Linux patch sidesteps Microsoft's TomTom patent
VFAT gets trimmed
A Linux patch has been released to circumvent a Microsoft patent that landed Linux user TomTom in hot water.
The patch avoids the need to create both short - 8.3 - and long filenames, the crux of Microsoft's patent dispute with TomTom. Instead, you create one or the other.
Microsoft holds the patent on the Virtual File Allocation Table (VFAT) file system variant that lets you create the short and long filenames.
Samba author and contributor Andrew Tridgell, who posted about the Linux patch, warned that people should apply the patch even though Microsoft's VFAT patent might be invalid.
That means software developers and makers of common consumer goods ranging from mobile computing devices to digital cameras that run on Linux and use file systems.
Tridgell warned that Linux vendors risked having their businesses severely disrupted if they ended up fighting Microsoft over VFAT. A community peer-review process is underway looking for prior art to challenge VFAT, but it is far from complete so the patent still stands.
Tridgell said it was best not to infringe the patent, thereby avoiding a potential trial.
"That means you have to have an extremely clear explanation of how the patent does not apply to your code. The aim of the patches we have posted is to ensure that we would meet that standard," Tridgell wrote here.
During the TomTom case Microsoft pursued its patents through a US court and the International Trade Commission (ITC). A victory at the ITC would have seen Netherlands-based TomTom's popular in-car navigation devices banned from entering the US.
Naturally, this would have severely damaged TomTom's business.
It's the fifth time in seven years Microsoft has turned to the ITC on alleged patent violations, with four of those cases occurring within the last three years.
Microsoft has brought actions against Ultimate Game Club, Belkin, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and Primax Electronics. It secured the limited exclusion of products and components by Ultimate Game Club from the US, and saw Belkin and Primax sign up to its Hardware IP Licensing Program. Alcatel-Lucent was found not guilty of violations.
Microsoft settled with TomTom in March under an agreement that TomTom will pay Microsoft for use of its patents for five years and also tweak its Linux-based GPS systems to remove a pair of file-management patents. ®
"In *this case* what rules have Microsoft broken?"
That is of no matter. You made a very general remark about hypocrisy which was itself, when taken in its proper context, hypocritical.
"but that doesn't mean Microsoft are wrong when they are within their rights."
Until such time as they have paid various court-mandated reparations they have a very limited set of rights, in this monkey's opinion, like any convicted criminal who has yet to pay their debt to society.
"but they are legally right in seeking to protect their patents."
Legally right, perhaps. Many of us don't believe in software patents or live in areas that enforce software patents. So although it may be legally right, that doesn't make it ethical and I reserve the right to remark as such. I suppose you never rail against the very legal behaviour of some countries towards their citizens?
"If Microsoft isn't being punished when it should be one can hardly blame Microsoft for that."
Sorry, Old Boy, but one can. After all it _is_ Microsoft who breaks out the army of lawyers every five minutes and grinds others in the dust with litigious bullshit. It _is_ Microsoft that is wasting my tax pound in Europe by not fucking well doing as it's told.
"Fanatical railing against Microsoft no matter what they do will not achieve that."
Neither will the endless "linux fanboi" twattery. Some of us are disposed against MS on ethical grounds. It's a reasonable and non-fanatical position. Can you get your mind round that?
"If Microsoft were handing out $100 bills, a Linux PC, with sworn promises of no strings attached, some people would still not be happy. Damned if they make C# and CLI proprietary, damned if they make it an ECMA standard. Damned when they seek to protect what they have every right to protect ( according the current system ), damned even when they don't."
And back on planet Earth we have a corporation with a long, long history of all sorts of corrupt and illegal business practices and various other shenanigans. And until such time as they pay their fucking fines and stop being such fucking toddlers, I reserve the right to damn them. Okay?
Change from FAT to UDF
UDF 1.02 plain is supported by Linux 2.4+, MacOS 9+, and Windows 98+. There should be no real reason not to use it if Microsoft is going round suing people.
@Program ideas should not fall under copyright
Everything you wrote is right but irrelevant. This is _patents_, not _copyrights_. They are completely different things. You can't copyright an idea, but you can patent it.