Can an Idea be Stolen?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – Can an idea really be stolen? If somebody does something good once, then it's impossible for someone to do something remotely similar without other people claiming that they stole the idea? If this is the case then all the operating systems out there wouldn't resemble each other in the slightest. Heck Linus Torvalds himself didn't set out to reinvent the wheel he set out to develop a unix clone for his personal use. Seriously when will people stop bickering and realize that smart people will come up with similar ideas. also if someone copied my idea i would be flattered not offended. So plea (Hardware)