Tuesday, March 27, 2012

how not to compete with free

A while back I got an e-mail from Adam Osborne asking me to delete this blog post. [Note that the Adam I reference there is not Adam Osborne.] His primary bone of contention was that when people search for Defrag.NSF, a product he created and sells, my post is the third listed in Google. I'm sympathetic to his plight, but frankly that's not my problem.

Adam went on to say my post referenced DominoDefrag, and he objected to that because:
History shows that DominoDefrag has systematically implemented similar features as those contained in Defrag.NSF, even to the point where it implemented an algorithm that we had a patent for.
This pissed me off for a few reasons. First and foremost, Adam's inability to compete isn't my problem. Secondly, if you have a legal claim you need to take it up in a court of law. And finally, if you read my post you will see that I don't mention DominoDefrag. That's because I wrote this on 23 March 2009, three weeks before the DominoDefrag project was established.

Since Adam did cite a legal issue I asked if he had documentation of the infringement. He conceded he did not and cited legal costs as a deterrent. At this point I could have walked away, but my sense of fairness was tweaked. I thought the author of DominDefrag deserved to know that these accusations were being made. I looked up the project on OpenNTF and contacted  the project leader, Andrew Luder, to get his take on it.

Andrew was surprised because he thought this matter was resolved in September 2010. That was when he had his last correspondence with Adam. He admitted he had unknowingly infringed Adam's patent, which was only applicable in Australia. As soon as he was notified he destroyed that version and switched to a different technique. Andrew was astonished that over a year later Adam was still crying foul. He copied his lawyer on the e-mail thread, who advised Andrew and me that the matter was legally resolved. Since I didn't even mention DominoDefrag in my post I was clearly not at fault.

I am sharing this because Adam tried to bully me and slander Andrew. I won't tolerate that.


  1. I must say hats off to you for doing some homework rather than just leaving it at "my blog has nothing to do with your inability to compete". Some could say this is just one side of the story, which is true to a sense, but until Adam replies as to the lawyer saying it has been resolved we have to take his word for it.

  2. Andrew shared the legal documentation showing that this was resolved. Adam seems to be trying to appeal to the court of public opinion. He happened to miscalculate where my sympathies lie.

    Incidentally, at its core Adam's patented technique is one that I know for certain several people have infringed, including me. Essentially you and add a large file to a Notes database then delete it. This extends the size of your database, giving you white space for new document. It also prevents rewriting the NSF as frequently as you might otherwise. Adam adds the step of defragging the NSF, of course.

  3. I think this is what happens when people try to be big fish in a little pond !
    Kudos to you for sticking up for the little fish...
    I hope we get Adam Osbournes take on this, but I wont be holding my breath....