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Google Patents Staple of '70s Mainframe Computing

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the collecting-the-classics dept.

Google 333

theodp writes "'The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field,' Alan Kay once lamented. And so it should come as no surprise that the USPTO granted Google a patent Tuesday for the Automatic Deletion of Temporary Files, perhaps unaware that the search giant's claimed invention is essentially a somewhat kludgy variation on file expiration processing, a staple of circa-1970 IBM mainframe computing and subsequent disk management software. From Google's 2013 patent: 'A path name for a file system directory can be "C:temp\12-1-1999\" to indicate that files contained within the file system directory will expire on Dec. 1, 1999.' From Judith Rattenbury's 1971 Introduction to the IBM 360 computer and OS/JCL: 'EXPDT=70365 With this expiration date specified, the data set will not be scratched or overwritten without special operator action until the 365th day of 1970.' Hey, things are new if you've never seen them before!"

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333 comments

Really! (3)

jhb146 (459905) | about a year ago | (#42952099)

This is supposed to be new...

Re:Really! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952537)

Let alone patentable? I remember when the idiots at the USPTO gave a patent on the x-oring of a byte of screen memory to flash a cursor.

Too bad we couldn't generate electricity from stupidity. We seem to have plenty to go around these days.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952101)

I wonder if google is going to chase me. I use that exact method for log file expiration in a program I wrote back in 1998 for scanning configurations across servers, From memory I also got the code for doing that from someone elses web site that had posted the sample. the log files are written to dated folders according to how long I needed to keep a record for of the specific scan being executed.

Re:hmmm (5, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42952325)

Did you also inspect the quota for the user owning the file to determine if you should delete it? Were the files also stored in a distributed file system, with chunks of the file on separate systems?

Every single claim in that patent mention both of those things.

The naming of files is an example of a part of a claim. To infringe on a patent you need to infringe on at least one entire claim.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952403)

Oh please. This is hardly worthy of a patent.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952455)

yes it was stored on a distributed file system (still is), yes quota was also checked as that was the basis for cleanup, clean-ups would use the age to determine how best to reclaim space. but no to the chunks on separate systems. Still it is hardly an original idea worthy of a patent.

Re:hmmm (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42952469)

Did you also inspect the quota for the user owning the file to determine if you should delete it?

Obvious enough that it's not patent-worthy.

Were the files also stored in a distributed file system, with chunks of the file on separate systems?

Doesn't seem to have any relation to the basic principle being patented - unless you're claiming that, after someone patented the wheel, I can come in and patent the use of wheel specifically on paved surfaces.

Re:hmmm (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42952593)

Yes it does, every single claim in the patent mentions it or expands on another claim that does. Along with other details in every claim

Re:hmmm (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42952651)

What I meant is that I don't see how the fact that the temp. files being deleted are on a distributed file system is relevant to the concept of cleaning them up?

Except Google are not doing that. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42952475)

I wonder if google is going to chase me. I use that exact method for log file expiration in a program I wrote back in 1998 for scanning configurations across servers, From memory I also got the code for doing that from someone elses web site that had posted the sample. the log files are written to dated folders according to how long I needed to keep a record for of the specific scan being executed.

I doubt it, as the use case is completely different, you *manually selected what to delete" on log files on criteria you created, As opposed to Google who indicate a file is *temporary* by appending a file suffix/ changing a bit/ Mimetype, and then deleting it when...

The real problem (-1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952111)

is that the USPTO inspectors are mostly foreign born and do not have experience with this older gear and innovations. Worse, many are foreign educated. They are now doing time in USPTO to learn english to get real jobs.

Re:The real problem (3, Informative)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#42952121)

Cut the foreign born crap (Aussie here). Just say they are incompetent and leave it at that. Its more accurate that way.

Re:The real problem (-1, Offtopic)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952447)

No, it is NOT. The fact is, that even Aussies from the 70's had western goods. Others who were outside of the western sphere did not get as many goods, nor were participating in development of them. For example, how many innovative Chinese and Soviet items did you have from when you were a kid? I will bet NONE. Yet, both had them.

Re:The real problem (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#42952605)

Oh sorry I didn't realise everyone had a 70s mainframe back then. My mistake.

Heck did you know those mainframes had that feature? I didn't.

Re:The real problem (0)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952681)

Actually, I DID. Why? Because I worked on mainframes as well as early unix, DOS, Xenix, etc. However, how many Chinese or Indians from the 70's, or even 80's, worked on IBM mainframes? Probably none that are working in the USPTO. BUT, I will bet that there are PLENTY of schools around Australia that have/had mainframes, PDPs, VAXs, etc. In fact, I know that even back in the 90's, Colorado State's main programming was still done on mainframes. There were plenty of other schools around the western world that did the same thing. The reason is that it costs money to change.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952141)

Really. You know this how? A know a lot of people born in the US who can barely speak English.

Re:The real problem (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952251)

Because Spanish is their first language?

shouldnt be modded down (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952637)

Regardless of his intent, The truth is there are many americans who have spanish as their first language.

Re:The real problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952357)

I do too. They're all niggers.

Re:The real problem (1, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952471)

Your point? I deal regularly with foreign born. My wife is foreign-born. My in-laws speak tamil and many of my ex-gf's families only spoke spanish. So, really, what is your point? Do you have anything intelligent?

Re:The real problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952521)

So, you like foreign pussy. Your point?

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952145)

May be USPTO should hire older IT guys displaced by H1B as patent examiners?

Re:The real problem (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952491)

To be honest, that is not a bad idea. BUT, keep in mind that only solves IT. You have engineering as well. And in 20 years or so, you will want to have a number of asian-born inspectors. IOW, at this time, they are too early.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952261)

North Americans are so cute with their "excepcionalism" syndrome.

Re:The real problem (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952497)

And yet, we have so many idiots with their everything-is-racist-or-against-me syndrome, that they are incapable of looking at issues realistically. Hell, you have to hide who you are.

Re:The real problem (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#42952619)

Hell, you have to hide who you are.

Yes, I'm sure your parents were so proud when they looked down at you squalling in your crib and said, "We'll call him WindBourne, that's such a wonderful name!"

Re:The real problem (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952657)

Well, first off Dan, you already know who I am. We have emailed plenty before. Secondly, I use the same item here. There is only ONE person as Windbourne on /.. OTOH, there are plenty ACs here.

Re:The real problem (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#42952699)

Okay, I'm puzzled. Do we know each other outside of /.?

All I'm saying is that it seems to me that posting under a screen name isn't a whole lot different from posting as AC, in terms of willingness to reveal your identity and stand by your words. You may have a certain amount of reputation and karma to gain or lose, but that's about it. Now, when I signed on to /. using my real name, it wasn't a deliberate act of courage or anything like that--I just didn't even think about coming up with a screen name--but in retrospect, I do take a certain amount of pride in it. My opinions are out there with my name attached to them for all the world to see, and I think I write more carefully and thoughtfully than I would under a pseudonym.

Re:The real problem (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42952519)

Please don't lump us canadians and mexicans in with the USians ...and some quebecers.

Re:The real problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952287)

I highly doubt that that's the "real problem", given that you are legally required to be a U.S. citizen to become a USPTO inspector.

http://careers.uspto.gov/Pages/PEPositions/fitcheck.aspx

Re:The real problem (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#42952479)

Becoming a US citizen does NOT mean that you have command of the english language. If you look at the CVs of the inspectors, you will find that many of them have engineering degrees from China or India. Basically, they do NOT have the exposure to the same innovations that somebody raised here has.

Re:The real problem (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42952731)

As someone who works with Indian engineers daily, who lives with (and is about to marry) a Chinese engineer, and who is himself "foreign born"... You are so full of racist crap, I'd be afraid to kick you out my door for fear of ruining the carpet.

Wait there's more (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952115)

Google Labs is supposedly working on a next-gen programming development environment that allows source code statements to be physically manipulated like a deck of cards.

big deal (4, Insightful)

dickens (31040) | about a year ago | (#42952123)

It's not like Microsoft was ever going to be interested in that anyway. They must get cents back from the disk manufacturers for perpetuating their ever-growing temp folders.

Re:big deal (0)

hedronist (233240) | about a year ago | (#42952425)

ROFLCOPTER! Being the Geezer Geek® in our family/neighborhood I get the calls for ... almost everything. I had one woman (who shall remain nameless (except she's my older sister)) who complained of all sorts of horrible things happening. Turns out it was an out-of-disk and there was a huge number of ~whatever files all over her filesystem. Cleaning them all up gave her about 40% free disk.

really? (3, Insightful)

lkernan (561783) | about a year ago | (#42952137)

I don't know whats worse, Google applied for this, or the USPTO approved it.

Re:really? (1)

edibobb (113989) | about a year ago | (#42952437)

It's much worse that the USPTO approves trash like this. As long as they do, companies, trolls, and other profit seekers will take financial advantage of the stupidity. Meanwhile, the more patents the USPTO approves, the larger their budget becomes.

Re:really? (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about a year ago | (#42952653)

I don't know whats worse, Google applied for this, or the USPTO approved it.

I am no particular fan of Google, but if the USPTO is approving this sort of thing, Google (and every other business) has to worry that some troll will land a patent on some basic part of their everyday operations, and if you can afford it, one defense is to attempt to patent everything that you do and use. They may have been as surprised as we are that it was approved.

For the USPTO this is a wonderful business model: do a crappy job and increase the demand for your services. Another recent example of this business model in practice was the way S&P rated mortgage-backed securities.

No issue here, Read the Patent! (5, Informative)

dajjhman (2537730) | about a year ago | (#42952149)

If you actually read the patent, it is specifically for a similar method, but designed for Distributed File Systems. This is different from just a single file being names a certain way. It is an algorithm based on the location of other related files, each different file's modified and Time to Live (TTL) dates, and the factors determined by the, keywords here, plurality of servers. If they tried to patent a regular temporary file that would be different, but this is a distributed system specifically for a file that is distributed in different parts on different systems. If you still think this has been done before, I would love to see the source for that information and gladly would recant myself given that.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952235)

A distributed filesystem is still a filesystem. One doesn't get to patent filesystem features again (and especially not obvious ones) just because they're now "distributed".

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (5, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | about a year ago | (#42952279)

Here is the crux of the first claim: "1. A computer-implemented method comprising: selecting a file having a path name in a distributed file system, wherein the file is divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers, wherein each chunk has a modification time indicating when the chunk was last modified, and wherein at least two of the modification times are different; identifying a user profile associated with the file; determining a memory space storage quota usage for the user profile; deriving a file time to live for the file from the path name; determining a weighted file time to live for the file by reducing the file time to live by an offset, where the offset is determined by multiplying the file time to live by a percentage of memory space storage quota used by the user profile; selecting a latest modification time from the modification times of the plurality of chunks; determining that an elapsed time based on the latest modification time is equal to or exceeds the weighted file time to live; and deleting all of the chunks of the file responsive to the determining."

Can we please have an end to the stupid articles where someone intentionally mis-interprets the abstract or even just the title of a patent and pretends it's some simple thing that's been done for decades to try to drum up anti-patent sentiment? There seems to be one a week or so.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (3, Insightful)

stevesliva (648202) | about a year ago | (#42952365)

Can we please have an end to the stupid articles where someone intentionally mis-interprets the abstract or even just the title of a patent and pretends it's some simple thing that's been done for decades to try to drum up anti-patent sentiment? There seems to be one a week or so.

Unlikely. Nonetheless, anti-patent sentiment is a good thing. Far too many people assume there's some sort of fairness or justice to the whole mess, and there isn't.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (5, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | about a year ago | (#42952483)

It's still a dumb patent; a trivial weighting addition doesn't change this. I mean, seriously, that's less complicated than your average photoshop filter, and it's an obvious "innovation" that any engineer would think up if they were to be asked to implement file expiration on Google's platforms.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952635)

Can we please have an end to the stupid articles where someone intentionally mis-interprets the abstract or even just the title of a patent and pretends it's some simple thing that's been done for decades to try to drum up anti-patent sentiment? There seems to be one a week or so.

This is slashdot, so I think the answer to that is obvious. But just in case it isn't obvious to you, No.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952649)

It may not be the same as the prior art stated by the article summary I'll agree, BUT its still math. It's an algorithm. Math isn't patentable. The general argument against software patents remains and is exemplified by this one.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952295)

Embedding metadata in the filename? Unheard of!

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (5, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#42952359)

If you actually read the patent, it is specifically for a similar method, but designed for Distributed File Systems.

Ahhhh... that's good.

You see, I was scared shitless that we are still quibbling over patents granted with the only claimed difference over some old methods (patented or not) being "on a computer".
I see now how wrong I was: we stepped in the glorious era of the "in the cloud" claims.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952421)

One click "in the cloud" here I come!

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#42952389)

Look, I know you're trying to be insightful and all, but this is Slashdot. We don't let silly facts get in the way of our unbridled hatred of all things Gub'mint!

It's a patent on storing files. Sure, it has some improvements that nobody's really used before that solve particular problems in a particular field, but I totally saw something similar sketched on the back of an envelope at my cousin's house in 1957, so this is blatantly obvious. I don't need to read the silly lawyer-speak claims to see that this patent is obviously just for storing files on a computer, in a distributed way. Heck, at my office building we have several rooms of filing cabinets, with several drawers each. If that isn't distributed, I don't know what is!

</PainfullyTrueSarcasm>

More seriously, yep. Knowing a thing or two about how Google stores data, this looks like a means to keep their GFS [wikipedia.org] size needs under control. As each chunk is modified (but normally such chunks aren't able to be deleted), it can be given a whole new path, allowing a separate process to simply delete blocks that haven't been modified in a long time.

Re:No issue here, Read the Patent! (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year ago | (#42952693)

While the mechanism described isn't very original, Google has lawyers to cover their asses and patent it so that a few years down the trail when they've implemented it all through their cloud they can't get sued by Microsoft or some troll that went ahead and patented an equivalent method. Actually, if the PTO threw it out as unpatentable, Google would probably be just as happy, so they could use it without looking over their shoulders. .

Those who don't learn from history (1)

jcrb (187104) | about a year ago | (#42952155)

are doomed to think they have (re)invented it.

This is so true I have quite a few patents and I see it every day while doing art searches the number of patents claiming things that anyone with even a half way decent understanding or education in the field would recognize as already having been done "way back in the good old days".

Next, the Generation Data Set! (1)

Gim Tom (716904) | about a year ago | (#42952161)

Wow, Has anyone patented the concept of the old mainframe Generation Data Set recently? I used them extensively back in the mainframe days and could have used a similar concept in more recent systems, but never found a real substitute in either Unix/Linux or Windows. A simple explanation for those who have not heard of them is that they are sort of a push down stack of files managed by the OS with a fixed stack length. You could reference them by a long serial number that was of the format GnnnnVnnnn or by a simple index where the top (and most recent) file in the stack had a zero index. Has anyone seen anything similar in either Unix or Windows?

Re:Next, the Generation Data Set! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952647)

OpenVMS has its versioning file system. It's similar. Full file names are expressed as name.extension;version

What's old is new again (3, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year ago | (#42952181)

The same thing happened in the 80s and early 90s when microcomputers started gaining features like virtual memory, protected modes, out of order execution, etc... People thought these were all brand new things, when in fact mainframe processors had done all that 20 years prior in the 1960s.

I bet when all the kids were super-excited about programming on the i386 with its "OMG VIRTUAL MEMORY!!!" the older guys who had worked on mainframes just rolled their eyes. :)

Read about the IBM 360/91 if you want details on what I mean. It was amazing when you consider the year it came out.

Virtual memory, etc. was easy in the early 1980s (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#42952245)

Designing computer hardware that could do virtual memory and other features that were OMGNEW in the early 1980s was very easy. As you said, it had been done for decades.

Designing a CPU that would go in sub-$2000 computers that could do these cool things, on the other hand, not so easy.

Re:Virtual memory, etc. was easy in the early 1980 (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42952439)

Miniaturization took care of that.

Whether or not it could be done for some arbitrary price is not relevant.

Doing something over again in a different medium is still not invention no matter how much you want to shill for companies that would grind you into crackers if given enough motive.

Re:Virtual memory, etc. was easy in the early 1980 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952791)

Designing a CPU that would go in sub-$2000 computers that could do these cool things, on the other hand, not so easy.

Ring us back when you can distinguish between implementation and innovation.

Re:What's old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952271)

The same thing just happened in the last few years when hypervisors and virtual machines were "discovered". IIRC IBM invented the hypervisor/vm concept some time in the late 50s and commercialized it in the early 60s.

You never see the bare metal on a mainframe or even a pSeries UNIX server. You are always running under the hypervisor.

Re:What's old is new again (1)

GoChickenFat (743372) | about a year ago | (#42952487)

I bet when all the kids were super-excited about programming on the i386 with its "OMG VIRTUAL MEMORY!!!" the older guys who had worked on mainframes just rolled their eyes. :)

You talking about the same old grey beards that gasped when the kids opened the cover on a server and added their own memory, network adaptors, backplanes, disk drives, etc without having to call IBM out to do it?

Re:What's old is new again (4, Funny)

sbjornda (199447) | about a year ago | (#42952641)

I bet when all the kids were super-excited about programming on the i386 with its "OMG VIRTUAL MEMORY!!!" the older guys who had worked on mainframes just rolled their eyes. :)

You talking about the same old grey beards that gasped when the kids opened the cover on a server and added their own memory, network adaptors, backplanes, disk drives, etc without having to call IBM out to do it?

Yeah, and then rolled their eyes again because the kids didn't know about change control, didn't notify the users about the outage, didn't verify that their backups were good (if they even had backups), and lost 6 months worth of corporate data as a result.

--
.nosig

Re:What's old is new again (4, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#42952789)

As an aside... I remember a few years ago - when we were still running tape backups - I went to one of our then-sysadmins and asked him to recover an important directory one of our faculty had managed to delete. I was told he couldn't do it because it would require they stop the backup system for several hours, which would throw their backup tape rotation scheme out of sync.

So we were continuously generating backups we could never actually use.

Re:What's old is new again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952617)

IBM 360, oh the memories! *shudders* Let's see, sleeping bag *check*, back pack *check*, change of clothes *check*, food for a couple days *check*, some beef jerky and crackers just in case *check*, thermos of hot coffee *check*, textbooks, notebooks and loose paper *check*, flow charts and punched cards *check*, ok, time to go get in line at the student card reader.

Re:What's old is new again (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#42952665)

I bet when all the kids were super-excited about programming on the i386 with its "OMG VIRTUAL MEMORY!!!" the older guys who had worked on mainframes just rolled their eyes. :)

Well, it was super-exciting to have it on the desktop for a reasonable price, yeah. I can't speak for everyone of that generation, but I appreciated it while still understanding perfectly well that it wasn't a new invention.

No they didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952203)

No they didn't. Below is what they patented. In order for your statement to be true - EVERY single bit of the description below would have to be included in that 70's mainframe you are talking about. I have a hard time believing that back you the 70's you were dealing with files that where divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers.

"A computer-implemented method comprising: selecting a file having a path name in a distributed file system, wherein the file is divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers, wherein each chunk has a modification time indicating when the chunk was last modified, and wherein at least two of the modification times are different; identifying a user profile associated with the file; determining a memory space storage quota usage for the user profile; deriving a file time to live for the file from the path name; determining a weighted file time to live for the file by reducing the file time to live by an offset, where the offset is determined by multiplying the file time to live by a percentage of memory space storage quota used by the user profile; selecting a latest modification time from the modification times of the plurality of chunks; determining that an elapsed time based on the latest modification time is equal to or exceeds the weighted file time to live; and deleting all of the chunks of the file responsive to the determining. "

Re:No they didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952457)

No they didn't. Below is what they patented. In order for your statement to be true - EVERY single bit of the description below would have to be included in that 70's mainframe you are talking about. I have a hard time believing that back you the 70's you were dealing with files that where divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers.

Perhaps not. But that's COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. The technique is no different on a distributed file system versus a non-distributed file system. Given that this technique was used on a non-distributed file system, its application to a distributed file system is obvious. In other words if the only thing new is the application of an old technique to a new file system, it's an "exhausted combination claim".

Re:No they didn't (2)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year ago | (#42952551)

In order for your statement to be true - EVERY single bit of the description below would have to be included in that 70's mainframe you are talking about

In order for your statement to be true, the Doctrine of Equivalents would have to be eliminated.

Oh bullocks (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#42952231)

The summary is wrong. Folks, please stop reading the abstract, and read claim 1 instead.

This is what is patented:

1. A computer-implemented method comprising: selecting a file having a path name in a distributed file system, wherein the file is divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers, wherein each chunk has a modification time indicating when the chunk was last modified, and wherein at least two of the modification times are different; identifying a user profile associated with the file; determining a memory space storage quota usage for the user profile; deriving a file time to live for the file from the path name; determining a weighted file time to live for the file by reducing the file time to live by an offset, where the offset is determined by multiplying the file time to live by a percentage of memory space storage quota used by the user profile; selecting a latest modification time from the modification times of the plurality of chunks; determining that an elapsed time based on the latest modification time is equal to or exceeds the weighted file time to live; and deleting all of the chunks of the file responsive to the determining.

Re:Oh bullocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952285)

Patent hint: Needs to be not obvious to one skilled in the trade...

Re:Oh bullocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952443)

What they've patented here is actually the per-user tiering or enforcement of storage quotas by deletion, weighted by the personal usage, using time as a preference/priority measure. It's date-based expiration, but scaled based on disk pressure. If I've got a lot of data, it means that data with the nearest expiration date *scaled by some function of the memory pressure*, is deleted.

The summary makes it sound more trivial than it is, since it takes a short snipped from the example usages section of the documents....

Re:Oh bullocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952423)

This incomprehensible POS filing blows a "plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers". Who can possibly make sense of this ridiculous prattle?

Re:Oh bullocks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952609)

My dick responded to your determining.

US Patent and Trademark Office Dumb Asses (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year ago | (#42952233)

If you screwed up like this in company, you would be fired. Yet some dumbass government worker in the USPTO grants this and several million dollars later it gets sorted out by the courts. One of the reason patent litigation is out of control is because these dumbass don't do their jobs.

Worse, the USPTO is about to switch from first to invent to first to file. You don't need to invent any more. Just find out what your competitors are doing, patent it, and sue them out of business: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/top-ten-reasons-to-file-your-patent-appl-98912/ [jdsupra.com]

Re:US Patent and Trademark Office Dumb Asses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952323)

Wrong. The USPTO is switching to a first-INVENTOR-to-file system. You can't have derived the invention from your competitors.

Re:US Patent and Trademark Office Dumb Asses (1)

stevesliva (648202) | about a year ago | (#42952381)

and several million dollars later it gets sorted out by the courts

No, not really. Several million dollars later, someone capriciously wins, and then there are equally capricious rounds of appeals.

Re:US Patent and Trademark Office Dumb Asses (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#42952603)

If you screwed up like this in company, you would be fired boilerplate anti-government yammering blah blah blah

When you get out of high school and have your first job that doesn't involve cleaning a grease trap, you'll learn how things actually work in the corporate world.

Public Patent Challenge (5, Interesting)

cowtamer (311087) | about a year ago | (#42952241)

I think it's time for a crowdsourced patent challenge web site run by the USPTO where there would be a period of public comment for each patent about to be awarded in order to help underpaid (and I imagine under-resourced) examiners find Prior Art.

A lot fewer patents might be awarded, but ones that are would be genuinely new -- this might also save the world billions of dollars.

Re:Public Patent Challenge (3, Interesting)

stevesliva (648202) | about a year ago | (#42952401)

I think it's time for a crowdsourced patent challenge web site run by the USPTO where there would be a period of public comment for each patent about to be awarded in order to help underpaid (and I imagine under-resourced) examiners find Prior Art.

A lot fewer patents might be awarded, but ones that are would be genuinely new -- this might also save the world billions of dollars.

http://peertopatent.org/ [peertopatent.org]

ven if they are the first to do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952257)

How many month of research investment is this patent supposed to be protecting, aren't patents supposed to for no obvious things. Sticking date info into a files name is five seconds of semi inspired thought, it's something that nobody would every publish in a software engineering book (except as a side note perhaps) because it's the sort of thing you would just reinvent as needed.

More than the sum of its parts (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952259)

And the inventive step is....
And the non obvious part is....

The problem here isn't the USPTO, it's the Patent Appeals Court that modified the Supreme Court decision (that an invention needed to be more than the sum of its parts), and decided that as soon as you'd been told about an invention, your judgement would be tainted by 'hindsight bias' and thus unable to determine prior art. So unless it's written down in that form, the patent should be awarded.

Can I ask the idiots in the Patent Appeals Court, is THIS invention more than the sum of its parts?

No?!

Anyone else remember August 24, 1979? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952273)

I Stapled your mom's ass that night.

Google do no evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952277)

Google can do no wrong or evil (bs?!?!?!)

Storing data (1)

destruk (1136357) | about a year ago | (#42952313)

I'll file a patent for the storing and retrieval of data in some form. This would cover books, video, computers, and the human brain. Now, give me my payments.... hey,nobody has ever heard of this because there are no records before I filed this patent right?

I've recently been granted a patent... (1)

KNicolson (147698) | about a year ago | (#42952337)

...for extracting random phrases out of the middle of a patent document that match prior art and posting them to a web site in order to increase hit rates. Please delete this article or you will be hearing from my lawyers!

This is not-obvious? There is no prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952347)

This has to be the worst excuse for a patent ever heard. Automatic deletion of TMP files?

Next Google wont want to pay taxes!

(oh... snap...)

Except the summary is wrong (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42952355)

I make no claims to the validity of the the data, but the example given and the patent are different. The IBM 360 example is about *preserving files* by affording them additional protection, as opposed to the Google patent which is about *deleting* temporary files through adding a "time to live" value actiuallin in the directory/filename with various ways of cleaning out these files, as well as an *additional* indicator that it is a tempory file.

...but considering the patent is 26 pages long, if could be for walrus toothbrushes....and who the hell quotes from a book, and then posts a link to the whole book!

On the Internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952367)

It's probably not google's fault. I wish patent applications cost more money, the more patents you had.
But big companies would find a loophole.
sigh.

GROW UP (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952549)

geez, when is slashdot ever gonna stop running these stupid articles that only show how little the posters know about patent law
or, at least, READ THE FILE WRAPPER 111
MAYBE THE IBM PATENT IS AN X OR Y DOC IN THE SEARCH REPORT 111
OR THE VERY LEAST, READ THE CLAIMS !!!

claim 1:
  A computer-implemented method comprising: selecting a file having a path name in a distributed file system, wherein the file is divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers, wherein each chunk has a modification time indicating when the chunk was last modified, and wherein at least two of the modification times are different; identifying a user profile associated with the file; determining a memory space storage quota usage for the user profile; deriving a file time to live for the file from the path name; determining a weighted file time to live for the file by reducing the file time to live by an offset, where the offset is determined by multiplying the file time to live by a percentage of memory space storage quota used by the user profile; selecting a latest modification time from the modification times of the plurality of chunks; determining that an elapsed time based on the latest modification time is equal to or exceeds the weighted file time to live; and deleting all of the chunks of the file responsive to the determining

to be covered by claim one, you must meet each AND every part..
did IBM, back in 1970s , describe a file divided among two or more (= plurality) servers, where at least two of the parts has a diff modification time, and dong the storage quote athing ??

patents are specific; i leave it to the experts to say if this one is worth anything

NCAR Mass Store had expiration dates (1, Interesting)

cruff (171569) | about a year ago | (#42952587)

The NCAR Mass Store (tape archive) had an expiration period attribute (units of days) on the bitfiles. The default, if not specified was 30 days, which effectively made it a temporary file. Expiration periods of 31 days or more were considered more permanent, and the owners would receive email two weeks and one week before the projected expiration date arrived. Expiration processing was run each Sunday, and the bitfiles were moved into the trash, from which they could be recovered for another 30 days before they were permanently deleted. This was in the mid-eighties.

Google is trying to patent (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year ago | (#42952661)

A one liner find command that has been written thousands of times, if not millions of times.

Not novel, not original, prior art, obvious.

read the eff'n claims, not the description (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952671)

The claims on this are fairly narrowly drawn..
Everyone writes the description/disclosure broadly (check out the number of patents titled something like "catalytic improvement") to establish "prior art" for folks following, and then you write the claims both broad and narrow. broad claims get knocked out by the examiner, but you keep the narrow ones, so nobody can 'duplicate' your work.

There is a patent on a banana peeling machine which describes all sorts of ways one can peel bananas, but the claims cover only one specific implementation with a specific number of blades, etc. That's enough to
a) prevent someone from making an exact knockoff of YOUR banana peeling machine
b) patenting some other banana peeling machine that you might invent in the future.

It's not old til you've married it. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about a year ago | (#42952721)

Hey, things are new if you've never seen them before!

Just wait till you all grow up and discover cougars.

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