Fri, 08 Oct 2004

Reverse Engineering, aka. Science

I've been thinking further on why banning "reverse engineering" is so odious to those in the engineering field. "Reverse engineering" means to figure out how something works by examining it. You see how it behaves, you peer in the cracks, and then you pull it apart and see how the pieces fit together, and what they do. This technique is fundamental to science: explore the world around you. Naturally, you need tools to investigate these things: in the physical world, microscopes and tweezers. For software, it's debuggers, packet sniffers and disassemblers.

Banning "reverse engineering" is equivalent to drawing a pentagram around something and saying "science can't go in here", and should be treated with the same disdain.

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