Did you ever see my blog Who Woz That Masked Man? in which I met the Wos (and vice versa, of course). The strange thing was that he and Jobs were always billed as "hippies," but he was in a suite and I was in my usual garb...
Wow. Woz et al., committed the original sin? If we want to go back really far, we can say the Europeans stole North America from the Native Americans. So all these corporations (like the phone company) are really just a party to that original sin and therefore thieves.
The reason I can feel ok celebrating them(phreakers) is that, at that point in time it was simply exploration, they were pioneers! Since then, we've come up with better ways of exploring these things that are more ethical. Just look at the things going on at blackhat conferences. We now have entire industries built around penetration testing and hacking.
As far as business leaders using other people's ideas, well that happens. Sometimes it is the implementation of the idea that really makes a difference. However, you're spot on with the complaint about the apple lawyers.
No matter how you slice it, Steve and Woz look like the brains and leaders of a pack of thieves, as illustrated in their first blue box business venture. What is the difference between their blue boxes and a lock pick from an ethical standpoint?
The definition of a thief is someone who bypasses what security there is and takes something of value. Just because it's high-tech is no excuse. Why does our society accept white collar crime compared to blue collar crime, despite the damage that white collar crime does is far greater? Just look at the financial meltdown.
Once a thief always a thief. Apple went on to lift the technology of the MacIntosh from Xerox etc. etc. Steve even bragged about not inventing anything - he just took what he needed and attacked all competitors with his team of lawyers.
The Apple logo says it all. The apple that Eve took a byte off. Who is the serpent supposed to be?
It's interesting to see how stories about hackers inspire a lot of us.
While some of us might be dismayed by the law-breaking nature of certain hacking, others are definitely cheering for hackers -- really smart, but not exactly the mainstream engineers -- to win. It's the ultimate underdog story we have all come to love.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.