Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Apr 2007 21:29 UTC
Zeta A lot of things have happened in the past few days concerning Zeta, BeOS, and Haiku. In order to create some order in the chaos, Eugenia and I have created a rough timeline of what happened the past 6-7 years. Read on for the timeline and some more thoughts on the matter. Update: Magnusoft ceases distribution of Zeta. Update II: Access answered the questions posed in the article.
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"Just the facts, ma'am..."
by Lefty on Thu 5th Apr 2007 20:58 UTC
Lefty
Member since:
2007-04-05

I've communicated directly with Thom regarding some of the "interesting questions" mentioned in this posting. With the exception of the "coincidence" of our agreement to release some legacy BeOS documentation under a Creative Commons deed subsequent to Jorge's request (yes, it was a coincidence), there seems unaccountably to have been no update here, so I guess I'll simply have to supply one myself.

"Why did Palmsource decline to talk with Bernd Korz?"

Can't say, specifically; not even if, in actual fact, we did. I'm unaware of any efforts that Mr. Korz made to contact PalmSource, personally. Our legal department is, as far as I know, likewise unaware of any such efforts, and I know that they're quite interested in having a chat with him. I'd think that any money we could possibly realize for granting such a license wouldn't make up the cost of the legal time required to negotiate a contract, write the document and administer the license. Time really is money.

Moreover, we're not in the business of producing, not to mention supporting, desktop operating systems: we make an operating system, and other software, for mobile devices, set-top boxes and other things. Not desktops.

"Why did Palmsource never take any legal action against YellowTAB (that we know of)?"

As I've pointed out, we demanded, in no uncertain terms, that YellowTab cease and desist their sales of Zeta, to no particular avail. Otherwise, see above: pursuing legal action could easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, essentially to prove a point. Seems like a poor return on investment to me.

"Why has Access been so secretive about their actions against Zeta?"

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, it's nobody's business but our own. I don't feel we've been "secretive", we're simply not in the habit of conducting such matters in public fora unless it seems absolutely necessary. Mr. Korz's suggestion that he was going to give away our property, however, persuaded me that a response was required. I've seen the claim that he has a license elsewhere, but it didn't seem worth responding to, until these latest developments.

"Why did they choose a comments' section on a news site to speak in public about this for the first time?"

I responded to the news that Mr. Korz was planning on making public source code to which he has, to the very best of my knowledge, no rights, where I discovered it. I'm responsible for open source-related activities, including licensing and compliance, within ACCESS. Nobody gets to release our code under an open source license without my involvement, advice and approval. Particularly not when it's entirely unestablished that they have any rights to it in the first place.

I see that Magnussoft has done the responsible thing and ceased distribution of Zeta. This seems a wise decision on their part. I've subsequently written to them directly, confirming my statements for them.

I further note that, earlier today, having been unable to locate an email address for Mr. Korz, I posted a comment to his latest blog entry asking that he--while he's waiting for his lawyer to free up an hour--provide me with a copy of the license he claims allows him to produce and market Zeta. The comment, initially "marked for moderation", was promptly deleted. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've had no word from Mr. Korz in response to my request.

Evidently Mr. Korz is not only uninterested in talking to me, he's equally uninterested in talking to his (ex-)distributor's lawyer. Presumably, he realized some income from sales of Zeta; even with the severing of the relationship between Mr. Korz and Magnussoft, one would have to assume--if he indeed had some legitimate support for his claims--that he'd have some degree of interest in producing it for them.

As we say in Brooklyn, "Do the math."

Again, I invite, and strongly encourage, Mr. Korz to provide, to me, or here, or wherever, some substantiation of his claims to hold a license entitling him to modify and sell anything based in any way, shape or form on the source code which comprised BeOS. I'm not planning on holding my breath.

David "Lefty" Schlesinger
Director, Open Source Technologies
ACCESS Co., Ltd.

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