"With the help of software developer Pierre-Philippe Coupard,
[Michael Rothwell] 'ported' the software - he wrote a version of it
that could run on the Linux operating system - only with added
features. In addition to its cataloging capabilities, the 'CueCat
Decoder' derailed Digital Convergence's data-gathering mechanisms
by sending the letters ACTIVATION CODE instead of the actual
numbers; it also launched the appropriate page at Amazon.com when a
user scanned a book. But instead of being grateful that Rothwell
enabled the CueCat to live up to its full potential, Digital
Convergence was furious."
"Linux developers have a long history of porting the drivers
that run hardware to other operating systems, sometimes with the
help of technical information provided by the original equipment
manufacturers; other times by 'reverse engineering' - working
backward to unravel the software's algorithms and rewrite them.
Rothwell's offense, it would seem, was to have
reverse-engineered Digital Convergence's software to make the
CueCat perform functions more specific to his needs, and eliminate
the possibility of its violating anyone's privacy."