The President's Column
Was MS-DOS copied from CP/M? The answer was revealed last Saturday
at the Vintage Computer Festival. The answer is no and yes. Read the
details in this month's Scanning
of the SAFE newsletter.
Send me your comments and critiques. I'm always interested in
hearing from you.
President, SAFE Corporation
Was DOS copied from CP/M?
Gary Kildall started Intergalactic Digital Research (later
shortened to Digital Research or just DRI) and created the first
microcomputer operating system, CP/M, used on many hobbyist personal
computers before Apple and IBM introduced their machines. But
Microsoft captured the microcomputer OS market, and with it the
market for software applications, with its MS-DOS that came out
years later for the IBM PC. For decades, a rumor has persisted that
DOS was illegally copied from CP/M and that the fortune accumulated
by Bill Gates rightfully belonged to Gary Kildall.
details of my forensic analysis and my conclusions here.
The result may surprise you.
A Look Inside the Forensic Analysis of Software
When a program contains trade secrets or other confidential
material, the copy of the software filed with the copyright office
may consist of only a small amount of actual code. What is
particularly strange about this accommodation for software, is that
the purpose of copyright law is to give protection to authors to
encourage them to release their works so that the ideas expressed
within can be disseminated, understood, and improved upon. With
software, you can submit 50 pages of almost entirely redacted code
(i.e., nearly blank pages) and still register the copyright.
There is, however, a downside. In order to litigate against an
infringer, the copyright must be registered with the copyright
office. It can be registered any time before the litigation is
filed, and I've seen copyrights registered minutes before. To
perform a forensic analysis of software in a copyright infringement
case, these steps should be performed:
Read further here.
Advanced Tools to Detect Plagiarism and IP Theft
Sophisticated sets of tools for analyzing software source code and
object code including:
Check binary object code for plagiarism.
Measure software IP changes between versions of a program.
Cross check source code for plagiarism.
Compare source code to find differences and measure changes.
The premiere tool for pinpointing copied source code.
Scour the Internet for plagiarized code.
Speed up your analysis on a multiprocessor system.
Turbo charge your analysis on a supercomputer grid.
Divide HTML pages into their basic elements for easier analysis.
Find signs of copying in any document.
SAFE offers training at our facility or yours or on the Web. Contact
us to make arrangements:
in software IP
Your New Office
Remember that you can have your own secure office at the SAFE facility
for storing proprietary software, running CodeSuite, analyzing the
results, and getting onsite support. We're located at
20863 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014