[Nottingham] Slashdot: MS to charge for FAT

Jim Driscoll j at rjimlad.org
Thu Dec 4 23:31:17 GMT 2003

On 4 Dec 2003, at 21:44, David Bean wrote:

> After reading this:
> http://slashdot.org/articles/03/12/04/1318212.shtml? 
> tid=109&tid=155&tid=187&tid=99

I notice that the slashdot article says that MS is trying to enforce  
licensing of the filesystem(when it's preinstalled), not the code that  
makes it work.

> I got to wondering about how much of the code i run, say in any Linux
> Distro, is covered by a patent (US or otherwise). Is there a list?

Not that I know of - in many cases it may well be easier to just remove  
the patent-covered code and write an alternative. Still, as far as I  
know, patent law gets considerably hairier when the product (using the  
patented design) isn't getting charged for, making it much less  
practical to sue.

Besides, I think most distros are fairly keen to avoid patented  
designs, and probably quite actively try to keep such stuff out. But  
realistically, keeping track of every current patent in order to ensure  
that you're not using any is quite impractical, particularly given the  
rather vague nature of most patents, so I doubt *anybody* has a full  
list of the patents their OS uses.


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