The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on April 11, 1988 · Page 20
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia · Page 20

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Monday, April 11, 1988
Page 20
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, April 11, 1988 CORfllPirffiER MONDAY Computers keep tMe courts Page 20 active IF THE computer industry was a human being the courts would have listed it as a vexatious litigant some years ago. Never a day passes without news of some legal skirmish. In Australia we wait with less than bated breath for the NetComm-Sendata bout which revolves around whether goods claimed to have been made in Australia were in fact made in Taiwan. In the UK Steve Gold still awaits a final verdict from the House of Lords as to whether he uttered a forgery by breaking into Prestel, the Pommie version of Viatel. But there are more, many more, matters under way. Legal jotting 1: In the United States a bulletin board operator is facing a federal suit for not safeguarding an user's personal mail. Complainant Linda Thompson filed the action in Indiana alleging that a bulletin board service called The Professional's Choice and its operator, Bob Predaina, failed to properly safeguard her private electronic mail. She is asking for SUS1 12,000 in damages. She apparently alleges that last December and January Predaina allowed others to view the contents of all electronic communications in a private message portion of the bulletin board which was paid for on a subscription basis. More worse, as they say in Hong Kong, the suit says that previously deleted private messages were restored so that others could read them. There is also an element of suggested slander in that Thompson claims that the systems Operator, Bob Predaina, on January 6 "intentionally, maliciously or with reckless disregard for the truth, made statements which on their face are damaging to the professional and personal reputation of (Thompson) in public and to another person, subjecting the petitioner to humiliation, personal anguish and ridicule." This is very possibly the first case to be brought under the new federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Legal jotting 2: It has been ruled by a federal judge in the United States that IBM's floppy patent (Patent number 3,668,658) has been infringed by Nashua for the last six years and, as a result, Nashua has to pay IBM back royalties amounting to millions of dollars. The discs in question, according to Nashua, only amount to about five per cent of their sales which totalled SUS865 million last year. Legal jotting 3: Software pirates are once more coming in for stick and, yet again, distorted statistics are being used to maximise their guilt According to the International Trade Commission, a US Government agency that polices trade disputes, overseas pirates ripped off US companies to the tuneof$US4.1 billion in 1986. According to the commission, the chief offenders are Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan. The figure of SUS4.I billion is, of course, utter rubbish. The idea that someone who would buy a pirated copy of Lotus 1-2-3 for, say, $10 in a Taiwan store, would cough the thick end of $ 1 ,000 for a real program if the pirated copy was not available is farce of a high order. Most of the pirated copies 6 Previously deleted private messages were restored. purchased are more collector's items than working utilities. If they were only available at the right price right in this case being the exorbitant charges made by some profit-maddened software companies then their sales in Third World countries would be minuscule. If the sales forecasts of software companies are prepared with the same meticulous accuracy as their estimates of losses from pirated software, then I fear they will soon all be in very deep strife. Inhabitants of Third World countries simply cannot afford to lash out the equivalent of a year's salary for a single software program. They have a tough enough time just staying alive. That there are losses is certain. But the percentage of pirated software used in business in countries like Australia is almost totally insignificant. U o lit r - r r '-. .V I .') -" lif MVS I . V. i " : Legal jotting 4: Still on the piracy front the Software Publishers Association in the United States is offering a dobber's bounty of SUS50 for information about .pirate bulletin boards offering commercial software. There are some redeeming features to this offer. Said the executive director of the Software Publishers Association: "We are looking for real pirate boards here. We're not after some board that has 8,000 public domain programs and one commercial program accidentally got slipped in." For which relief much thanks. Legal jotting 5: And to show the sort of naughty people they are after the Software Publishers' Association sooled the police on to The Clone Store, an IBM-compatible computer retail outlet in San Francisco, and charged its proprietor with a dozen counts of copyright violation. The charge is illegally copying software and giving away as much as $US5,000 worth for every computer bought. Legal jotting 6: As reported, Apple is going for Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft over the shell system "New Wave" which, in effect, Apple says looks too much like the Macintosh system of windows, icons, mouse and pull down menus the so-called "wimp" interface. Now Apple and Microsoft have jointly released a previously confidential agreement which is at the heart of their dispute. The 1985 agreement allows Microsoft to use certain Macintosh-like displays in "present and future software programs".In this particular case, it was the use of windows and icons in Microsoft Windows version 1.0. Apple claims that Windows version 2.0 goes too far and exceeds the boundaries set up in the original agreement Microsoft does not agree. The document was made public after both sides waived the confidentiality clause and released it to the press, saying the release would have been made during court proceedings anyway. Most commentators believe that this lawsuit is merely a warm-up for Apple having a go at IBM and its Presentation Manager jointly authored with Microsoft It is widely rumoured that if and when the current suit goes to court, Steve Jobs who signed the original agreement with Microsoft will be forced to appear. There is also a suggestion that assorted and sundry employees of Xerox, from the Palo Alto Research Centre, may also find themselves giving evidence as to how they thought of the whole concept in the first place. At the annual Software Publishers Association meeting Steve Jobs said he "doesn't understand" the Apple suit, as the Macintosh icons, mouse, and windows are actually derived from work done at the Xerox Research Centre at 6 They will soon all be in very deep strife. Palo Alto in 1979. If anyone should know, it would be Steve Jobs. He headed the team that developed the Macintosh. Steve Jobs said that while it was being developed he kept in mind a quote from Pablo Picasso. "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." Jobs, who may testify if the matter eventually comes to court and all the betting is that it will may eventually find himself sued by Apple if his shortly to be released NeXt computer looks too much like a Macintosh. Meanwhile Apple boss John Sculley has stated: "This is not an attempt to prevent people from using mice, icons, etc. What it involves is New Wave. We believe that New Wave is a direct copy of the Mac environment and it goes well beyond the limited licence which Apple granted Microsoft for Windows 1.03". Another of Apple's senior executives, the serendipitously named Delbert Yocam, said: "Because the Macintosh has become so successful, it is apparently tempting for others to copy our audio-visual display rather than develop their own. However, we intend to fully protect the copyrighted works we have developed. This lawsuit does not attempt to restrict the usage of ideas, but merely a specific expression. We encourage others to innovate for themselves and create their own copyrighted products." The story that Apple was suing Xerox for using the system that Xerox originally designed at the Palo Alto Research Centre turned out to be an April Fool's press release. But the fake Macintosh reported in these pages two weeks ago has now been reported elsewhere. There is apparently a Macintosh clone in Brazil called the Unitron which Apple is powerless to stop because the Brazilian Government at the moment is unkeen on enforcing copyright laws. Unitron has secured a court injunction which allows it to continue to import parts and components needed to assemble the clone. So far only a handful of Unitron Macintosh clones have been sold in Brazil. But on the Bix electronic news service published by Byte, the world's best computer magazine, no risk is a report that a Macintosh clone was shown by a Taiwan firm at the Hanover computer fair. The clone was shown in a back room to selected guests. What's more, the manufacturer demanded complete anonymity before demonstrating it The reporter on Bix claims the Taiwan Mac appeared to be an exact working replica of the Macintosh from the user interface right down to the "little beige toaster" enclosure. Legal jotting 7: Entre, the one who wants to challenge ComputerLand in the franchise computer store stakes, is battling it out in court It has just won its fourth consecutive legal fight with former British franchisees who lost because the judge said the agreements did not come under the jurisdiction of an American court. This, according to Entre officials, leaves only a smattering of suits, including some in Australia, from the flood of litigation that nearly swamped the computer retailer in the 1986 computer slump. Now things are looking up and in the United States Entre has reported profits of USSI.4 million - in the second quarter. Legal jotting 8: In Ireland a case which has ramifications in Australia is being heard. In the Dublin High Court UK-based Precision Software has obtained an order which legally obliges Software Laboratories to produce Unigem 's source code Unigem is a Unix-based accountancy package at the UK's National Software Council. An earlier legal order, also obtained in the Dublin High Court, prevents Software Labora tories from "interfering wjth, altering, destroying or modifying the Unigem product". ': Precision seems to have been incensed at Software Laboratories' deals worth S28 million.with NEC Australia and Linkor SA of France. A Precision Software spokesman says it is "seeking to gain recompense from Software Laboratories for infringement of ' its ownership of and rights in": the product". ' Legal jotting 9: The suit brought by Ashton-Tate against its former vice-president Wayne Ratcjiff, claiming he took trade secrets with 6 Good artists copy. Great artists steal. him when he went to Migent, has been settled out of court. No details about the settlement have been released. This news coincides with the launch of Emerald Bay by Migent which is a database set to challenge dBase 111 . Its major selling advantage is that third party software producers will be able to write new application interfaces without paying a royalty. Legal jotting 10: At a March2I hearing in Federal Court in -San Jose, California, lawyers disclosed that Intel's microcode expert witness in the NEC vs. Intel litigation, Dr David Patterson, now acknowledges that a key portion of the original NEC Microcode, which he had originally testified was infringing, is in fact not similar. In an earlier trial, Patterson had testified that the RESET sequence contained in the original NEC Microcode was "substantially similar" to the RESET sequence contained in the Intel microcode. ("Substantial similarity" must be proved in any copyright infringement case in the United States).. In a deposition taken last week, Patterson, after seeing the Clean Room Microcode RESET sequence, now takes the position that the RESET sequence in the original NEC Microcode is not substantially similar to the Intel microcode. CS I RO AUSTRALIA RESEARCH SCIENTIST SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS (TWO POSITIONS) $28,629-541,861 DIVISION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MELBOURNE, VICTORIA THE DIVISION: The Division of Information technology has established laboratories in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra which support collaborative research and development programs in computer and communications technologies. The Melbourne Laboratory is the focus of the Division's networking and OSI activities. Part of its research program is to participate in the international standardisation process and to undertake implementations of Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) standards. Current projects are the development of the implementation of mature standards (eg. FTAM File Transfer Access and Management), and the development of rapid prototypes of the emerging OSI implementations (eg. Open Distributed Processing). THE JOBS: The successful applicants will carry out research within the Computer Networking and OSI program of the Division. Position A3822 Manage and direct a small project group involved in the evolution and development of implementation techniques and implementations of pilot standards for computer communications. These pilot implementations will be a major thrust in the international standardisation process for communications standards (eg. ODA, ODIF, ODP). Position A1963 Manage and direct a small project group involved in the development of prototype implementations for mature OSI standards. These prototypes will be directed towards OSI products for Australian Industry. THE PERSON: Applicants should possess a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in a relevant field or equivalent qualifications in computer science or a related field, and demonstrated ability in two or more of the following areas: Research . experience in computer communications Research experience in Open Systems Interconnection Standards VAXVMS or UNIX C or Pascal Programming Ability to manage and direct research in collaboration with industry is essential. LOCATION: Carlton, victoria. TENURE: Indefinite with Australian Government superannuation benefits. ENQUIRIES: Additional information can be obtained by contacting Dr. Trevor Hales on (03) 347 8644, or by e-mail using ACSnet address osimgrditmela.oz. A copy of the detailed duty statement and selection criteria can be obtained from Ms. T. Curcio on (03) 3478644. APPLICATION: Stating relevant personal particulars, qualifications and experience and the names and addresses of at least two professional referees and quoting the correct position number should be directed to: The Chief, CSIRO Division of Information technology 55 Barry Street CARLTON, VIC. 3053, AUSTRALIA BY: 20th May. 1988. . ' CSIRO IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER COMPUTER ENGINEER MPA is a rapidly expanding computer company with a need for a highly motivated and competent computer engineer to join our Neutral Bay team. Duties involve the in-house and on-site maintenance oil komputer terminals, printers, PC's and some software support. We are seeking a person in their 20s with a neat appearance land the ability to liaise with customers at all levels. Two years experience in the maintenance of computer peripher als is preferred. Salary is negotiable depending on age and experience. If you are interested in joining our dynamic team, please teontact Wayne Tonks on 908 3666. Microprocessor Applications Pry. Ltd. Simply Outstanding Technology rrra Suite 2, 156 Military Rd, Neutral Bay, N.S.W. 2089 Australia. Phone: (U2) 908 3666. When the chips are down... ...that's the time to rent PC equipment. PCRentals fills the gap when problems or service calls mean lost productivity, with IBM or compatible PCs and all kinds of peripheral equipment Our extensive range should have just what you need. Our rental prices are realistic. Our care and attention to your business needs is what we'd expect ourselves in our business. Test our response time: call for information now. VIC-Tel: (03) 553 2277 Fax: (03) 555 1784. NSW-Tel: (02) 7440159 Fax: (02) 7440163. mm ftljk o if - mmtmti in j m i tmsmmmmtxA OWER ' SIMPLE TO USE LOW COST SELF DIAGNOSTICS & AUTOMATIC SELF REPAIR EXTENSIVE HELP MESSAGES EASY TO INSTALL Debtors Stock Control Creditors General Ledger IBM Compatible Easy Power is without doubt the most powerful and complete accounting package available for its price. Many of its features are superior to packages costing 10 times as much. Phone Now for your nearest dealer and C D C C brochure with demonstration disk. s 47Y6D28E00or(008) 251 980 1 mm i " i ii 'ill'' As Australia is on the edge of a boom in software exports, the Australian Trade Commission (AUSTRADE) has organised a timely halt day Seminar for exporters and potential exporters to explore issues vital to local producers eager to access lucrative overseas markets. PROGRAM AUSTRADE has chosen three experts in the software marketing and legal fields to speak on: Legal contracts and licensing bodies International laws, taxation policies and technology concessions Copyright, licensed usage, laws and regulations Ensuring your distributor is a winner Determining advantages, obligations and bargaining positions Effective marketing and distribution Finance, service and back-up and Ways to solve disputes. TIME AND PLACE This half day seminar will beheld once only in Sydney at AUSTRADE, 1st Floor, Stockland House, 181 Castlereagh Street, City, 9a.m. Thursday 21 April. REGISTRATION Registration fee is $75. Register now with:. John Duggan AUSTRADE P0 Box 7054 GP0 SYDNEY NSW 2001 Tel: (02)2653641 v54USTRADE Australian Trade Commission PSU402 OF CANNON NP600 READER PRINTER by the WATER BOARD under QUOTATION No. 2696 CLOSING APRIL 28, 1988 LOCATION: Board's Head Office, 5th Floor (old building) Cnr. Bathurst and Pitt Streets, Sydney. INSPECTION or further information is available by contacting the Micrographics and Copying Services Manager, Mr Frank Newton on phone 269 6736. Quotation Forms will be available at time of inspection or may be obtained by contacting the Board's Disposal Officer, Mr B.Austin on phone 261 9772. It rains and it pours even in Lotus land LOTUS, world scourge of pirates and unloved producers of . Lotus 1-2-3, the world's best-selling spreadsheet program, is somewhat in the clag. Its shares have taken something of a nose dive, and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States is about to take an unhealthy interest and launch an investigation into Lotus land. Stocks dropped when : (a) The release of version 3 of the program was delayed until the end of this year; (b) A key executive, senior vice-president Charles Digate, resigned; and (c) Large blocks of stock were unloaded by senior company members, including the chairman Jim Manzi, senior vice-president Michael Kolowich, head of research and development Edward Belove, and the vice-president for manufacturing, Palmer True. These sales took place a month before the announcement that the new version would be delayed in launching. It is this unloading of stock that the Are you a Systems Engineer who loves clients? If you're a Systems Engineer who has a terrific client manner - we've got a great opportunity in our Crows Nest office. Your role would be varied and interesting . . . from evaluation of new PC products to installation and support of PC hardware and software (mainly IBM). We're offering an excellent salary plus car allowance, great career prospects and a good working environment. If you're an experienced S.E. or you have sound knowledge of PC hardware and software and if you have a truly professional approach to clients, ring Gerard Froissard on 437 6322 or write to him at ACI Computer Services, 99 Alexander Street, Crows Nest, N.S.W. 2065. ACI Computer Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer. JJEH CcKpatjr Services More disc for half the A T the moment I am just i running out of space on 60 megabytes of hard disc. This Jyou may find difficult to believe but it is true. What I need is more memory with a quick access time. Now Miniscribe who makes a mean line of superfast hard discs has announced a product which may well solve all of my problems. They already produce a hard disc drive which holds well over 100 megabytes but soon I will be able to get a new drive which will give me more capacity and be even faster than the hard discs I am currently using. From Miniscribe is coming a 5.25-inch, half-height disc drive which gives a very respectable 71.3 megabytes of capacity but also an average access time of 22 milliseconds. That is quick. Very quick indeed. Very few hard disc drives can match that speed, which makes working with a personal computer a total delight. No price has yet been announced but the way hard disc drive prices are dropping, I can probably afford one. However, if I am willing to wait, there may be better solutions ahead. SEC has taken what is for the moment an informal interest. There is, according to the executives,' no connection between the events. Jim Manzi says, "1-2-3 Release 3 represents the largest development project in the company's history, and a very important product for many 1-2-3 users. We've added additional time to the development schedule to allow more time for the code shrinkage and optimisation required to produce the first-rate product our customers expect, and one that will perform well in both the DOS and OS2 environments." Lotus executives also say the problem with version 3 is that it is too large to run in the operating system MS-Dos and needs, instead, OSf2. This they could have been told by Blind Freddy more than a year agol- The major problem for Lotus :js that coming screaming up on the outside are Borland's Quattro cr which is cheaper and in some areas faster than Lotus but very similar o use and Microsoft's Excel to eat into potential sales. drive space" height j Verbatim now owned by Kodik looks like being the first disc manufacturer to bring out a read-write optical disc system for personal computers. Expect it before the end of this year. The drive will use a laser to allow the discs to be rewritten which will give you more memory to write to than you can ever use except in my case. The disc drive will have removable 3.5-inch optical cartridges holding 50 megabytes each. Price of the cartridges in Australia will be arourift $100, while the drive will hopefully be priced under $3,000. There has been an immense arid intensive amount of research going on in disc companies to produced readwrite optical disc and I saw one demonstrated by Toshiba nearly two years ago. But this will be the first time a manufacturer has. actually brought one to the market. Meanwhile, it is reported that Hitachi has developed a prototype of a 3.5-inch optical magnetic disc drive with a writeread speed of five million bite per second, nearly 10 times faster than ordinary floppies. Coca Cola wants things to go better Coke is starting a new revolution which has little to do with soft drinks. It wants an unified voice mail standard and, in the United States it has managed to get Kodak, The. Travelers insurance company, General Electric, and Johnson & Johnson, to join it in adopting the I BM-VMX proposed j system as a standard for other voice majl machine makers. As in Map and Top the two industry interconnection standards which are now part of the International Standards Organisation's recommendations it's the consumers, not the manufacturers who head the drive towards standardisation, -v

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