Theft Is Non-Commutative

Apparently, Apple have stolen at least one idea in their new OS.  Stolen is a harsh word, but it’s a perfectly good interpretation of the term “plundered”.  Yet; hang on a moment… I don’t remember any accusations of theft being levelled at open source projects that take ideas from one platform and implement them on another, whether they call it “inspiration” or are as open and honest as the xmms people about their borrowing from Winamp.  So why is it a problem if Apple do it?

It’d be a misrepresentation of the worst kind to state that the open-source community is against intellectual property; hell, I’m an OSS advocate and I make my living from IP.  But there is, I think, a general agreement that patents and other forms of restriction should apply only to certain classes of IP; that patenting look-and-feel, for example, is a Bad Idea.  It’s always seemed to me that redoing someone else’s Cool Application (only doing it better, as one always tries to) is well within the bounds of acceptability.  Unless Apple do it.  Maybe I’m missing something.

One thought on “Theft Is Non-Commutative

  1. Missed the point

    I think you missed the point. Apple had big signs at the convention saying things like:
    “Redmond, start your photocopiers.”
    When most of their new ‘innovative’ idea are basicly reimplementations of things that already existed and where used both in OSX by third parties, and in other enviorments. Don’t claim you’re original when you’re not…
    (look for dashboard, gdesklets, and beagle in the gnome world. True some weren’t stable yet, but they were well known in thier communities as going to be really cool!)

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