[svlug] [Fwd: Warning: could not send message for past 4 hours]
raffi at linwin.com
Tue Oct 31 00:53:01 PST 2000
On Mon, 30 Oct 2000, Jeffrey B. Siegal wrote:
> Don Marti wrote:
> > The terms of NDAs are limited by California employment law. Trafficking
> > in illegally obtained trade secrets is not.
> I think you are confusing noncompete agreements with NDAs. NDAs serve
> to establish a legal obligation not to disclose trade secrets. Someone
> working in a future job is generally still bound be the terms of the NDA
> with their previous employer, and working on similar technology for a
> competitor is theoretically dangerous from a contamination point of view
> (this is also true in terms of copyright law).
> This is not an issue of traficking in illegally obtained trade secrets.
Agree. I did not, and do not suggest go out and download illegal copies of
any code. I'm just saying that you won't go to hell if you happen to see
some code floating around the net. More danger is in illegal copies of
binaries that are sold for a few bucks in China, Russia, and other
countries where software related law is lax or nonexistent and their
governments don't do anything about it.
> To the extent that you disclose your former employer's trade secrets to
> your future employers (which would include incorporating elements of the
> trade secret technology in your future employer's products), you *are*
> traficking in illegally obtained trade secrets. Illegally obtained
> trade secrets doesn't just mean that which is hacked or walks out the
> back door on stolen media. It also means any trade secrets disclosed in
> violation of an NDA.
Heck, this country's top security related secrets were copied to tapes
that are missing and nobody is in jail for it and now there is a panic
because Bills code walked away.
> But as a practical matter, most employers just live with the risk,
> because they know, as Rafael pointed out, perfect enforcement would mean
> that no one could ever change jobs. (Not due to an explicit noncompete
> agreement, which are generally uneforcable anyway, but due to the
> practical effects of IP contamination.) Mostly you are expected to just
> not steal actual code or specific proprietary algorithms from your
> previous employer. The possibility of transfer of general knowledge
> through exposure, in practice if not theory, is not enough to destroy
> the entire Silicon Valley job market.
It's my opinion that reading source code from MS if it ever sees sun light
is a waste of time. Two reasons, it's very unlikely you'll learn new
algorythms, programming techniques, etc. that hasn't been done before.
It's better to study "theory of computer science". What would be a gain to
use MS code? Fix Kerberos or password encryption in their authentication
scheme? We can read Word and PP documents, so what else is new?
And second, you are always behind when following somebody else's works. A
good example was Russians copying TTL and other semiconductor technology.
I've seen and even used some of their chips. It was bad to mix ugly brown
Russian chips with western made TTLs. Why? Timing. Russians were able to
make computers with their chips where all components were relatively fast
to each other but when put together with National, TI, etc. chips it
wasn't worth it. They copied whole systems like PDP series etc. and where
did they get?
Same will happen to those who want to copy windoze. It's slow enough
already ... To be a leader one needs to come up with new ideas. I like the
initiative from Embedded Linux Journal folks with some hardware
manufacturers offering free hardware to those with good ideas. Time to
stop comparing Linux and other Unix related products to windoze etc.
It's better to read science fiction and work towards realizing some of
those ideas. Not all ideas are realizable of course, but many would help
human kind. So don't waste your time reading MS code if it floats by your
system, and don't expect you'll die in sin if you've seen some of their
*.c files. There is a lot of things that MS hasn't invented yet, let's
find them out.
O__ ---- Rafael Skodlar
c/ /'_ --- Linux Imagineer since 1994
(*) \(*) -- Looking for computerized kitchen appliances not MS source code.
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