## 29 October, 2008

### "Antitrust" movie and do THEY reuse free software in proprietary?

Just finished watching Antitrust movie (aka hackers 3). It's really amazing and it's worth to watch this movie. I remember there was similar story about lawyer and big company (maybe even two stories), but this one is about software development: you can see Unix systems running on movie's computers, Open Source hackers, and M$(Titled "Nurd" in the movie). But it's really interesting how much open sourced code is stolen by proprietary organizations? I'm not sure if there are special tools to check binaries (anywhere clean up should kill traces). And the code is just a form of ideas, so somebody can steal ideas and rewrite the code. Just imagine: they have all things to look for: process/memory management (Linux, *BSD, Hurd), filesystems, any multimedia applications, IDEs, browsers... They have all things to look for fresh ideas. Just think: any professor who works with operating systems would say that he works with theory, and in a real projects most things are always done in another ways. You can have a cute design, emulators, whatever you want, but seeing the result of development is always better, than designing and analyzing. And what abilities do proprietary companies have? They have an ability to analyze all technical decisions come from Open Software. What stops them from reusing it? Yeah, you might say there are some Windows sources. But I didn't heard somebody has built it. Of course they have enough money for reimplementing interesting ideas from open source, so I don't mind somebody porting linux kernel code to windows. And of cource I don't mind them spying on genius developers: just on their repositories )) But... And the last one: nobody knows what you can find in proprietary software. All computers (most) are connected to the network, most of them uses windows update service. Do you rememebr "I, robot movie"? What if all MS windows copies die tomorrow?.. It's obvious that MS impact on the WORLD is too huge. Much huger, than it should be (please, tell me: what idea did they produce? Just C#? And look on unix impact on technologies from 1970). Ok, they really have some gold ideas, but not revolutionary. Google (I like them, their sevices and they paid me$4500, presented a book and were very kind) has a big impact on the internet. Now we have two corporations are controlling more than 80% of users: do you use Microsoft Windows to run google services? ;)
Please don't tell that they have pretty buttons: open source sometimes lucks of usability, but not interesting technologies.
This movie made me a bit paranoiac and maybe it was better to use very rare (these days) spare time for coding few lines...

David Johnson said...

I work with a lot of companies as a consultant, and I've only run across one that had expropriated (don't use the word "steal") GPL code in their software. Most have strict policies on Open Source use. Okay to link to BSD, LGPL, or use GPL if it's a separate process, etc. The one exception company had GPL kernel code because a developer put it in without asking.

There's really no reason to be paranoid. You'll sleep better at night if you relax.

Warbo said...

"Stealing" Open Source code doesn't really make sense, since lots of code is under licenses like the BSD one, which allow anything (as long as credit is given). Take a look through the license to a proprietary application like Adobe Acrobat and you'll find loads of these credits.

The only Free Software licenses which can be infringed by reusing the code are copyleft ones, like the GPL, but that's why we have http://gpl-violations.org/

As for 'stealing ideas', that sounds very much like the broken thinking behind software patents. If an Open Source program does something cool then it's fine for anyone else to implement their own way of doing it. No idea is ever completely original, it always builds on what other people have already done. Restricting what can be done with ideas already though of, just ends up damaging the number of new ideas which are used (not because there are less ideas, but because many are not allowed due to restrictions).

Evgeniy Vigovskiy said...

I think there is nothing to afraid of. Free software was created for freedom. To make people share good ideas. To prevent them from reinventing the bicycle. And in the end make software better. Ok, somebody don't want to share, but at last we can hope that they will create better software using free code.

The greatest power of Open Source and especially Lunix Kernel is that anyone can take the kernel, put some chips in a plastic box, and launch new product. They don't need to write their own firmware from scratch. And the don't need to make new bugs. Maybe they don't contribute, but I can undenrstand them. Programmers cost money. Lots of money. And consumers want the cheapest hardware possible. So they need to cut their expenses. Look at today's SOHO routers and NAS'es. They have ugly and buggy web-interfaces (written by manufacturers), but quite stable kernels (written by kernel-people). I can't even imagine these boxes with kernels written from scratch.

Ian Monroe said...

Well yea, if you want to protect the ideas behind code you shouldn't open source it. Instead you should spend all your time writing patent applications, then sue anyone who uses your idea. Then you make money from code without even coding!

powerfox said...

I hate patents and I like Open Source (and Free Software). The salt was "protecting open software from been reused in proprietary", "advantages, which have proprietary companies in this war".
David: I'm always too relaxed :D Just got up late (3pm...), that is why it was hard to go to bed early.
Warbo: as David noticed, I meant something like "reuse".
By 'stealing ideas' I meant they can reuse it with a cool adds. And people will like it more, than our. Patents is the thing we fight with, I didn't mean using them.
Ian: writing patents can be more difficult than the code :) It can be something like coding patents )

Predrag said...

Damn, they actually used real code in the movie. I didn't expect that. Usually movies fake everything, but why bother to fake some source code when half of the web is free/open source.

At the middle of "http://sources.ru/java/Webserver.java" page, and around 25 minutes into the movie, same code.

From the movie:
"..it's only a matter of time before someone use your code and make millions of it..."

Me thinking:
BSD should published their code under GPL. Apple is really happy right now!

Anonymous said...

I know Hackers (loving it) and Antitrust. Which one is considered to be "Hackers 2", if people consider Antitrust as "Hackers 3"?

monkey said...

Lawyers stop Microsoft developers from even *looking at* open source code.

Thomas Anderson said...

The great post about free software, thanks a lot for sharing.

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