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SubjectRe: Difficulties in interoperating with Windows
---------  Received message begins Here  ---------
>
> On Wed, 9 Jan 2002 10:04:11 -0600 (CST), "Jesse Pollard"
> <pollard@tomcat.admin.navo.hpc.mil> wrote:
> > > But would it? If you disassemble part/all of Windows and use the code
> > > to understand how it works, then use this to create a specification
> > > and write code to use that specification, there should be no problem?
> >
> > As long as someone ELSE does the developement (this is the "clean room"
> > developement that lawyers like for the defence - it must also be fully
> > documented).
>
> Hmmm, I don't know about that, as long as the (source) code is different,
> I don't think it can be argued that it was copied not created. But that's
> probably a legal battle that no-one would want to get in to.

Yup - there are too many source code manglers that can make what appears to
be significant changes that do nothing more that change field names, structure
names, and limited re-ordering of statements.

> > > Correct, but I'm not talking about recompiling Windows and selling it,
> > > I'm talking about decompiling it and using the decompiled source to
> > > make Linux work better with it. That is completely legal.
> >
> > Not really - M$ will come after you. That's why the problems with NTFS
> > still exist - the people that were working on it (even in a "clean
> > room") had to desist. They (as I understand it) eventually dropped their
> > M$ software. And NTFS is still read-only.
>
> Are they US based developers?

I think they were/are.

> > > Reverse engineering for the sole:purpose of copying or duplicating
> > > programs constitutes a copyright:violation and is illegal. In some
> > > cases, the licensed use of software:specifically prohibits reverse
> > > engineering.
> >
> > And M$ will go after you because of the last two sentences. Especially
> > the "duplicating programs" part. They will (have?) claimed that
> > duplicating NTFS functionality is not legal.
>
> But the first of your two chosen sentences seems to read as
> copy/duplicating in the sense of piracy. Obviously as it isn't 100%
> clear, then it would be a possible legal case for Microsoft, but to be
> honest I can't see the courts going with it. Otherwise there would only
> be one product of each particular type of software.
>
> As to the second: under UK law any license which tries to restrict the
> lawful users ability to decompile the product is expressly void. They
> cannot enforce that portion of the contract under UK law (which a UK
> citizen buying Windows in the UK would come under).
>
> > (I think Jeff Merkey was
> > the one doing this - He should the one to really comment on the problems
> > he had with M$).
>
> I certainly would be interested in hearing his comments...is he here and
> watching this thread? :-)
>
> > Also note - none of that definition addresses the ability to publish the
> > results.
>
> OK, I understand not publishing the decompiled code, but what would be the
> problem is publishing your code.

Trade secrets, patented algorithms, DMCA ... I'm sure the lawyers can find
something.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jesse I Pollard, II
Email: pollard@navo.hpc.mil
Any opinions expressed are solely my own.
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