[OpenBIOS] Intel holding back information

David J. Coffin dcoffin at shore.net
Sun Aug 8 21:02:20 CEST 1999

On Sun, Aug 08, 1999 at 05:35:25PM -0230, James Oakley wrote:
> "Timothy J. Massey" wrote:
> > Even if your BIOS bears no resemblance to the one you disassembled, because
> > you *did* disassemble it, the makers of the BIOS you disassembled can say to
> > you, "But you saw our code and did it yourself.  That's illegal."  And
> > they'd be right.

     Reverse engineering is very legal in Sweden, although it
may soon be illegal in the USA.  There wouldn't *be* any BIOS
industry today if Phoenix hadn't reverse-engineered IBM's code.

     So Phoenix, which now owns Award, is going to prosecute
some college student in Sweden for doing exactly what they did.
Not likely.

> This is very true. A couple of years back, some guys who worked for
> Matrox quit and started their own video chipset company. Matrox
> successfully blocked their entry into the market because they saw
> proprietary Matrox engineering information.

     Not the same thing.  Those engineers had to sign stacks of
non-disclosure and non-competition agreements before they could
see Matrox's designs.  They clearly violated those contracts.

     Niklaus would be taking a bigger risk if he signed Intel's
NDA.  Right now, he has no legal obligation to protect anyone's

     If a disgruntled chemist at Coca-Cola gave you their secret
formula, he would be in deep trouble.  But no one could stop you
from selling cola drink (you couldn't *call* it "Coca-Cola", of
course), or posting the formula on the web.

					Dave Coffin  8/8/99
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