Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Great Software Ripoff, Updated

Some of you recall that Massachusetts passed a law requiring the Big Three (and all the rest) to make their diagnostic-and-repair software 'open' for small repair shops to use. 

The rest of the country followed suit, allowing consumers to avoid dealer repair pricing.

But then John Deere came up with a variant, claiming to own the software running Deere equipment, and THEN not allowing farmers to repair the stuff on their own. 

So you spent $400K or so, but actually, you're only renting the damn thing.

Because "copyright law."

Enter Lockheed Martin, who claims the same privilege Deere does--except it's with the F-35 fighter.

...Lockheed Martin claims that even though the Defense Department paid for ALIS, it still has to license the technology from the company. Given that ALIS in its current state is glorified malware, this might not seem like a big deal. But it is. Because one of the things Lockheed Martin has been using its ownership of ALIS to do is to prevent the U.S. government from fixing the software on its own. In other words, the Pentagon can’t use its own planes unless Lockheed feels like fixing the problem with the software.

This is bad enough, but it gets worse when you imagine that ALIS actually worked as advertised. In that situation, Lockheed arguably could refuse to license the F-35s to anyone they liked, for any reason. 

Yes, the planes American taxpayers spent $1 trillion to build might not even be ours, thanks to a quirk of intellectual property law.

It gets even worse. Apparently, even when U.S. government documents get uploaded into ALIS, they come back with Lockheed Martin’s proprietary markings. In other words, Lockheed is trying to assert ownership not just over ALIS, but also over the data that is fed into it. ...
Lockheed Martin should be laughed out of business; the F-35 is a genuine cluster***k of a plane, doing little of what it should do, and then only doing it part-time.

But then--on top of those problems--to claim the US Armed Forces may NOT fix their pieces of crap?

I know where someone could try a full-bore strafing test.....

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