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SCO suit c|net article

--- Tim King <timk at> wrote:
> Stephen Shankland tries to present the case as "cut[ting] to the heart of
> the open-source movement's legal and philosophical underpinnings." To put
> that in English, he believes open-source developers tend to rip off
> proprietary technology, because there's no closed environment that
> regulates what they do. In particular, he writes:
>     Despite the technological and cultural successes of the
>     cooperative movement, it still must convince companies that
>     its methods are legally sound.
>     "This shows one of the weaknesses of the open-source movement,"
>     said Mark Radcliffe, a copyright attorney with Gray Cary.
>     "You're all dependent on trust. Unfortunately, a number of
>     people involved in the process do not have a great degree of
>     respect for intellectual property..."

Hi. This is my first post, and the subject ignited a flame under my foot. I thought this would be
a good opportunity to say something.


It hadn't occurred to anybody that MAYBE, just MAYBE some people wrote code that behaved
similarly/indentically to some UNIX functions, therefore the code may just happen to be the SAME?

Example: When I was taking a programming class in C, my Professor would ask the class to come up
with an algorithm to accomplish a certain task. When we'd be done accomplishing this task, the
Professor would show us his own solution. Many a time, my solution and his solution would be
virtually identical, save the comments.

<sarcasm>The Heavens forbid something like this could happen in the real world.</sarcasm>

I don't understand this concept of "ripping off proprietary technology". But then again, I don't
understand the concept of being able to patent an idea (read: intellectual property), either, so
maybe I shouldn't.

Example: Just say a genius programmer decided to mimick every aspect of the "Luna" interface in
Windows XP and offer it as an alternative to GNOME, KDE, etc. Would Microsoft be able to sue? I
don't think they should be able to, as long as the individual does not use the name "Luna". And if
some of the source code happens to match up, it doesn't mean the source code was copied. It means
the programmer was clever in figuring out how Microsoft did it.

Thus stated, does this mean people will soon be sued for being clever, witty, smart, educated,
etc.? If this is the case, then I can see society going down the road Richard Stallman predicted,
where the very possession of a debugger would be illegal without special licenses and privileges.
What happened to the "reverse engineering clause" in the DMCA? Wouldn't this apply to a case such
as this?



Christopher Parker <cparker at>
     Alumnus -- Youth Tech Entrepreneurs <>
     Associate Member #795 -- Free Software Foundation <>
     Magistrate -- First Church of Satan Illuminati Council <>

Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.

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