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.

Reply Score: 5

RE: "Just the facts, ma'am..."
by Valhalla on Thu 5th Apr 2007 21:35 in reply to ""Just the facts, ma'am...""
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

so if Korz hadn't mentioned opening the source code, Access likely wouldn't have bothered speaking up. I suspect someone is in the market for a time machine ;D

thank you for providing the missing pieces of the puzzle 'Lefty', maybe now this debacle will finally be put to rest.

Reply Parent Score: 2

fyysik Member since:
2006-02-19

explanation for current Access reaction and former silence.
Bernd was always "gready" about releasing source changes even for GPL-ed software until very recent time. Not to say about BSD or MPL-ed software even...

In order to avoid clashes to original code, they created, even for fundamental changes separate lib - libzeta, trying to leave libbe.so/libroot.so etc untouched.

And in his last postings I really don't see clear intention to spend his time to publish any code, not to say about Be/Palm/Access one. What I saw was promise to look and what can be opensourced. So Lefty's reaction looked bit tough - but it can be judged if he/Access really tried to contact Herr Kortz,and Kortz ignored those attempts.

But Bernd may be bad bussinessman, liar for someone, but not person who looks like candidate for suicide or someone liking to spend time in jail.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: "Just the facts, ma'am..."
by Vibe on Thu 5th Apr 2007 21:37 in reply to ""Just the facts, ma'am...""
Vibe Member since:
2007-03-12

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.

RiscOS makes money in the desktop and set-top box space. I'm curious why Access never made anything of BeOS but can understand why you want to focus on what you do best. The cost of bringing BeOS up to speed and building market share may not be the best use of your companies resources. This is understandable.

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.

They seem to have acted in good faith. Fair play.

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.

If you hear no response from Herr Korz why don't you make a formal complaint to the police? If there is substance to the claim they'd handle the investigation and prosecution for what appears to be mass copyright infringement and fraud to the tune of a few million Euros. I'm sure there's no shortage of police officers who'd like a stab at case that large.

Whatever happens, thanks for the update Dave!

Reply Parent Score: 1

tonestone57 Member since:
2005-12-31

Welcome David to OSNEWS.

I and others appreciate you taking the time to clarify your / Access' position.

Once I saw Bernd, AKA Herr, hmm two different names :-)
Korz's Blog about him going to the lawyer, it told me everything I needed to know.

Meaning actions speak louder than words, and Bernd will likely release a formal statment with little or no information because he is looking more & more guilty & I'm sure wants to protect himself from legal action (prosecution).

I'm sorry you guys didn't get any financial compensation from Zeta (for using BeOS code), but I have to say that Zeta helped further BeOS, create a greater presence / awareness of BeOS and some of us will be sorry to see it gone (even though we are now told it is illegal), because it is pretty good.

As for Magnussoft, they were basically duped by Bernd and are a reputable company who want to do the right thing. They were unaware that Zeta was considered to be illegal by Access, something Bernd would have neglected to tell them. Once the legal status of Zeta is determined, and *if* illegal, then maybe Access can work out a license agreement with Magnussoft, ie: take 10-20% of the profits, to let them distribute Zeta 1.21 & 1.5, because Magnussoft will lose out too from not being able to sell Zeta anymore (& they funded the development costs for 1.21 & 1.5 and I believe were innocent of any wrong doing).

Edited 2007-04-05 22:02

Reply Parent Score: 0

Vibe Member since:
2007-03-12

Once the legal status of Zeta is determined, and *if* illegal, then maybe Access can work out a license agreement with Magnussoft, ie: take 10-20% of the profits, to let them distribute Zeta 1.21 & 1.5, because Magnussoft will lose out too from not being able to sell Zeta anymore (& they funded the development costs for 1.21 & 1.5 and I believe were innocent of any wrong doing).

I want to see Zeta die. It's a legal and PR disaster. Starting afresh with Haiku looks like the better option, and Magnussoft could find some way of commercialising it if they were interested and up to the job.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Mage66 Member since:
2005-07-11

@tonestone

Um... "Herr" is not an aka or a name. It means "Mr." in German.

"Herr Korz" means "Mr. Korz".

Thanks!

Reply Parent Score: 1

doppeljot Member since:
2007-04-06

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.


But there is one how probably knows more.

take a look at this artikle on Bebug

http://www.bebug.be/newsitem.php?index=152&language=3



regards

Bobby

Reply Parent Score: 1

tonestone57 Member since:
2005-12-31

@Marcus Overhagen - Haiku Developer

Thanks for your blog. It is a good account of what has been said by Bernd, David (Access), & Magnussoft on the legal status of Zeta. I hope you update this blog post when more is revealed since it makes it easy to follow what is being said by the three main people involved.

Go Haiku go!

@doppeljot
Good post, I recall Bernd meeting with Jean-Louis Gassee (Be Inc CEO) and figured something had been worked out. At the very least it seems possible Bernd may have obtained a distribution agreement for BeOS 5.

But it is *possible* that he holds some type of development & distribution license for Zeta. But, if this was the case, were licensing fees paid to PalmSource and/or Access? No? And we should definately hear Bernd's response (side of things) *and* if he doesn't prove his rights, then Access should be granted ownership of Zeta.

@mmu_man
Last I heard from remaining devs the fact remains to be asserted if they actually paid what they told they would.

I can't comment if Magnussoft paid the Zeta developers what they were owed. I do know that Bernd parts ways with Magnussoft and then posts that he wants to open source Zeta (give to Haiku) some days later after the split. Seemed like he was upset with Magnussoft & wanted to get back at them (that is the vibe I was getting).

Well, legal or illegal, that has to be worked out with Bernd & Access. So, let them figure this out because none of us have written proof of any of the agreements reached and only can guess.

I hope at least the following occurs:
#1 Zeta to still be sold so those who want to upgrade still can (does not matter who the owner is, Bernd or Access) and/or
#2 Open Source missing drivers to assist Haiku. (this probably won't happen now).

Edited 2007-04-06 04:04

Reply Parent Score: 0

JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Isn't it Bernd stating that this is what happened? If JLG denies any such meeting, then that doesn't exactly provide any evidence.

This should all turn out to be rather interesting to see where the cow chips land once this is all over.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: "Just the facts, ma'am..."
by doppeljot on Fri 6th Apr 2007 23:09 in reply to ""Just the facts, ma'am...""
doppeljot Member since:
2007-04-06

Lefty,there are some indications out on the net that there were talks between Yt and Be AND some agreements made in 2001

http://www.osnews.com/story.php/511/YellowTAB-to-Release-Updated-Be...

Reply Parent Score: 1

Lefty Member since:
2007-04-05

This wouldn't be necessarily relevant, even if it were accurate. If someone, say Mr. Gassee, had some back-channel agreement of some sort (and I can't see how that's possible, frankly: corporations and corporate officers have fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders, and even CEOs can't simply give corporate assets of significant value away on a whim) and it wasn't disclosed to Palm at the time of the purchase of Be's intellectual property, Palm can't be held to that agreement.

As I've written elsewhere, if you sell someone a car but fail to disclose that the bank holds a loan on it, you can't expect the buyer to pay you and the bank as well. And the buyer's gripe is with the seller, not with the bank.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: "Just the facts, ma'am..."
by LuYu on Mon 9th Apr 2007 04:09 in reply to ""Just the facts, ma'am...""
LuYu Member since:
2007-04-09


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.


So why all the stop other people from using the code? Obviously, you are not interested in distributing or maintaining or supporting the code yourselves. Why do you not let someone else do it? Just because it does not make any money for you does not mean it cannot benefit someone else.

While I think you should free the software from legal and financial restrictions, you are obviously too money blinded to go down this path. However, there is a money based option you could pursue. You could authorize Magnussoft to distribute the code and take a piece of the pie. As you said, you are not interested in desktop systems at all, but you could let them handle it, and everybody could get richer.

The disgusting part of all this is that a technology as great as BeOS, which for multimedia is still unsurpassed by any current OS even after the massive hardware speed increases of the last decade, is being suppressed and left to rot while a bunch of lawyers defend their territory. BeOS is not competing with what Access sells, so why can it not be distributed?

Reply Parent Score: 1

haiqu Member since:
2007-04-08

LuYu stated:

So why all the stop other people from using the code? Obviously, you are not interested in distributing or maintaining or supporting the code yourselves. Why do you not let someone else do it? Just because it does not make any money for you does not mean it cannot benefit someone else.


I agree, although not necessarily with your total solution. At very least, Access could legitimize the use and distribution of the leaked BeOS 5.1d0 "Dano" edition, the Bone 7a package - available freely to developers prior to Be, Inc. going belly-up - and BeIA 2.5 packages. All were available on the internet for many years.

While I think you should free the software from legal and financial restrictions, you are obviously too money blinded to go down this path. However, there is a money based option you could pursue. You could authorize Magnussoft to distribute the code and take a piece of the pie. As you said, you are not interested in desktop systems at all, but you could let them handle it, and everybody could get richer.


This is no path to riches for anyone. Magnussoft are a mere distributor, not a software house. The function of extending BeOS was performed by Bernd and his team. And this has ethical issues, since it would bypass Bernd's efforts at establishing distribution through them.

The disgusting part of all this is that a technology as great as BeOS, which for multimedia is still unsurpassed by any current OS even after the massive hardware speed increases of the last decade, is being suppressed and left to rot while a bunch of lawyers defend their territory. BeOS is not competing with what Access sells, so why can it not be distributed?


Emotional, yet salient. Lefty has pointed out the problems of separating the licensed (i.e. non-distributable) code from the creations of Be, Inc. and lawyers will be lawyers. Effectively the only person who could be given access (no pun intended here) to the codebase at this point would be an employee of Access, covered by full NDA. Failing that - and as has been pointed out, all qualified employees have moved on - it would be a mighty stretch of trust for the company to deputize an outsider to sift through the detritus and extract gems worthy of distribution.

Bernd couldn't make enough money from it, so it would need to be a labour of love for someone. The bits that still have value are the unreleased portions, which formed part of the latest version. Even Haiku hasn't targeted that for release, instead aiming for BeOS 5.0.3 compatibility for the purpose of maintaining legitimacy. They would not want to be seen as having copies of Dano at this point, after all.

As to Bernd-Thorsen's announcements and the timing of the response from Access, it all looked too well synchronised to me. He did not propose to release any code which did not belong to his team's efforts, after all. To what purpose Access has decided to move within days to block him is anyone's guess. However, since Bernd did have the sources to 5.0.3 (at least) - a unique situation - one presumes that some agreement existed with Be, Inc and the fact that Palm did nothing about it for years indicates continued tacit consent for his operation. Regardless of the existence of documented agreements, Access will have to show that he obtained this code illegaly before much of a case will stick against him.

Very unlikely.

haiqu

Reply Parent Score: 1

Vibe Member since:
2007-03-12

While I think you should free the software from legal and financial restrictions, you are obviously too money blinded to go down this path. However, there is a money based option you could pursue. You could authorize Magnussoft to distribute the code and take a piece of the pie. As you said, you are not interested in desktop systems at all, but you could let them handle it, and everybody could get richer.

BeOS belongs to Access and what they do with it is their business. Some people may find this difficult to understand but the world doesn't revolve around "I want." Not only that, what makes you think Magnussoft have a clue how to take things forward? Simply, the world isn't just about "me, me, me", or the last name that popped into your head.

Run along, sonny. Doing a paper round doesn't make you a businessman.

Edited 2007-04-09 06:30

Reply Parent Score: 1