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TomTom Settles With Microsoft

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the caves-not-just-for-bears dept.

Microsoft 273

Surrounded writes "It appears TomTom bowed to the pressure and settled with Microsoft over the recent patent infringement claims from the Redmond software giant. In the agreement, TomTom will pay Microsoft for coverage under the eight car navigation and file management systems patents in the Microsoft case. Also as part of the agreement, Microsoft receives coverage under the four patents included in the TomTom counter-suit. TomTom also has to remove functionality related to two file management system patents (the 'FAT LFN patents')."

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let me be the first to say.. (1, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393281)

...weak sauce.

Re:let me be the first to say.. (2, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393323)

Yeah. Without a court ruling one way or the other, we have no indication whether Microsoft's strategy Free/Open Source software using patents (see the Halloween Documents) [wikipedia.org] will be upheld by the courts. That sword is still dangling over Linux and other F/OSS developers.

What a settlement does settle (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393361)

True, a settlement out of court says nothing about the patents' validity or other merits of the case. But it does say something about the conditions under which a patent holder is willing to license a patent.

Re:let me be the first to say.. (1, Insightful)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393377)

I understand why TomTom settled, but (IANAL) I'd give odds that the FAT LFN patents are invalid under Bilski.

Re:let me be the first to say.. (2, Informative)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393523)

LFN is an enhancement to FAT that is not a requirement, it just prettifies.

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393283)

oh yeah.

Re:Sloppy Seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393367)

ha, fail.

anyways, it's not really that interesting of an article. there was no way that they could stand up to MS in court, settlement was their best way to get over it and move on.

Re:First post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393881)

After yet another embarrassing failure, Barack Obama abandons his quest to join the GNAA [www.gnaa.us] .

I wish they'd fought; I understand why they didn't (4, Insightful)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393321)

I wish TomTom had fought this; the FAT patents are utter nonsense. But patent fights are notoriously expensive, so I understand why TomTom did this instead. In the long term, I hope that software patents get eliminated [dwheeler.com] , but that will have to wait for another day.

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (4, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393515)

I wish TomTom had fought this; the FAT patents are utter nonsense. But patent fights are notoriously expensive, so I understand why TomTom did this instead. In the long term, I hope that software patents get eliminated [dwheeler.com], but that will have to wait for another day.

What really need to happen is something similar to what happened to the GIF file format. In that case it was decided to develop a new image file format called PNG. There is room for doing the same thing with the file system. Although FAT is common, if everyone could agree an open alternative, and then encourage hardware manufacturers to provide the necessary drivers to Windows users, then we could finally move forward.

There are plenty of file formats to choose from (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393553)

in fact so many that the choice itself could be the problem. Manufacturers can't see a single other format they could settle on that everyone else will agree to so they choose the lowest common denominator - FAT.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393755)

in fact so many that the choice itself could be the problem. Manufacturers can't see a single other format they could settle on that everyone else will agree to so they choose the lowest common denominator - FAT.

True, but this is where someone has to find something that offers something equivalent and easily implementable. Of course, the sad reality is that waiting for the patent to expire might just be the easiest solution - BTW does anyone know when the patents expire?

ZFS looks like an interesting possibility, but I am not sure whether it is compact enough for embedded environments and whether Sun is asking for any royalties? The other issue with ZFS is that there is currently no Windows implementation - not even read only.

UDF (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394559)

True, but this is where someone has to find something that offers something equivalent and easily implementable.

I believe it's called Live File System [wikipedia.org] by Microsoft and Universal Disk Format [wikipedia.org] by everyone else. Any OS with DVD-ROM support can read UDF. Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows Vista can write UDF, and so can Windows 5 (2000 and XP) with common CD-RW software.

Of course, the sad reality is that waiting for the patent to expire might just be the easiest solution - BTW does anyone know when the patents expire?

They were filed during the development of Windows 95; add twenty years.

Re:UDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394941)

Two problems with that:

1. with UDF you can have only one partition on that device

2. UDF support in Windows sucks. It seems to only work with optical drives. You can't format a disk, memory card or USB stick. And even if you manage to format them with a different OS you still can't use them in Windows.

Please proof me wrong on number 2, I am desperatly waiting for it.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (4, Insightful)

kyz (225372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393975)

The reason they don't is that the only format which works out-of-the-box almost ubiquitously on desktop computers is FAT. That's why FAT is the de-facto standard flash memory filesystem.

Microsoft Windows only supports FAT and NTFS for reliable read-write access. That's about 90% of all desktop computers. Most other popular operating systems support FAT well, but few support NTFS well. Hence FAT.

It's entirely Microsoft's doing. If you wanted some other filesystem to replace FAT, it could only be another filesystem fully supported by Microsoft Windows, otherwise it wouldn't be out-of-the-box compatible with over 90% of desktop computers and thus would be trounced by anything that was.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394135)

Have you actually used a flash drive lately?

They are more than capable of installing their own stuff. It's a big of a scourge actually.

Instead of that stupid "backup" stuff, they could install drivers for the fs of their choice.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (2, Insightful)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394797)

um, what about using it on machines that I don't have admin access on?

Machines I may not want another file system driver on?

Library machines, corp machines, etc.?

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394143)

Going forward you should be able to use UDF across all platforms since Vista, Linux, BSD, Solaris, and OS/2 all have read/write drivers for it, but it might be a bit of time before it's universally accepted since XP can't write to it or read version 2.5+ volumes.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (1)

battery111 (620778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394641)

OS/2?? Really?

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394769)

UDF is also not nearly as easily implementable as FAT. Especially the later versions which add all sorts of stuff unnecessary to the simple interchange of files, and especially on tiny computers with tiny CPUs and very limited memory. UDF also takes up a significant amount of overhead space if you use small media (yes, some people still use floppies or flash media smaller than 1MB).

As for versions, if you want UDF to be universally accepted, then stick to version 1.50 without VATs.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394803)

How many of these operating systems have you actually tried creating / using a UDF partition with? The Wikipedia list is very optimistic about support for UDF. Pretty much anything can read it (or, at least, some versions of it), but writing it is a lot less reliable.

Re:There are plenty of file formats to choose from (1, Troll)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394185)

I'm sure manufactures can find one format that works on Linux and Mac. The only real problem is Windows.

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (4, Insightful)

renoX (11677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393781)

[[ What really need to happen is something similar to what happened to the GIF file format.]]

Given that the GIF format is still more used than the PNG format, I wouldn't use this as a basis for what 'need to happen' more of an example of the *success* of 'submarine patents' (let something patented be used for free for a long time then make users pay): even when there is a better technical solution, it most probably won't be used due to the 'network effect'.

Funny you should mention PNG... (4, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393837)

Unfortunately, open alternatives are only feasible for a limited time: once the proprietary lock-in "standard" gets too common, open alternatives are pretty much condemned to also-ran status.

Consider PNG. It's a great format, and I prefer it over GIF whenever possible, but the fact remains that by the time real PNG support got widespread enough matter, the GIF patents had expired and so the original point of PNG was moot.

FAT, sad as it is, seems to be in the same position as GIF was. It's so widespread that by the time any open alternative could possibly take hold, it won't matter anymore because the invalid patents on FAT will be dead anyway.

Block animated GIF by blocking GIF (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394613)

by the time real PNG support got widespread enough matter, the GIF patents had expired and so the original point of PNG was moot.

Not necessarily. Servers that allow members of the public to upload images can block distracting animations by blocking GIF. The use of more than 256 colors is also a lot cleaner in PNG; GIF requires multiple layers, each adding 255 more colors to the image.

You mean like... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393933)

What really need to happen is something similar to what happened to the GIF file format. In that case it was decided to develop a new image file format called PNG. There is room for doing the same thing with the file system. Although FAT is common, if everyone could agree an open alternative, and then encourage hardware manufacturers to provide the necessary drivers to Windows users, then we could finally move forward.

You mean like? http://www.fs-driver.org/ [fs-driver.org] Now just go and convince everyone to use it. :)

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394429)

I wonder why no one has gone and done a prior art challenge to the MS FAT patents? ISTR that there were several operating systems that used what is essentially a file allocation table prior to ms-dos...

the 100K question is, if it can be found that the MS FAT base patent is invalid, does that also negate the child patents like FAT-LFN?

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394697)

A new file system won't help with the existing systems out there. It would only help new systems. FAT is the defacto standard for interchange precisely because older systems use it. So you create a new file systems that everyone uses, but you still end up required to support FAT to save traces from oscilloscopes, to get files off of your digital camera's CompactFlash, to print photos on some printers, to print files at the local copy shop, to update firmware in countless hardware devices, etc.

Notice how well PNG has not taken over the web. I see GIF files all over the place. Declaring a new standard does not solve any problems.

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394879)

Is it legal for a commercial company to write and distribute an alternative file system driver for Windows?

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (3, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393521)

The US govt does not have enough money to fight MS how do you expect TomTom to do it.

Re:I wish they'd fought; I understand why they did (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393681)

They didn't "fight" it, they try to pressure Microsoft into a better licensing deal, Microsoft called their bluff, they got served. There was no way TomTom was going to carry this one under current IP law, and this was never about Linux (although that didn't stop the armchair advocates and their sisters from screaming it was).

Want to stop this? Lobby your representative to fix the patent system. Then you can stop the big boys (MS, IBM, Apple, Toshiba, etc) and the patent trolls from leaving a trail of shafted and bloodied small companies behind them. Until then, you better be ready to cough up some cash to license the technology you want to use.

Sue users (3, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393333)

Um lol?

Anyway, there wasn't any details on the removed functionality, or any side effects. I don't want to download a minor update to my device and suddenly lose something.

Good! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393359)

It's time to put OSS freeloaders/thieves to the sword! Go Microsoft!!!

Re:Good! (1)

decula03 (1082847) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394505)

Here's wishing your back-up on your USB removable drive with a FAT file system gets upgraded to EXT4 filesystem just for your Windows box.

this is fail (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393363)

I don't like the precedence this sets at all - removing functionality related to the file management systems. Everyone should be extremely bothered by the implications of that.

Re:this is fail (4, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393403)

Being a settlement rather than a judgement, it doesn't set a precedent.

Wrong. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393853)

Any company that uses Linux for anything at this point will be re-evaluating that use. Linux clearly violates a number of Microsoft patents, otherwise TomTom would not have settled. So the question for other companies that use Linux in any capacity is whether fighting Microsoft in court will cost them more than simply switching to Windows.

Re:this is fail (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394859)

Wrong. It doesn't set a legal precedent. Microsoft can still go to other device managers and say 'look at this settlement; TomTom agreed that our patents on FAT LFN were valid. It would be cheaper for you to just pay up, or switch to Wince for your embedded device, than to fight us in court.'

Re:this is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393445)

IANAL, but how exactly can a settlement set precedence?

Re:this is fail (1)

saiha (665337) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393493)

Not legal precedent, but it is precedent none the less.

Re:this is fail (4, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393547)

I don't like your use of the word "precedence". It sets a poor precedent.

Re:this is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394661)

Yeah, well -- you're a FAThead!

So, Microsoft wins? (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393381)

Remember kids, if you're going to build a Linux-based device and distribute it in the USA, remove the FAT driver and include an ext2fs IFS driver on your install CD.

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393435)

include an ext2fs IFS driver on your install CD

Except this is why they use FAT, to avoid this.

The only reason they haven't pulled this against Redhat, or any other distro maker, is because it would be a blatant case of anti-competitive behavior. I suspect TomTom will not be the first to be threatened for using Linux in an embedded fashion such as this.

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393811)

The beauty of this approach is that now, Microsoft doesn't have to sue them now. Anyone with code in the Linux kernel has standing to sue Red Hat and so on for GPL violation. How many patches in the Linux kernel are from people who now work for Microsoft, or could be persuaded by a suitcase full of money to sue? This strategy is an excellent way of discrediting both Linux and the GPL.

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

porl (932021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394827)

how have red hat violated the gpl?? i must have missed something...

unless they have been shown to have violated it, someone who has released gpl code can't sue anyone for using it under the terms of the gpl license... i don't think that needs to be said. if they did they wouldn't be very successful at discrediting anything other than their own rationality...

porl

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394659)

I suspect TomTom will not be the first to be threatened for using Linux in an embedded fashion such as this.
You win. THey were not the first to be threatened. Of course, the real issue that they are not likely to be the last.

Coffee. Wonderful stimulant for either early AM or late noon.

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394201)

Actually, this case is far simpler than that.

Remember, kids, don't try patent-troll Microsoft - they have their own patents to fight back. This equally applies to any large company.

(in case anyone missed the timeline, it was TomTom who started the patent war here, not MS)

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394597)

Or just wait until 2013 when the patent expires?

Re:So, Microsoft wins? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394957)

WTF? The entire first paragraph of my post vanished some time between hitting preview and submit. Good job, Slashdot 2.0. Originally, I wrote something along the lines of:

TomTom has, by agreeing to this settlement, publicly declared that they believe that the FAT patents are valid. Clause 7 of the GPL states that you may not distribute the GPL'd software if doing so would require a patent license that is not sublicensable in a way compatible with the GPL. This means that distributing Linux in the USA, if you include the FAT filesystem drivers, is now of very questionable legality - and you can be sure that Microsoft reps will be questioning it very closely when they talk to embedded device manufacturers. All it takes is one person with standing to sue (i.e. someone with code in the Linux kernel) to notice this and they can sue anyone who distributes Linux. I wonder if there are any disgruntled former kernel developers who would accept a suitcase full of cash to sue a few prominent Linux developers...

Who wants to use FAT anyway? (2, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393383)

FAT is so... 1980's. Although it's a pity TomTom had to settle, FAT support seems like a feature unlikely to be missed.

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (2, Interesting)

jperl (1453911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393507)

Well how are your usb sticks formatted? Also if you have dual boot windows/linux on your computer, FAT partitions are really easy to handle from both windows and linux. Truly FAT is not the best file system, but it is still widely used.

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393559)

NTFS

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393611)

NTFS

Brilliant idea if you want to leave millions of stock Macs unable to write to the USB source.

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393773)

Do what Parallels do and ship MacFUSE with your install...

What install? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394979)

The whole point of a device supporting USB storage is that there is no install! If you want a support nightmare, that would work, but otherwise it's not a solution at all. No-one wants to go back to the days of supporting drivers for every device that ships...

I despise FAT but there's simply no realistic alternative if you are building a commercial device. I sure hope something can displace it someday but the possibility is not even on the horizon.

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394017)

I connected an ntfs-formatted external usb drive to a mac running leopard it worked fine

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393979)

NTFS is shite for flash drives, as is any other journaling filesystem. RTFM, noob.

NTFS? Screw me harder. (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394645)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

NTFS

Do you think NTFS isn't patented even more thoroughly than the long file name extensions to FAT?

Re:Who wants to use FAT anyway? (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394321)

HFS and ext3

'-ppppp

Yes, but (2, Informative)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393541)

FAT is so... 1980's

FAT legacy support is so .. 1990s. And that's why such archaic crap is still in the patent window.

And so it goes in the licensing world (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393393)

Kudos to everyone who predicted just this. Microsoft doesn't get any money for driving a potential customer away (i.e. tomtom is now a customer of microsoft's patent portfolio), they also get to play with tomtom's patents to better their products. Why does anybody get alarmed when there's a patent suit between two PRODUCTIVE companies? Microsoft is not a pure patent troll, they make more money through using patents than licensing fees. It seems like that cross-licensing agreements rarely start out with a nice sitdown, but are negotiated in court nowadays :/

Re:And so it goes in the licensing world (3, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393627)

Because it seems in the end TomTom has to remove FAT LFN support after all. I also note that in cases where one of the offending parties has less or less notable patents than the other there is usually a cash offset. I hope this drives to the home that FAT is *not* suitable has a standard filesystem for interoperability and people start using ISO9660, or whatever.

Re:And so it goes in the licensing world (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393643)

Why does anybody get alarmed when there's a patent suit between two PRODUCTIVE companies?

Because Microsoft's intent is to kill Linux with patents, by getting each vendor (TomTom, Red Hat, Novell, etc) to include patented crap into Linux. Death by a thousand paper cuts.

How successful they will be with this is anyone's guess.

At least TomTom removed the Long File Name support rather than licensing that, which would probably have brought an immediate law suit from FSF, as it would have been admission that long file names on FAT are patentable. They side stepped the issue. Nothing is solved.

Don't be so sure this spat is about patents mentioned. To do so is to focus on the hammer, instead of the nail they are trying to drive in Linux's coffin.

Read some of th links at the top of this page: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/05/1624221 [slashdot.org]

Microsoft needs TomTom (3, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393405)

I believe they needed to settle, because of maps. There are only two companies owning global map data, one is owned by TomTom and another by Nokia. Nokia is already competitor, so there was no way for MS to alienate TomTom for a long time. Without maps MSN would collapse under the weight of Google more then it already does.

Re:Microsoft needs TomTom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393739)

so why is it then that TomTom caved like a house of cards on a Florida sink hole?

Re:Microsoft needs TomTom (3, Interesting)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394167)

I don't believe you. I can name more than that off the top of my head.

Mapdata Sciences

Navteq

Digital Globe

USGS

They may not all have complete sets of road data, but I'm sure there are more than two.

Microsoft Microsoft (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393437)

Shouldn't that be TomTom settles with MicrosoftMicrosoft???

Re:Microsoft Microsoft (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393531)

Yes. Glad it's over. Let's go get some PizzaPizza [littlecaesars.com]

Re:Microsoft Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27393689)

Can't we do better than that? That stuff tastes like CaCa.

Re:Microsoft Microsoft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394205)

No, that would be MICROS~1.OFT, due to file system restrictions.

Remove FAT Long File Names? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393457)

So that essentially says that Microsoft won, and TomTom got their butts kicked. Removing functionality does not sound like cross licensing, it sounds like knuckling under and making a show of trading patent licensing on some other meaningless issues to save face.

Does this also mean that Long File Names may be infringing in Samba?

Does this mean that TOMTOM is in trouble with FOSS, since they can't pass on these cross licensed features free and clear?

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (5, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393557)

The article states:

Microsoft has previously stated that this lawsuit represents an isolated issue and that the company does not intend to broadly sue Linux users.

I remember when the news of the dispute first became known, it was widely speculated that TomTom threatened Microsoft with some possible patent infringements made by Microsoft Streets, and Microsoft threaten to defend itself by making enforcing a patent claim on FAT.

In other words, TomTom tried to get a better deal, Microsoft called their bluff, and TomTom folded their hand.

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393591)

You know it's been a long day when you mentally delete the word "making" rather than actually doing it in the sentence "... by making enforcing a patent claim..." above.

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393821)

[[In other words, TomTom tried to get a better deal, Microsoft called their bluff, and TomTom folded their hand.]]

How do you know this? Perhaps TomTom got the better deal!
Were the financial aspects of the initial proposal and of the settlement disclosed?

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393579)

I don't believe the implementation of long file names in SMB have anything to do with long file names in FAT32.

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394251)

I was thinking about SMBFS portion (which is not technically Samba).

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394719)

I don't believe the implementation of long file names in SMB have anything to do with long file names in FAT32.

What long file names in Super Mario Bros.? The game is only 40 KB, for cricket's sake!

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (2, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393607)

Samba doesn't implement vFAT, it implements SMB. So Samba has nothing to do with this.

However, F/OSS could have a huge fight on its hands. The fact is, that everything uses vFAT. Nobody really supports anything else. The Linux Kernel has a vFAT module in it. Microsoft could say the vFAT Module has to be removed from the Kernel. If M$ Does, then, the entire Linux population is infringing. (Face it, we all HAVE to have FAT.)

Re:Remove FAT Long File Names? (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393849)

Note that they never sere alleging violation of FAT32 patents, merely long name support.

When you say "Nobody supports anything else" I presume you mean in small devices, cameras, phones, thumb drives, etc.

But use of other file systems on such devices would be no worse than distributing drivers (like was done for Win98) and using EXT2/3/4.

A high quality windows driver released free and clear for that pretty much flips the coin on Microsoft. There are several of these out there: ( http://www.fs-driver.org/ [fs-driver.org] http://ext2fsd.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] ) but its not clear that they are robust enough for device vendors to ship millions of units with.

Drivers? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394843)

But use of other file systems on such devices would be no worse than distributing drivers (like was done for Win98)

On what media, formatted in what file system, would you distribute drivers? One solution under Windows 98 was to distribute them on a floppy, which doesn't work on newer PCs that lack a floppy drive, and besides, floppies are formatted FAT. Another solution is to distribute the drivers over the Internet, but then you need to carry an EDGE dongle and its drivers if you want to use a PC away from a hotspot. CDs formatted in ISO 9660 might work, but a problem remains: How would you use a non-FAT non-NTFS USB drive on a PC running Windows whose owner says she "don't want you installing shit"?

There are several of these out there: (two sourceforge.net links) but its not clear that they are robust enough for device vendors to ship millions of units with.

How would you use one on 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, which have a system policy against loading kernel modules developed by hobbyists without throwing the whole system into "Test Mode"?

Well.... (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393533)

Well, when you are a gnat that's about to be squished by a Sherman Tank, you have two choices: capitulate or get driven into the pavement. Tom Tom lives to ifght another day...

Industry could solve this in an hour (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393663)

It is time for Microsoft to decide what it wants more. Collect a few cents here and there and spread some FUD or keep all memory cards shipping as FAT.

All the SD trade group would need to do is put together a new spec. It would call for a tiny FAT12 partition on each card sold with an IFS driver for a new file system. No it couldn't be ext2/3/4 because of the GPL. It just couldn't so give that idea up. But there ARE a lot of other proven file systems that support long file names and large filesystems. Getting a Windows IFS written would be cheaper than what the industry is paying Microsoft in one year and it would eliminate the FUD attacks. Writing one would probably be cheaper than what Tom Tom just paid their lawyers. So pick a BSD licensed file system that is available (or could easily be) for OS X, Linux and BSD. Supply the driver for Windows on every piece of media along with a README file explaining to customers why all this is going on.

That readme could say something like:

"The SD industry has previously used Microsoft's FAT filesystem due to it's uniquity. Microsoft has decided to reward us for helping drive their monopoly by suing us. So we have adopted one of the many other competing file systems for (whatever cute name of new standard). All other popular operating systems support this format out of the box. We offered a driver to Microsoft for inclusion in Windows 7 and they refused to include it. So you will need to click (here) to install the copy we include on each drive/memory card if you have not previously done so."

Now take this proposed new standard to Microsoft and offer them a choice. Then let them choose their future. A royalty free perpetual license for vFAT for any implementation that supports removable flash based media or see FAT gone within a couple of years.

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393893)

I don't disagree with what you propose, in theory. In pratice, do you have any idea how pissed off the general population would be if, god forbid, they had to do {something} to make their new {whatever} work with their Windows computer. Lets face it, we all here live in the world of geek, and running an install utility to put a filesystem driver on windows is trivial and nothing. Now put that out in the wild. The average dumbass user would freak the fuck out. There would be reports of virii on mass produced CF cards. Or people wouldn't do it, despite the readme, and then their shit wouldn't work. Then you have to convince everyone...and I mean EVERYONE...to rewrite the software for their cameras, digital photo frames, Wii's, WHATEVER takes WHATEVER media format to support the new standard. And to flash the firmware of every existing device so that it can read the new format (and then you have to tell the population at large how the fuck to change their digital photo frame's firmware, and somehow get them to do it). And lets face it, the first time something doesn't work with a new media card...well, its either the media card manufacturer's fault, or their device's fault, and either way the tech support calls will be many and furious. I admire your idea, I REALLY do. But the logistics of what you propose are so enormously, well, fucked, that there is NO way in hell it will ever happen. We're stuck with the LFN FUD from Microsoft until we can get people off of Microsoft products...which IMHO is NOT going to happen anytime soon. It sucks, but its just not going to happen :(

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

summner (735993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394467)

It has happened already with the advent of SDHC which made nearly all SD enabled appliances obsolete. We are approaching another barrier of maximum fat partition size, where Phat32 just doesn't do well at calculating free space. FAT isn't going to stay forever, it lacks security, journaling etc, everything a modern fs should have. I don't in any way advise putting for instance ntfs on it in the future, I think we need completely new FS. It could be coupled with built in logic to provide some security, like encrypting access to some of the files/dirs on unauthorized computers. It can be done, just not with the current setup.

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27393931)

The hell of it is, that still doesn't work. Or rather, it only works for devices that have updateable filesystem drivers. Good luck getting the newer SD cards working with, for example, digital cameras.

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394953)

Good luck getting the newer SD cards working with, for example, digital cameras.

SDHC is limited to 32 GB. Perhaps the new file system might be a requirement to get a camera, etc. certified as taking the "SDv3" cards that would appear after the next process shrink.

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

PCMeister (837482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394013)

"It would call for a tiny FAT12 partition on each card sold with an IFS driver for a new file system."

M$ would scoff at the idea and laugh the usb/flash memory card vendors back to the bargaining table and possibly entertain raising the royalities. This is because you're forgetting a critical part to having your plan work: User security restrictions in corporate environments; Windows/Mac OS alike. It wouldn't affect the average home user, but think about the implications for I.T. staff in general who would have to field calls from users complaining that they can't read or write to their shiny new flash device. Sure it's a trivial task, but scale it up to several hundred/thousands of systems scattered around different locations and you have yourself an adventure. You could incorporate a script into the login process, but you'll always have that one VIP user that's not connected on the LAN or through VPN, needs it to ASAP and is bitching up a storm until it's done.

In short, one must look at the bigger picture and assume that no plan/idea is foolproof. Just my $0.02..

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394281)

Your idea is interesting, and probably workable, except for this bit...

Supply the driver for Windows on every piece of media along with a README file explaining to customers why all this is going on. That readme could say something like:
"The SD industry has previously used Microsoft's FAT filesystem due to it's uniquity. Microsoft has decided to reward us for helping drive their monopoly by suing us. So we have adopted one of the many other competing file systems for (whatever cute name of new standard). All other popular operating systems support this format out of the box. We offered a driver to Microsoft for inclusion in Windows 7 and they refused to include it. So you will need to click (here) to install the copy we include on each drive/memory card if you have not previously done so."

No, they're not going to include that text or anything like it. They know that 99% of consumers don't give a toss about company X's licensing spats and grievances with MS (whether or not they're justified), at least not at a time when they're simply trying to get their card working. It just comes across as unprofessional and petty to do so.

If they want consumers to know that MS are being dicks, better to reference the issue obliquely and very briefly ("due to licensing issues")- if at all- and let third parties such as photographic websites and magazines cover the issues behind this, which will be well known anyway.

I can't recall any major companies conducting disputes doing it in this manner, and I don't think they're going to start now!

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394305)

You do realize your idea would break MANY installations right?

Let's assume an environment where you are allowed to use a USB drive, but you don't have admin rights to install drivers. Many corporate PCs are like this.

Or at home, suddenly you need to install a driver to read a memory stick? Wasn't this the problem memory sticks were trying to SOLVE? They all just work, now.

Vendors who lead the charge against Microsoft, get squashed. In the early days of 3D on the PC, I recall nVidia giving Microsoft the finger and developing their own 3D API, instead of using Microsoft functions.... they almost did not survive Microsoft retribution. (This folks, is pre-Direct-X days).

The first vendor trying to do this might as well call it a suicide pact... and they're going first.

Microsoft's not interested in royalties for FAT, so once someone has their arm twisted and they capitulate, the issue is over. If you are targeted by MS, you can't solicit support from the last company MS targeted, because they don't care anymore (no stockholder value in that).

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (2, Insightful)

Niten (201835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394361)

No it couldn't be ext2/3/4 because of the GPL. It just couldn't so give that idea up.

Absolutely wrong. It couldn't be the *Linux implementation* of ext2/3/4, because of the GPL. But there's nothing to stop someone else from creating a new extN implementation under an arbitrary, non-GPL license: in fact, it's already been done [fs-driver.org] .

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour - WTF (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394407)

The SD industry has previously used Microsoft's FAT filesystem due to it's uniquity.

While uniquity may be a word (see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/uniquity [reference.com] ) I think you may have meant ubiquity (b and n are next to each other on the keyboard). It's slightly humorous in your version though.

Re:Industry could solve this in an hour (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394899)

And then one company makes a product that uses FAT and advertises "does not require additional drivers!" and you're back to square one.

Convincing the wheel group? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394987)

Getting a Windows IFS written would be cheaper than what the industry is paying Microsoft in one year

The Windows Vista 64-bit code-signing issue that plagues hobbyist efforts like Ext2 IFS wouldn't affect this too much because the SD Card Association could easily afford the $400 per year to maintain an Authenticode certificate. But another problem remains: Windows has a group called Administrators, which corresponds to wheel of *BSD. As I understand it, only users in the Administrators group can install file system drivers. So how are people going to convince the administrators of the PCs they use to let them install the read/write driver for UDF or whatever other file system the SD Card Association decides on?

examples of products which did long & short fi (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394045)

if this is really about FAT32 doing long and short filenames, what about that HP NewWave product from the late 80s? And didn't OS/2 provide long & short filenames for DOS programs?

And since the HP product goes back to the late 80s and it is 2009, hasn't that patent expired since its public usage is over 17 years?

I would also think that this could be worked around anyways since it is not like the old DOS days where applications were more of the OS than DOS was. Todays products have a real OS and so can't a different lookup mechanism be implemented around the patent? People have used short words for references to longer ones for hundreds of years, this should not hold up in court and should be challenged.

Glad to see TomTom is planning on working around the issue but on the outside, it looks like a win for MSFT.

LoB

For those griping about the settlement. (3, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394161)

Repeat after me.

America. Land of opportunity.

DEEPEST POCKETS WINS!

TomTom may be a great, profitable-as-fuck company. But litigation of this sort is STUPIDLY expensive. And Microsoft could drop the actual value TomTom (debt and all) on the litigation several times over and never miss it. TomTom, OTOH, has to be more circumspect (since they don't have access to the next best thing to God's pocketbook). They can burn all the money on the suit OR they can settle and get on with business, using aforementioned money to build the business more.

While it's not as fun as seeing Microsoft bitch-smacked by "some plucky young upstart", it's not MY investment (see MONEY) they're playing with.

SFLC says: Settled, But Not Over Yet (3, Informative)

foregather (578505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394195)

http://www.softwarefreedom.org/news/2009/mar/30/settled-not-over-yet/ [softwarefreedom.org]

Today's settlement between Microsoft and TomTom ends one phase of the community's response to Microsoft patent aggression, and begins another. On the basis of the information we have, we have no reason to believe that TomTom's settlement agreement with Microsoft violates the license on the kernel, Linux, or any other free software used in its products. The settlement neither implies that Microsoft patents are valid nor that TomTom's products were or are infringing.

The FAT filesystem patents on which Microsoft sued are now and have always been invalid patents in our professional opinion. SFLC remains committed to protecting the interests of our clients and the community. We will act forcefully to protect all users and developers of free software against further intimidation or interference from these patents.

SFLC, working with the Open Invention Network and the Linux Foundation, is pleased to participate in a coordinated, carefully graduated response on behalf of all the community's members to ongoing anti-competitive Microsoft conduct. We believe in strength through unity, and we think our community's unity in the face of these threats has helped to bring about Microsoft's quick settlement on all issues with TomTom.

Next victim of the recession (0)

jonfr (888673) | more than 5 years ago | (#27394677)

Microsoft is the next victim of the recession. Microsoft is also a patent troll that has used there wealth to crush competition, instead of being better the competition.

There is a simple word over this type of behavior. Corporation bulling.

UMSDOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27394705)

Didn't UMSDOS predate VFAT by 2 or more years?

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