[OpenIndiana-discuss] What is OI/illumos stance on recreation of features from Solaris 11 (and other proprietary OSes)?

James Carlson carlsonj at workingcode.com
Wed Oct 10 17:03:54 UTC 2012

Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
> Patents and copyrights are to be feared.

Indeed, though they are very different beasts.

Copyright covers a specific expression of an idea, and exists
automatically.  A patent basically covers the idea itself, regardless of
expression, and requires a process to establish.  (Well, in loose terms.)

> Many/most features developed are not patentable

That's the part of your message that made me reply.  What makes you
think so?

What's patentable depends on how much time and money someone has to
write up a list of claims and then persuade an examiner to grant the patent.

You'd think that things that are "obvious to one skilled in the art"
would necessarily be excluded.  In the US, today at least, you'd be
wrong in that assumption.  The whole system seems to be built on feeble
patents used as a way to avoid competition.

> If a developer re-implements a feature he previously implemented at
> prior company (from memory) then there is risk because trade secrets
> could be involved.

True.  And trade secrets laws can be a bit scarier, in that they're
arbitrary.  There's no exception for "first to invent" or "prior art."

In any event, I still think it's somewhere between unhelpful and
downright dangerous to bother with it as part of OpenIndiana.  I've
probably crossed the line from "trying to shut it down" to being part of
the problem, so I'm going to try to shut up now ...

James Carlson         42.703N 71.076W         <carlsonj at workingcode.com>

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