Question regarding legality

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paradexes
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Question regarding legality

Post by paradexes » Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:14 pm

While I applaud the work the reactsoft team is doing, It begs the question, is there anything in the legal sense that can cause you problems? After all if Microsoft sees a potential threat in this project they will do everything they can to defuse it. And bringing lawyers into the game is probably the way they will do it. While I am sure you guys probably covered your bases, I am just curious if you have already looked up all the patents and all of that stuff related to Windows and such.

Lucio Diaz
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Post by Lucio Diaz » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:25 pm

If you reead the FAQ you will get the answer:


Is this legal?

Yes, the developers have never looked at the windows code, they use the available documentation on windows OSes, and their own tests to understand how windows work. In fact, ReactOS make the same things windows does, but not exactly the same way as it does not have the same source code.

Paul Baker
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Post by Paul Baker » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:31 pm

But does ReactOS infringe on any of MS's vast array of patents? And if not, I'm sure there's a clause in the Windows EULA about reverse engineering they will be able to bring against ReactOS, if they feel a threat.

Lucio Diaz
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Post by Lucio Diaz » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:41 pm

They are not making "reverse engineering" as it is understanded in the programming (and legal) language, reverse engineering would give them a bunch of garbage asembly difficult to understand and more dificult to translate into a high level language like C or C++. They use legal programs to make hooks to the programs or windows api to see how they comunicate and wich parameters are passed by, added to the extensive documentation on windows programming they know what they have to implement, even if the internals are not "exactly" working as Microsoft products, the programs working in the os wont know receiving the same answers as if they where working in NT or XP

Epmak
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Post by Epmak » Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:55 pm

Disassembly is not a crime:
for reference you may find a lot of information about "Sony vs Connectix" precedent.

As short summary of the case:
Connectix diassemble Sony Playstation BIOS to reverse engeneer it logic
to write Playstation emultor. As result Connectix approach was defined
as 'fair use' and Sony lost battle.

Where disassembly is the only way to gain access to the ideas and functional elements embodied in a copyrighted computer program and where there is a legitimate reason for seeking such access, disassembly is a fair use of the copyrighted work, as a matter of law.

uniQ
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Post by uniQ » Sun Dec 12, 2004 5:02 am

As to patents, someone (Linus?) said:

If a patents too broad, it can probably be shot down (PUBPUT, for instance), if it's very narrow, it can probably be programmed around (Alternate method to do the same thing).

-uniQ
Coming on, coming up, let me help ROS and I'll be able to look @ a life well used.

stas
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Post by stas » Sun Dec 12, 2004 3:40 pm

uniQ wrote:If a patents too broad, it can probably be shot down (PUBPUT, for instance), if it's very narrow, it can probably be programmed around (Alternate method to do the same thing).
And all those in between will kill ROS?

The only real workaround i see is to do the development in countries that do not have software patents.

Epmak
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Post by Epmak » Sun Dec 12, 2004 10:45 pm

stas wrote: The only real workaround i see is to do the development in countries that do not have software patents.
If your product violate some country's patent then you can not use that
product in that country.

Gedi

Post by Gedi » Sun Dec 12, 2004 10:56 pm

stas wrote: The only real workaround i see is to do the development in countries that do not have software patents.
There is no need for a work around. ROS does not infringe on any patents, licences, etc.

This has been discussed time and time again, it's detailed in the FAQ and if you read the GPL which acompanies the distro (and understand it) you'll see that all is fine.

Apparently MS know about ROS and applaud it.
Whether they will continue to do so if/when the product starts to take it's buisness I don't know, but anything which may sway the OS community away from unix like distros and towards a distro like their own, it would seem crazy to oppose.

blight
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Post by blight » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:50 am

Last edited by blight on Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gedi

Post by Gedi » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:18 am

blight wrote: No real unix/linux user will ever change to a Windows NT like OS just because there is ReactOS
I am a Linux admin, programmer and long time user and although I won't certainly won't be leaving the world of Linux, I am currently swatting up on ROS so I can get on board ASAP.


However that was not my point, I incorrcectly worded it.
There are many people that don't like the MS monoply and are looking for a way out. This is evident in the way Linux is currently taking off. However many people are still nervous about moving into new teritory, or are not tecnically minded enough to. ROS will be there to fill this slot, and may help to stop people moving into the world of unix like systems just to get the freedom they offer.

Anything that stops people moving away from a windows like system surely wouldn't be frouned upon by Microsoft.

bastetfurry
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Post by bastetfurry » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:42 am

Gedi wrote: Apparently MS know about ROS and applaud it.
Just curious, where did you read/heard that?
Ok, it would be cool if MS would turn some parts of their own NT "implementation" GPL after a ROS 1.0 but i think sooner the world will explode ;)

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Paul Baker
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Post by Paul Baker » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:53 am

Gedi wrote:ROS does not infringe on any patents, licences, etc.

This has been discussed time and time again, it's detailed in the FAQ and if you read the GPL which acompanies the distro (and understand it) you'll see that all is fine.
The FAQ says nothing about this issue. The GPL also doesn't (and obviously couldn't) say "any program licensed under the GPL is automatically exempt from infringing patent law", which is basically what would be required in order to avoid patent issues.

I'm not sure many people here actually know how patents work. They seem to think that as long as ROS doesn't use any MS source, everything will be OK.

Gedi

Post by Gedi » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:53 am

bastetfurry wrote: Just curious, where did you read/heard that?
I read it a few weeks ago whilst looking up ROS on the internet. For all I know it might have been (and probably was) a load of bollocks.

Gates might oppose ROS hitting the heart of his empire, he might approve. I don't know, I'm just giving my opinion.

uniQ
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Post by uniQ » Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:42 am

Well alot of ppl here are from completely different countries and hence legal systems. What one country says could be completely different from another ones.

-Q
Coming on, coming up, let me help ROS and I'll be able to look @ a life well used.

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