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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Boycott Apple
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Some time before 1989, Apple Computer, Inc. started a
lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, claiming
they had breeched Apple's copyright on the look and feel
of the Macintosh user interface. In December 1989, Xerox
failed to sue Apple Computer, claiming that the software for
Apple's Lisa computer and Macintosh Finder, both
copyrighted in 1987, were derived from two Xerox programs:
Smalltalk, developed in the mid-1970s and Star,
copyrighted in 1981.
Apple wanted to stop people from writing any program that
worked even vaguely like a Macintosh. If such look andfeel lawsuits succeed they could put an end to freesoftware that could substitute for commercial software.
In the weeks after the suit was filed, Usenet reverberated
with condemnation for Apple. GNU supporters RichardStallman, John Gilmore, and Paul Rubin decided to take action
against Apple. Apple's reputation as a force for progress
came from having made better computers; but The League forProgramming Freedom believed that Apple wanted to make all
non-Apple computers worse. They therefore campaigned to
discourage people from using Apple products or working for
Apple or any other company threatening similar obstructionist
tactics (e.g. Lotus and Xerox).