Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 11:24:25 -0400
From: "David P. Reed"
Subject: Re: IP: Re: Software Engineering, Dijkstra, and Hippocrates: ]

Every once in a while, the "all information must be property" fringe goes over the top in absurdity. Brad Cox's latest note that you forwarded on IP blaming open source for unreliable software engineering deserves a response before it becomes "consensus reality"...feel free to post on IP if you like.

I'd love to see any references that make the case that Civil Engineering (or its "technological maturity") is grounded in intellectual property rights. Especially since the former field is much older than the latter concepts.

As a person with a long-standing and passionate avocation in exploring the history of technological systems, I have never encountered such a claim.

Since civil engineering practice predates the invention of "copyright" and "patent" laws even in their most primitive form, this claim would seem to be absurd. Bridge, cathedral, and road designs were highly mature and scientific without the benefit of "IP protection". In fact, engineers and designers built on each others' designs just fine.

As for mechanical engineers, the same holds true - Roman catapults worked pretty darn well without patent laws, for example.

Buildings did not fall down in the 15th century because we didn't have "effective intellectual property protection".

Even modern mathematics and science were developed quite effectively without "intellectual property protection" to make them "reliable" and bug-free.

I hardly think that Open Source (whatever other problems it may have as it matures) can be blamed for unreliable software because it refuses intellectual property protection.