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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RE[6]: Comment by ormandj
by looncraz on Sat 7th Apr 2007 20:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ormandj"
looncraz
Member since:
2005-07-24

Well, if I had a contract that said 'next-release' which gave me permission to use said product in the manner in which I am using it... I certainly would do it!

The contract ( permission ) is there, the question goes only to if Be had intended to have Dano or 5.0.4 as the basis ( 5.0.4 seems obvious, but the contract terms are what matters ).

I have not seen the contract, and some of this is conjecture from Bernd's behavior while I was working at yT. I must also take credit for the entire idea of using Dano as a base, though the legal issues were suppose to have been sorted out through Bernd and a lawyer and some quiet nods of approval from PalmSource.

Problem now is that those quiet nods were not on paper, and PalmSource now belongs to Access. This means, that because there *IS* a contract, which is likely to be slightly vague in terms of what constitutes the next revision of BeOS releases, post-5.0.3, Be, INC's failure to officially release anything represents a breach of contract on Be's part.

Meaning yellowTab COULD now have a bullet ( though likely addressed via the original contract in some manner ) by which they can assert that they have EVERY right to consider Dano the first release after 5.0.3.

Now, the matter is to determine if executives or lawyers at Be, INC intended to leak Dano. The leak actually put-off legal problems of this regard, and could have been to help show what they had accomplished and to try and attract investment.

Or, it could be a 'disgruntled' employee, in which case Dano would be off-limits, and Bernd would have had to get permission from Be, INC to utilize even 5.0.4 ( which was never released or leaked as a full distro ), but failing to provide that permission would have been breach of contract in failing to produce the next release.

Dano solved those problems for Be, INC. And stood to solve them for yellowTab. I recognized this dynamic situation when I suggested to base the OS from yellowTAB on the Dano base ( and I was openly conducting R&D and testing via the SuperDANO project ).

The SuperDANO project was a limited experiment on various volunteer machines. No mirrors were created because that would violate laws in the U.S. and Texas ( where I am from ) and California ( where the intellectual property rights were governed ).

Prior to joining yT I had started PhOS, again with limited, but wider, testing. Bernd at that time was working on BeOS NG ( 5.0.4 distro ). He had spent much time on it, as I had with my own personal twist on Dano . We got together to write a program to keep several applications up to date in binary form based from stable CVS repositories.

After hashing out the shell in half an hour ( or so ), Bernd wanted me to help him out with BeOS NG, at yellowTAB. I agreed, and took my work from the public eye to hope to have it properly and legally releasable ( what I was hoping to do by purchasing a contract from Be, INC as they were losing value ).

The resulting product is Zeta, though after I left ( primarily because Bernd failed to provide the contract to me so I could verify the true legality of what was my project ) my source code came with me, but the binary manipulation techniques I used still seemed to be present until post-R1, as well as some of the test decors I had made while reversing the decors ( with partially workable code that Bernd claimed to have licensed ( and when I asked for the contract proof ).

--The loon

Just in case anyone wants the entire truth about why I was popular, more than just guesses, it is because I engineered a community environment by osmosis and attrition. My name got out, so I got popular. No other reason. ( Oh, and I was working very publicly as Linus Torvalds did when he started ).

Now, I am very wrapped up in some rather crazy development. All legal and owned by yours truly.

Gonna be a fun next 18 months or so ( if I don't have to goto war first, or it come to me ( most likely so ) ).

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by ormandj
by Lefty on Sat 7th Apr 2007 21:56 in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ormandj"
Lefty Member since:
2007-04-05

...though the legal issues were suppose to have been sorted out through Bernd and a lawyer and some quiet nods of approval from PalmSource...


As I've said elsewhere, executives of a publicly traded corporation simply can't give away assets of that corporation based on a nod and a wink. I'd put the odds of this at somewhere between vanishingly unlikely and preposterous. To suggest that someone actually thought they could set up a business on this basis seems tantamount to admitting that pretty much everything I've said is true.

Dano was an unauthorized and infringing leak, there seems to be wide agreement on that. From whence it originated is, as far as this situation is concerned, pretty immaterial. You'd appear to be in complete agreement with the position that Zeta is pirated.

...a breach of contract on Be's part...


I guess if that was your legal theory, your next step would be to file suit against Be, Inc. (I'd note that ACCESS is still the--infringed-upon and uncompensated--owner of the code in question.) Unfortunately for this scenario, there is no such thing as "Be, Inc." at this point. That corporation has been dissolved. Certainly you couldn't expect ACCESS to effectively grant a retroactive, royalty-free license to someone who didn't even bother to ask us about it in the first place, on the basis that he had, or almost had, or thought he had, or claimed he had, a contract with some entirely different corporation, no longer in existence...?

(I don't suppose you'd like to provide better contact information to me? I've got a number of questions I'd be very interested in asking. You can write to lefty@access-company.com...)

But Palm didn't buy Be, Inc.: it bought its intellectual property. There's still no license possible by which Zeta could be legitimate under this scenario.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Comment by ormandj
by haiqu on Mon 9th Apr 2007 06:05 in reply to "RE[7]: Comment by ormandj"
haiqu Member since:
2007-04-08

Lefty stated:

As I've said elsewhere, executives of a publicly traded corporation simply can't give away assets of that corporation based on a nod and a wink. I'd put the odds of this at somewhere between vanishingly unlikely and preposterous. To suggest that someone actually thought they could set up a business on this basis seems tantamount to admitting that pretty much everything I've said is true.


It's time you clarified a few things with the legal department. Save for a few exceptions (such as contracts for the sale of land), contracts do not have to be written. It does seem to be true that using written contracts adds some impression of professionalism to business dealings. Many business deals are concluded on the basis that the parties have known each other for many years and trust each other to carry out their responsibilities to each other fairly and honestly.

Bernd-Thorsen has shown to be trustworthy over a protracted period, in that the sources for BeOS have not, to my knowledge, been leaked by him or anyone on his team.

On the other hand, your lawyers seem to have failed at the discovery stage, which is rather remiss of them given that yellowTab was publicly advertising a derivative product for sale at that time.

Your company is in the unique position of holding the rights to a product which is wanted by enthusiasts, but which has little commercial value. This could become a PR debacle for you, or a triumph. Play your cards well.

haiqu

Edited 2007-04-09 06:07

Reply Parent Score: 1