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Re: GDL2 on MacOS X

From: Nicola Pero
Subject: Re: GDL2 on MacOS X
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 12:20:02 +0000 (GMT)

>    How are you dealing with the fact that EOModel and EOEditingContext 
> are patented (6,085,197; 5,956,728; 5,873,093)?

Almost anything in the computer science world is patented - from telnet to
software managing installation of other software to anything else.  Just
browse the US patent archive for a list.

I'm not involved in the development of EOF2, and I'm not sure if the
actual authors are aware of the patents, but as far as I can say, there is
a lot of previous art making those patents invalid.  If you look on old
mailing lists on the net, I remember someone posting a detailed,
documented list of quite a few books and papers published before the
patents were filed, describing precisely the concepts implemented by the
patents.  There is nothing particularly new in those patents (from a
computer science research point of view), really.

gdl2 was also, for the most part, developed in Europe, where - I think -
such patents (being US patents) do not hold.

I also think there are quite a few EOF-like clones on the market already
(look on the web for Java stuff).  Apple has not sued any of them.  I'm
not a lawyer, but if I remember correctly, the widespread existence on
market of products infringing patents invalids the patent after a while if
the patent holder does not sue the infringing products.

The FSF, and GNUstep, are not for profit organizations - there is no money
to win for Apple from a litigation with the FSF - just a lot of bad
marketing and a very bad feeling for OSX developers or porters to OSX.  
Btw, Apple itself is using and distributing *a lot* of copyrighted FSF
software in its own MacOS X system.

There is a lot of demand for good Objective-C database tools.  Rather than
writing new tools from scratch, forcing everyone to learn a new API, I
think it's a good idea that the gdl2 people are making the new tools
compatible with the EOF2 API, which people like and love.  The tools would
be usable on Apple OSX as well, and I could even see an interest from
Apple in having them ... providing a good database set of tools for OSX at
no cost for Apple, since Apple does not pay FSF developers - they work for

I can't guess Apple's behaviour, but gdl2 running on OSX is just a new
useful library to run on your newly bought Apple OSX system.  The people
writing gdl2 and porting it to Apple are likely Apple users, customers,
supporters and providing good software for the Apple community.  I can't
see Apple suing them for those old invalid patents - also considering that
Apple is not selling an Objective-C version of EOF2 themselves ... what's
the point ?  the gdl2 authors are just providing free quality software to
run on Mac OSX ...  I'd expect Apple, as an operating system and hardware
provider, to actually defend vendors providing good software to run on
their platform ... rather than suing them on muddy and incertain basis,
with muddy and incertain advantages to gain.  Of course, gdl2 runs on
GNU/linux (and probably Windows!) as well - but that's IMO all to gain for
Apple, to disperse its reputation for locking software developers into a
single platform (its own), and maybe dropping it at some point (as it
happened with openstep in the past), leaving developers in a miserable

Anyway - this was just my personal rant - everyone has to make his own
legal evaluations and choices.

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