ImageDisk project is canceled

Teo Zenios teoz at
Wed Dec 21 20:26:34 CST 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tony Duell" <ard at>
To: <cctalk at>
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 7:26 PM
Subject: Re: ImageDisk project is canceled

> > I always thought that if there really is demand for a utility then
atleast a
> > token amount of money should be charged for that utility. You will find
> > people who claim to need changes to the utility but are unwilling to pay
> I think you're comparing Apples and IBMs here :-). It is one thing to
> expect _you_ to make changes to your program (and that arguably should be
> charged for), it's another to want to make those changes themselves...
> > few bucks for a new revision should just be ignored, they remind me of
> > friends who keep taking up your personal time fixing their computers as
> Are you seriously suggesting you think that the Internet would be better
> if everything was charged for? No free downloads of old manuals like on
> bitsavers, for example (somebody spent time scanning those, converting
> them to pdf, etc). No free schematics on (I spent hundreds,
> no make that thousands. of hours drawing those out), etc.

I was refering to new work done for people other then yourself. If you made
something for personal use and others wanted to use it it would most likely
need cleaning up, documenting, a better user interface, etc so somebody
could understand it and use it. The added time involved to make a project
presentable and for doing customer support and user modifications is a small
fee would be usefull.

As far as free downloads on the internet I have mixed feelings about that.
If you are working on old non comercial equipment and need manuals that are
no longer available commercialy then yes, a free download would be handy.
But with the legal system the way it is today is offering that manual for
downloading legal or not? If I went to the effort of manualy scanning in the
manual for Desqview/X 2.0 into a PDF and distributed it on the net for free
do I have the legal right to do it even if it is not supported or sold
anymore? I would think if some enterprising person could get around the
lagalities of providing PDF manuals for old no longer commercial equipment
for say $.25 a download he could probably make a business model out of it.
Think about somebody buying one of those book scanners somebody had linked
to here a while ago and making quick, precise, and non labor intensive PDF's
and creating a large library that would have enough sales at even $.25 to
create a nice profit over time and still allow everybody to enjoy their
hobby. Charging a small fee is not evil, spreading things for free is not
necessarily good either.

> I have written a few (OK, very few) utilities, and have never charged for
> any of them, and nor do I ever intend to.
> > very little if any for the software that makes the machine usable.  You
> > not owe the world the source code for your hard work period. If people
> > to use some of your code they should pay for it or write their own.
> Next time somebody here asks for a sevice manual, or a schematic, or a
> pinout, or... I will not bother to look it up for them. I will simply
> point out that you can deduce the necessary information from the machine,
> from data sheets available on the net (and you'll have to go and find
> them) and a few hours with a mulitmeter. I won't bother pointing out
> useful repair tricks, it took me time to discrover them, why should I
> help you.

All I said was that the source code was not owed to anyone. If you wrote a
utility that I wanted to see the code you are under no obligation to turn it
over when I demand it. If you wanted to give it out (or not) it is up to
you. If you have the documentation handy and wanted to look it up and do the
person a favor then fine, I have done that for others when I have something
that isn't a 5 second google search. Sometimes it is better to give somebody
the directions to find what they want then to just give them the direct
answer (atleast for something they need to better understand so they don't
hurt themselves).

> > should be a yardstick to measure if continuing the development of the
> > utility is worth the effort. Sooner or later the people who needed the
> > utility will already have it, at that point you can quit developing and
> > destroy the source code or release it in any manner you like. Why do I
> > the feeling that people who push really hard for open sourcing just want
> > use your knowledge and time for free in their projects?
> So now you're claiming that all users of linux and *BSD are plagarists.

Where did I say all? I mentioned people who realy push hard for opensource
and that was just a feeling and not a stated fact. If I hounded a plumber to
opensource all his knowledge and tricks of the trade he learned so I could
just use it as needed instead of paying him people would think I am cheap
and nuts, if I do the same to a programmer  then it is ok?

> Yes, I will admit I've used ideas from open-source programs in my own
> programs. Yes, I will also admit that I've looked at published schematics
> and thought 'hey, that's a neat trick to save a few ns of delay', and
> used something similar in my own design. If the trick is significant, it
> gets an acknowledgement of the form 'Using a mux to decode the signals
> {foo...barr} was inspired by the DEC KT11-C schematic'
> That, IMHO, is a far cry from ripping off somebody's work. Or do you want
> to re-invent the wheel every time.

I think ideas should be freely spread among the masses, specific
implementations should be protected by patents from copying for a reasonable
amount of time and then be public domain. The whole intention of the patent
system was to get the ideas out there (instead of keeping them hidden as
trade secrets) and yet still protect the invention from being copied long
enough for the inventor to make a profit from the invention if he could.
Some of those neat little tricks you copy are the difference between
competing products and sales.

> Can any programmer or electronic designer honestly claim to have never
> read somebody else's code/schematics and taken ideas from it? Because I
> would doubt it.

Since I have an engineering background I know everything we do today is
built up on the knowledge and inventions of the people before us. Having
said that we would never get anywhere if all we did was copy and paste
somebody elses work and never try something  slightly different. If I
implement something that has an error and everybody just copies my work then
they will be copying my error.

> -tony

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