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HP 48 source OK to release?
08-03-2022, 08:56 PM
Post: #1
HP 48 source OK to release?
I stumbled across this reasonably recent forum thread today:

https://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/archive/i...243-2.html (scroll down to Joe Horn's post)

7 years later, is there any hope of those source files becoming public? I agree with both points that a) releasing IP is risky business, and b) it's a calculator that might be more than 30 years old at this point, making the code basically abandonware. I personally would looove to read through HP's source code.

It's probably a long shot, but if any of the Royal/Moravia team is reading this, would your team be able to give permission for those files to be released?
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08-04-2022, 08:21 AM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2022 08:22 AM by pier4r.)
Post: #2
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
This reminds me of how many interesting contributions behind non disclosure policies are lost to the time because the companies cling to them even long after they don't care anymore about the product.

For NDAs there should be expiration dates (and possibly renewals) like there are for patents.

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08-04-2022, 02:07 PM
Post: #3
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
Not to be too morbid, but this is a good reason to set things up for your collected papers to go somewhere useful when you die.

Bob points out in that thread that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission, and I think it's been noted that the purpose of legal departments generally is to say no. They have no incentive to say yes.

It's possible that Joe will decide to share his papers during his lifetime, but it would be his choice, and he has said that he's constrained by an agreement. It would in my view be unfair to pressure him.

When one signs any contract or NDA, that's the time to strike out clauses or demand time limits - after agreeing, it's a bit late. Many things are, in fact, negotiable, but not many of us negotiate terms.

To anyone who has materials, I'd want to be sure they know about simply uploading to the Internet Archive, where the materials will be held, and most likely made available. It's easy enough to create an anonymised account, and very easy to upload. Should there be any complaint from a copyright holder, the IA has a process which can result in taking the material offline - presumably only for some number of years or decades. Eventually, if not in our lifetimes, the material will be available.
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08-04-2022, 05:10 PM
Post: #4
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
(08-04-2022 02:07 PM)EdS2 Wrote:  It's possible that Joe will decide to share his papers during his lifetime, but it would be his choice, and he has said that he's constrained by an agreement. It would in my view be unfair to pressure him.

This is actually a fascinating discussion. I received the RPL models' source code from somebody who signed an NDA with HP. He gave me the copy "under the table" with the agreement that I'd share it with NOBODY. However, all HP NDA's contain an expiration date. It is certain that the expiration date for the RPL source code NDA's has expired long ago. Therefore it would seem logical to conclude that I am no longer bound by my agreement not to share the source code. Any insights y'all can offer in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

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08-04-2022, 06:06 PM
Post: #5
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
(08-04-2022 05:10 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  This is actually a fascinating discussion. I received the RPL models' source code from somebody who signed an NDA with HP. He gave me the copy "under the table" with the agreement that I'd share it with NOBODY. However, all HP NDA's contain an expiration date. It is certain that the expiration date for the RPL source code NDA's has expired long ago. Therefore it would seem logical to conclude that I am no longer bound by my agreement not to share the source code. Any insights y'all can offer in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

All of this depends on the initial NDA's terms. Many of them require materials provided under their purvue to be returned or destroyed upon expiration of the agreement, others make specific allowances to share it freely thereafter, but most don't specifically say either way at all. I've seen (and been on both sides of) NDA's for software that include source code, and all of those explicitly maintain the copyrights of such materials, while also requiring destruction (or return, at the user's choice) upon expiration.

All that said, as you were not an original party to the agreement, you have no rights at all, and even if the original did allow covered materials to be distributed upon expiration (highly unlikely), said release would only be an option for the original party.

Note that all of the above is from a strictly legal point of view; I'm not saying what you can and/or should/should not do, that depends on the original terms, your relationship with the person that received them originally, etc.

Legally, you're probably not at any pragmatic risk of legal action by HP.

Morally, if you committed to the person to not share it, I would not, no matter how long it has been, but that's me.

It seems to me that since HP's Licensees participate here and can be contacted, I'd ask them. While I can't imagine any reasons for them to say no (other than the knee-jerk NO we all expect, because they're HP) it's just possible they will agree and then it can be done so without legal, moral or other constraints.

--Bob Prosperi
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08-04-2022, 08:05 PM
Post: #6
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
Are the individuals who sign an NDA allowed to share the terms of the NDA itself? Or is an NDA a sort of black box, where no information besides its existence can be shared? My thinking is that there might be a copy of the agreement floating around in someone's (HP developer or an individual) papers, and even just a quick phone-camera picture would be enough for us to take a look at.

And for the record, I certainly don't want to pressure anybody (except maybe the HP legal team Smile). We're talking about source code for a 30-year-old calculator---not exactly an important artifact.
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08-04-2022, 08:33 PM
Post: #7
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
Ah, Joe, that's a slightly different complexion on it, if you weren't yourself under NDA. I would say it's still down to how you feel, about the personal agreement you made, and about the relative importance of the original rights as held by HP, and the likelihood of you getting into any bother.

Personally, I wouldn't seek an answer from HP or their licensees, because if you did get back a refusal, that would put you in a different position than if you hadn't asked. In fact, personally, I'd upload materials anonymously and trust that they would be indexed and discovered soon enough - perhaps that makes me a terrible person, but I feel I could live with it!

What we all know, I'd say, whether we're participants or observers or even present employees of HP, is that there's no great commercial value to any HP 48 materials, and there's arguably historical interest.
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08-06-2022, 08:22 PM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2022 08:23 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #8
RE: HP 48 source OK to release?
At the end Joe decides but I like the idea of the Internet Archive (besides, who can, donate to the endeavour because it rocks).

Why? The data is of historical interest and it is digital, thus: the internet archive is the appropriate place (you could not believe what nonsense gets uploaded there daily).

Further the Internet archive, being massive, surely has ways to deal with IP requests and further it is visible, so if a IP holder doesn't want the data there, wouldn't blink to remove it.

How I see it (then, morality is like interval mathematics, for some is almost objective - looking at you Kant - and for some is flexible) is that one doesn't even fail the word of the original owner, as the IA can be seen as sort of "donation to a museum/library and they will decide what to do". It is not simply sharing personally so to speak, like "here is my personal account of this filesharing website, that is the password, take it".

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