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SubjectRe: Why DRM exists [was Re: Flame Linus to a crisp!]

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On 4/27/2003 at 7:35 PM wrote:

>Larry McVoy <> writes:
>> The open source community, in my opinion, is certainly a contributing
>> factor in the emergence of the DMCA and DRM efforts. This community
>> thinks it is perfectly acceptable to copy anything that they find useful.
>> Take a look at some of the recent BK flamewars and over and over you
>> will see people saying "we'll clone it". That's not unique to BK,
>> it's the same with anything else which is viewed as useful. And nobody
>> sees anything wrong with that, or copying music, whatever. "If it's
>> useful, take it" is the attitude.
>AFAIK, BK is not covered by patents. This means that anyone can
>legally write software with similar functionality, without doing
>anything illegal, or (IMHO) immoral, as long as no code is copied from
>the original product. This applies to other progams, as well. I
>don't see anything wrong with taking inspiration from other programs,
>when writing your own. Sure, it might not take the same effort to
>create a program similar to an already existing one, as to think of
>totally new, great idea for how to do something. With your reasoning,
>all version control programs are stolen from the first one, whatever
>that was (does anyone remember?).
>> Corporations are certainly watching things like our efforts with
>> BitKeeper, as well as the other companies who are trying to play nice
>> with the open source world. What are they learning? That if you don't
>> lock it up, the open source world has no conscience, no respect, and will
>> steal anything that isn't locked down. Show me a single example of the
>> community going "no, we can't take that, someone else did all the work
>> to produce it, we didn't". Good luck finding it. Instead you get "hey,
>> that's cool, let's copy it". With no acknowledgement that the creation
>> of the product took 100x the effort it takes to copy the product.
>Nowdays very few programs show any genuinely new ideas. For the
>greater part, they are new implementations of very old concepts. Take
>Microsoft. They produce operating systems and word processors. They
>were not by far the first to do either of these. Actually, I can't
>think of anything where MS has come up with something really new. The
>idea of using a display (possibly graphical) with multiple windows was
>at one time such a new thing.

wtf? Wasn't that W? (the W windowing system)

> This does not mean that any subsequent
>implementation of such a system is copied, or stolen, from the
>original inventor (who was that?).

I dunno. Lemme see...

The X Window System was developed in the Laboratory for Computer Science
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of project Athena in
cooperation with DEC, and first released in 1984. The project lead of the main
development was Robert Scheifler, and the origins of X owe much debt to the
``W'' Windowing package, developed by Paul Asente at Stanford. In September
of 1987, MIT issued the first release of the X11 that we know and use today.
As of X11R2, control passed from MIT to the X Consortium, formed in January
of 1988.

So there you have it. Paul Asente, as far back as I can see. There is one
other good tip on that page:

And remember, it's called X Window, not X Windows!

> If an idea is special enough, it
>can be patented. This protects it from being used by anyone else for
>some time. Good examples are MPEG video compression and RSA
>cryptography. Fortunately, not everything can be patented.
>Måns Rullgård
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