You used the word "copying" with two different meanings in a long
discussion that intermingled Open Source development, DRM, multiple
implementations of software striving for the same goal, and software
theft (warez) and Audio/Video content theft.
The best response I can make is:
1. Everyone agrees that using (warezing) software in violation of it's
license is wrong. Everyone agrees that unauthorized copying of
Audio/Video content is wrong. WTF does this have to do with Open Source?
2. In my observation, most modern "DRM" systems target copying of
Audio/Video content, NOT software. Your statement "The open source
community, in my opinion, is certainly a contributing factor in the
emergence of the DMCA and DRM efforts." boggles the mind. WTF does this
have to do with Open Source?
Now getting on the crux of your complaint (again, WTF was all this
3. Reverse engineering and multiple competing implementations of
software is allowed and upheld in courts over and over again (unless
patent infringement is involved). You are very unhappy with this.
There are thousands of examples of competing implementations, many not
even involving Open Source.
Larry, where would your company be today if Compaq and Phoenix didn't
reverse engineer the IBM PC BIOS?
Larry, how much money do you make from people using Linux as their OS
platform? After all, it is competitive implementation of UNIX?
So on one hand, this LEGAL activity of reverse engineering and competing
implementations has benefited you and your company, and on the other, it
might put you out of business some day.
Deal with it. Your situation is no different then thousands of other
companies. Nobody forced you into your line of business.
Did Wordperfect complain in public about MS Word re-implementing
features that Wordperfect created? How about WordStar?
Multiple competing implementations (Open Source or otherwise) is GOOD
FOR THE CONSUMER!
For most non-niche problems (especially the larger ones), there are
going to be competing software solutions. There will likely be an Open
Source competitor in there. Assuming the problem is irritating enough,
the Open Source competitor will be vibrant and constantly improving.
Eventually the Open Source competitor will mature and powerful. The
commercial guys better scramble to stay ahead feature wise, lower the
price of their offering (witness Windows 2003 Web Server Edition), or
offer a service/"total solution". Software is slowly, eventually
becoming a commodity. Eventually, the lion share of revenue will come
from "services", not software licensing.
Not a fun position to be in for the commercial software vendor, but oh
what a lovely environment for the consumer!
Companies have no god given right to have a market. Companies have no
god given right to earn a profit (unless a govt allowed monopoly, ie
Telcos). Time marches on, things change. Adapt or die.
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