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John Deere tractors and cracked firmware

US farmers are asking for open source tractor hardware and firmware, resorting to using aftermarket firmware:

[…]A license agreement John Deere required farmers to sign in October forbids nearly all repair and modification to farming equipment, and prevents farmers from suing for “crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, loss of use of equipment … arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software.” The agreement applies to anyone who turns the key or otherwise uses a John Deere tractor with embedded software. It means that only John Deere dealerships and “authorized” repair shops can work on newer tractors.[…]

[…]  I went searching for one of the forums where pirated John Deere firmware is sold. After I found it, I couldn’t do much of anything without joining. I was sent an email with instructions, which required me to buy a $25 dummy diagnostic part from a third-party website. Instead of the part, I was sent a code to join the forum. Once I was on it, I found dozens of threads from farmers desperate to fix and modify their own tractors. According to people on the forums and the farmers who use it, much of the software is cracked in Eastern European countries such as Poland and Ukraine and then sold back to farmers in the United States.[…]

[…] Farmers worry what will happen if John Deere is bought by another company, or what will happen if the company decides to stop servicing its tractors. And so they have taken matters into their own hands by taking control of the software themselves. “What happens in 20 years when there’s a new tractor out and John Deere doesn’t want to fix these anymore?” the farmer using Ukrainian software told me. “Are we supposed to throw the tractor in the garbage, or what?”[…]

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-american-farmers-are-hacking-their-tractors-with-ukrainian-firmware

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