More on Protecting Source Code

dsavitsk dsavitsk at
Tue Sep 17 06:46:44 CEST 2002

"David LeBlanc" <whisper at> wrote in message
news:mailman.1032232999.22661.python-list at
> I have read what I consider to be the narrow minded and short sighted
> wrt to protecting IP in the form of Python source code, and I would like
> make a few points.
> * Not everyone believes that all or most software ought to be free. I for
> one, don't.
> * Owners of property have the right to control it. If you disagree and own
> nice car or house, I'll be right over :->
> * Why invest a substantial amount of time and money developing in a
> that makes it trivial to gain access to the work product?
> Python may be easy to use, but if it's also easy to steal software written
> in it, that's an impediment to it's being widely used in commercial
> products, especially shrink-wrapped products. Perhaps that's a reason why
> there seems to be so few commercial products in Python, beyond those that
> are fairly closely licensed and/or have substantial parts of the app
> in C/C++.
> I suppose one solution is to modify the Python interpreter with different
> op-codes and that ought to make it somewhat painful for the average
> A better solution is to make a .pyc file approximately as hard as a binary
> .exe file to decompile - however that could be done.
> David LeBlanc
> Seattle, WA USA

I agree that some things should not be open source, but at some point,
however obfuscating the source seems like the wrong way.  In truth most
homes, and all cars, are trivial to break into. Yet we still park on the
street relying on our neighbors to respect the law. In the same way, a
software license should be enough to stop theft.

Further, there are daily calls in newsgroups requesting decompilers to
recover lost source code.  I am comforted knowing that as long as it runs I
can get it back.

I trust my users to respect my rules for software I develop.  Perhaps for
widely distributed projects Python is not the proper choice.  But no single
tool is always appropriate, and for times that one can expect some level or
honesty, Python works.


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