To Al Kossow at bitsavers

rod rodsmallwood52 at
Sun Nov 15 07:42:47 CST 2015

Well thats part of the picture but not  I think all of it.

If you take what Deep Throat told the Washington Post reporter to do and 
how Sherlock Holmes said you could solve most cases put them together 
and  there is one
one possible answer.

On 15/11/15 13:09, Johnny Billquist wrote:
> This is a long response, but I beg all people interested to read all 
> of it.
> And to start with, I generally agree with Paul. Especially about the 
> fact that just because you don't know who the owner is does in no way 
> make something "abandonware" (and this is not specifically you, Ian.)
> But more below...
> On 2015-11-15 05:25, Ian Finder wrote:
>> It seems to me that Paul Koning's attitude will lead  retrocomputing 
>> to die. We can't all own computers that can do interesting things 
>> with front-panel programming alone.
> What is "retrocomputing"? And how do you mean it will die because some 
> people think that it is not above the law?
>> By his definition, I have committed a lot of "theft" in my days to 
>> restore systems I had no other options left to deal with, due to 
>> restrictive licensing, incommunicado business entities, or IP 
>> situations with no well understood outcomes.
> I don't know exactly what you have done, so I can't really comment on 
> it. But in general, yes, it is a sad problem that sometimes it is hard 
> to figure out the legal status and who is the owner of software.
> But that is not the case with the PDP-11 software talked about in this 
> thread.
>> I am always happy to pay, but that's not always an option.
> Agreed. But that is still not the case here.
>> I agree the proper routes should always be pursued when possible, but 
>> bits are fading fast and without dark archives that may run afoul of 
>> present day copyright laws and original EULAs, many things will be 
>> lost permanently.
> Very true. But not the case in this specific thread.
>> I find the mindset of considering all abandonware scenarios "theft" 
>> to be pedantic, toxic, shortsighted, and counterproductive- as well 
>> as logically and legally baseless.
> I disagree with almost all of the above, with the exception of 
> "theft". As others mentioned, the word "theft" is not a good word to 
> use here, and it has been promoted by organizations that wants to 
> associate the "problem" with something that people will react 
> emotionally to.
> But for software that in general you can't find the owner, and even 
> the legal status is hard to figure out, I think that at least some 
> basic effort to preserve and share things can be nice.
> However, people who use your argument, Ian, tend to start applying it 
> to anything they want, which is, for me, crossing a line that I do not 
> agree with. In the specific example of the PDP-11 software that this 
> thread is about, it's not even "abandonware". The term "abandonware" 
> is in it self really problematic, because it is very much a subjective 
> term. If you cannot get access or permission, and you also don't get 
> any response, you consider the software to be "abandonware", which 
> might be very far from the truth. The owner might not want to talk to 
> you. The owner might not want anyone else to know he is the owner. The 
> owner might be busy, have a bad spamfilter, or whatever. That do not 
> make the software "abandonware". If you want to claim that something 
> is "abandonware", then you should first do a *very* thorough work 
> trying to locate the owner, and document everything that you find, or 
> don't find, and really show that you tried everything. If that still 
> turns up nothing, then I can agree that *maybe* the term "abandonware" 
> might be applicable.
> I agree that I have a hard time calling software theft "theft". For me 
> as well, "theft" involves denying the rightful owner access/use of the 
> item. Intellectual property is a weird concept.
> However (and I hope people actually reads this far), XX2247 decided to 
> buy the software from Mentec. There is an easy trail to follow, 
> showing that there is a legal entity that still owns this software. 
> And even if you disagree with the "theft" thing, consider this: the 
> owner of XX2247 made an effort that cost money, in order to preserve 
> this software for the future (an effort people here use as an argument 
> for their actions that might not be legal). By doing what XX2247 did, 
> they agreed to follow the DEC-Mentec agreement. If people put the 
> PDP-11 software up in general, they are violating copyright laws (and 
> possibly IP rights). In addition to themselves potentially breaking 
> the law, they are potentially also setting XX2247 up, since the owners 
> of the IP rights could argue that XX2247 are also guilty for not 
> protecting those IP rights.
> So in the end, you might be setting the person who tried to preserve 
> this software up for legal effects that he certainly do not deserve.
> Now, what do you think is the right way to deal with this?
> Me personally, I think we need to get HP to release it all. After 
> that, I'm pretty sure people would find it much easier to get access 
> to PDP-11 software.
>     Johnny
>> - I
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On Nov 14, 2015, at 20:11, geneb <geneb at> wrote:
>>>> On Sat, 14 Nov 2015, Paul Koning wrote:
>>>> "Abandonware" is a term invented as an excuse to steal other 
>>>> people's property.  Let's not try to apply it here.
>>> Copyright infringement is not theft... at least according to the 
>>> Supreme Court, but then again, what do they know?
>>> g.
>>> -- 
>>> Proud owner of F-15C 80-0007
>>> - The only one of its kind.
>>> - Go Collimated or Go Home.
>>> Some people collect things for a hobby.  Geeks collect hobbies.
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