"92 percent of Carmack’s hard drive was wiped" - ZeniMax respond to Carmack's denial | PCGamesN

"92 percent of Carmack’s hard drive was wiped" - ZeniMax respond to Carmack's denial

Update: Following John Carmack’s lengthy Facebook post earlier, which you can read in the update below, ZeniMax have released another post-court statement, highlighting the facts of the case. 

In the statement, ZeniMax point out some key points of the court case that suggest data was in fact stolen from the company when John Carmack moved to Oculus. 

"In addition to expert testimony finding both literal and non-literal copying, Oculus programmers themselves admitted using ZeniMax’s copyrighted code (one saying he cut and pasted it into the Oculus SDK), and [Oculus VR co-founder] Brendan Iribe, in writing, requested a license for the 'source code shared by Carmack' they needed for the Oculus Rift,” said ZeniMax in a statement provided to Gamasutra

“Not surprisingly, the jury found ZeniMax code copyrights were infringed. The Oculus Rift was built on a foundation of ZeniMax technology. As for the denial of wiping, the Court’s independent expert found 92 percent of Carmack’s hard drive was wiped - all data was permanently destroyed, right after Carmack got notice of the lawsuit, and that his affidavit denying the wiping was false. Those are the hard facts."

Update: John Carmack has released a lengthy Facebook post in response to accusations that he tried to erase evidence of wrongdoing after leaving ZeniMax for Oculus. 

The id Software founder claims that ZeniMax's in-court arguments misdirected, omitted information, and portrayed him in bad character.

"I never tried to hide or wipe any evidence, and all of my data is accounted for, contrary to some stories being spread," says Carmack in the Facebook post

ZeniMax employed a computer forensics expert to attempt to prove some wrongdoing, and the expert suggested some code was "non literally copied". 

Carmack says that's not true, and that Oculus never had access to the Id C++ VR code.

"Early on in his testimony, I wanted to stand up say 'Sir! As a man of (computer) science, I challenge you to defend the efficacy of your methodology with data, including false positive and negative rates.' After he had said he was “Absolutely certain there was non-literal copying” in several cases, I just wanted to shout 'You lie!'," says Carmack.

"By the end, after seven cases of 'absolutely certain', I was wondering if gangsters had kidnapped his grandchildren and were holding them for ransom."

The lengthy post goes on to explain how code can end up performing the same task while being different at its core, and how the two companies ended up with different solutions. 

"Notably, I wasn’t allowed to read the full expert report, only listen to him in trial, and even his expert testimony in trial is under seal, rather than in the public record," Carmack goes on. "This is surely intentional - if the code examples were released publicly, the internet would have viciously mocked the analysis. I still have a level of morbid curiosity about the several hundred-page report."

Carmack closes by pointing out that expert witnesses can charge upwards of $600 per hour, so he can see why it's a tempting career path. He just believes that the expert's findings should be publicised - especially when making such assured claims. 

Original Story: John Carmack is known for being a bit of a tech genius in the land of games. The man founded id Software, for flip’s sake. Additionally, he headed up development on id videogames Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and Rage. Carmack created many of the techniques used in computer graphics. He's aslo lead engineer of Armadillo Aerospace. He's a real life rocket scientist. You know, from the cliche. 

Because of Carmack’s technical proficiency, it’s slightly surprising that he allegedly googled ‘how to wipe a hard drive’ after he left ZeniMax and moved to Oculus. 

ZeniMax were just awarded half a billion dollars in damages in a court case with the VR headset creators, thanks to a broken NDA. These revelations about Carmack’s apparent behaviour when he moved between the two companies are now surfacing off the back of the case. 

In court, ZeniMax accused Carmack of stealing Rage source code, as well as thousands of electronic files on a USB storage device which contained ZeniMax VR technology. 

“Carmack intentionally destroyed data on his computer after he got notice of this litigation, and right after he researched on Google how to wipe a hard drive. Data on other Oculus computers and USB storage devices were similarly deleted,” said ZeniMax in a statement to GIBiz

"When he quit id Software, Carmack admitted he secretly downloaded and stole over 10,000 documents from ZeniMax on a USB storage device, as well as the entire source code to Rage and the id tech 5 engine - which Carmack uploaded to his Oculus computer."

The hard drive googling accusations were determined by a court-appointed, independent expert in computer forensics. 

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panbient avatarShriven avatarmidimaker avatarAnakhoresis avatarAever avatar
midimaker Avatar
137
1 Year ago

It's been a hard week or two, sounds like Carmack needs to stay away from the computer for a while.

2
panbient Avatar
239
1 Year ago

I think it makes him look more culpable rather than incompetent.

I find it hard to believe he wouldn't know how to format a hard drive. But even a format can still apparently be restored. Maybe he was looking for a more substantial way to clean off the drive / and cover his footsteps without actually throwing it in a bucket of magnets. His admission to stealing 10k documents doesn't exactly leave him in the best light in this situation.

I'm also wondering if this is a situation where someone who's used to being in an executive position as a company owner (like he was at id) just doesn't realize that he really can't do that as an employee - even if Rage and the id tech 5 engines were his brainchildren.

1
panbient Avatar
239
1 Year ago

Just going to add this update for the updates.

There's no need for a lengthy post explaining how code can perform the same task but be different at it's core. If the goal is 10 you can do 2x5 or 7+3 or... anything else that totals 10. Technically they're all different code (well, formulas).

But if 10 is the trick to making VR then whether or not you're adding or multiplying to reach the result it doesn't change the fact that the specific answer you're looking for was determined while under the employ of another company and owner.

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
642
1 Year ago

Makes it a terrible environment for innovation though. It's probable Zenimax didn't actually even intend to use it, and he wanted to work on it but couldn't do so in their employ.

3
panbient Avatar
239
1 Year ago

The perceived intentions are irrelevant, on the other hand, the specific actions taken are not. That's why employment contracts exist. What you -assume- Zenimax had planned has exactly ZERO significance.

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
642
Anakhoresis replied to panbient
1 Year ago

While I understand contract law, the ability to hold it above innovation is massive problem that technology is facing today with exactly these kind of situations.

It literally doesn't matter what I assume Zenimax had planned, because they by law have the right to do absolutely nothing with it and keep others from doing so as well...

... Which is stupid.

1
Aever Avatar
644
1 Year ago

Just a technical note, you can format your drive in such a way that the information is unrecoverable. Don't think it's some sort of rocket science, any reasonable disk management tool can do it. The kind of disk management tools that come bundled with your operating system.

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
642
1 Year ago

There's some annoying "He said, she said" going on. I assume the actual court documents make it more clear, but "the Court’s independent expert found... that his affidavit denying the wiping was false." Carmack maintains that he "never tried to hide or wipe any evidence, and all of my data is accounted for."

I mean, there must be more to it than that, right?

1
Shriven Avatar
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