Apple patents OS X Dock
Do you hear war drums?
Apple has patented the OS X Dock, nearly a decade after the operating system made its public debut with a new slant on the taskbar.
The late arrival isn't due to a lack of initiative, however. Apple applied for the patent December 20, 1999, and it was approved by the US Patent Office only yesterday.
Apple summarizes the Dock as a "user interface for providing consolidation and access." The patent (available here) puts a particular focus on the Dock's ability to magnify icons to a predetermined size when the cursor is near, the user's ability to rearrange icons, and the way it overlaps the desktop and active windows. Other touches such as indicating which applications are running, label tiles appearing on mouse-over, and the ability to drag and drop files into applications on the Dock are also described.
The patent credits inventors Steve Jobs, Bas Ording, and Donald Lindsay.
Apple has regarded the Dock as the focus of OS X's user interface from the beginning. There can be little doubt Cupertino is happy to have its hands on the legal rights.
The big question here is: What's next?
Historically, Apple hasn't exactly been shy about pursuing legal action against those it considers infringing on its patent portfolio. This could be bad news for imitators such as ObjectDock, RocketDock, Avant Windows Navigator, and others.
An Apple spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment. We'll just have to put our ears to the ground and listen for war drums sounding from Cupertino. ®
Had a dock like that..
..on my Amiga, darned if I can remember what provided it- was some thing with a MUI config backend, and worked nicely with MagicWB, and was really shiny. This was around the time of the first PPC macs, which were of course running MacOS "classic".
Oh, and Webster Phreaky, what a fsckwit. Not just pretentious, but ill-informed, and barely able to construct a sentence. "Off of", 'nuff said.
Paris, because even her comments on the situation would be more measured and better informed than Webster's.
If it's how it looks, you can't get a patent (design patent, yes), but this isn't a design patent.
Patents were originally a grant by the crown to its cronies.
Then they were taken out of the crown's hands and the reason for patents were to replace trade secrets.
Try keeping this a secret.
So the public pay in enforcement and the loss of rights in giving a patent and in return we get NOTHING we wouldn't have had if there had been no patents.
And to answer your queries:
KDE had this since 2.2
CDE had this earlier.
It came from NeXTStep before that.
XFCE has it.
If, as I said before (and I note that you ignored it) it is only this precise geometry (maths, huh) then the patent is worthless: you can change the ratios and how it reacts, removing the patent. If the "innovation" is so great as to demand a patent, why would ANYONE want to change it???
Even Apple don't think it is wanted.
Those other docks?
I don't think Apple will worry about those other docks that are available, mainly because they're marketed as offering the Apple experience on a PC or whatever, which, you know if people want to destroy window's GUI with a pretty Mac UI.. wouldn't that make Apple happy?