Quantcast
Why the monopoly on addon management? - ESOUI
Thread Tools Display Modes
09/02/22, 10:37 AM   #1
Bastion.NtB
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 4
Why the monopoly on addon management?

I get it. The creators wanted ESOUI users to use their own Minion app.

This wouldn't be an issue if it was still actively improved and updated.

The codebase is JAVA.... JAVA! I shouldn't have to explain why this is an issue.

To make matters worse, you all seem to disallow access to the API.

Again, wouldn't be an issue if Minion was updated regularly or swapped over to a new codebase.

And no, I don't consider security patches every year a continuation of production. It's end of life support.

Minion is abandon-ware. The last 'feature' update, if you can call an about menu a feature update was 2018.

If you don't count that as one, which I would not, then your last update was 2016.

If the devs are moving on to greener pastures, I get it. But open up access to the API so others can move on.

I'm posting this because there is a slew of issues that Minion continually has and everyone experiences them, but NO stability patches have been released. It's time to open up the API. Please...
  Reply With Quote
09/02/22, 12:07 PM   #2
Baertram
Super Moderator
 
Baertram's Avatar
WoWInterface Super Mod
AddOn Author - Click to view addons
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4,265
I often read that there are so many issues and wonder why it's working fine for about most users since years?
I never had any issues with it since I have set it up in 2014. The only issue that occured was my Antirvirus/Firewall blocking it.

In short: Software cannot work properly if users do not allow it to work, ignore the described todos and howtos, or do not trust anything and block everything, and do not even want to read and understand it. If they only want the "this has to work!!!!" way, they should manually install the addons, or basically spoken "learn to read". Help is there and always around, all listed in a troubleshooting guide.

I know that Minion is having issues like sorting by date, and could get some features to make handling easier. But it works pretty well beside that if you let it work and respect the rules.

I also know that other addon managers could make it better but you do not see the downside:
Many addon managers or even addon websites make it impossible to handle them all for the addon devs, and the staff.
It's already hard enough to get the addons updated in time, we do not want to, and are not able to, support 20 other websites or tools.
They would also open up for exploits, bad addon code and virusses.


Minion could be made open source but I guess this would open up problems with the ESOUI website again (security).

I'm no expert here and I'm not developing Minion.
But I bet there are several technical (and maybe legal, contract, server access rules, traffic, performance, ...) reasons too, beside the missing time for the current Minon dev to improve stuff other than fixed libraries and security patches, why the esoui API was not made public for other tools.

So I partially understand your post here but please, if you write something like "slew of issues that Minion continually has and everyone experiences them":
Provide details and provide what was done already to solve it (Read troubleshooting and followed the steps there?) and we can maybe help.
Most of these issues can be fixed by the troubleshooting guide, and I personally do not know of any "total breaking" issue that Minion got (except maybe on Mac or other OS).


P.S.
This thread was moved to the Minion forum
  Reply With Quote
09/02/22, 05:07 PM   #3
Bastion.NtB
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 4
Look, I may have started this thread a little hot and on the wrong foot. Iím not trying to attack Minion or the devs.

I just want to know why the API is inaccessible to people. I know that API abuse is a thing, but there could be a sign up or agreement between the people that want to use it and the people that run it.
Minion is not being updated, and it does have issues. I donít think it would be beneficial to go over everything. But we all know that Minion isnít perfect, and a project that isnít getting updated is just waiting for something to happen so that itís not usable anymore.

It would be nice if we could hear what the devs think.
  Reply With Quote
09/02/22, 09:25 PM   #4
Navarill
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 1
With a minimal understanding of IP and copyright law, combined with a glance at the ESOUI terms of service, it should be obvious that nobody is entitled to access the API. Simply put: ESOUI is private property and not yours or mine to take (in this context, "access" = "take").

If you want to create a new client interface, you should contact the owners of ESOUI directly (not by posting in these forums) and make a proposal. They own something that you want. Make an offer they can't refuse. Heck, if your pockets are deep enough, perhaps you can buy the entire website from them. Good luck!
  Reply With Quote
09/02/22, 11:24 PM   #5
wookiefriseur
 
wookiefriseur's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 37
Talking

My main issue with Minion is no automatic dependency management. I have to install libraries myself. But other than that it runs fine.


Maybe suggest improvements or ask if you can help with development instead of focussing so much on the API stuff. The tone of your post makes it seem as if you have been asking the developers for years to do something and nobody listens to you.


The monopoly emerged naturally. At first there were multiple managers being used like Curseforge and NexusMods. But that meant that developers had to upload to multiple portals. In a parallel universe NexusMods came out on top .. or most addon authors host on GitHub and the AddonManagers just manage lists and the download process. But in this universe ESOUI just became the go to place. That's just how it goes.





Originally Posted by Bastion.NtB View Post
To make matters worse, you all seem to disallow access to the API.

API might be "private" but download scripts are not blocked and download links just use timestamps instead of nonces. That's why you can write your own download tool if Minion does not run on your system.


What exactly are you expecting from an API here? AddOn database queries and download links? That might be useful, but would require implementing personal API tokens and traffic limits, I guess. Because of the missing ad revenues.


I would prefer making Minion and the addon server Open Source instead.



Originally Posted by Baertram View Post
Minion could be made open source but I guess this would open up problems with the ESOUI website again (security).

If making the existing code Open Source introduces security flaws, then those flaws already exist and can be abused without anyone knowing that something is wrong. More people seeing the code and working on it can be very helpful. Also right now the code for Minion can be "decompiled" into plain text. It's not really secret.





Originally Posted by Bastion.NtB View Post
Minion is not being updated, and it does have issues. I donít think it would be beneficial to go over everything.

Why not?



Originally Posted by Bastion.NtB View Post
The codebase is JAVA.... JAVA! I shouldn't have to explain why this is an issue.

Please do.
  Reply With Quote
09/03/22, 12:08 AM   #6
Baertram
Super Moderator
 
Baertram's Avatar
WoWInterface Super Mod
AddOn Author - Click to view addons
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4,265
If making the existing code Open Source introduces security flaws, then those flaws already exist and can be abused without anyone knowing that something is wrong. More people seeing the code and working on it can be very helpful. Also right now the code for Minion can be "decompiled" into plain text. It's not really secret.
I might have written that miss-understandable.
What I meant is that the owners of ESOUi would have to change security measurements and access to the website database etc. if it would be open source. Basically what you had already explained in your answer post more at the top (tokens, etc.).
I'm not webd eveloper and do not know exactly what would be needed to make it secure, maybe nothng special than already existing code and functions
  Reply With Quote
09/03/22, 05:53 PM   #7
Bastion.NtB
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by Navarill View Post
With a minimal understanding of IP and copyright law, combined with a glance at the ESOUI terms of service, it should be obvious that nobody is entitled to access the API. Simply put: ESOUI is private property and not yours or mine to take (in this context, "access" = "take").
Private property hosting everyone else's addons. Don't forget that. ESOUI cannot exist without it's addon devs nor without the content they make.

Originally Posted by wookiefriseur View Post
The monopoly emerged naturally. At first there were multiple managers being used like Curseforge and NexusMods. But that meant that developers had to upload to multiple portals. In a parallel universe NexusMods came out on top .. or most addon authors host on GitHub and the AddonManagers just manage lists and the download process. But in this universe ESOUI just became the go to place. That's just how it goes.
So this wasn't what I was talking about with in terms of 'monopolies'. I understand how one addon sites becomes more dominant over another.

My issue is with monopolizing the use of the API and restricting it to Minion.
  Reply With Quote
09/07/22, 12:27 PM   #8
waebbl
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by wookiefriseur View Post
API might be "private" but download scripts are not blocked and download links just use timestamps instead of nonces. That's why you can write your own download tool if Minion does not run on your system.
No you can't. Section 4 of the Terms of Service explictly forbids this:
You agree not to access (or attempt to access) any of the Services by any means other than through the interface that is provided by GGMODS. You specifically agree not to access (or attempt to access) any of the Services through any automated means (including use of scripts or web crawlers).
Originally Posted by wookiefriseur View Post
What exactly are you expecting from an API here? AddOn database queries and download links? That might be useful, but would require implementing personal API tokens and traffic limits, I guess. Because of the missing ad revenues.
I came to this site for the question if there's a public API available, because so far I wasn't able to properly run Minion (using Linux) with their java build. Seems like this thread answers my question.

For an API, I would expect a web service or something similar, returning e.g. json files for queries like "a list of all available addons", "metadata details (version, author, release date, download link, etc.) of package xyz". Some of the information you can see when you browse the addon repository and which would be needed by an addon manager.

Originally Posted by Bastion.NtB
Originally Posted by Navarill
With a minimal understanding of IP and copyright law, combined with a glance at the ESOUI terms of service, it should be obvious that nobody is entitled to access the API. Simply put: ESOUI is private property and not yours or mine to take (in this context, "access" = "take").
Private property hosting everyone else's addons. Don't forget that. ESOUI cannot exist without it's addon devs nor without the content they make.
"Access" = "take" is really a big move here. You're not taking away anything from them. If you go to the Terms of Service page, there's a link Sites at the top, which lists the ~10 gaming sites, served by the owner of this site. So it's a not a small company that's behind this all. Atop the list is an ad to use their Minion app.

No matter how the monopoly emerged in the end, not offering a public interface to query the data, and forcing people to a lock-in for their proprietary, deficient, closed-source addon manager, looks like a misuse of this monopoly. It's their chosing of course, whether they provide such a public API or not, but it tells something about the company behind it and how they want to treat their customers and also the providers of the content they serve, which are the addon devs. These are the people which produce the value for this company.

The argument of possible security breaches when publishing an API, isn't a valid argument either. They define the API, they can define what's accessible and what isn't. If they have fear of security issues, they can employ real developers which know about the pitfalls of web development. Not doing so, let's one assume, they don't want to make serious business, but rather want to rob the people (from their provided data, their addons, you name it).

The only solution would be to open up an additional site with a similar service and open, liberal interfaces. However, looking at the volatile and always fluid addon development community, it could be very hard to convince people to switch to another service. Also the game is some years old already, so the addon developers are usually a matured community which have settled with the way it is.

Knowing I'm not allowed to, and due to missing API couldn't even build an alternative addon manager is frustrating for me, because managing several dozens of addons manually isn't a fun play.
  Reply With Quote
09/07/22, 01:58 PM   #9
Baertram
Super Moderator
 
Baertram's Avatar
WoWInterface Super Mod
AddOn Author - Click to view addons
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4,265
These are the people which produce the value for this company.
And how do we do that? What value do we create for the "company"?
I guess the adds shown to the users are only maybe enough to pay the site hosting and databases.
Is legit they close it as they run and pay the sites!

As you all said you could create your own site but as you also said most devs are not interested into administrating and supporting x websites and tools. We do this on our free time and it's already time consuming enough with 1 website.
It's not only about the age of a game, but about communities too.
If there would have been 20 addon tools and websites at the start of ESO I'd still most probably have gotten and stayed here

Minion is free, esoui is free, so what is the problem with only having 1 tool (except if there really exist non fixable bugs).

Most bugs are fixable, workarounds exist, instructions to fix them too.
Maybe Linux is different (not sure what is not working but if you can provide more details to the devs they maybe are able to fix it) , also newer Mac OS versions need additional access rules.
  Reply With Quote
09/07/22, 02:11 PM   #10
wookiefriseur
 
wookiefriseur's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 37
Originally Posted by waebbl View Post
No matter how the monopoly emerged in the end, not offering a public interface to query the data, and forcing people to a lock-in for their proprietary, deficient, closed-source addon manager, looks like a misuse of this monopoly.
Not defending the closed source mindset of our "big corporate overlords" here, but just because it doesn't run in cases it wasn't initially designed for, does not mean it's deficient. Runs pretty well on Windows and does its job. Although as the go to AddonManager they should have a certain interest in making it easier for the average user to get it to work on all big PC operating systems and samsung fridges.



Originally Posted by waebbl View Post
I came to this site for the question if there's a public API available, because so far I wasn't able to properly run Minion (using Linux) with their java build. Seems like this thread answers my question.

Have you tried any of the steps mentioned in https://www.esoui.com/forums/showthr...?t=8500&page=2 . Or did you try the python script (also mentioned there), that seems to be a tolerated alternative for now?
  Reply With Quote
09/07/22, 08:03 PM   #11
Dolby
Every day I'm shuffling
 
Dolby's Avatar
Premium Member
WoWInterface Admin
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,245
The Minion API is not closed, no authentication is required to access it, how are we disallowing access?

There is just no documentation or support for it other than Minion right now. There are some addon updaters for wow that researched where its located and were able to follow how the API works easily. I will say though if your updater starts using resources we can not support we may need to rate limit or temp block it until a solution is found to be able to support it. So please be careful in how you design it and make it as efficient as possible. The 3rd party wow addon updaters that use it now have done an ok job and we haven't had to do anything yet.

Minion v4 is planned to be open source (also have dep support) but time just keeps slipping away and things are more difficult than you might think. sirinsidiator has put a ton of work into it.

With that said we are far from a large company (Cairenn and I are the owners and the only employees) and make enough to pay for the resources our sites use and that's about it. We might seem like a large company its just we've been around for 20yrs now and built websites for games we like and don't shut them down unless the game company shuts the game down.

Last edited by Dolby : 09/07/22 at 08:29 PM.
  Reply With Quote
09/08/22, 12:09 PM   #12
waebbl
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by Baertram View Post
And how do we do that? What value do we create for the "company"?

Minion is free, esoui is free, so what is the problem with only having 1 tool (except if there really exist non fixable bugs).

Most bugs are fixable, workarounds exist, instructions to fix them too.
Maybe Linux is different (not sure what is not working but if you can provide more details to the devs they maybe are able to fix it) , also newer Mac OS versions need additional access rules.
You write the code for the addons which the site lists. The service of the site is the database of addons (listing, searching it, downloading). The addon devs make this possible, that's the value of the site. How one can monetarize this is a different question. The value's there, whether it has a good monetizing strategy or not.

Originally Posted by wookiefriseur View Post
Not defending the closed source mindset of our "big corporate overlords" here, but just because it doesn't run in cases it wasn't initially designed for, does not mean it's deficient.

Have you tried any of the steps mentioned in https://www.esoui.com/forums/showthr...?t=8500&page=2 . Or did you try the python script (also mentioned there), that seems to be a tolerated alternative for now?
Doesn't look like the big company I was assuming (see post from Dolby). It was designed with java, which, for many, many years had 'Code once, run everywhere' as one of their slogans. When it doesn't run out of the box with the system java of any OS, it's design can be assumed to be deficient. But I just noticed the jfx installation for my system is also flawed and is missing webkit support which is why Minion is not running.

I tried several of the options mentioned in the thread before I read about them (lutris, installing javafx) but without success so far. The python script, while it has some use, is not the thing I'm looking for. It doesn't help me with the most time-consuming part. I still need to lookup all addons manually and need to check the latest available version against my currently installed versions.


Originally Posted by Dolby View Post
The Minion API is not closed, no authentication is required to access it, how are we disallowing access?
There might be no authentication required, the API not closed, but it's well hidden and not to be found with some advanced google searching. Like you wrote there seems to be some more hacking needed or perhaps an already working installation of Minion to get to that.


Originally Posted by Dolby View Post
There is just no documentation or support for it other than Minion right now. There are some addon updaters for wow that researched where its located and were able to follow how the API works easily. I will say though if your updater starts using resources we can not support we may need to rate limit or temp block it until a solution is found to be able to support it. So please be careful in how you design it and make it as efficient as possible. The 3rd party wow addon updaters that use it now have done an ok job and we haven't had to do anything yet.
Now this sounds different than the Terms of Service and offers at least a chance to give it a try and, with careful design, not get banned immediately. Thanks!

Originally Posted by Dolby View Post
Minion v4 is planned to be open source (also have dep support) but time just keeps slipping away and things are more difficult than you might think. sirinsidiator has put a ton of work into it.

With that said we are far from a large company (Cairenn and I are the owners and the only employees) and make enough to pay for the resources our sites use and that's about it. We might seem like a large company its just we've been around for 20yrs now and built websites for games we like and don't shut them down unless the game company shuts the game down.
Glad to hear that you want to go open source with your next release. I'm sure, that this move will actually help you in improving the software.

Well the company looks a lot bigger with all the sites, assuming they're all similar to esoui.com in functionality. Well done!
  Reply With Quote
09/09/22, 12:33 PM   #13
Bastion.NtB
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by Dolby View Post
The Minion API is not closed, no authentication is required to access it, how are we disallowing access?

There is just no documentation or support for it other than Minion right now.
So I might be able to extract the API endpoint, credentials, and then figure out the syntax and how it all works and what it wants to send back data... but what about the TOS?

You agree not to access (or attempt to access) any of the Services by any means other than through the interface that is provided by GGMODS. You specifically agree not to access (or attempt to access) any of the Services through any automated means (including use of scripts or web crawlers). You agree that you will not engage in any activity that interferes with or disrupts the Services (or the servers and networks which are connected to the Services).
Sounds to me the way it's worded, it doesn't like the idea of anything other than Minion, nor does it want you use other automated tools outside the ones provided by GGMODS.

I would like to be able to attempt at making a new software to manage mods. If the admins are amenable, could I reach out to you (or the devs) in DMs for some other information?
  Reply With Quote
09/16/22, 12:37 PM   #14
doabhi
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 1
I'd Second making Minion Open Source. It's HIDEOUSLY out of date at this point. I've been using it fine for years, but the hard-line dependency of java 8 is now a growing problem. It was a problem 2 years ago when 8 was end of life, It's an even bigger problem now that it's already a skeleton in the ground. Modern Systems are moving forward, Java 8 is getting increasingly harder to install because even Oracle are telling you "For the love of every divine in human faith please stop u sing this old version!" not to mention the associated security risks that come with it, but that's a can of worms next to the can of worms of trying to use it to begin with!
  Reply With Quote
09/18/22, 01:34 AM   #15
rom4ster
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by Bastion.NtB View Post
I get it. The creators wanted ESOUI users to use their own Minion app.

This wouldn't be an issue if it was still actively improved and updated.

The codebase is JAVA.... JAVA! I shouldn't have to explain why this is an issue.

To make matters worse, you all seem to disallow access to the API.

Again, wouldn't be an issue if Minion was updated regularly or swapped over to a new codebase.

And no, I don't consider security patches every year a continuation of production. It's end of life support.

Minion is abandon-ware. The last 'feature' update, if you can call an about menu a feature update was 2018.

If you don't count that as one, which I would not, then your last update was 2016.

If the devs are moving on to greener pastures, I get it. But open up access to the API so others can move on.

I'm posting this because there is a slew of issues that Minion continually has and everyone experiences them, but NO stability patches have been released. It's time to open up the API. Please...



You said it , its java, decomp it, learn from it, make your own.
  Reply With Quote
09/18/22, 01:36 AM   #16
rom4ster
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by Baertram View Post
I often read that there are so many issues and wonder why it's working fine for about most users since years?
I never had any issues with it since I have set it up in 2014. The only issue that occured was my Antirvirus/Firewall blocking it.

In short: Software cannot work properly if users do not allow it to work, ignore the described todos and howtos, or do not trust anything and block everything, and do not even want to read and understand it. If they only want the "this has to work!!!!" way, they should manually install the addons, or basically spoken "learn to read". Help is there and always around, all listed in a troubleshooting guide.

I know that Minion is having issues like sorting by date, and could get some features to make handling easier. But it works pretty well beside that if you let it work and respect the rules.

I also know that other addon managers could make it better but you do not see the downside:
Many addon managers or even addon websites make it impossible to handle them all for the addon devs, and the staff.
It's already hard enough to get the addons updated in time, we do not want to, and are not able to, support 20 other websites or tools.
They would also open up for exploits, bad addon code and virusses.


Minion could be made open source but I guess this would open up problems with the ESOUI website again (security).

I'm no expert here and I'm not developing Minion.
But I bet there are several technical (and maybe legal, contract, server access rules, traffic, performance, ...) reasons too, beside the missing time for the current Minon dev to improve stuff other than fixed libraries and security patches, why the esoui API was not made public for other tools.

So I partially understand your post here but please, if you write something like "slew of issues that Minion continually has and everyone experiences them":
Provide details and provide what was done already to solve it (Read troubleshooting and followed the steps there?) and we can maybe help.
Most of these issues can be fixed by the troubleshooting guide, and I personally do not know of any "total breaking" issue that Minion got (except maybe on Mac or other OS).


P.S.
This thread was moved to the Minion forum

First off you suck for promoting security by obscurity. Cmon, thats the basics, security by obscurity is not security at all. Next minion almost ALWAYS has problems. Esepcially if you are on a non admin user. It breaks frequently and you cant update it cuz its that broken. If you actively play the game then you may find it fine, but the people who need it the most, those who come back to find their 50 addons out of date, cant use it and have to go through the pain of re setting it up.
  Reply With Quote
09/18/22, 05:37 AM   #17
Baertram
Super Moderator
 
Baertram's Avatar
WoWInterface Super Mod
AddOn Author - Click to view addons
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4,265
Well, thanks for your personal attack (please watch your tone and writing, thank you) without even describing what in my posts made you think I do that
I'm not a learned developer nor security specialist nor an admin so please elaborate what of my post made you think I promote security by obscurity? My "maybes" were maybes for reasons (cuz as I said I'm not the dev or responsible for Minion and cannot see or know the code and the backend of esoui website).

And beside that: I know about 200 members of guilds that I play in, who are no admins and use Minion without any issue. As i said before: You all speak in general without actually telling us what are the problems you experience with Minion.
Even if you got no admin rights it should work IF you install it to another location (which you must do if you got no admin rights as w/o them the default istall folder should be blocked...).

Just provide examaples and what you did already to fix it, and you'll get help. But telling the "software does not work" etc. is just obviously a rant.
i'm not saying there are not any issues but YOU need to take your time to describe and fix it as YOUR pc and installed software can be so different to all other systems, and you know that.

Last edited by Baertram : 09/18/22 at 05:40 AM.
  Reply With Quote

ESOUI » Site Forums » Minion » Why the monopoly on addon management?

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off