I think we need to stop focusing on the design, yea it's kinda silly looking but that's not the point. Obviously I'm not a Microsoft fanboy, so you can't claim this comes from being biased. But I really think this is a revolutionary product. In the sense that Microsoft just founded another category of consumer product. This is unlikely to be the last iteration so it's pointless to criticize minute details. But this is a totally new thing. It's not just a rehash of some thing we had before. It's a new thing, just as like the mouse was a new thing once.
You mean like a contact lens size device, or something directly implanted into the eye? :)
There is perfectly legitimate reasons to make software proprietary, if you want to sell it for one. That's a pretty f*cking big reason. I just don't understand why people need to pretend like there is no interesting advantages of open source. Open source is like public science, it's something we can all build on top of.
And the concept that I can't patch proprietary software is also wrong. I do it routinely. When applications go wrong, or you want to try out a new idea, you can use programs like Detours and other shim-engines to change the behavior of the application at strategic points, and you can do this without source-code for the application.
In fact, most Anti-Virus and Graphics card vendors do precisely this. When a bug comes out, Anti-Virus companies hook the vulnerable routines to check for and prevent the bug until a patch is deployed. Similarly, NVidia doesn't have WinMain source code, but that doesn't stop them hooking all sorts of DirectX APIs to "fast-path" them to their kernel-mode driver.
Let me address this on a technical level too, I'm not sure how I missed this tidbit! It should be obvious that having access to the source code is BETTER then not having access to the source code, even if using some tools makes it POSSIBLE to modify closed source code.
At the end of the day, proprietary software puts additional perhaps significant barriers to security patches, but collaboration on the technology, in any manner, in general. If I'm advertising that you are allowed to collaborate on my software, it's plainly better for collaboration then when I advertise that you are not allowed to collaborate on my software. Software that allows for collaboration, allows for collaboration. It's literally a tautology it's so obvious. It's not even debatable.
There is probably a legitimate fair use argument. Fair use is an affirmative defense for uses of a program that would normally violate copyright law, but the judge determined does not in a specific case due to the nature of the case. You can argue that some instance of patching a program is fair use because it advances the public good or does not interfere with the business (current or potential) of the original copyright holder. Those are examples of fair use arguments used successfully before (see Authors Guild vs Google).
But if you patch some program to add advertisements in it or something along those lines, I don't think that will be considered legitimate fair use.
Note that in either case, you've created a derivative work. Fair use is a thing where normal violations of copyright become permissible under specific circumstances, but notably there is no bright line. Any time you "rely" on fair use, you are putting yourself into some kind of potential legal liability against some judge's largely subjective opinion.
And yes, entire companies were built around playing hard and fast with copyright law, so the existing of some company doing some thing is meaningless. Google is a very notable example, they have good lawyers and lobbyists but they definitely push the limits of what is legal and often get involved in expensive lawsuits because of it.
Errr.. right. You can be all "mystical" all you want, but when you start constructing your mysticism into some kind of instrument to disparage literally an entire discipline in computer science and to insult its practitioners, that goes beyond being "spiritual" and more into this kind of territory.
Indeed. This is a consequence of the GPL being a copyright license. This differs from EULAs. Copyright law enumerates specific exclusive rights, like the most obvious right to copy (hence copyright), but also the right to derivative works and public performance (not relevant to software). Any rights not enumerated are not rights the copyright holder have to license. A notable missing right is the right of sale, this is not (at least in US) part of copyright. This is why used book stores can exist and why you can eBay your old DVDs without going to jail. As long as the copy was made by the copyright holder or his authorized agent(s) of course.
EULAs go further by giving the copyright holder rights that are not part of copyright. For instance, they might make resell not allowed in the EULA, or reverse engineering, or other things along those lines. The legality of EULAs is more a gray area then copyright license and might not be completely enforceable especially globally. Regardless, many companies use them to add additional control that is outside of what copyright law provides them.
Nope. Lots of companies regularly patch proprietary software without access to their source code, their permission or giving them money, and then sell the resulting product for money, and it's all perfectly legal.
The simple reason is it doesn't infringe copyright. The patch does not contain the code of the underlying software (it can't - they don't have it), and they are not selling the underlying code, merely altering the user's machine so that the program runs faster or more securely.
You don't need source code to legally find bugs, and you don't need code to legally fix bugs either.
But you don't need to have the code of the underlying software for it to be considered a derivative work. Consider the fact that the sole purpose of a patch is to modify the behavior of a program you don't own the copyright for, and that the patch could not exist without the original program. I would argue makes the patch a derivative work.
The test for derivation in software seems far more broad then what I just stated - simply linking in a library into your program makes your program a derivative work of the library. The GPL for instance exploits this interpretation of copyright law, and has won virtually all legal challenges. A patch that outright modifies behavior seems even more derivative.