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Re: [dvd-discuss] SCC, Lexmark, and copyrightversusreverse-engineering

I thought Phoenix did the reverse engineering and they were very careful
about the clean room.  One team wrote a reference book about what they
discovered from their RE efforts.  The other team implemented from that
reference.  Nobody that had seen IBM PC BIOS code was allowed on the 
development team.

SCC did an incomplete RE job (not that I'm arguing a better one could
have been done), and failed to realize (apparently) that the byte string
passed from cartridge to printer was in fact code.

Now if IBM had made some signature part of the BIOS, implying that no
other expression would be deemed valid by the CPU (eek, how to fix
bugs?), then Phoenix would have had to either figure a way spoof the
signature code (if they could even find the algorithm) or be
out-of-luck.  Though, especially since IBM was STILL under antitrust
investigation (for tying HW and SW on mainframes) this would have raised
some red flags both for the antitrust Judge (what was his name)
overseeing the consent decree with IBM as yet another tying issue.  But
in 1981 antitrust was a far less lenient than it is today.

"D. C. Sessions" wrote:
> On Saturday 29 March 2003 16:01, microlenz@earthlink.net wrote:
> # As they are. No one says that life must be easy or that you have to get a free
> # lunch. If Compaq can RE the PC bios in the mid 80s, I doubt that this is much
> # worse. IF the program is truly copyrightable (and I would have to be convinced
> # of that), then it is still copyright infringement and the judges comments about
> # access are irrelevant (he' splitting hairs)
> When Compaq reverse-engineered the PC BIOS, they had
> access to the complete source code of the original, from which
> they derived the specifications.
> I'd say that there's a major difference in difficulty there.
> --
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