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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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 Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Threatened
by lemur2 on Fri 29th Oct 2010 03:10 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Threatened
by vodoomoth on Fri 29th Oct 2010 07:56 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 Parent Score: 4