Superdistribution: Objects As Property on the Electronic Frontier

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9780201502084: Superdistribution: Objects As Property on the Electronic Frontier
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This book answers one of the most perplexing questions of the information-age economy: Now that object-oriented technologies ranging from programming languages to graphical user interfaces to the world wide web have made it feasible to manufacture objects made of bits, what does it mean to buy, sell and own them? Brad Cox has the answer: "Superdistribution" a comprehensive yet controversial solution that allows software to flow freely, without resistance from copy protection or piracy. Computers vanish altogether, becoming just part of the plumbing through which people communicate, cooperate, and compete as members of a mature, global, electronically-connected society.
Superdistribution means giving up on copyright as the sole basis of electronic ownership and turning to useright instead. It means giving the bits away, but charging customers when they use them.
In this book, Cox discusses the information age economy in terms of objects made of bits and defined as property in tangible, intellectual and electronic domains; introduces superdistribution as a comprehensive yet controversial solution to the challenges of developing the information age economy; traces the cause of the software crisis to the lack of robust means for supporting electronic ownership and revenue collection within elaborate cooperative communities; and applies the concepts of interchangeable parts and inspection gauges - techniques pioneered during the industrial revolution - to today's challenge of software engineering on the electronic frontier.

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Now that object-oriented technologies ranging from programming languages to graphical user interfaces to the WWW have made it feasible to manufacture readily transferable objects made of bits, what does it mean to buy, sell and own them? Brad Cox proposes "superdistribution" as a solution that allows software to flow freely without resistance from copy protection or piracy--a "charge as you play" model that will work well in a world of Java-like applets. A well-thought-out "modest proposal" from one of the founders of object-oriented programming.

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