Feeds

Freedom loving lawyers prime primer on open source code

Penguin army forms in India

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Aaron Williamson and Matt Norwood presented a thorough analysis of reverse engineering and clean-room development - a remarkably dry run through a seemingly fascinating topic. "Reverse engineering" carries a magical allure to it, a mystique that’s destroyed by a blow-by-blow breakdown of the best practices procedure behind the technique and its legal ramifications.

“When Sega’s code was reverse engineered so that someone could build game cartridges that competed with Sega’s cartridges, the courts decided that if you were reverse-engineering to get to the idea within the cartridge, than the engineering was fair use,” Williamson pointed out. The now ubiquitous end-user license agreement prevent simple reverse engineering with blanket provisions - a fact iPhone hackers would be wise to take note of.

To avoid those legal pitfalls, hackers can buy pre-activated iPhones on eBay, thus avoiding the EULA, or follow the procedure Williams outlined for proper reverse engineering: First, there are developers in the clean room, people with no prior access to the code in question and who won’t have access to the rest of the team. For them, isolation is key.

As Norwood joked, “The first rule of clean room is you do not talk about clean room. Less obvious is the second rule of clean room, which is you do not talk about clean room.”

The other two groups are the specification team, people who have access to the potentially infringing code that the project aims to replace, and the liaison, who works between the other teams and ensures their separation.

Successful reverse engineering projects are usually planned out in advance and executed according to these stringent guidelines. But often, open source developers don’t think about these issues until it’s too late.

Eben Moglen, chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, wrapped up the evening with a passionate restatement of the Center’s goals. He’s excited about the new office that should open in New Delhi next year and support for the millions of open source coders he envisions coming out of the subcontinent in the immediate future.

Moglen sees it as his mission to defend the world’s free software programmers. As he put it, “the kid’s gotta code . . . and he can’t defend himself against the man who says, 'you’ve gotta pay me for my idea which you just had.'” ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.