The delicate disadvantage of Reverse-Engineering

Main Stage,

I started my first reverse-engineering in 1995: NetBIOS "Network Neighbourhood" for Samba 1.9.16p5. I quickly moved on to NT Domains 3.51: "Welcome to the SAMBA Domain" and helped bridge the yawning chasm between UNIX and Windows. By 2003-2004 I had moved on to the Xanadux Project, owned 9 HTC WINCE Smartphones and successfully reverse-engineered Linux onto two of them.

Then Android happened. only a few years later, mjg59 published a review of devices and found a 98% GPL Violations rate.

This brief talk invites skilled dedicated Libre/Open engineers to consider this rather delicate and simple question: why are we doing this? Why are we spending vast amounts of time and effort - mostly without being paid - taking 3 months to 3 years to reverse-engineer hardware that was a design concept at least 12 to 18 months before it first hit the shelves?