Slashdot feed...

Barry Roberts blr at robertsr.us
Wed Apr 6 20:19:48 MDT 2005


On Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 05:01:52PM -0600, Josh Coates wrote:
> 
> what i see is "OSDL employee break the law"

Violating a EULA is not breaking the law.  Reverse engineering wasn't
breaking the law until DMCA, and probably isn't even in this case
since it doesn't involve the MPAA or RIAA.

> and imo, what you see is "OSDL employee is justified in unethical/illegal
> behavior because bitmover wouldn't share it's source."

I would like to know exactly what the OSDL employee did.  The last
time I looked at the Bitkeeper EULA, you couldn't use the free version
if anybody at your company worked on any competing revision control
system.  If he was simply contributing to ARCH or Subversion (I don't
believe he was reverse engineering Just because Larry McV says so),
then it doesn't bother me, even if he was using bk to compare
features.

In either case, I think you're strongly overstating the OSDL
employee's alleged actions.  It almost certainly wasn't illegal.  And
if L McV put into his EULA that you must stand on one foot and sing
praises to him while using the free version (which he could do) that
doesn't mean it would hold up in court or that it's unethical to
violate it.

Contracts (which is a REALLY strong word for a EULA) are open to
interpretation.  If the OSDL employee was really doing something
illegal, Larry could have called on law enforcement to stop him.  If
he was clearly violating an enforcable license clause, Larry could
have revoked a license or sued him.  Instead, the whole licensing
program was abolished.  Which tells me Mr. McV didn't think he could
make a case.

The OSDL employee could have read the license, found what s/he thought
was a loophole and exploited it.  Nothing illegal or unethical about
that.

Barry Roberts



More information about the PLUG mailing list