[gclist] Java manchines and when to collect.

Charles Fiterman cef@geodesic.com
Thu, 11 Dec 1997 12:17:11 -0600

At 04:35 AM 12/12/97 +1100, you wrote:
>Apologies in advance: this mail is not about GC.
>There were just a couple of statements that I couldn't
>let stand unchallenged.
>Charles Fiterman <cef@geodesic.com> wrote:
>> In Java you can't write a virus.
>Sure you can.  See comp.risks.
>Java may be an improvement, but it's certainly not foolproof protection
>against viruses.

If Java works according to specs its foolproof. All objects are
accessible only by public methods and you can't touch an object
except via a reference to it. So you start a program with references
to what it can touch, it can't get at anything else and it can
only use what it can touch via public methods.

>Excuse me?  I must have missed something.  How would preventing software
>piracy make the software industry more efficient?

The same way preventing shop lifting makes your grocery more efficient.
Customers pay all the costs of the grocery store, shoplifters steal
from the customers by raising the costs they must pay to keep the store
in business.

Software customers pay all the costs of the software manufacturers.
Pirates really steal from the customers.

>Newspapers often glibly repeat claims by large software corporations
>that "software piracy is costing billion of dollars".
>These bogus claims are of course highly inflated.
>They are calculated by estimating the number of illegal copies
>and multiplying by the price per copy.
>	claimed_cost = number_of_illegal_copies * price_per_copy
>However, the intellectual property involved is not physically stolen,
>it is just copied.  Thus the real cost to software producers is only
>their loss of potential income.  It is very likely that most of those
>making illegal copies of software could not afford to pay for legal
>copies of most of their illegally copied software.  Thus the real
>opportunity cost to software producers is much less:
>	real_cost = number_of_copies_that_would_have_been_bought
>		    * price_per_copy

Pirated software comes in four types, I agree.

1. It would have been purchased and its being used.

2. It would not have been purchased and its not being used.

There is little of

3. It would not have been purchased but its being used.

4. It would have been purchased and its not being used.

Now type 2 and 3 are meaningless to the vendor but type
1 and 4 are theft. The vendor had development costs. Without
software piracy the P.R.C. would buy a lot more software
and the customer's costs would come down.

Now let me make a legitimate argument for your side.

Thanks to the insane war on drugs we have the highest
percentage of our population behind bars of any nation
on earth. While about 0.1% of the population needs to
be behind bars anything beyond that is a good measure
of governmental badness and by this measure our
government is worse than S. Africa at the depths of

When I see government waste I think of all the
really bad things they could be doing with the money
and applaud. Software piracy triggers government waste.
They spend diplomatic and other capital to control it.

I think there are better ways to trigger government waste
and don't want to push this one.

>Given this massive inequity, I think it is difficult to find strong
>moral justification for _anything_ that would result in developing
>countries such as South Korea and China paying large western software
>companies huge sums of money.

China is one of the few governments in the world worse
than ours, but not by the prison population metric. 
In dealing with such governments Lennin's "Worse is better" 

While "Worse is better" doesn't quite apply to S. Korea
since they started having elections the government is
in the hands of massive cartels like Hyundai. Hyundai
can afford to pay for its software.

Charles Fiterman		Geodesic Systems
414 North Orleans Suite 410	Phone 312 832 1221 x223
Chicago IL 60610-4418		FAX   312 832 1230

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