Heck, even software like linux would not have existed (because we would not have had unix, multics, etc) and we would have had much more trouble adopting personal computers. Without widespread PCs, there would have been much less need for the internet, without a popular internet, the development model for GPL licensed software would have fallen short.
Ultimately though, that is moot, if you look at the court documents of the time, the primary problem was the complexity of microsoft's API's and how difficult they were to clone (heck the wine project is still working on it, even after a decade), not patents or copyright. It was not microsoft suing other entities for infringement but the justice department suing microsoft for their behavior. In this case, you are getting the problem precisely backwards. The simple fact is that microsoft would not have released their source code to the public and decompilers at the time only went so far in reconstructing that source code (in general decompilers tend to suck because they tend to output very low level code, except in the cases of some of the more modern languages that weren't around back then). Even without copyright and patents (and assuming the industry would still exist without it, which I doubt), a lack of copyright/patents would have made no difference in this particular case.
Last edited by tacomancer; 02-12-11 at 06:22 PM. Reason: The f
I am saying that in the specific instance of the Microsoft monopoly, patents were not the cause.So you're suggesting that patents have no effect on reducing competition, thereby protecting the patent-holder? My, what a confused view of the world you have.
Last edited by rathi; 02-12-11 at 06:36 PM.
Have you been paying attention to the thread? Microsoft is a monopoly, a fact that was upheld in a court of law. Microsoft has not destroyed competition using software patents. They have stomped out competition with broken API's and by strong-arming OEM's.How can you have a monopoly on any sort of software without patents?
What microsoft's customers get is that translated programming. It is somewhat possible to take machine code and translate it back to human code, but the output leaves much to be desired, expecially in a very complex system, which as the windows operating system. Because of this "one way mirror" the people receiving the software (who did not have access to the original human code) had a very limited look into what windows actually does while its running on your computer. Because of this limited view, it has made it next to impossible to write compatible software that interacts with it. except for the software interconnects (called an applications programming interface or API) that allow data to pass from one program to another that microsoft published specifications for. An example of how an API would work is, lets say a program wants to write information to a file, windows does not give programs direct access to the disk, so the software makes a request to windows to write something to disk for it, windows accepts that request through the API and does the requested task.
Those APIs were at the heart of the lawsuit. The simple fact is that microsoft had create secret APIs that it did not publish the specifications to, which made its software superior to run on windows than third party software. This created an unfair advantage for microsoft.
Patents and copyrights never entered the picture, this is more akin to trade secrets actually.
Last edited by tacomancer; 02-12-11 at 06:56 PM.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
"True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero
At that time, if you wanted to actually use a computer for the benefit of a company, it was a combination of unix (very expensive), netware (servers only), and windows (nt or 9x)
Also software patents didn't even get started until 1994, too late to the party in this particular scenario as well.
Last edited by tacomancer; 02-12-11 at 07:03 PM.