“The recent “CueCat” debacle…has brought Intellectual Property
(IP) issues back into the spotlight. Savvy readers may also be
familiar with a little piece of code entitled “DeCSS” that has also
caused quite a stir. Linux users have the somewhat dubious honor of
being among the first to test these murky legal waters, but why?
What do these issues mean for the community, and for others as
“Let’s face it – Linux users love playing with the latest
gadgets. They also love hacking (no, not “cracking”, “hacking”).
Hacking is A Good Thing[TM] – it’s fun, it’s a workout for your
brain, and it provides an outlet for creativity. Naturally, hacking
and hardware go together. When someone gives us a new toy, we
immediately want to rip its guts apart and figure out how it works,
and then come up with uses that no one even imagined for it. Just
as some people enjoy tweaking what’s under the hood of their car,
or fixing up the house, we enjoy hacking.”
“There is a slight disadvantage to being a Linux user
though. For some reason, we are often the last kids on our block to
get device drivers for the coolest new hardware. This includes
things from, say, DVD players to bar code scanners. No problem,
though – you’ll recall that I was mentioning how industrious we
are. No device driver? No problem. We’ll just write our own!
Unfortunately, this is where the problems begin.”