Back in September of 2019, I was browsing through X-Plane community downloads in order to find additional models to enhance the POSCON X-Plane Pilot Client model distribution. During the course of my search, I came across the X-CSL model package and reached out to the X-CSL team via their Contact form to obtain authorization to use their package in our software. The X-CSL team granted POSCON permission back then, but as of January 2022, they have unilaterally revoked that permission.
The main reason for this blog post is to inform POSCON users that the X-CSL package is in the process of being removed from our distribution and should be fully removed by the end of the week. Once this package is removed, the next time you reinstall your X-Plane Pilot Client via the Launcher Client, the models will be automatically deleted from your computer.
An equally important reason for this blog post is to shed light on what transpired to get us to this point, a point where we are taking a drastic step backwards regarding user experience. The reason for this decision is because the founder of the X-CSL model package, a man named Aleksandr (Almik) Mikitas, revoked permission to use these models after our "Out of Beta" announcement was made public. He wrote to me shortly after the announcement and claimed that permission was never granted to use these models, even though a senior developer from his team clearly granted us permission over two years ago (see the email exchanges). As mentioned earlier, I originally wrote X-CSL via their Contact form in September of 2019 to ask for permission and Aleksandr responded and handed me off to his senior developer who subsequently granted permission to use the models with the stipulation that we give credit to X-CSL, which we did: https://forums.poscon.net/docs/support/manuals/acknowledgements/
Despite my best efforts to convince Aleksandr that the lack of communication was isolated internally within his team and not at all POSCON's fault, he has decided to take punitive action against POSCON members by requiring us to remove the models. This action only serves to hurt you, the user, by making it more difficult to use the X-CSL package (i.e. you now have to go download it from their website and use scripts to get it to work with POSCON, which is hardly worth the time). While I have many theories about the timing and reasons behind this new requirement, I want to stick to the facts here as much as possible.
Speaking of facts, here is an important one: Aleksandr Mikitas now works as the MTL Designer and Membership Assistant Coordinator - Eastern Europe and Northern Asia for the International Virtual Aviation Organisation (IVAO). To my knowledge, Almik did not hold this position with IVAO at the time I approached X-CSL in September of 2019.
I have put together an evidence package in case POSCON users want to dig deep into what was said and by who. Publicly releasing my personal correspondence is not something I take lightly, but I find it entirely relevant to the current situation. An important note about the email exchanges is that all respective parties were always CCed on every email so anything said was guaranteed to be seen by both Almik and myself.
Based on the email exchanges with X-CSL, my lawyer concluded that X-CSL and Almik implicitly allowed POSCON to distribute these models. Why else would Almik have referred me to his developer in order to give us technical information which would enable POSCON to include these models in our software? Our intentions were clearly outlined from the very first email sent to X-CSL. Almik and his developer never said, “yes include the package in your installer” directly, but they also never said “no.” Even though Almik was CCed on all the emails from the beginning, I recently reminded him that he was the one who referred us to his developer and as a result, his developer told us how to include the model package in our software. The POSCON developer programmed software based on this representation. The X-CSL developer's role in this was perpetuated by Almik — Almik referred POSCON to his developer, so it implies that Almik knew what this was about, and approved of it.
What's also interesting to note is that Almik says he created this package for the benefit of all X-Plane users, "Each our model is a our free time, effort and even money to give the best results for all XP users as free," but by revoking POSCON's authorization he actually has made it harder for X-Plane users to use the X-CSL package on their preferred network of choice, unless of course that network is IVAO.
At the end of the day, POSCON will comply with X-CSL's demands, but I think it is important to shed light on what sometimes happens behind the scenes in this "community" and why we can't have nice things.
Reflecting back, this whole situation seems eerily familiar to the recent debacle between AIG and FLAi (click here for additional reading material). Bottom line, this type of behavior in our community needs to be called out and more importantly, it needs to stop.
What Happens to the POSCON X-Plane Model Package?
To be honest, this doesn't really affect our model package too badly. There was approximately 70% overlap between BlueBell and X-CSL, so there will be a few unique models that will disappear in addition to some liveries. If you are interested in helping the POSCON model project recover from this loss, please reach out to Jeffory Beckers, our Model Asset Manager.