A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

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Missingno50
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A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by Missingno50 »

So, this was tossed around on the Discord server at one point and about a week later, I got curious on the likelihood of it getting the entire project in legal trouble. This is all hypothetical, as far as I'm aware, nothing like this is planned and nothing like this has even been attempted yet.

Let's say, we have someone who is good at studying source code. We send him to study the Windows XP source code, sacrificing a potential developer. We can make him someone completely unaffiliated with ReactOS and Wine, so he's doing this on his own merits, and either project picks up on the documentation after its complete. His mission is simply to document the source code by specifically documenting the functions, how they work, and what the general layout of the code is. The thing to note here though is that his documentation of the code has absolutely no snippets of code or any evidence of random magical numbers.
Would such documentation be illegal to use by the ReactOS and Wine projects? And if not, what are the other legal implications of using such documentation on either project?

Personally, I don't view it as something that might be illegal. I view it as a slightly more in depth look at functions that are listed on MSDN, seeing what other functions each function might call, but it may be completely illegal to use even if the documentation has nothing to do with ReactOS or Wine hence why I'm asking.
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manuel
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by manuel »

This is how reverse engineering works my friend and it is what is being done on Reactos.

Missingno50
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by Missingno50 »

manuel wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:17 pm
This is how reverse engineering works my friend and it is what is being done on Reactos.
Is that so? Because I don't recall ReactOS taking its documentation from someone who had gone out and read out the entire Windows XP source code to figure out what does what and why. Infact, last time I checked, ReactOS' work flow had little to do with documentation, although they will check documentation on what needs to be worked on next. But I may be wrong there, so if that's the case then I feel... stupid.
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hbelusca
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by hbelusca »

> from someone who had gone out and read out the entire Windows XP source code

No, but by doing the clean-room reverse engineering (someone does the job of doing some disassembling/analysis of debug symbols/etc. and documents, while someone else bases oneself on that to write an implementation and supplements it with automated runtime tests that validate the implementation with respect to that of windows.)

Missingno50
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by Missingno50 »

I suppose that's close enough. I've once again made myself a clown with this hypothetical question, haven't I?
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Patchworks
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by Patchworks »

I believe that would be MUTCH more interesting to involve/collaborate with alternative devs like him:
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binarymaster
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by binarymaster »

Patchworks wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:47 pm
I believe that would be MUCH more interesting to involve/collaborate with alternative devs like him
You mean with people who took a peek at the Windows Research Kernel sources? :|

Patchworks
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by Patchworks »

binarymaster wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:35 pm
You mean with people who took a peek at the Windows Research Kernel sources? :|
Uhm, no devs that are familiar with Windows kernel mods.

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irony
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by irony »

this project is afraid painfully to get sued by MS for using leaked Windows code. and while personally I believe MS couldn't care less about all this, still at least for not giving the food for those idiots, popping up regularly and babbling about "ReactOS using stolen code" and hfirefox anime dude incl. this attitude is well motivated. after all, people want to recreate stuff, not blatantly fake this by copying and pasting stolen sources, it's creativity and it doesn't happen the latter way. so what didn't you understand of this? of the numerous loud warnings from moderators, active participants, saying, it's not the option? someone makes "mods", fooling around with stolen/leaked code, this project doesn't belong to that crowd and more importantly - dissociates itself from it hardly and that's for the reasons, outlined above. I think, it's so obvious, that insisting on keeping this topic back over and over has some other purpose, than just "to talk about it", it looks more like provoking. are you bored? go play your games or watch your anime.

jimtabor
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Re: A dumb hypothetical about the legality of someone documenting Windows XP

Post by jimtabor »

Nothing wrong with a student or software developer writing a detailed paper on parts of the WRK and publishing them. Including tests,,, etc... Books like "Windows NT/2000", "Inside Windows XYZ",,, etc...

BTW our kernel code was engineered from those two books..... I used the first one....

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