Subject: Re: The Pledge model -- K5 generates 6 mos income in three days
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 27 Jun 2002 23:50:55 +0900

>>>>> "Ben" == Ben Laurie <ben@algroup.co.uk> writes:

    Ben> Errr? OpenSSL? BTW, RSA is trivial given a bignum
    Ben> library. And bignum is trivial if you don't care about speed.

Yes, yes, obvious and trivial.  A "mere computation," as the real math
books put it.

What wasn't obvious was the RSA algorithm _before_ they published it.
The question is "could you duplicate RSA simply having been told that
they did it, but not _how_?"  You're allowed to independently
reinvent, or come up with a different algorithm that meets the spec.
You aren't allowed to read the paper or the patent or RSAREF, or
reverse engineer the libraries they sell, because they haven't been
written yet.

I'll give you the bignum library, even.

Still trivial?

Remember, John Morhous's question is "how do I make a reasonable
amount of money from RSA _without_ filing the patent?"  I think there
is little question that a patent grants RSA a real, lasting monopoly.

My point was in the other direction, that just because this works for
RSA does _not_ mean it works in general.  Copyright is trivial to work
around for most software, possibly even RSA.  Patent is mostly
fearsome because the rights to the idea, and the PTO's admission of
grossly overblown claims, open up huge opportunities for racketeering,
not because it would be that difficult to invent around it in a sane
patent regime.  (Which makes even a "sane" software patent regime an
unacceptably inefficient annoyance, of course.)  But RSA is an
exception here: with the patent, it's damn difficult to invent around.
There are only a few competitors, even today.

It _is_ an exception.  I believe that for much, maybe most, software,
strategies like Apache Foundation make the most sense both socially
and business-wise.

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
 My nostalgia for Icon makes me forget about any of the bad things.  I don't
have much nostalgia for Perl, so its faults I remember.  Scott Gilbert c.l.py