You are a developer interested in releasing a new software product. Unfortunately you lack a firm design plan having completed your last software project without lining up a new one. Undeterred from a lack of a future software plan, you decide to clone another software product on the market. While copyrights generally protect software programs against blatant infringement, clone software products are an extremely active category in software development.
Clones are essentially copies of existing software, with enough changes made to avoid legal conflict. Any software can be cloned as long as the clone does not violate any patents, is dissimilar enough to avoid a line-by-line software code comparison, and adds enough features or support to give value.
How to identify which preexisting products to use for your clone software is a relatively straightforward and easy task. By searching on the internet download sites like Simtel and Tucows, you can see what clones are hot, and what software is not popular to clone. While any software can be cloned, in general most pharma software clones are chosen to mimic the behaviors of popular software.
Most of the time, categories such as electronics schematics study programs are avoided by developers interested in making a clone software project because over the course of a year the most popular programs in tiny niches like electronics may only get a few hundred or thousand downloads. Juxtaposed to this is the phenomenal success of certain major broad-spectrum programs.
Often popular game clones such as Tetrinet, the clone of Tetris with added multiplayer functionality can get several hundred thousand downloads in one year, while popular anti-spyware clones may exceed downloads of several million copies. Because of the explosive potential of income and existing framework, making clones of software can be the perfect interim project for an active developer, or initial project for a new face on the scene.
To be successful at making a good clone program, there is one major area needing to be addressed. The software clone needs to be in some regards better than the competition’s software or at a minimum needs to have a different perspective. Making a clone better than the original is often an easy task. When the first graphical browser software came out, called Mosaic, both Netscape and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer were quick to hop on the licensing train and buy off rights to use NCSA’s graphical rendering engine.
The clone browsers quickly differentiated themselves from Mosaic by adding support for blinking html tags, frames, and even tables. At this point, the software clones were actually so superior to the predecessor that NCSA discontinued Mosaic. Over the coming years, a few new clone challengers would enter the browser battlefield with their own derivative clones, but in general the overall feel and progression has been nearly identical between all the major browsers.
If not making an endeavor to be better than the rest then clones need to have at least a different perspective. The marketplace is saturated with software in the broad-spectrum categories such as email clients and MP3 players, so successful newcomers must come into the ring with a battle plan to contend with the reigning champions.
For many programs, a different perspective comes from extending the same features to a simpler or more integrated and intuitive interface. Instead of an MP3 player that only plays one file from a command line prompt, we add the feature to add play lists.
Or, having play lists, we extend the mp3 software to play over a network while being started and stopped through a PHP script from a remote website. Differentiation allows you to keep the same general program and just make subtle changes in how the program is accessed instead of having to commit to making the program necessarily better, smaller, or faster than competitive software offerings.