Desperate John Deere tractor owners are downloading illegal Ukrainian firmware hacks to get the crops in


Originally published at:


Here’s the manual:


The free market in action, it brings a tear of pride to my eye.


In Soviet Ukraine, Firmware cracks You.

In Capitalist USA, You pay a never ending stream of money for the “privilage” of using a tractor.


How many options are there for farm equipment? John Deere, probably Caterpillar, what else?

The ideal free-market solution would be to stop buying John Deere equipment until they get a clue, but I’m not sure how much variety there really is in the market.


Good old American inventiveness, too:

Kluthe, for example, uses pig manure to power his tractor, which requires engine modifications that would likely violate John Deere’s terms of service on newer machines.

“I take the hog waste and run it through an anaerobic digester and I’ve learned to compress the methane,” he said. “I run an 80 percent methane in my Chevy Diesel Pickup and I run 90 percent methane in my tractor. And they both purr. I take a lot of pride in working on my equipment.”

That brings a tear to my eye, and not just because of the smell.


It’s been coalescing into a few large groups for some time. JD, CNH & AGCO are probably the largest, with the latter two owning a lot of other brands- many are just straight rebadges now.


This BS has been getting steadily worse. More and more of this is happening with consumer cars as well, and of course these shenanigans with electronics and software are also getting worse.

I really really hope something is done to put the brakes on this practice by companies


Kubota of becoming popular now. Also Mahindra, but there are issues. Our latest tractor is a Kubota. We still have several John Deere, though. I am working on one this week.


This is, of course the future envisioned by many north american oligarchs;
Everyone works on their plantation, one way or another.


I’m not sure that ‘private property’ is supposed to result in a system largely indistinguishable from especially abusive feudalism; but I may just not be enough of a wealth creator to understand.


Except that using the cudgel of the government to prevent people from modifying something that they’ve purchased is far and away from being a “free market”. It’s a shameful, state-endorsed shakedown.

The free-market workaround in this story is that fact that people are able to go online and acquire a means to circumvent the restrictive legalese bullshit that restricts their natural rights as an owner. But watch how quickly the deep pockets of John Deere/Apple/et al will attempt to close those avenues using copyright laws and the usual nonsense.

They should be setting fire to those bricked-up pieces of junk in front of John Deere headquarters.


To me it just seems like a prime market for a JD competitor to allow farmers to do whatever the hell they want with their machines. Would be a great way to take their customer base.
Maybe there are companies trying to do that right now. I wouldn’t know as i’m not a farmer.


If you don’t actually “own” the John Deere you paid for, but are only licensing it from John Deere, then logically John Deere should pay for repairs on “their” machine.

(I’m sure they already thought of this and have some clause in the EULA that covers it.)


Umm, that was my point.



Motherboard’s Jason Koebler bought his way into the paid, invite-only forums where farmers trade advice and suggestions…

What a brilliant strategy! I wonder if it would work against ISIL?


My mistake - I thought you meant the whole issue about the fact that a stupid law can be made and enforced that turns a purchase into a locked-down “rental”.

You would hope that top men are hard at work on that kind of end-run tech. But deeper, vested interests always tend to be able to outspend and out-lobby. Same thing that happened with Copyright Term Extensions, or the DMCA and all the other industry hysterias about preserving crappy, entrenched, non-competitive business models.


Kharkiv Tractor Plant comes to mind.


The DoD do it, so they shouldn’t be surprised if others do so as well.