Google gets an open source nip from DVD Jon

Summary:We were talking the other day about how, when a company opens its code up to enhancement by others it needs to be prepared for the Law of Unintended Consequences.Well you might designate this as Prosecution Exhibit B.

Google DaVinciWe were talking the other day about how, when a company opens its code up to enhancement by others it needs to be prepared for the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Well you might designate this as Prosecution Exhibit B.

It seems that when Google launched its new video search service it also offered a free Video Viewer, designed only for use on-site, but based on an existing open source project. This was shortly after launching its Google Code project, where programmers are allowed access to Google's own software so they can create enhancements.

Jon Johansen -- the same fellow who started the DECSS case by creating a Linux DVD player -- spent a bit of time with it and created a bit of code on his Nanocrew.net site that, he says, ends that restriction and makes this a general video viewer.

Google was not amused. They didn't go ballistic. They simply recommended people not use the code, saying it might be unstable. I personally find that heartening, hence my choice of illustration, placed on their home page in honor of Leonardo DaVinci's birthday.

Topics: Google

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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