Former Amiga Engineer Defends his Allegation that MorphOS includes "Stolen Code"



Dave Haynie is a such an important figure in the development of the
Amiga, the 68k classic computer. It was from the community and third
party developers of the Amiga whence MorphOS came. Jay Miner was the
King on the Amiga chessboard, and Dave Haynie is perhaps one of the
knights.

He deserves much respect, a lot for the 3000 especially, but not so
much as to overlook unsubstantiated, unexplained allegations of code
theft against "the MorphOS people." He has suggested this before more
than once, and made the allegation most recently on 17 April on
Amigaworld.net.

Prompted by a MorphOS team member, Dave finally came out and said the
basis of his suspicions. What had been whispers and pieces he put it
on the table finally. Dave Haynie wrote on Amigaworld.net (thanks
Amigaworld.net) 21-Apr-2011 6:43:19:

"The MorphOS project came from Phase V... after Phase V ended, former
employees started up BPlan (eg, "Plan B"), who eventually merged with
a couple folks from Thendic France to form Genesi.

Now, I do not have direct personal knowledge of all MorphOS sources.
But back when Phase 5 was working on their "C Exec" and other things,
starting to re-create AmigaOS themselves in the mid-1990s, I was
working with Andy Finkel at Amiga Technologies. The Phase 5 guys were
really after AT to use tome of their stuff (and pay them, natch). Andy
did a code review of the C Kernel, and found it was copied from
AmigaOS source code. In fact, even the comments were copied, assembler
to C.

Maybe MorphOS is clean, maybe not. Maybe no one actually knows. But
that's such a transgression, I wouldn't trust anyone involved in Phase
5, or any code that can be traced back to Phase 5."

And then on 21-Apr-2011 6:54:30

"They still don't understand clean room development. If you have seen
the Amiga source code, you cannot produce a legally separate
work-alike. So any copied comments are absolute proof that the code is
dirty. And they're not rejecting my claim, if you go back into those
linked documents, that the comments were copied.

Point in fact -- I just don't care about MorphOS. It's not AmigaOS, it
might as well be Windows for all I care. If you like it, I'm pretty
certain at this point no new legal entanglements are going to happen.
If the MorphOS people would like to swear in public that not a line of
code or comment is copied from the AmigaOS sources or derived from the
Phase 5 code (fruits of a poisonous tree, in legal terms), I will not
mention MorphOS again."

To back up his allegations --if he has done that-- Dave Haynie had to
talk about what another Amiga knight or bishop or rook Andy Finkel
confided in him. Dave doesn't claim to have seen anything personally,
it was what he says former Amiga engineer/software manager Finkel told
him.

What can be made of this? It is a better thing to have these
allegations firm and public. Better than whispers and murmurs, which
they were previously. The event in question took place long time ago,
and there was certainly a context and details there, which are
difficult for us to reconstruct and comprehend now. From various
things I've read, Phase 5 may or may not have had some Amiga source
code. But this doesn't mean it hadn't been given to Phase 5 by an
authorized person, and it does not mean Phase 5 stole it. I disagree
with Dave Haynie, who goes by the nickname "hazydave," that once one
has seen source code, one may never produce a legally separate
work-alike. That is an absolute position Dave takes, not an hazy one.
I do not think the law can be expressed so simply and so absolutely,
but I do not know. It would take a complex evaluation and factfinding
by attornies to make intelligent evaluations about this.

For me it doesn't cast any doubt on the honesty of any MorphOS
developer. It is just an allegation by someone who didn't even see any
suspicious code himself, only says another saw it. As well, even if
the allegation were 100% accurate, there might be a good explanation
for it. As well, that code from well over a decade ago was prior to
MorphOS, and may or may not have evolved into part of MorphOS. There
are just too many unknown factors to fault anyone.

TiN[]BoX
.