An interesting story on code theft.
While on Indian authorship, plagiarism and stuff, I'd love to share with you a couple of experiences I have had in the recent past.
I recently came across a book called "Encryption: Protecting your Data" by Whiz Kid Ankit Fadia. Now this kid might have been good, at least popular prejudices teach you to think he is - because he is at Stanford. But, I got the impression that his co-author, one babe called Jaya Bhattacharya, did most of the pages for this book - and at the beginning of the book, there is a section on this lass that showers lavish praises on her with lines like - "the constant guidance of Ankit Fadia made her one of the few successful candidates ... This course aroused her interest immensely in the field of Encryption ...". Interesting choice of words, one would have to say.
Here is a piece of code for base64 encoding, which appears in the book. Well actually the book does not say so, but this is the source from which they copied the code verbatim into the third chapter of their book (pages 28 - 33) - except for the header comments crediting the original author which were left out in the book. Apparently, this code is written only for Macs, and some of the headers like <appletdefs.h> and <iac.h> are for Mac too - coming from FrontierSDK - some framework exclusively for Macs. Nowhere in the book is anything about Macintosh's and Frontier SDK mentioned and it is not normal to sell a book on Mac programming in India (apart from some Objective C and Cocoa books) - let alone have one by an Indian author. Needless to say, they did not try to compile it even once - or else they would have seen the issues themselves. Otherwise, if we give the authors the benefit of the doubt that they did all their coding on a Mac, then at least that needs to be mentioned in the book.
Here is another specimen:
This is from the back cover of a book called Enterprise JavaBeans by Ivan Bayross (and family and friends). The above text should tell you everything - there is not much to read between the lines here.
So really, this is what it takes to write a book on computing in India.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Posted by Arindam Mukherjee at 3:08 am