Where do I begin?

Tony Kimball alk at pobox.com
Sat Mar 7 16:56:15 PST 1998

Quoth Per Bothner on Sat, 7 March:
: > Sheer FUD I'd call that.  If you don't break the copyright, you don't
: > have a problem.  That's the purpose and intent of the law.
: Wrong. It is not just copyright law that comes into effect,
: it is also trade secret law.  

If you ship your code over the internet to every pimply-faced Finnish
death-metal hacker wannabee that asks for it, you don't get to cry
"trade secret".  Substantial steps to protect information are required
in order to claim proprietary rights under U.S. law.

: You can defend yourself against
: copyright claims if you can show that the "expression" of the
: algorithms is not derived from Sun's code.  However, that is
: kind of nebulous, and we would rather avoid it.  Things are even
: more nebulous when it comes to trade secrets.  In any case, it
: is a lot easier to defend yourself legally if you have not signed
: Sun's license and/or studied their code.

And it's easier to avoid shark bite if you live on Mir, but it
would be absurd to say that we should all, therefore, join the Russian
space program.  Get a grip on the realities!  Most of the people who
want to contribute to a free Java clone have the JDK.  If you don't
intend to compete with Sun, then your risk of a frivolous lawsuit is
roughly nil, since it would gain them nothing.  Trade secrets do not
apply.  Therefore, if you do not violate Sun's copyright, you do not
have a realistic risk of lawsuit.  And the only way to even *appear*
to violate Sun's copyright is to incorporate code which is
substantially identical to Sun's actual code into source which is
distributed under terms not allowed by Sun's license.  The probability
of this occurring without *actual* violation of Sun's copyright is not
sufficiently different from zero to cut off one's right and left hands
to avoid it.

: It's whoever does the actually work who gets to define the terms.

You sound like Humpty-Dumpty.

: Which of the two of us have written and released more free software?

I guess you'll never know, because I'm not about to get into a pissing
contest with you.  I don't expect that I'd win, but it is possible
that I might.  I prefer not to confuse the real issues, however, with
grandstanding irrelevancies.

: Beggers don't get to be choosers.

Non sequitur.

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