Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:02 UTC, submitted by viator
Legal If you can't compete, litigate. This train of thought has been quite prevalent among major technology companies as of late, most notably by Apple and Microsoft, who both cannot compete with Android on merit, so they have to resort to patent lawsuits and FUD. Both Asustek and Acer have revealed that Microsoft plans to impose royalty fees upon the two Taiwanese hardware makers to prevent them from shipping Android and/or Chrome OS devices.
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Zero surprise.
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:18 UTC
TheGZeus
Member since:
2010-05-19

I have absolutely no shock here.

Horrifying anti-competitive practices are par for the course with Microsoft.
It's like a bad horror series. They just pound you with gore until you're bored...

Reply Score: 9

v RE: Zero surprise.
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:10 UTC in reply to "Zero surprise."
RE[2]: Zero surprise.
by TheGZeus on Fri 29th Oct 2010 20:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Zero surprise."
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

I didn't say "illegal" I said "anti-competitive".
Jim Crow was legal. It was also evil.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Zero surprise.
by JAlexoid on Fri 29th Oct 2010 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Zero surprise."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I am no fan of Microsoft but asking a company to pay for a license fee for a patent you hold is perfectly legal.

]{


Really, even when they will* demand a cut of GLOBAL sales and not only the ones in the patent's jurisdiction? I.e if you live in a country where software patents are not valid, you will be paying MS for it. No wonder I refuse to buy a single license for MS's products(Ubuntu is the only OS installed on my machine). And when I have to use, I use a pirated version of anything from MS**.

*- And by a number of past convictions, we know they will

**- Principle = they steal from me, I steal from them.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Zero surprise.
by lemur2 on Sat 30th Oct 2010 12:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Zero surprise."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I am no fan of Microsoft but asking a company to pay for a license fee for a patent you hold is perfectly legal.


What is your view about this situation, however, where Microsoft is asking a company to pay for a license to Microsoft patents which the company's products do not embody?

BTW: It has been said many times before that the easiest way to spot a Microsoft astroturfer is when they helpfully identify themselves by prefacing their posts by saying "I am no fan of Microsoft".

It is truly a great help, so thanks for that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Zero surprise.
by fewt on Sat 30th Oct 2010 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Zero surprise."
fewt Member since:
2010-06-09

That tin foil hat is pretty snug huh? Funny how people aren't allowed to have dissenting opinions without getting accused of being paid by company X. There really are free thinkers that happen disagree with you; this doesn't make them "paid M$ $hills", it just means that they disagree. Making baseless accusations doesn't strengthen your argument, it weakens it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Zero surprise.
by TheGZeus on Sat 30th Oct 2010 16:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Zero surprise."
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

It makes them fools, regardless.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Zero surprise.
by fewt on Sun 31st Oct 2010 01:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Zero surprise."
fewt Member since:
2010-06-09

No, it certainly does not.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Zero surprise.
by lemur2 on Sun 31st Oct 2010 11:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Zero surprise."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

That tin foil hat is pretty snug huh? Funny how people aren't allowed to have dissenting opinions without getting accused of being paid by company X. There really are free thinkers that happen disagree with you; this doesn't make them "paid MS $hills", it just means that they disagree. Making baseless accusations doesn't strengthen your argument, it weakens it.


So you are not prepared then to give us your view on this situation, wherein Microsoft is asking a company to pay for a license to Microsoft patents which the company's products do not embody?

Why am I not surprised?

BTW, it occurs to me to ponder ... why would anybody who is not working for Microsoft's interests, on a topic where someone started out by claiming that "they are no fan of Microsoft", be afraid to give us their opinion on that point?

What could possibly be holding you back, fewt?

Edited 2010-10-31 11:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Zero surprise.
by fewt on Sun 31st Oct 2010 12:13 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Zero surprise."
fewt Member since:
2010-06-09

"Microsoft is asking a company to pay for a license to Microsoft patents which the company's products do not embody?"

You have no evidence that Android contains no Microsoft patented technology. Your comment is purely speculation.

"Why am I not surprised?"

It is easy for you to jump to conclusions it seems. A common artifact of a paranoid delusion.

"BTW, it occurs to me to ponder ... why would anybody who is not working for Microsoft's interests, on a topic where someone started out by claiming that "they are no fan of Microsoft", be afraid to give us their opinion on that point?"

What could possibly be holding you back, fewt?"

Oh, I see. So I get a paycheck from Microsoft too, huh. I hadn't given an opinion because I don't have all of the facts. What I do know though is that you don't have all of the facts either, yet here you are pretending that you do. If Microsoft has patents on technology in Android, Microsoft has a right to royalties on device sales within countries where patent laws allow it. This is the law, even if you don't like it. These various vendors are free to take Microsoft to court if they believe that Microsoft is wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Zero surprise.
by TheGZeus on Tue 2nd Nov 2010 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Zero surprise."
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

No evidence? Patents are public record, and the code is there to read.

Reply Score: 1

In bigger picture this is an American protectionism
by dsmogor on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:44 UTC in reply to "Zero surprise."
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

This is more. An American company is using dubious American patent system rejected elsewhere to prevent foreign producers from entering American market with their solutions without paying a penalty fee.
This is nothing but kind of protectionism and should therefore be dealt with by some trade regulating international body.

Reply Score: 4

v Comment by rubberneck
by rubberneck on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:24 UTC
RE: Comment by rubberneck
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by rubberneck"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Flame-bait.
Not biting.

Reply Score: 3

v RE: Comment by rubberneck
by tomcat on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by rubberneck"
RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by rubberneck"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Good people violate bad laws. If the law told you to kill a kitten evry morning, would you do it?

Reply Score: 7

v RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck
by tomcat on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck"
RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Software didn't exist then, and patents on 'processes' didn't exist until the 1960s.

History fail.

Reply Score: 7

RE[5]: Comment by rubberneck
by tomcat on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:30 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Software didn't exist then, and patents on 'processes' didn't exist until the 1960s. History fail.


That's beside the point. Patents protect inventions. Whether those ideas are manifested in software or physical atoms is irrelevant.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by rubberneck
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by rubberneck"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

...no.
You cannot patent a _concept_. It does not work logically.
See the short (though somewhat boring) film 'Patent Absurdity' for specific examples of where the idea of process patents falls on its face.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by rubberneck
by thelastdodo on Fri 29th Oct 2010 21:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by rubberneck"
thelastdodo Member since:
2008-10-07

I have a patent on the way your brain works. It involves conversion from characters to binaries. I am afraid we would have to kill you to end this patent violation.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I suggest you read your own constitution. You don't want to pull an O'Donnell in public.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[5]: Comment by rubberneck
by tomcat on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck"
RE[6]: Comment by rubberneck
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by rubberneck"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Bite you tongue, son.

You might want to read up on the history of software patents in the US, and how the US Supreme Court was decidedly against them for much of the latter half of the 20th century. It wasn't until the '90s that patents on software became accepted, mostly due to a string of three rulings: the decisions In re Alappat in 1994 and In re Lowry in 1994 (which basically said that a new algorithm combined with a trivial hardware device was patentable), culminating in State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group in 1998, which stated that a calculation which produced a "useful, concrete and tangible result" was patentable - hardware or no.

The final deathknell came from none other than Bill Clinton himself, who made the brilliant*cough* move of appointing a lobbyist from the software industry, Bruce Lehman, as commissioner of the USPTO in 1994. Before that, the USPTO refused to grant patents on software. After that - well, the guy was a lobbyist from the software industry. Do the math.

Please, don't act all arrogant because I'm not an American. I'm pretty well-versed in these matters, and me not being an American does not mean I don't understand how this stuff works.

Edited 2010-10-28 21:50 UTC

Reply Score: 16

RE[7]: Comment by rubberneck
by tomcat on Sat 30th Oct 2010 02:04 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by rubberneck"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Bite you tongue, son. You might want to read up on the history of software patents in the US, and how the US Supreme Court was decidedly against them for much of the latter half of the 20th century.


It's foolhardy to take the opinion of the Supreme Court at any given point in history as a defacto interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The USSC often gets things wrong. Many of our citizens weren't considered "full persons" because of their ethnicity or sex for the greater part of our heritage.

The Court didn't understand that software -- even if it isn't manifested as a physical device -- is still machinery. They saw software primarily as an abstract concept -- or a series of steps or a process -- which was fundamentally wrong. In its purest sense, software IS machinery.

And there's nothing peculiar about software that would warrant excluding it from patent protection. The fact that you might blunder into my invention with the use of an editor and a compiler is no different than if you built a similar machine in your garage.

So, get off my lawn.

It wasn't until the '90s that patents on software became accepted, mostly due to a string of three rulings...


But that wasn't the first time that software patents were validated. Try Diamond v. Diehr in 1981. From that point on, the writing was on the wall.

Please, don't act all arrogant because I'm not an American.


Uh, I'm arrogant ... because I'm arrogant. Not because you're from the Netherlands.

I'm pretty well-versed in these matters, and me not being an American does not mean I don't understand how this stuff works.


Being well-versed doesn't mean your opinion is correct. If anything, people who argue against software patent protection are more luddites holding pitchforks than anything else.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by rubberneck
by imthefrizzlefry on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck"
imthefrizzlefry Member since:
2010-10-28

I think the problem is that these patents don't seem to promote the progress of the sciences or the useful arts. All they seem to do is make the market less competitive by forcing companies to pay large sums of "protection" money, or go out of business trying to fight it in civil court.

After making a claim, Microsoft will require a court order for every line of code that needs to be questioned, meaning that both parties need to pay large court fees. In the end, who ever has the biggest budget will win.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck
by dsmogor on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Promoting a system that allows patenting BS, obvious ideas is simply a protectionism. And US trade authorities should have it's ass kicked before some international body for that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck
by re_re on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck"
re_re Member since:
2005-07-06

So many kittens, so little time.

Reply Score: 4

Yes. You should kill a kitten
by daddio on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck"
daddio Member since:
2007-07-14
RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck
by thavith_osn on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck"
thavith_osn Member since:
2005-07-11

I don't like cats ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Companies have fiduciary duty to their shareholders to make money. Microsoft is doing that, the law is on their side.

Making use a of rights granted to you under the law to get compensation is not even in the same ballpark as killing things.

( ... you realize that unless your a vegetarian there are many birds/animals being killed to feed you but your somehow cool with that while a patent issue invokes moral outrage?).

]{

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Comment by rubberneck
by Johann Chua on Sat 30th Oct 2010 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by rubberneck"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Plenty of animals are killed in the process of growing/harvesting crops.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by rubberneck"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"How about Google paying for proper royalties, and licensing Android so this nonsense won't happen. Then they can compete on merit.
Because the geeks on this thread don't acknowledge the primacy of patent law in the U.S. market, so they can't even entertain such conversations. Which is why you've been marked down by them. "

Hardly. The fact of the matter is that Google's OS probably doesn't contain the patented "inventions" in the first place.

Android isn't Microsoft's code. FAT or email aren't Microsoft's inventions. Linux doesn't work like Windows.

Period.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by rubberneck
by JAlexoid on Fri 29th Oct 2010 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by rubberneck"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Because the geeks on this thread don't acknowledge the primacy of patent law in the U.S. market, so they can't even entertain such conversations. Which is why you've been marked down by them.


Problem is that Microsoft will use the US law to enforce the patent fees on consumers in all countries. No matter how important you think US is, that is just wrong.

Reply Score: 2

anti-competitive
by Soulbender on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:29 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

I'm sure there's some kind of law against this kind of thing. Right? Isn't the free market supposed to be about competition and innovation? You know, prices drop and uncompetitive products gets obsoleted, all for the better for the consumer.
With this kind of shit we might as well live in the former soviet union or north korea. Heck, not much difference if the jackboot heel belong to the government or some corporation.

Reply Score: 7

RE: anti-competitive
by fretinator on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:28 UTC in reply to "anti-competitive"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

I think the confusion centers around the term "free market". To many, that means everyone being able to compete equally based on the merits of their products. However, currently, it means the government closes their eyes and lets the big players do whatever they can to corner the market, including abusing the broken patent system.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: anti-competitive
by fretinator on Thu 28th Oct 2010 21:17 UTC in reply to "RE: anti-competitive"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Sometimes it is the way you use a term that matters.

For instance, one might say, "We are not charging for this product, it is 'free for all'".

On the other hand, one might say, "The judges in the Federal Eastern District of Texas, whose noses are firmly planted between the buttocks of big business, have created a 'free-for-all'".

It's all about how you use the term.

Reply Score: 3

RE: anti-competitive
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:14 UTC in reply to "anti-competitive"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

I'm sure there's some kind of law against this kind of thing. Right?


No there is not. In fact, patent law is on the side of Microsoft here.

With this kind of shit we might as well live in the former soviet union or north korea. Heck, not much difference if the jackboot heel belong to the government or some corporation.


Actually, in the 'former soviet union', china, and many other less then democratic places patent and copyright laws are either lax or not enforced or both. It's really in the countries that are the bastion of democracy where this stuff happens.

]{

Reply Score: 1

how about
by shotsman on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:31 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

These manufacturers give two fingers to the US market and sell exclusivey to the rest of the world.
After all, even the Eu is a bigger market place that the US of A. Add that to the rest of the world where thay don't pay for Windows anyway, you have a vibrant market.
Then guys, advertise the fact that you haven't been Microsoft's bitch then you are onto a winner.
Why not let Microsoft wall up their own backyard and leave the rest of the world to get on with business eh?

Reply Score: 8

RE: how about
by MattPie on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:34 UTC in reply to "how about"
MattPie Member since:
2006-04-18

These manufacturers give two fingers to the US market and sell exclusivey to the rest of the world.

Chopping off a significant portion of your target market for ideology is rarely a good business idea.

Edited 2010-10-28 18:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: how about
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:09 UTC in reply to "RE: how about"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

These manufacturers give two fingers to the US market and sell exclusivey to the rest of the world. Chopping off a significant portion of your target market for ideology is rarely a good business idea.


If this is so, why don't Microsoft write their applications to be easily portable, so that they could sell the exact same version of MS Office for Windows, Mac and Linux?

Doing that would expand the market into which Microsoft could sell Office, and it would also mean that Microsoft would not have to spend energy and money on lawyers trying to suppress other operating systems.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: how about
by JAlexoid on Fri 29th Oct 2010 22:28 UTC in reply to "RE: how about"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Chopping off a significant portion of your target market for ideology is rarely a good business idea.


I totally agree, it's just I don't agree that the royalties for patents that are valid in one, or a small number of countries, would be spread out globally. Specially, where the company that pays the patent royalties isn't even based in US (I'm talking HTC, Asus...).

Reply Score: 2

RE: how about
by bogomipz on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:19 UTC in reply to "how about"
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

I had the same or similar thoughts. Why on earth would US laws affect these Asian companies to a significant degree? Sure it can prevent them from selling devices in the US, but isn't the rest of the world a big enough market for these products to be successful? If the US does not want to be a functional market place, why bother to play there?

When Europe and Asia have a butt load of insanely great mobile products, while US consumers suffer under Apple and MS dictatorship, citizens will make some noise. Either the government will finally "get it", or it will show its real face, betray its people, and work against what the country is supposed to be all about. Land of opportunity, my ass.

Reply Score: 3

Threatened
by vivainio on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:42 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

Microsoft wouldn't do something as drastic as this if it wasn't seriously threatened. And I thought MSFT had completely bought out Asus already ("It's better with Windows" or whatever).

Seems like Asus is back in our camp.

Incidentally, how can they extort Chrome OS? It should be pretty clean, it's just Linux with a browser.

(Android, as it appears, is infringing every copyright known to man by running unlicensed Java (r) from Oracle ;-)

Reply Score: 6

RE: Threatened
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 18:47 UTC in reply to "Threatened"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

FAT32 patents.
That's how they got HTC.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Threatened
by l3v1 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Threatened"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

FAT32 patents.
That's how they got HTC.


Fortunately ChromeOS/Linux support quite a number of great file systems (and in the case of ChromeOS the local FS doesn't matter that much, so FAT32 could be stripped out and nobody would care), unlike some other who likes to threaten more than to compete,

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Threatened
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Threatened"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Indeed.

The issue is that all SD cards would need to be re-formatted and interoperability would be destroyed.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Threatened
by bogomipz on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Threatened"
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

So basically, it's illegal to make devices that are compatible with how every memory card on the planet is meant to be used?

Surely, the cards are meant to be used with FAT32 since they come pre-formatted that way.

Of course, devices that complement Windows powered devices are allowed to use FAT32. Outcasting camera makers, for instance, would just make FAT32 less useful. Microsoft probably want all complementing products, but no competing products, to use their "standard".

Reply Score: 6

RE[5]: Threatened
by Neolander on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Threatened"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

So basically, it's illegal to make devices that are compatible with how every memory card on the planet is meant to be used?

Surely, the cards are meant to be used with FAT32 since they come pre-formatted that way.

Of course, devices that complement Windows powered devices are allowed to use FAT32. Outcasting camera makers, for instance, would just make FAT32 less useful. Microsoft probably want all complementing products, but no competing products, to use their "standard".

+1 Insightful ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

So basically, it's illegal to make devices that are compatible with how every memory card on the planet is meant to be used? Surely, the cards are meant to be used with FAT32 since they come pre-formatted that way. Of course, devices that complement Windows powered devices are allowed to use FAT32. Outcasting camera makers, for instance, would just make FAT32 less useful. Microsoft probably want all complementing products, but no competing products, to use their "standard".


There is no problem with FAT32. There is only a problem with writing both long filenames and short filesnames on a FAT32 filesystem for the same file at the same time.

This is why makers of SD cards are not sued ... there are no files on the cards.

This is why a lot of cameras save files as 8.3 filenames. Have you seen my latest photo .... DSC21867.JPG ?

(DSC probably stands for Digital Still Camera, BTW).

None of this violates Microsoft-held patents. The FAT filesystem is an IBM invention ... floppy disks existed with FAT filesystems well before the first ever version of MSDOS.

Linux doesn't violate Microsoft's long filename on FAT32 patents either, because it never writes bot a long filename and a short filename for the same file.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Threatened
by rjamorim on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:52 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Threatened"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

The FAT filesystem is an IBM invention ...


No it is not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#History

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Fri 29th Oct 2010 01:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

So basically, it's illegal to make devices that are compatible with how every memory card on the planet is meant to be used? Surely, the cards are meant to be used with FAT32 since they come pre-formatted that way. Of course, devices that complement Windows powered devices are allowed to use FAT32. Outcasting camera makers, for instance, would just make FAT32 less useful. Microsoft probably want all complementing products, but no competing products, to use their "standard".


Microsoft's patents in question are not for FAT32 per se, they are for writing long filenames to FAT32 filesystems.

Backup:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table
FAT file systems are commonly found on floppy disks, flash memory cards, digital cameras, and many other portable devices because of their relative simplicity. For floppy disks, the FAT has been standardized as ECMA-107 and ISO/IEC 9293. Those standards include only FAT12 and FAT16 without long filename support; long filenames with FAT is partially patented.


It is only the long filename functionality that is patented, and AFAIK even more specifically the patents protect Microsoft's "invention" of a way to store both long and short filenames for the same file.

Digital Still Cameras typically avoid this patent by not writing long filenames.

http://ask.metafilter.com/35663/DSCF
Camera types and filename structure:

"dcp#####.jpg" - Kodak, range of 0 to 4000
"dsc#####.jpg" - Nikon, range of 0 to 4000
"dscn####.jpg" - Nikon, range of 0 to 4000
"mvc-###.jpg" - Sony Mavica
"mvc#####.jpg" - Sony Mavica
"P101####.jpg" - Olympus, Using default camera date of 101
"PMDD####.jpg" - Olympus, M is in hex from 1 to c, DD is 01-31
"IMG_###.jpg" - Some other camera
"IMAG####.jpg" - RCA and Samsung
"1##-####.jpg" - Canon 1TH-TH## thousands, hundreds
"1##-####_IMG.jpg" - Alternate Canon name. MUCH thanks to Donald
"IMG_####.jpg" - Canon
"_MG_####.jpg" - Canon raw conversion. Thanks to Ira
"dscf####.jpg" - Fuji Finepix
"pdrm####.jpg" - Toshiba PDR
"IM######.jpg" - HP Photosmart
"EX######.jpg" - HP Photosmart timelapse?
"DC####S.jpg" - Kodak DC-40,50,120 S is (L)arge, (M)eduim, (S)mall. Thanks to Pholph
"pict####.jpg" - Minolta Dimage. Thanks to Bram
"P#######.JPG" - Kodak DC290. Thanks to Peter
"MMDD####.JPG" - Casio QV3000 and QV4000. Thanks to Fabian
"YYMDD###.JPG" - Casio QV7000 - M is hex. Thanks to Kimble
"IMGP####.JPG" - Pentax Optio S. Thanks to Matthew
"PANA####.JPG" - Panasonic video camera stills. Thanks to DeAnne
"Image(##).JPG" - Nokia 3650 camera phone. Thanks to usmanc
"DSCI####.JPG" - Polaroid PDC2070. Thanks to David


It is interesting that most of the discussion in the link above has totally missed the real point about not using long filenames in digital still cameras, which is done only so that digital camera makers do not have to pay Microsoft for this silliness.

Edited 2010-10-29 01:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Fri 29th Oct 2010 03:10 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Digital Still Cameras typically avoid this patent by not writing long filenames.


USB flash media devices, SD cards and the like generally avoid this patent by virtue of the fact that they don't (in and of themselves) write to the filesystem. They are generally "block devices".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_file#Block_devices

It is the way that the OS organises the blocks of storage on such a device that constitutes what is known as a filesystem.

Even if a new USB flash media device that you purchase comes formatted as FAT32 and it has some files on it, and even if those files have long filenames, then as long as the files were written on to the flash media by a Windows machine then the flash media device itself has not violated the patent.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Threatened
by vodoomoth on Fri 29th Oct 2010 07:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Threatened"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


Even if a new USB flash media device that you purchase comes formatted as FAT32 and it has some files on it, and even if those files have long filenames, then as long as the files were written on to the flash media by a Windows machine then the flash media device itself has not violated the patent.

Which is absolutely insane to the point that I wonder how the people whose job gives them some power (judges, governing bodies, governments, etc.) have let that happen.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Threatened
by BlueofRainbow on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Threatened"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Removing FAT32 as a installable file system to circumvent this situation would also reduce the interportability with the USB Flash/Hard drives and all the other devices (cameras, mp3 players, mp4 players, etc. we have become dependent on) using this file system.

If pushed too hard in this regards, the community and interested hardware and software parties will likely find a way around this. Maybe time to do this sooner than later anyways as eventually the capacities of USB Flash/Hard drives and memory cards on devices will exceed the limits of the FAT32 system!

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If pushed too hard in this regards, the community and interested hardware and software parties will likely find a way around this.


They already have. Over two years ago.

http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/07/vfat-linux-patch-co...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10278003-16.html

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Indeed. The issue is that all SD cards would need to be re-formatted and interoperability would be destroyed.


No need to do that. Linux doesn't violate Microsoft's patents for long filenames on FAT32 filesystems, and "FAT filesystems" itself is an IBM invention.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Threatened
by ChoK on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Threatened"
ChoK Member since:
2010-06-02

I'm pretty sure chrome OS devices will have an USB port. FAT32 and maybe soon exFAT will be needed for compatibility with windows people.

Edit: the comments system seems a tad broken, I remember comments being in tree view, classified by topic. Now with have 4 people answering the same thing to the "drop FAT32" comment.

Edited 2010-10-28 20:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Threatened
by vivainio on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Threatened"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

FAT32 patents.
That's how they got HTC.


I don't think so, IIRC fat code was cleared of patent threads earlier.

They cite:

"Microsoft plans to impose royalty fees on Taiwan-based vendors of Android handsets for using its patents in e-mail, multimedia and other functions"

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

FAT32 patents. That's how they got HTC.


Linux doesn't violate any of Microsoft's patents for long filenames on FAT32. Microsoft hold patents for being able to write both a long file name and a short file name (the old 8.3 FILE.NAM) for the same file at the same time in a FAT32 directory.

Linux doesn't do that. Linux writes either a long filename, or a short filename, but never both. It doesn't violate Microsoft's patent, because it simply doesn't do the patented function.

The FAT filesystem itself is an IBM invention, BTW.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Threatened
by TheGZeus on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Threatened"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

I didn't say they violated them. I said that's what they used against HTC.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I didn't say they violated them. I said that's what they used against HTC.


You are spot on. Fair enough.

Nevertheless, this is the whole bone of contention here. Microsoft is persecuting OEMs for installing Android by threatening lawsuits over patents which Android does not violate.

Android is not written by Microsoft. Linux doesn't work like Windows. No Microsoft patents in question are violated.

So where does Microsoft get off threatening companies?

THAT is the crux of the matter.

Edited 2010-10-28 23:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Threatened
by rjamorim on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Threatened"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

The FAT filesystem itself is an IBM invention, BTW.


No it is not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#History

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Threatened"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"The FAT filesystem itself is an IBM invention, BTW.
No it is not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#History "

My bad. I thought it was from CP/M (certainly CP/M had floppy disks):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M#Disk_formats

But apparently only the essential ideas of floppy-disk filesystems came from there, and not the formal filesystem itself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M#MS-DOS_takes_over

Mea culpa.

Nevertheless, Microsoft's current patents do not cover the FAT filesystem per se. This stuff came into being circa 1980, and any patents that may have been contemplated at that time will have long expired by now.

That I suppose is the main point to hang on to.

Edited 2010-10-28 23:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Despicable.
by andydread on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:07 UTC
andydread
Member since:
2009-02-02

Microsoft Campaign to smear and scare people away form linux is well under way. Does anyone have the current list of casualties? Lets see. I can come up with
1) Novell
2) Linspire
3) Xandros
4) TomTom
5) IO-Data
6) Buffalo
7) Amazon
8) LG
9)

Reply Score: 7

RE: Despicable.
by arpan on Fri 29th Oct 2010 05:29 UTC in reply to "Despicable. "
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

I wouldn't count Lindows/Linspire as a casualty of MS smear campaign.

Microsoft sued Lindows and ended up having to pay them several million dollars!

Lindows ultimately failed because of poor business practices or inability to compete against free distros. Although with the cash the Microsoft ended up paying them, the founder probably didn't lose any money on the venture.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Despicable.
by BluenoseJake on Fri 29th Oct 2010 09:40 UTC in reply to "Despicable. "
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Novell is not a victim of MS in any way shape or form. Netware sucks, it's that simple. After version 3.x, it just continued to get crappier and crappier, without any real direction, and as Win NT and Linux became more capable, stable and useful, Netware fell to the wayside.

Novell's efforts to stay in the game were hurt by mismanagement, the purchase, mutilation, and sale of Word Perfect, and a management that has the corporate version of ADHD.

How are amazon and LG victims of MSs anything? Amazon is a huge business, doing well, and really doesn't have too much to do with MS, and LG is one of the largest manufacturers in the world, making, well everything. I have LG monitors, LG burners, an LG washer and dryer, and probably half a dozen rebranded LG products kicking around my house.

Edited 2010-10-29 09:43 UTC

Reply Score: 3

v Anti-competitive?
by pallen38 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:52 UTC
RE: Anti-competitive?
by l3v1 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 19:57 UTC in reply to "Anti-competitive?"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

How does protecting these patents make Microsoft anti-competitive?


Well, I don't know about you [well, actually I do, as your comment is telling enough], but not settling those eventual patent issues in court with Google, instead trying to gather some arbitrary amount of cash from whatever manufacturers doesn't seem to be a nice move to say the least, and it's definitely not the way any kind of patent disputes should be dealt with.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by pallen38 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
pallen38 Member since:
2010-10-28

"...doesn't seem to be a nice move to say the least, and it's definitely not the way any kind of patent disputes should be dealt with"

They are protecting their interests, and the law gives them this right. Is it 'nice'? No. Is it 'anti-competitive' in the legal sense? No.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by irbis on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

They are protecting their interests, and the law gives them this right. Is it 'nice'? No. Is it 'anti-competitive' in the legal sense? No.

Too bad but in this world those who have the money and the power often seem to decide which rules are accepted as common laws in a society (for example, the nonrealistic US software patent system that has quickly become a huge mess ridiculed by practically everyone already). However, in modern democracy laws should quarantee that eryone is treated equally. Laws should not just serve the interests of those who have more money and power in their hands, if we don't want to descend back to primitive totalitarianism.

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by _Nine_ on Fri 29th Oct 2010 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
_Nine_ Member since:
2010-10-13

Microsoft isn't doing this for the money or because its products can't compete on merit. On the contrary, several Windows Phone 7 reviews indicate otherwise. Rather, this move is to "encourage" these manufacturers to sign OEM agreements for Windows Phone 7 and whatever else the company has in store for the device market. If they sign up as OEMs, Microsoft likely will "look the other way" regarding the patent issues.

Basically, Microsoft is saying that it's easier (and maybe cheaper) to just do business with Microsoft. If these companies explicitly do NOT do business with Microsoft, well, MS is going cause you some headaches since you're effectively competing with them by selling Android devices. Are the patents valid? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, the system is what it is and MS is going to use it to its advantage. It's called leverage. Conversely, the manufacturers are free to use the system as well. They can give MS the finger and let it play out in the courts.

For the people saying there "should be laws against this kind of stuff," there also should be laws against unlawfully obtaining things and then using or re-distributing them at will. Oh wait, there are such laws--patent laws. You're approaching it with a biased perspective and are automatically assuming that these patents are absurd, that Google and the OEMs aren't doing anything wrong and it's just a result of MS's inability to field a competitive product. I'm not saying that's not the case here and the system surely needs improvement, particularly around what is and isn't patented and what that means. But, if your technology should be protected and the patents used to do it are valid, then is it so wrong to actually enforce the system, regardless of the competitive landscape?

Edited 2010-10-29 16:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 29th Oct 2010 16:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You're approaching it with a biased perspective and are automatically assuming that these patents are absurd


Yes.

Because they're software patents. Ergo, they are absurd.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Anti-competitive?
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Anti-competitive?"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Why are software patents any more absurd then hardware patents, drug patents, DNA related patents, etc?

The only real difference is the cost of implementation and testing, not the relevant intellectual challenge.

Or for that matter, how is it any less absurd then, say, 100+ year copyright on Disney cartoons, laws against witchcraft, laws against sodomy (involving consenting adults), etc, etc, etc.

Every country has lots of absurd laws. You may like some and you may not like some others but lambasting companies for working within the law to maximize their profits (which is their whole goal in life) hardly makes sense.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Anti-competitive?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 29th Oct 2010 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Anti-competitive?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Why are software patents any more absurd then hardware patents, drug patents, DNA related patents, etc?


Because software is written, in a language. It's math. It's already protected by copyright. Why are patents needed? Software patents are not patents on products - they're a patent on an idea, not an implementation.

For the very same reason, you cannot patent the concept or artificial lighting. You can, however, patent a new type of lightbulb that lasts longer and uses less electricity.

Software patents are no different than CNN patenting their report on a news event, and then suing the BBC for patent infringement because they report on the same story. If this sounds ridiculous to you, but you still support software patents, then you're a hypocrite. It's the EXACT same thing.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Anti-competitive?
by TheGZeus on Fri 29th Oct 2010 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Anti-competitive?"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Anything but hardware patents are absurd.
It's an actual product that exists and can be commercially sold, or be built by an individual.

The rest can be handled with either copyright, or should not be restricted.
Drugs? It's a chemical result, keep the method a trade secret. People die because they can't afford life-saving drugs, these companies rake in massive profits. I don't think they need patents.
DNA? That's a chemical structure that occurs naturally, and could easily occur randomly, and often is randomly created in nature, discovered, then patented. Those patents restrict cancer research. People die. That's evil.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by JAlexoid on Fri 29th Oct 2010 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Microsoft isn't doing this for the money or because its products can't compete on merit. On the contrary, several Windows Phone 7 reviews indicate otherwise. Rather, this move is to "encourage" these manufacturers to sign OEM agreements for Windows Phone 7 and whatever else the company has in store for the device market. If they sign up as OEMs, Microsoft likely will "look the other way" regarding the patent issues.


Yes, we know their OEM "deals". Witch is as much about racketeering as it is about giving access to their systems. Why racketeering? Because the payments are usually bound by the total number of devices manufactured, and not by the number of devices with tech that is licensed under the OEM agreement.

When you buy a non Windows HTC phone in Europe, you pay MS for a patent that is not valid in Europe!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Anti-competitive?
by Neolander on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:21 UTC in reply to "Anti-competitive?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

How does protecting these patents make Microsoft anti-competitive?

These patents date back from the stone age of computing, they should be public domain by now.

Using them is anti-competitive because younger companies cannot compete in the patent area with dinosaurs holding lots of patents on (now) obvious and very widespread things like FAT32.

In an area moving as fast as software, patents should have a much shorter lifetime, of say 5 years. That we can still infringe patents on things dating back from the Windows 95 era here in 2010 is just plain odd, and hurts innovation more than anything else. Paying for patents issued in the Vista era, otoh, I'd be okay with that, if the fees are reasonable and if the patent system allows small innovators to patent things too.

Edited 2010-10-28 20:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by grimshaid on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
grimshaid Member since:
2010-10-28

I think you might have made one of the most important points in the discussion in noting the duration of patents vs the ever-evolving software market. Previous patents upon invention were based upon a time frame dictated by a much slower process of development. Inventions being protected for 25 years was a lot more reasonable when the devices had little need to change over that duration, and there were fewer alternatives available or even necessary. In the software market, by comparison, things change almost at the blink of an eye and the same duration on patents lends itself more to allowing monopolies than protecting the market.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by Neolander on Fri 29th Oct 2010 17:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, several things sound broken in the software patent system, but the patent duration problem is the easiest to solve because it can be fixed with a simple change of law : reducing software patent lifetime.

The other major issue with software patents is when people are patenting the obvious (e.g. swipe to unlock), but solving this problem juridically would be much more difficult since "obvious" is hard to translate in legalese.

Edited 2010-10-29 17:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by nt_jerkface on Thu 28th Oct 2010 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Device companies play a big role in keeping FAT32 around. Windows can read EXT2/3 devices with a driver but device companies don't include support even though it is in their long term interest.

MS ironically ran into the same problem with WMA. It was the in best interest of device companies to migrate away from MP3 but they were too focused on short term profits.

Anyways FAT32 expires in 2014 so it is not as if they can charge forever.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Anti-competitive?
by lemur2 on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Anti-competitive?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Anyways FAT32 expires in 2014 so it is not as if they can charge forever.


Keep the focus, please.

Microsoft's current FAT patents are not for FAT32, they are for writing long filesnames on FAT32.

Linux doesn't violate these patents.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Anti-competitive?
by nt_jerkface on Fri 29th Oct 2010 01:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Anti-competitive?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

It wasn't a specific reference to Linux, device companies should migrate away from FAT32 and exFat for their own best interest.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Anti-competitive?
by lemur2 on Fri 29th Oct 2010 01:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Anti-competitive?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

It wasn't a specific reference to Linux, device companies should migrate away from FAT32 and exFat for their own best interest.


If we are talking devices, we are talking about flash media filesystems aren't we?

Ext4 or Brtfs is best, especially for internal use such as a SSD. No chance of running afoul of Microsft-held patents using either of those. (Write a driver for Windows for interoperability if you must).

Backup:
http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/tutorials/7208/1/

Not even Microsoft could contemplate suing you for using a filesystem that Microsoft doesn't implement.

Edited 2010-10-29 01:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Anti-competitive?
by kristoph on Fri 29th Oct 2010 18:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Anti-competitive?"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Microsoft's action are not 'anti-competative' by any legal definition. The laws of the USA are on their side.

You may not like it but it's sort of Orwellian to redefine terms in support of your argument, don't you think?

Reply Score: 1

Purpose of Patents
by imthefrizzlefry on Thu 28th Oct 2010 23:35 UTC
imthefrizzlefry
Member since:
2010-10-28

The US Constitution allows patents "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" The real question is:

Do these patents promote progress, or do these patents hold us back as a society?

If a courtroom can prove that these patents are holding us back, as I feel most of them do, then the patents can be declared invalid. This is the fate of almost all software patent claims that were not settled out of court; the point being that it is very rare that a software patent ever promotes the progress of science or useful arts.

The problem here is that it takes years and millions of dollars to prove such a thing in a civil court. Microsoft can afford to throw millions of dollars toward protecting a single patent, and even if you defeat one, then they almost always can find something else that they can sue you for (like a scroll bar, progress bar, file system, icon, ect.) Most people would rather just pay Microsoft to hold back society. This is why software patents have been considered so controversial.

Some other food for thought is the whole Microsoft Surface thing; the project is clearly based off of the Open Source Cubit project (also see NUI Group), but because Microsoft has a bunch of patents, Cubit will never see the light of day. Not because Microsoft came up with the idea, but because Microsoft applied for patents on features from a publicly available project. We all could have cheap massive multi-touch tables in our homes, but instead Microsoft will only sell it to businesses for $10,000+.

Reply Score: 5

Strong Android Sales Help Motorola
by lemur2 on Fri 29th Oct 2010 03:26 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Slightly off-topic, but it might be pertinent to point out that even if you are a company being targetted by the Apple/Microsoft gang up on Android strategy, nevertheless using Android on your mobile devices can lead to reasonable profits:

http://www.enterprisemobiletoday.com/news/article.php/3910431/Stron...

After years of enduring an unfettered free fall, Motorola's mobile device business rallied to deliver a profit in third quarter, the first time that's happened in three years, almost exclusively on the back of strong demand for Android-based smartphones like the Droid X.

...

The upside surprise was derived mainly from white-hot demand for its line of Android-based smartphones including the Droid, Droid X and the recently released Droid 2 on Verizon Wireless.


Hang in there Motorola.

Reply Score: 2