"America Online spent $86 million last year to buy Nullsoft
Inc., a renegade startup responsible for programs such as Winamp
and Gnutella, which have helped millions use the Internet to obtain
and play music free-of-charge. Far from being co-opted, Nullsoft
programmers have since spent some of their spare time cracking
AOL's code, apparently happy to subvert corporate profit models
with software that leverages the global information network's
innate distributive power."
"Casual observers of Nullsoft's headquarters in an old Mission
District warehouse might mistake the programmers pecking away at
terminals for nice, clean-cut, 20-something establishment types.
Casual observers would be wrong. According to the credo posted in
blood-red lettering on Nullsoft's Web site, they consider
themselves "legitimate nihilistic media terrorists" whom history
will "no doubt canonize."
"Despite all the baggage, Nullsoft's cutting-edge software
engineers remain highly valued by AOL, says Aram Sinnreich, an
analyst with Jupiter Research. AOL "didn't hire the guys at
Nullsoft to decide what is and is not legal behavior for consumers
on the Internet," Sinnreich said. "They hired the guys at Nullsoft
to think of really cool things that you can do with music
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