> The [Apple Computer] garage is a bit of a myth. We did no designs there, no breadboarding, no prototyping, no planning of products. We did no manufacturing there.
> The work was being done—soldering things together, putting the chips together, designing them, drawing them on drafting tables—at my cubicle at Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino. That was an incredible time. It let me do a lot of side projects - Steve Wozniak

The Apple I computer was "slacking off at work" in action. Just imagine doing this today, good luck on not getting your copyright claimed by the company.

@niconiconi if you want a thing genuinely developed by 2 guys in a shed, look no further than Accuaracy International's Precision Marksman rifle

@wolf480pl Funny that Wozniak designed the Apple I at HP's office, as HP's first product, the HP200A signal generator (1939), was genuinely developed by Hewlett & Packard in a garage.

It was Wien bridge oscillator that abuses an incandescent light bulb for gain stabilization (temperature coefficient of the filament acts as feedback) to create very-low-distortion sine waves, quite innovative at that time.

@niconiconi every place ive worked at has had clauses that say they own your work if you do this

@niconiconi HP being lax about this back then is literally cited as a reason to have strict documents about not doing outside work with Company Resources these days. Silicon Valley is very much not what it once was.

@tfb @niconiconi The way IP works you can't even work on stuff like that without company resources. They can claim anything you produce that relates to that business as long as you're employed there. And Google is super strict about it, making you get permission before you even type a code snippet on Stack Overflow (I'm dead serious).

@freakazoid @niconiconi Google sounds like an absolute hell to work at. My employer doesn't think they own things unrelated to their business that I do on my own time, and certainly trusts me to exist in public. Being required to ask daddy for permission before posting on a forum sounds truly miserable.

@freakazoid @tfb @niconiconi one of the main maintainers of Apache Traffic Server was hired by Apple and after that, every line of code he wrote had to go thru Legal. So he stopped committing. (and one of our other devs committed his code. (without attribution.))

@meena @tfb @niconiconi Isn't it interesting how a company that benefits so heavily from open source can have policies that are so detrimental to it?

@freakazoid @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia Cross that stuff out before signing employment contracts.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia Sure, because Google and Apple totally let people cross stuff out on their contracts.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia Well, in any case, the problem is that there's nothing in the employment contract about it. It's company policy, and the definition of "work for hire" means they own anything you create that relates to their business, whether or not you agree to it in the employment contract. All you can do in employment contracts (at least in California) is exclude specific things. So at the very least you'd need to add verbiage, not cross it out.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia Theoretically any company could come back and claim something you made while employed there that didn't relate to their business, so an approved project or contribution from Google or Facebook is on more solid legal ground than one from a company without such a policy. The real problem is that the approval tends to take a long time, especially (at least in Google's case) if you want to retain copyright.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia So it seems like all you can really do is work at a company small enough that their business doesn't overlap the stuff you want to work on in your spare time, or that has a speedy approval process.

@freakazoid @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia My partner always makes sure his private projects are protected before signing contracts and he’s never had a problem. My partner is also white, male, and was practically born with a keyboard in his hands, but still. The more people who are able to push back on this sort of thing but don’t, the more it remains normalized for everyone.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia Oh, sure, you can easily protect existing projects. They give you a form to list them on when you first get hired. Though note they are essentially going through the same approval process, just an accelerated one; they could say "sorry you can't continue to work on this project if you want to work here" if they wanted. The exact same process exists for new projects, it just takes a lot longer.

@freakazoid @holly @tfb @niconiconi

Situation in UK is also not 100% clear, although law generally favours the employer *if* their resources are used/its part of the contract.

Objecting to company policy usually results in employment being terminated early in probation period (you aren't forced to do something you disagree with, the company isn't forced to hire you either).

My main employer is 100% upfront about rules on hiring, but its not a tech business..

@freakazoid @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia current and future projects both. Money isn’t the only thing that’s negotiable in an employment contract.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia I worked at Google 3 years and was a manager there. I guarantee you people below level 7 or 8 aren't getting blanket approval to start any project they want or make any contribution they want without approval.

@holly @tfb @niconiconi @vfrmedia The kind of people who could negotiate that are the ones bringing home 7 figure salaries.

@freakazoid @holly @tfb @niconiconi

in the medium size non tech business (health and social care) where I work, bosses aren't concerned if someone has another job as long as they don't spend so long awake they were unable to do their day job or get into a road traffic incident due to sleep deprivation (there are clauses against working for direct competitors, or breaching GDPR rules (which is a separate offence in itself).

@niconiconi @tfb By the 1980s it was definitely HP policy that they could claim rights to outside work you did, even without the use of HP resources. I was employed by HP in the UK then and did some work for a friend (firmware for an electronic barograph for use in gliders) but got a letter from HR saying they they wouldn't invoke that right in that particular case.


Just imagine trying to do this in an "open office" setup.

@niconiconi @ND3JR For that matter, it could’ve happened to Woz back then, too. HP had rights of first refusal due to his using HP resources to design it, and if I recall iWoz correctly, they only refused it because they were too short-sighted to see the personal computer market that way.

@niconiconi woz, being the too-nice guy that he is ❤️ , actually asked permission! while steam came out jobs' ears... :)

it's one of woz's favorite stories, just search for: "I begged HP to make the Apple I"

@niconiconi interested in the full story do you have a link to the interview?
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