- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 8, 2000

I read David Boaz's June 30 column ("Prisoner held for ransom," Commentary) with some amusement. I need to point out one major error in his commentary, however.Mr. Boaz says U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's requirement that Microsoft "share … its application programming interfaces" is "theft of intellectual property." Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are "hooks" into the operating system (Windows, in this case) that allow software developers who write the codes to access the hardware and system software controlled by the operating system. Microsoft has been proved to have withheld some of its APIs. This allows the company to write applications (such as Word) or allows developers using Microsoft developer tools (such as an application written in Microsoft Visual Basic) to have better access to the operating system than other developers and tool users.Because those other develo

ers and tool users have

aid to use Microsoft Windows

roducts, they are the ones who are being robbed robbed of the ability to fully ex

loit the very tools they have bought.The Windows license s

ecifically disallows users from "reverse-engineering" Windows to find "hidden" A[P]Is. There is no intellectual

ro

erty theft in using the A[P]I it's the what, not the how, that is intellectual

ro

erty.Because I

aid for my co

y of Windows, I should have the same access as an Office develo

er. Thanks to Judge Jackson, I may soon have that access.BOB ORRAl

haretta, Ga.

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