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Holding Web Crawlers to Contracts

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Colorado Woman Sues To Hold Web Crawlers To Contracts
http://informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=198001674
http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/waybackshell.pdf

In a nutshell Suzanne Shell sued the Wayback Machine for archiving pages from her website. She could just as easily have sued Google. She sued - get ready now - for 'conversion, civil theft, breach of contract, and violations of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations act and the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act'. She was denied on all counts save one which is still up for a ruling.

Poor Suzanne: she should have done like whiner Diva Anguish did: call all her fanboy friends, whine and stomp and scream, even go so far as to claim she didn't write any of that, put in a blocker against Wayback - and finally threaten with the DMCA.

The DMCA admittedly won't get far because nothing was misrepresented (or twisted) and the quotes fall under fair use in the US and similar protections exist in other countries; but getting a fanboy army mobilised would have been a different matter altogether.

Any lie repeated often enough will ultimately be regarded as true. With the Maccie fanboys it's mostly they themselves repeating these lies - like a rancid mantra.

Nobody put words in the mouth of poor Dame Anguish: she put them there herself. She as all the attendees for three consecutive years hung on the words from on high that the platform they supported would be available on Windows. Its forerunner certainly was. As it was available most everywhere. And to developers this was of the utmost importance: sales in the perennially miniscule Maccie market don't put much food on the table.

But more than that is the issue of technology. OPENSTEP represents a revolutionary technology using a programming language which unlike almost all other programming languages has been kept in check by nonpublic patents. Inventor Brad Cox kept the patent on his 1983 invention and kept it out of the public domain until 1995 when he sold to you-know-who. And the language, brilliant as it is, is tied irrevocably to the NeXSTEP classes, used later in OPENSTEP and even later in OS X itself.

Nowhere will you find another major implementation of Objective-C anywhere. And yet the alternatives are well known to be abysmal. One can choose between Sun's love child Java, Microsoft's abortions C# and J#, or the eternally misfiring C++. None of these languages are true object orientation languages; only Objective-C inherits directly from Smalltalk; and as this type of language is specifically designed for the needs of GUI programming there's no real alternative.

Not to speak of what this does to the user. Time and again switchers ask why menus aren't tied to windows and completely miss the point. They're sitting on top of a technology that blasts both Microsoft and the Linux GUI sycophants to smithereens and they don't know it.

And at the end of the day it won't be security that makes people switch. As Paul Thurrott said so aptly, if people were going to switch because of security they'd have already done so and OS X isn't exactly getting more secure. Security doesn't do it - functionality and showroom flash do.

And for major corporations - where the big money is, where the stockholders should always be looking - it's about freedom of choice. And it's about easy transitions.

Now go back ten years and imagine OPENSTEP transitioned into OS X still runs on all those platforms. Including Windows. What happens now?

The technology is capable of producing quality software in a fraction of the time needed on other platforms. And several authorities have even gone so far as to claim certain titles would be either extremely difficult or impossible on other platforms. The World Wide Web was invented on a NeXTcube and its inventor said this precursor to OS X was the only platform he could have used - the first reasonable 'point and click interface'; id Software did development on this platform and have expressed doubts things would run as smoothly anywhere else; Lotus made their space age spreadsheet Improv and said outright it would have been impossible anywhere else.

And now software of this caliber hits the Windows market. What happens? Corporations can use it immediately. They might still be running Windows but they're running OPENSTEP/OS X software. Whoa - this is the old 'barriers to entry' issue TP Jackson brought up in the DOJ case against Microsoft.

But today it's not Microsoft trying to keep the barriers closed - it's Apple trying to stop software houses from getting the products out.

Apple have never been good to their third party developers. Some say they are better today than they were in the past; others continually point out how bad things were in the past; things haven't changed much.

Of course the big question is why the stockholders put up with this nonsense. OS X could be the lingua franca of the Internet today as regards end use but instead it finds itself doomed to the margins. The insatiable greed that lusts for 'the whole banana'; the insatiable greed that can take a successful software package already running all over the place and systematically dismantle it - along with the concomitant market opportunities - until it's no more than (as Jim Allchin put it) 'an iPod peripheral' is a greed whose thirst can only be quenched by an inordinate amount of Kool-Aid.

The insane has become the commonplace. People whose intelligence and sanity were never before questioned - Brent Simmons being one stellar example - are today just repeating the new mantra: that something was stolen, that something was misrepresented, that Apple did not lead anyone down any garden path, that things turned out just nicely, thank you.

Except none of that is true. And if anyone took the time to read the WWDC chronicles they'd have seen that.

Which was what the big danger was. Those pages were so old no one even remembered them. Then one person found them, wrote here, and the rest is history. They're out there; that was written; Apple did do those things; and all the hyperbole and Kool-Aid logic can't take that away.

Somewhere between eyeball and brain Apple Maccie fanboys have an incredible gap. No one was worried about theft or misrepresentation - they were worried about Apple being depicted in an unflattering light. By and through eye witness reports this site encouraged people to read.

The reaction? Hide those words and put up a smoke screen. Something like a mafia trial. Which would have continued if the person in question hadn't been found out. For those pages were that person's best defence: if he had in fact not said those things then his own account - in his own illiterate warp of the English language - would have set people right.

But he took away those words. He didn't want people to see them. He panicked - and said a lot of stupid things. And if this site hadn't called him out on it those words would be hidden to this day.

Word has it this smoke screen is no more. Which is logical: as the person in question has been called out as being a hypocrite he has no choice. And if this site can't mirror what he wrote then surely other sites will. Despite the volume of bile emanating continually from Kool-Aid and the Gang they are - and remain - an extremely small minority and their numbers are diminishing all the time. And in their place is a new generation of computer users who don't particularly like Kool-Aid, who use a computer only as a computer and not as a membership badge for a sick cult - people who aren't afraid to speak their minds, who don't feel they have to couch and consider every word carefully for fear of offending the Landed Gentry of Mac Development™. In their world oligarchies are the enemy and their world is irrevocably becoming our own.

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