Readers Respond: What Is Reverse Engineering?

Readers respond to the eWEEK editorial, "What Is Reverse Engineering?"

In regard to Jim Rapozas Sept. 5 Tech Directions column on reverse engineering ("What Is Reverse Engineering?"), its almost impossible to have your cake and eat it, too.

You cant [differentiate] the people who want to open your code to steal it from the people who simply want to create a security patch, so a software developer (as I am) has to assume the worst and protect it all.

I can tell you from my own experience that far more people want to reverse-engineer to somehow steal your ideas and intellectual property than to simply patch up a little security hole.

Its like Kazaa: It can be used for legitimate legal purposes, but if the statistics show that 99.99 percent of its users are using it to steal copyrighted material, what do you do? Do you let 99.99 percent of the people steal to protect the rights of the 0.01 percent who dont?

More often than not, the "freedom" fighters who are against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act shout about the plight of the 0.01 percent without proposing a solid solution to protect against the 99.99 percent.

Dean Hoffman