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Wednesday
May202009

DRM 1984 : A bad idea, even then

I've been reading W.E. Pete Peterson's excellent book Almost Perfect (available to read on line here) and he has some interesting things to say about his attempts to add copy protection to WordPerfect. At the time he was running WordPerfect Corporation and was one of only three shareholders, so his perspective isn't an academic one:

"It was simply not fair to make the honest, paying customers put up with an inconvenience that had been made necessary by the dishonest ones. In the end, what was good for the legal customers was also good for our bottom line."

The book has been a most entertaining and educational read. It's great to read the story of an ethical, decent man who built by success without sacrificing his principles. Particularly heartening from a technologists perspective is that he attributes the companies early success to the quality of their engineering staff and their ability to hang on to smart individuals and focussed teams.

Sadly the book has been out of print for a very long time, but second hand copies are available on Amazon, that's where I picked up my copy.

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