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Linux chief calls for FAT-free Microsoft diet

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Microsoft and TomTom might have settled over patents, but that hasn't stopped one Linux advocate from calling on manufacturers to adopt a "FAT-free diet".

Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation executive director, has said those who implement File Allocation Table should undertake a wholesale review and strip a technology from their products that he said "stinks".

"There are lots of file system technologies out there," Zemlin told The Reg. "The key is this isn't particularly good technology."

Earlier Zemlin had blogged his Foundation would assist those interested in removing FAT from their products. More details are set to emerge at a Foundation summit next week in San Francisco.

"We have technology resources there," Zemlin told us. "The main thing is this isn't that hard. There's nothing novel or innovative about these FAT systems."

FAT users run the gamut from PC device and software makers, to those building memory cards and consumer devices such as cameras.

Zemlin was speaking after Microsoft and TomTom settled a case in which Microsoft alleged TomTom had violated its patents in its in-car GPS navigation systems. TomTom reacted by counter-suing Microsoft over the alleged infringement of four of its navigation software patents in the company's Streets and Trips products.

Increasingly, judging by the companies' mutual settlement, it's looking like this was a case of a patent licensing bar-room fight turning into a lawyer-led street brawl designed to force the other party to concede.

Zemlin had said on his blog that the case proved patents in software are wrong and that the patent system needs reform.

He added: "Microsoft does not appear to be a leopard capable of changing its spots. Maybe it's time developers go on a diet from Microsoft and get the FAT out of their products." ®

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