رسالة مفتوحة إلى الهواة

من ويكيبيديا، الموسوعة الحرة
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رسالة بيل غيتس المفتوحة إلى سوق الهواة في جريدة Homebrew Computer Club في يناير 1976

الرسالة المفتوحة لسوق الهواة رسالة مفتوحة كتبها بيل غيتس -أحد مؤسسي مايكروسوفت- لهواة الحاسوب الشخصي عبّر فيها بيل غيتس عن استيائه من خرق حقوق النشر الذي يحدث في سوق الهواة ولاسيما الذي يتعلق ببرمجيات شركته.

عبّر بيل غيتس عن خيبة أمله مما يفعله معظم الهواة بنسخ برنامج ألتير بيسيك بدون دفعه ثمنه وقال أن مثل هذه الممارسة لا تشجع المطورين على استثمار المال والوقت في كتابة برمجيات جيدة. أشار إلى "الظلم" الواقع تجاه مطوري البرمجيات الذين لا يُدفع لهم مقابل استخدام البرمجيات.

ألتير بيسك[عدل]

في ديسمبر 1974 كان بيل غيتس طالبا في جامعة هارفارد وكان يعمل مع بول ألن لشركة هنيول في بوسطن حينما شاهدا الحاسوب ألتير 8800 في عدد يناير 1975 من مجلة Popular Electronics وكانا قد كتابا بعض برامج بيسك وجزما أن الحاسوب ألتير قادر على دعم مفسّر لبيسك،[1] أرادا أن يكونا أول من يعرض بيسك لحواسيب ألتير.[2] وقع بيل غيتس وآلن مع معهد MIT اتفاقًا يمنح المعهد رخصة لبيع ألتير بيسك في كافة أرجاء العالم مقابل حصة لمايكروسوفت.

في أوائل مارس، قام بول ألن، بيل غيتس، وطالب آخر من جامعة هارفارد باسم مونتي دافيدوف بإنشأء مفسر بيسك يعمل في محاكاة على حاسوب PDP-10 في جامعة هارفارد. ألن وغيتس كانا على اتصال مع إد روبرتس من MITS وفي مارس 1975 توجه ألن إلى البوكيرك، نيو مكسيكو، لاختبار البرمجيات على آلة فعلية. وقد اكتشف بول آلن وإد روبرتس، أن البرنامد يعمل.[3]

[[File:|thumb|right| Bill Gates was impressed with Steve Dompier's Altair music.]]

وافقت ميتس على ترخيص برمجية ألن وغيتس. فقان بول ألن بترك وظيفته في شركة هانيويل وأصبح نائب الرئيس ومدير البرامج في ميتس مع راتب 30،000 دولار في السنة.[4] بيل غيتس كان لا يزال طالبا في جامعة هارفارد، ومجرد مقاول يتعامل مع ميتس. في تشرين الأول / أكتوبر 1975 لقبته الشركة برسالتها الإخبارية "باختصاصي برمجيات".[5] في 22 يوليو 1975 وقعت ميتس على عقد مع ألن وغيتس حصلا بموجبه على 3000$ عند التوقيع ورسوم ملكية هم كل نسخة بيسك يتم بيعها؛ 30$ لنسخة 4k و 35$ لنسخة 8k و60$ للنسخة الموسعة وذلك حتى سقف 180،000$ وتحصل ميتس على رخصة حصرية عالمية للبرنامج لمدة 10 سنوات. التزمن ميتس بتوفير إمكانية استخدام حاسوب PDP-10 اللازمة لتطوير البرنامج وذلك على حاسوب تملكه مدرسة محافظة ألبكيرك[6]

في عدد أبريل 1975 من منشورة ميتس Computer Notes تصدرها عنوان "ألتير بيسك - جاهز للعمل". لكن مبيعات حاسوب ألتير 8800 لم تكن كافية لسد التكاليف وكان على الشركة أن تبيع بطاقات ذاكرة إضافية وقطع أخرى لتربح. كما قامت الشركة بالتنقل في البلاد لعرض إنتاجاتها.

لصوص وطفيليين[عدل]

في يونيو 1975 كتب في رسالة نادي الحواسيب المصنوعة منزليا الإخبارية ما يلي:

جاء حاسوب ميتس المتنقل The June 1975 Homebrew Computer Club newsletter carried this item.

The MITS MOBILE came to Rickey's Hyatt House in Palo Alto June 5th & 6th. The room was packed (150+) with amateurs and experimenters eager to find out about this new electronic toy.[7]

Altair 8K BASIC on paper tape. This was a popular storage media before the low-cost floppy disk.

At the seminar, a paper tape containing a pre-release version of Altair BASIC disappeared. The tape was given to Steve Dompier who passed it on to Dan Sokol who had access to a high speed tape punch. At the next Homebrew Computer Club meeting, 50 copies of Altair BASIC on paper tape appeared in a cardboard box.[8]

The MITS 4K Dynamic RAM board was unreliable due to several component and design problems. Understandably many Altair computer owners did not want to purchase this troublesome memory board. An enterprising Homebrew Computer Club member, Robert Marsh, designed a 4K static memory that was plug-in compatible with the Altair 8800 and sold for $255.[9] His company was Processor Technology, one of the most successful Altair compatible board suppliers. Purchasing the memory from a third party meant Altair owners would pay full price, $500, for Altair BASIC.

Ed Roberts acknowledged the 4K Dynamic RAM board problems in the October 1975 Computer Notes. The price was reduced from $264 to $195 and existing purchasers got a $50 refund. The full price for 8K Altair BASIC was reduced to $200. Roberts declined a customer's request the MITS give BASIC to customers for free. He noted that MITS made a "$180,000 royalty commitment to Micro Soft." Roberts also wrote, "Anyone who is using a stolen copy of MITS BASIC should identify himself for what he is, a thief." Third party hardware suppliers drew this comment; "Recently a number of parasite companies have appeared."[10]

The Processor Technology static RAM board drew more current than the MITS dynamic RAM board and two or three boards would tax the Altair 8800 power supply. Howard Fullmer began selling a power supply upgrade and named his company "Parasitic Engineering".[11][12] Fullmer later helped defined the industry standard for Altair compatible boards, the S-100 Bus standard.[13]

The next year, 1976, would see many Altair bus computer clones such as the IMSAI 8080 and the Processor Technology Sol 20.

Open letter[عدل]

"Micro-Soft" received a $30 to $60 royalty for each copy of BASIC that MITS sold. At the end of 1975, MITS was shipping a thousand computers a month but BASIC was selling in the low hundreds.[14] There were additional software projects that required more resources. The MITS 8-inch floppy disk system was about to be released as was the MITS 680B computer based on the Motorola 6800. A high school friend of Allen and Gates, Ric Weiland, was hired to convert the 8080 BASIC to the 6800 microprocessor. Gates would attempt to explain the cost of developing software to hobbyist community.

David Bunnell, Computer Notes Editor, was sympathetic to Gates's position. He wrote in the September 1975 issue that "customers have been ripping off MITS software".

Now I ask you--does a musician have the right to collect the royalty on the sale of his records or does a writer have the right to collect the royalty on the sale of his books? Are people who copy software any different than those who copy records and books?[15]

Gates's letter restated what Bunnell wrote in September and Roberts wrote in October. However, the tone of his letter was those hobbyists were stealing from him, not from a corporation.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

One of the principal targets of the letter was the Homebrew Computer Club and a copy would be sent to the club. The letter would also appear in Computer Notes. To ensure the letter would be noticed, Dave Bunnell sent the letter via special delivery mail to every major computer publication in the country.[16]

Reaction[عدل]

The letter was noticed and the reaction was strong. Many felt the software should be bundled with the machine and the current distribution method was Gates's problem. Others questioned the cost of developing software.

Microsoft had already addressed the royalty issue; MITS would pay a fixed price, $31,200, for a non exclusive license for the 6800 BASIC.[17] The future sales of BASIC for the Commodore PET, the Apple II, the Radio Shack TRS-80 and others were all fixed price contracts.

Microsoft's software development was done on a DEC PDP-10 mainframe computer system. Paul Allen had developed a program that could completely simulate a new microprocessor system. This allowed them to write and debug software before the new computer hardware was complete. They were charged by the hour and by the amount of resources used (storage, printing, etc.) The 6800 BASIC was complete before the Altair 680B was finished.[18] This was the $40,000 of computer time.

Hal Singer of the Micro-8 newsletter published an open letter to Ed Roberts of MITS. Hal pointed out that MITS promised a computer for $395 but the price for a working system was $1000. He suggested a class action law suit or a Federal Trade Commission investigation into false advertising was in order. Hal also noted that rumors were circulating that Bill Gates developed BASIC on a Harvard University computer that was funded by the US government. Why should customers pay for software already paid for by the taxpayer?[19]

Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Monte Davidoff did use a PDP-10 at Harvard's Aiken Computer Center. The computer system was funded by the Department of Defense through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The computer was delivered in the middle of the night in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War protests. Harvard officials were not pleased that Gate and Allen (who was not a student) had used the PDP-10 to develop a commercial product. They determined that this military computer was not covered by any Harvard policy. The PDP-10 was controlled by Professor Thomas Cheatham who felt that students could use the machine for personal use. Harvard placed restrictions the computer's use and Gates had to use commercial time share computer until MITS provided access to a PDP-10 in Albuquerque.[20]

There is a viable alternative to the problems raised by Bill Gates in his irate letter to computer hobbyists concerning "ripping off" software. When software is free, or so inexpensive that it's easier to pay for it than to duplicate it, then it won't be "stolen".

Jim Warren, July 1976 [21]

Jim Warren, Homebrew Computer Club Member and editor of Dr. Dobb's Journal, wrote in the July 1976 ACM Programming Language newsletter about the successful Tiny BASIC project.[21] The goal was to create BASIC language interpreters for microprocessor based computers. The project had started in late 1975 but the "Open Letter" motivated many hobbyists to participate. Computer clubs and individuals from all parts of the United States and the world soon created Tiny BASIC interpreters for the Intel 8080, the Motorola 6800 and MOS Technology 6502 processors. The assembly language source code was published or the software was sold for five or ten dollars.

Bill Gates was enamored with the APL programming language that was popular with some computer scientists. The language use special character set based on the Greek alphabet that required special terminals. Most hobbyist terminals did not display lower case letters much less Greek symbols. Paul Allen did not think they could sell this product. The interest in APL project faded and software was never written.[22]

Magazines that published the letter[عدل]

  • Gates، Bill (February 10, 1976). "An Open Letter To Hobbyists". Micro-8 Computer User Group Newsletter (Lompoc, CA: Cabrillo Computer Center) 2 (2): p. 1. 
  • Gates، Bill (March 11, 1976). "An Open Letter to Hobbyists". Minicomputer News (Boston MA: Benwill Publishing). 
  • Gates، Bill (March-April 1976). "An Open Letter To Hobbyists". People's Computer Company (Menlo Park, CA: People's Computer Company) 4 (5). 
  • Gates، Bill (May 1976). "Computer Hobbyists". Radio-Electronics (New York NY: Gernsback Publications) 47 (5): pp. 14,16. 

Several responses to the letter were published, including one from Bill Gates.

  • Hayes، Mike (February 1976). "Regarding Your Letter of February 3". Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter (Mountain View, CA: Homebrew Computer Club) 2 (2): p. 2.  Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |accessmonthday= ignored (help)
  • Warren، Jim C. (July 1976). "Correspondence". SIGPLAN Notices (ACM) 11 (7): p. 1.  Jim Warren, the editor of Dr. Dobbs Journal, describes how the Tiny BASIC project is an alternative to hobbyist "ripping off" software.
  • Singer، Harold L. (March 28, 1976). "An Open Letter to Ed Roberts". Micro-8 Computer User Group Newsletter (Lompoc, CA: Cabrillo Computer Center) 2 (4): p. 1. 
  • Wada، Robert (July 1976). "An Opinion on Software Marketing". BYTE (Peterborough, NH: BYTE Publications) 1 (11): pp. 90,91. 

مصادر[عدل]

  1. ^ k 1974. File:Copyright Popular Electronics 1975.jpg
  2. ^ Manes (1994), 68–70.
  3. ^ المانوية (1994)، 65-76.
  4. ^ يونغ (1998)، 164.
  5. ^ "Contributors". Computer Notes (Albuquerque NM: MITS) 1 (5): p.13. October 1975. 
  6. ^ Manes (1994), 82–83.
  7. ^ Moore، Fred (June 7, 1975). "It's a Hobby". Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter 1 (4): p. 1. 
  8. ^ Manes (1994), 81.
  9. ^ "Hardware". Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter 1 (5): pp. 2, 5. July 5, 1975. 
  10. ^ Roberts، H. Edward (October 1975). "Letter from the President". Computer Notes (Albuquerque NM.: MITS) 1 (5): pp. 3–4. 
  11. ^ Freiberger (2000), 145–146.
  12. ^ Ahl، David H.؛ Burchenal Green. = 97 The Best of Creative Computing, Volume 3. Morristown NJ: Creative Computing. ISBN 0-916688-12-7. David Ahl describes the assembly of an Altair 8800 system and the various problems that were encountered. The Processor Technology 8K Static RAM (page 94) and the Parasitic Engineering power supply (page 97) are used to replace the MITS components in his system.
  13. ^ Morrow، George؛ Howard Fullmer (May 1978). "Microsystems Proposed Standard for the S-100 Bus Preliminary Specification, IEEE Task 696.1/D2". Computer (IEEE) 11 (5): 84–90. doi:10.1109/C-M.1978.218190. 
  14. ^ Manes (1994), 90.
  15. ^ Bunnell، David (September 1975). "Across the Editor's Desk". Computer Notes (Albuquerque NM.: MITS) 1 (4): p. 2. 
  16. ^ Manes (1994), 91.
  17. ^ Manes (1994), 95.
  18. ^ Roberts، Ed (March 1976). "Ramblings from Ed Roberts". Computer Notes (Albuquerque, NM: MITS) 1 (10): p. 4. The 680 hardware was months late. Roberts reported. "We now have a full up 8K BASIC operational…"
  19. ^ Singer، Harold L. (March 28, 1976). "Open Letter to Ed Roberts". Micro-8 Computer User Group Newsletter (Lompoc, CA: Cabrillo Computer Center) 2 (4): p. 1. 
  20. ^ Wallace (1992), 81–83. "Harvard officials had found out that he (Gates) and Allen had been making extensive use of the university's PDP-10 to develop a commercial product. The officials were not pleased." The computer was funded by the Department of Defense and was under the control of Professor Thomas Cheatham. "Although DARPA was funding the PDP-10 at Harvard, there was no written policy regarding its use."
  21. ^ أ ب Warren، Jim C. (July 1976). "Correspondence". SIGPLAN Notices (ACM) 11 (7): pp. 1–2. ISSN 0362-1340. 
  22. ^ Manes (1994), 97–98.

مراجع[عدل]

  • Ceruzzi، Paul E. A History of Modern Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-53203-4. 
  • Freiberger، Paul؛ Michael Swaine. Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-135892-7. 
  • Mames، Stephen؛ Paul Andrews (1994). Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry and Made Himself the Richest Man in America. New York: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-88074-8. 
  • Wallace، James؛ Jim Erickson. Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-56886-4. 
  • Young، Jeffrey S. Forbes Greatest Technology Stories: Inspiring Tales of the Entrepreneurs. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471243744.  Chapter 6 "Mechanics: Kits & Microcomputers"

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