EDS in 1984 to General Motors for $2.5 billion. He retained ownership in the company, which made him GM's largest individual stockholder and a member of the board of directors. From the start, Perot and GM head Roger Smith quarreled, and Perot criticized the quality of GM automobiles. In 1986, GM bought out Perot's stock for $700 million with the agreement that he could not compete with EDS for three years. Perot ignored the agreement. Two years later, he started a new computer service company, Perot Systems, which operates in the United States and Europe.

  • Hold your friends close, hold your enemies closer

    Intelligent: Pay these guys off and assign them something less damaging to their filthy aspirations of world domination
    Unintelligent: "Hey! You can't do that, you're fired!" - thus they go beyond the control of their might evil masters and really rip them.

    It's all true! ±5%
  • by joshv ( 13017 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:37AM (#763945)
    Come on, AOL offers a service, Instant Messenger, which costs them money to maintain and support, for free. The ads allow them to recoup some of their costs.

    How does stealing from AOL amount to someone being a 'programmer's hero'?

    When is everyone going to get it through their head that most of the services on the internet eventually will not, and cannot continue to be free. You will either have to pay hard cash, or pay with your eyeballs.

  • some people have way way too much free time.

    This doesn't seem to make the product "Better" in anyway, just gets rid of the annoying ads that help pay for the AIM servers.

    Now if he could only get rid of those annoying ads that pay for slashdot.

    I'm truly underwhelmed.
  • You need to do what I always do. When you're at the interview stage, explain to your potential employers that you write software in your free time and that it has no value for them. Then they can add an amendment to your contract allowing you to do this sort of thing. You could even go in to your current boss and ask - asking doesn't hurt.

    The point about these sorts of contracts is to avoid you looking at all the employer's "trade secrets" and figuring out something really whizz-bang using them, and then setting up in direct competition. Many contracts forbid you setting up in direct competition (or working at the direct competition) within 6-12 months of leaving, too.

    But what you've got to remember about contracts is that (a) they're legally binding and (b) they are negotiable. Never forget (b) - it's your best friend.

  • Man I wish I had his job, or his boss

    Or his $86 million dollars...

  • That comment reminds me of those glossy-eyed people in the AOL T.V. commercials. Especially the particularly glossy-eyed one who said;
    ...And the best part is that everyone else on AOL is _just_like_me_.
    Are you scared about the merger yet?

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • I also got rid of that stupid news ticker with a couple of these:

    &nbsp ; load_ocm ticker

    now if I could only find a way to loose that search bar, I'd be happy

  • This isn't Frankel's only escapade since becoming an AOL employee. In March, he and some Nullsoft colleagues wrote and posted Gnutella, a program similar to Napster that allows free trading of copyright music files over the Internet.

    They say next that they'll distribute this AIM program via WuFTP and Netscape, two programs that also allow free trading of copyright music files over the Internet. Those pirating bastards!

    I'm just trying to protect the artists!

    The Other Nate

  • Want AIM without ads in Windows? Just use Novell InstantME.
  • This isn't new -- there's been a way to remove ads from the Mac version of IM for ages.

    ResExcellence has the scoop [].


  • by suqur ( 28061 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:50AM (#763967) Homepage
    You can still get the software right here: []

    Source code included! Apparently, AOL took it off of Firehouse, but forgot about Nullsoft's own website. Heh heh.

    And, just in case they take it off of that website, you can still get it (a slightly older version) from BetaNews, right here: etail.php3?fid=968658671 []

  • by locksteele ( 105608 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:55AM (#763971) Homepage
    Wall Street Journal reporter wrote about AIMazing this morning. Good overview, with this from AOL:

    "As for AOL, it says it isn't troubled by the software because it doesn't affect outside advertisers. The Instant Messenger box has two advertising spots, and right now they are being used to promote AOL's service. "Since AIM does not have [paid] ads, this is a moot point," says Tricia Primrose, an AOL spokeswoman."

    The article [] is available for free at MSNBC. Also, here's a screenshot [] from a link at Zeropaid.

    == []

  • I dont think thats wrong at all. I really honestly dont. I dont think that marketing alcholol to 8 yr olds is wrong either. I just dont, and I will tell you why.

    At a young age, very young, all Americans need to be taught about our way of life. Americans live in this fiercely consumer driven world - where the consumer is a demi-god to corporations. If people would realize that, then it would go a long way to strengthning our democracy and helping our kids to realize ads for what they are.

    Now I dont deny the suggestive power of ads, that would be looney. But thats all they are. Suggestive. They are not forceful, not binding. They carry no action with them. Ads should not be considered more than a push by society. If they are, like the situation currently demonstrates, they do more harm then mind control. In today's world, we blame acts - actual conscious acts on ads.

    We live in a society that blames ads for smoking, drinking, violence, and degeneration. We live in a society which undermines the responsibility of individuals to live in a way they feel proper by blaming ads and corporations.

    It is ultimately the people who decide to smoke. No add that is 100% effective has been devised. And as long as that is true, then we are comitting a great act of repression by limiting how and where companies can advertise.

    I think that advertising to teens about smoking is a rather nasty thing. But all it does is increase the likely hood of comitting a legal and conscious act. Thats all. I have yet to hear of a case where Joe Camel or the Bud frogs held down a 14-yr old and stuck a cigarrette or beer in his mouth. It doesnt happen.

    In this country what is really needed is to combat the problems, not the symptoms. And we need to let people make thier own decisions. All people make conscious decisions to perform acts. That is why ads are inherently neutral in mind. They do not perform or comit acts.

    Off the topic even more, this applies to many things. Guns, 'illegal' drugs, sex, etc etc. So long as the risks of things are known and promulgated (ie smoking is dangerous - everyone in America today knows that smoking is not going to help you run the 2 minute mile) we should respect the choices that people make with thier lives - if they choose to smoke or drink or someother way destroy their life thats on them - not on the companies, the ads, or the government.

    Invididuals have the ultimate power - the ability and responsibility to choose.

  • I dont deny the power of suggestion. But last time yo wanted something, were you forced to buy something? No, of course not.

    Ads are suggestive, and should make you wary. Someone somewhere wants you to buy something. Everything you see from this person/persons is geared to want to influence your choice. But ultimately, you make the choice.

    Fighting this is not hard. Once you realize that ads are suggestive, then any person with character can make a decision based on rationale.

  • How does stealing from AOL amount to someone being a 'programmer's hero'?

    Obviously, you haven't been on Slashdot very long, so let me explain things to you.

    Big corporations are evil because they are in the position of both controlling the government through financial leverage and the general population through employment and other more insidious dirty tricks such as advertising and control of the media and cultural brainwashing. Therefore, it is AOK to steal from big corporations. As King Missile once put it, "It's your duty as an oppressed worker to steal from your oppressor! Take stuff from work, and goof off on the company time!"

    Conversely, smart people are always heroic. Compare the works of Alan Turing to the works of Jesus. Who is more heroic? Why, Alan Turing, of course, because Jesus couldn't come up with a Universal Turing Machine (the basis for modern computer science) without some kind of Divine Intervention, which is cheating. Turing was also gay, but that only annoys the trolls, and there are little pieces of the "Secret Gospel of Jesus" which imply strongly that Jesus may also have been gay.

    Therefore, to use a favorite Slashdot analogy, various democracies around the world have been usurped by a giant multinational aristocracy, and only we (and Seattle anarchists) seem to understand this. Only Jedi Knights (l33t h4xx0rs) can bring this empire to its knees, with the aid of the force (l33t kernal h4xx0ring).

    In conclusion, the l33t 0-day work done on AOL's IM client is a minor victory for the forces of good, since, through raw brainpower alone, a guy we claim as our own (although he'd kick us in the teeth if we claimed him to his face) has taken a tiny bit of money and power from Steve Case, and given it back to the poor (by which I mean college nerds with fast computers), Robin Hood style (Ayn Rand can fuck herself).
  • Maybe AOL should just hire EDS. AOL is having a problem managing their programmers, and EDS has that cat herding ad...

    Cat herding: ( tml).

  • by lordbrain ( 172792 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @09:07AM (#763988)
    Actually, [] released the API for AIM, but it got pulled soon afterward. Here [] is the page where it was and it tells why the API was pulled from the site.
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @09:09AM (#763989)
    I wonder about this, because the suits try to convince us annually that anything we create belongs to the company. All the employment contracts I've seen try to tie down developers so that the company gets first shot at anything they come up with. I don't know what his contract states, but how many of you working engineers could get away with releasing something to the public and then proclaiming that you did it on your free time?

    What is 'free' time when your on salary?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    THe instant messaging client integrated into netscape 6 also has no advertisements, and they are also a subdivision of AOL, so this isn't a big unique thing...
  • by Vassily Overveight ( 211619 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:22AM (#763993)
    AOL must be regretting getting Frankel on board the way General Motors came to regret ending up with Ross Perot after acquiring EDS. Maybe Frankel is pursuing the same strategy; GM finally paid Perot huge bucks just to go the hell away and stop making their lives miserable.
  • by mwalker ( 66677 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:23AM (#763997) Homepage
    He didn't just pull the adspace out, he lets you replace the adspace with an oscilloscope from the winamp mp3 you're currently playing. less of a hack than an overlay.

    but he does seem to be a 6 million dollar loose cannon. more proof to time warner that the truly gifted are beyond their control?

  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    I just read post #48 ... it says to remove the "required" part..... my way says to comment the whole line ... the post #48 way may have to have advert.ocm deleted, but as far as i can tell my way does not
  • I can't see what right my employer has on _my_ code, written in _my_ free time, with _my_

    The kicker is the "free time" part. Define "free time" when you're salaried. It was easy when I punched a clock. Now, it is really fuzzy...

  • Blah, this isnt very hard. Anybody with little knowledge of the windows api can remove the ads. This took about 5 minutes to write, and should work on any recent version of AIM. Ok, so you'll have to run this every time you run AIM, oh well.

    /* begin remove_ads.c */

    #include <windows.h>

    int main(){

    HWND BudWin, AIMad1, AIMad2;

    BOOL ret;

    BudWin = FindWindow("_Oscar_BuddyListWin",NULL);
    AIMad1 = FindWindowEx(BudWin,NULL,"WndAte32Class","AteWindo w");
    AIMad2 = FindWindowEx(BudWin,AIMad1,"WndAte32Class","AteWin dow");

    ret = ShowWindow(AIMad1,SW_HIDE);
    ret = ShowWindow(AIMad2,SW_HIDE);

    return 0;

    /* end remove_ads.c */

    Actually, it took longer to format the damn html than to write this. What the hell did slashdot do to the <pre> tag? err.

  • People have been taking the ads out of the Mac version for quite some time, no code required.

    The oscilloscope is, admittedly, a new thing. But I could do that before with a WinAmp plugin (if I used WinAmp, anyway, which I don't).

    But geez; first Gnutella and now this. Is this guy trying to make his bosses mad?

    Incidentally, AIM has no paid ads; the only ads there advertise AOL's own stuff. So he hasn't damaged revenues at all, since the ads don't pay for anything AOL does.
  • It's not "Stealing from AOL" any more than the UNIX clients are. The UNIX AIM clients (TiK, GAIM, KAIM, etc.) all use the TiK/ToC protocol, which was created by AOL as a slightly feature-crippled protocol (usually a version or so behind the normal one) that is easy to read/implement (it's passed over the wire as plain text). AOL created this protocol, along with the TiK TCL/Tk client, so people could create AIM clients for alternative OS's. NONE of these clients have ads. In fact, there is nothing in the protocol to grab/retrieve ads.

    "Evil beware: I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hampster!"
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <> on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:47AM (#764010)
    Exit AIM completely. Go to your AIM95 directory, open aim.odl in a text editor. Scroll down to on_group(5) and on_group(11), or just search for advert. Now comment out the 2 advert lines by using ;, for example:

    ; load_ocm advert required

    Now restart AIM, wee no ads! :)
  • Actually, the ads are only for AOL internal services. That means that they don't get any direct revenue from using the ads.

    So how is this for a compromise - if you are contemplating buying the AOL service, you should leave the ads on, so it can constantly tempt you.

    If you're a hardcore zealot, like most of the people here, you were never going to buy AOL Access anyway, so you might as well turn the ads off. :)


  • Yeah, those priestly types can really get out of hand... ;)

    Oh, and BTW, your comment is a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black ;): "Notise up at..."

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • My philosophy on geting around ads and such (in services like AIM, NetZero, etc.) is that if you can, there's nothing wrong with it. If AOL wanted to detect the fact that I'm refusing to download ads, and kick me off, it's also thier right to do that. If I can't get around thier protective measures, or just don't care enough to try, good for them! If I can, good for me!

    "Evil beware: I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hampster!"

  • he replaced the AOL ad with a _winamp_ad_ !!

    and it's promoting both winamp and AOL instead of just AOL..
    so like everybody is still happy..
    no wonder they let him do it.. :)
  • by KingJawa ( 65904 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @09:23AM (#764019) Homepage
    It's much easier to reply to the parent than to all the "but they are only aol ads" or "but they allow free *nix clients" or other people objecting to this post, so, I am.

    I bring you a dictionary definition:

    loss leader (lôs ldr) -- n. -- A commodity offered especially by a retail store at cost or below cost to attract customers.

    AIM is, in a sense, a loss leader. They provide the service free of charge in order to get more people using the service. The ads may be only AOL ads, but they do get money when someone signs up.

    AIM has another loss leaderish aspect. "Look how good this product is, and imagine how great the whole service must be!" Sure, that doesn't apply to the TiK using group (and other flavors), but it does to the geek's friends. (I'll refrain from posting the definition of "friend.") One doesn't lose the ability to "talk" with TiK using buddies when they sign up for AOL.

    Oh, and my Win AIM client just put up an ad for th is page [], which seems not to be an AOL site. But that has nothing to do with the idea of AIM being a loss leader.
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <> on Thursday September 21, 2000 @09:30AM (#764021)
    Okay.. I dont follow you here.

    You claim that big business exploits technology to control individuals? How is exactly? Through ads?

    I dont find ads to be exploitive. I find ads to be annoying and often dumb, but never to the level of exploitation.

    We dont need any more article control mechanisms? What exactly do you mean? Why is AOL doing to artifically control you? What mechanisms do they have over you?

    We don't need to be treated like stupid consumers? Umm.. we are consumers. If you use IM then you are consuming an AOL product and service. If you dont want them to treat you anyway, then dont consume the AOL services.

    Its all about hte power and individuals do not have enough of it... WRONG! The individuals have all the power... we grant the big companies power over us.. and we decide if they keep it. You might ask, 'I didnt grant them any power..', but chances are you do. Everytime you buy a copy of Time magazine, or use RoadRunner, or watch cable, or AIM, or use AOL, or go to, or use Mozilla (to a much lesser degree) you are contributing to their power. If you dont want to contribute to the power they have, then make the ultimate decision, and without your resources.

    Corporations have no power except through the good graces of the consumers. 25+ million AOL users give them their power. If those users failed to give them power again next month when the bill comes, AOL would shrivel and collapse.

  • is the fact that so many on /. are such l33t hax0rs and have an intimate knowledge of AOL instant messenger, that they know of multiple ways to hack it.

  • by Froid ( 235187 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:26AM (#764032)
    This software could be considered a circumvention-mechanism under the DMCA, violating AOL's intellectual-property rights to its ads. I'd be very wary, if I were Justin Frankel.
  • by White Shadow ( 178120 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @11:42AM (#764037) Homepage
    Here's another program that actually hides the ads (resizes your aim window smaller). It's also open sourced.

    win32aimad []

  • Actually, GAIM has basic OSCAR support. Of course, when I'm in windows and I need to use aim, I don't bother with the windows client, I just use Quickbuddy (no ads, java, and actually fairly fast)

    get to it here: []
  • Actually, AOL has ported their normal AIM client to Linux - it's available in beta, and works OK though I reverted to Gaim for reasons I can't remember any more...

    Yahoo Messenger is also available on Linux as well - quite weird having these official versions coming out...

  • It isn't Firehouse, it is []

    The software can be found at []

  • What is it gaining access to?

    The DMCA is the DM-Copyright-A, if a copyright violation is not occuring or about to occur, it's likely the DMCA isn't involved.

    Yes, the DMCA is a festering example of bribe money and buying corrupt judges, but that doesn't mean it's accurate here.

    (Corrupt judges? Kaplan was bought and paid for.)
  • Aimazing is still avaliable on Firehose [] in an unlisted directory. []
    Enjoy.. There's lots more Cool stuff in there for Free!(and not as in beer)

  • It's even still on firehose:

    and i must say, it works very well :)

  • by Geccoman ( 18319 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:28AM (#764049) Homepage Journal
    There's a contest here on Slashdot. Every time you get a first post, it sends an e-mail to CmdrTaco. He tabulates all of the first posts every week and if you win, you get a point. At the end of the contest, the person with the most points wins a bowl of hot grits, signed by CmdrTaco himself! If you get 100 first posts, Natalie Portman personally pours the hot grits down your pants!

  • Like that "written in his spare time" comment. Almost all "spare time" progects I've seen were written during work hours. Man I wish I had his job, or his boss.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 21, 2000 @08:28AM (#764054)
    The url was not but and the plugin is available freely at or no one knows how to read these days.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.