Linked by snydeq on Mon 12th Oct 2009 15:24 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces InfoWorld's John Rizzo chronicles the 20 most significant ideas and features Microsoft and Apple have stolen from each other in the lead up to Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard. 'Some features were stolen so long ago that they've become part of the computing landscape, and it's difficult to remember who invented what.' Windows 7's Task Bar and Aero Peek come to mind as clear appropriations of Mac OS X's Dock and Expose. Apple's cloning of the Windows address bar in 2007's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard as the path bar is another obvious 'inspiration.' But the borrowing goes deeper, Rizzo writes, providing a screenshot tour of Microsoft's biggest grabs from Mac OS X and Apple's most significant appropriations of Windows OS ideas and functionality.
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Look, I'm a programmer and I don't think you are. As a matter of course, programmers innovate all the time. They're given limited resources and are asked to write software to a certain spec. And in order to make that software as good as possible within the given limitations, they resort to all kinds of interesting solutions. Quite often it's things they haven't tried before, ideas they get as they go. Yes, it's very seldom a world premiere for those ideas. But within the realm of experience of a particular programmer, he innovates.

It would be hard to say whether the people who wrote the GNU userland used new (to them) ideas, which they thought up all by themselves. You'd have to study and compare existing solutions at that time, and which of them they had been exposed to before. But trust me when I say that, in writing an userland from scratch, like in writing any software from scratch, they innovated at least a bit.

We all do. What we call our reasoning is the sum of past experiences and the ideas we've aquired in all the time we've lived. To act upon them is natural. And every time you encounter something you haven't before and you apply that reasoning to find a solution, and you manage by yourself, you innovate. And if you were to trace back the ideas involved you'll find out that most, if not all, of them came from somewhere else. This is what intelligent thought is: applying past experience to new circumstances. Asking who "really owns" that past experience is silly and irrelevant.

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