Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Apr 2010 22:19 UTC
Google Andy Rubin is a vice president for engineering at Google, and he is responsible for the Android mobile operating system project. He recently had an hour long chat with The New York Times' Brad Stone, sharing his insights into things like openness, the lack of secret APIs in Android, and several other things. Of course, the jabs at Apple were prevalent.
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RE[6]: Joe six pack
by lemur2 on Thu 29th Apr 2010 00:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Joe six pack"
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By that logic, neither is Linux. Lots of companies are paying MS for their FAT patent, which is present in every linux kernel. Doesn't mean I'm just going to give up on Linux and say it's owned by Microsoft now, though.

There is an implementation of FAT in Linux that does not violate the MS patent for FAT LFN (Long File Nmaes).
The new patch takes an entirely different approach based on a close reading of the patent. In truth, it's not the creation of long file names which is covered; instead, the patent claims the technique of creating both long and short names. So the current patch takes away that ability; it can create a long name or a short one, but never both for the same file. The result is almost complete interoperability with other systems using long names; the one exception is archaic systems which only have short name capability. Such systems are relatively rare, though.

Microsoft does not have a patent for FAT. It has a patent for a method of having both long and short filename formats on a FAT filesystem.

Linux can, and often does, avoid infringing on this Microsoft patent simply by using the variant of Linux FAT support (i.e. the patch mentioned above) that can create either long filenames, or short filenames, but not both for the same file. This variant of FAT support in Linux is completely compatible, for example, with USB Flash memory and with memory cards from cameras or phones.

Lots of companies are paying MS for their FAT patent

Not quite. A number of companies are paying Microsoft's demands for protection money in order to avoid having to go to court over the FAT LFN patent issue.

Assuming that reasoning holds up in court, this patch creates a kernel which cannot be said to infringe upon the VFAT patents. Given that the patch has clearly seen some legal review (see the associated FAQ), and given that it comes from a source (IBM) with extensive experience and expertise in patent law, its chances are probably best described as "better than average."

Nevertheless, a number of companies would apparently reason that a better-than-average chance is insufficient, it is still cheaper and less risky to pay Microsoft's demands for protection money than it would be to take this issue to court.

Edited 2010-04-29 00:31 UTC

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