Microsoft FAT patent appeal upheld in Germany
Does my bum look big in this?
A German appeal court has upheld Microsoft’s controversial patent that describes the means used to store long filenames on FAT file systems without flouting compatibility with old applications.
In 2007 the German Federal Patent Tribunal alleged that patent EP0618540 was difficult to distinguish from work done on the Rock Ridge Interchange Protocol developed in 1991, which allowed long filenames to be used on the ISO9660 file system used on CDs.
However, last Tuesday (20 April) the appeals court* in Germany threw out that argument due to technical differences between the two systems. It found that Microsoft had solved new problems in the FAT file system that the Rock Ridge work hadn’t taken into account.
Redmond’s development of long names on FAT had been created so that legacy applications and systems would ignore the new names, which was considered to be an important distinction by the Karlsruhe-based court.
Microsoft’s patent win in Germany reflects an earlier assessment by the US patent office, which gave the company’s patent number 5,579,517 (which is EP0618540 in Germany) the thumbs up in 2006.
In the past few years Microsoft has been increasingly stomping around demanding $300,000 a pop licence fees from camera, camcorder and digital photo frame makers firms that want to use the FAT and FAT32 filesystems. Meanwhile it has also been charging phone, PC and network vendors wishing to use the format in their devices a volume-licence fee.
So the German appeal court’s decision to have the patent upheld is a significant one for the software giant, because Microsoft is no longer hindered in demanding payment for its means of storing long filenames on FAT file systems. ®
*Translated from German to English - the original text is here.
Time to ship EXT2 drivers?
Perhaps it's time that companies started shipping Windows* EXT2 drivers with their products? This would have the added advantage of allowing files bigger than 4GB (I'm thinking HD footage) to be stored on them.
*I've no idea if Mac's can use EXT2 natively now or if there is a driver available if not.
I think this could actually be quite good news. It might finally force the camer and phone makers to use a file system other than FAT; ie - one that's more robust and a little less crappy. I don't really care what it is - anything has to be better than FAT*
* - Except maybe the ZX Spectrum microdrive format - that was rubbish!
Probably the code, not using it.
If you're reading/writing on a PC with Windows, then it's included.
If you create a new device that wants to write data to a filesystem in the FAT format, then you'd probably be buying a software license.
So, if you create a camera/media player/etc. which uses internal storage you're going to want to store it in a manner that is readable by Windows PCs and hence need a license.
For all those of you saying that to install a file system driver makes a product bad, you could probably code a driver from FOSS for UDF/ext/zfs whatever and install it with the "camera driver" software. Considering even a printer needs about 50M of "drivers" and a reboot these days, noone's going to complain if a camera does the same.
And for the Linux/MAC/etc... world, they've probably got the "driver" already and won't need it.