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Slashdot: Barcode Maker Responds After Forcing Drivers Offline

“Digital Convergence demanded last week that several developers
take drivers offline that work with their “CueCat” barcode reader
that was distributed freely through Radio Shack and through other
places. They have taken the time to respond to the flak that
they’ve taken, and I’ve attached their response below, interspersed
with a few comments of my own. Read on to see what they have to say
for themselves….”

“[Response from Digital:Convergence]: Digital:Convergence
understands this Linux issue and the concerns expressed by the
community. Had Digital:Convergence been approached by developers we
would have been (and still will be) happy to work with them in a
constructive direction. Instead, our products were reversed
engineered and what has occurred is a public display of what is
clearly our intellectual property. It is unfortunate the supporters
of the open source community have taken steps to publicize
intellectually property in-order to further their own goals and
desires. Unfortunately, for us all, some of the people conducting
these efforts would not voluntarily remove our IP, even after being
contacted.”

“[Slashdot]: Thank god. These folks worked hard to write code to
use this piece of hardware, and it would be unfortunate if they
were forced to take it down. Imagine if Linus had been forced by
Intel to take down kernel versions that used their intellectual
property in the early part of the last decade. A lot of companies
have bullied a lot of people in the last couple of years, and it’s
only getting worse. Your CueCat, like DeCSS, is going to redefine
what IP is. Personally, I hope that when I get a barcode reader, or
a DVD-ROM drive (or a car, or phone, or any other physical thing),
that I’m allowed to rip it apart and tinker with it at my
discretion. I think that’s my right as a consumer.”

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