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Plugin Patent to Mean Changes in IE?

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the speakeasy-has-spent-two-weeks-without-placing-my-order dept.

Internet Explorer 437

hexene writes "The W3C have issued an initial statement on the recent court case of Eolas v. Microsoft in regards to US Patent 5,838,906. The patent relates to the embedding of objects in hypermedia documents, and Microsoft has indicated they will have to make changes to Internet Explorer as a result of the ruling. There may also be far-reaching effects to both other web browser vendors and page authors. Check out the public mailing list to discuss the various issues." See the previous Eolas story for background.

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In Soviet Russia.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813032)

IE patents YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813214)

You're behind the times.

That should now read:

In Corporate America..... ....Patents embed you!

eolas? (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813039)

Isn't that a character from LoTR? What's he doing messing with my IE?!

Re:eolas? (-1, Offtopic)

Berzelius (558040) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813099)

At first I read:

"Isn't that a cracker from LOTR"

Re:eolas? (-1, Offtopic)

Channard (693317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813105)

No, I'm sure it's Hercules - The Legendary Journeys. Albeit it's spelt Iolaus. Coming soon - Xena Vs SCO. 'Your honour, I aim to prove that my client has the rights to tax what is supposed to be an open source sy...' 'Aiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!' *thwack* 'Case closed due to decapitation of prosecuting attorney. I find in favour of IBM and their unorthodox but effective representative.'

internet explorer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813051)

does anyone even use this pos anymore?

You would think... (5, Insightful)

Distan (122159) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813061)

You would think that since intellectual property protection is so important to Microsoft, they would be more cautious about insuring that nothing they shipped infringed any patents instead of continuing to get caught in these embarassing lawsuits.

Re:You would think... (5, Insightful)

Talthane (699885) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813073)

I think the point is that the software patent system has got to the stage where it's impossible for any company to be sure of that (after all, it's not like Microsoft's legal department is small). Yet another reason to hope against hope that the EU will reject the notion of introducing them here.

Re:You would think... (4, Insightful)

Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813158)

it's impossible for any company to be sure of that

That's the way the big players want it. Do you seriously think that there is any software you could possibly write that doesn't infringe on one or patents from IBM, Microsoft, Lucent, etc.

That way, if you ever sue them, they will countersue for patent infringement. IBM carefully selected four patents that affect all of SCO's products. When IBM gets a preliminary injunction, then SCO will have all of their revenues cut off. Plus expensive patent suits to defend by either (1) proving they don't infringe, or (2) proving the patent is invalid. In either case, IBM could just come up with a fifth or sixth patent infringement to keep the whole expensive patent infringement suits going while keeping SCO's revenue cut off.

So why didn't IBM file 2000 patent suits instead of only four? So that they don't look like they are gaming the system and fall into disfavor with the judge. (Plus the ability to add the fifth or sixth patent suit later to keep them running sequentially instead of concurrently.)

Re:You would think... (4, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813080)

Excuse me, but I think this is nothing more than a land grab by some greedy "Intellectual Property" company.

The patent is ridiculous and I hardly see the patent holder writing their own browser or selling their own system. No, they would rather sue some company and make their money that way...

Sheeshhh...

Re:You would think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813182)

check the age of the patent. no doubt he had a prototype implementation done when he was at UC ten years ago. would that prototype be useful to anyone today? i think not.

Re:You would think... (4, Insightful)

stephenry (648792) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813258)

This isn't the fault of a "greedy IP company" sueing businesses on alledged infringement, it's the fault of the government for allowing such a case to be made in the first place.

Re:You would think... (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813297)

Sound like anybody else we know [sco.com] ? :-P

Re:You would think... (5, Insightful)

yintercept (517362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813305)

hardly see the patent holder writing their own browser or selling their own system

I agree that this patent seems to be frivolous.

However, in a world of components, I don't think it is a necessary requirement that a company must be making an end user application to be considered a legitimate entity. There is legitimacy in designing components.

In some regard, the people making components are in greater need of IP protection than the company that packages and sells systems since they do not have the immediate brand awareness. They are totally at the mercy of the company with the brand name.

Just because a component is dependent on another work does not mean that it is illegitimate. The fact that the patent system is protecting components is good in this regard; otherwise the companies selling systems would be able to trounce all over the subcontractors that make the components.

Just because we haven't heard of a company doesn't mean they are not a major player making major contributions.

Re:You would think... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813085)

Patents aren't the kind of thing you can really determine ahead of time. Even if it looks like you might infringe, if the owner doesn't care about enforcing it, then it won't matter. Most are so vague you'd never be able to build anything anyway if you really tried to be conservative about it.

Basically you just have to put your stuff out there and hope you aren't sued. If they sue you later and can prove you knew about their patent and willfully infringed, they can still screw it to you anyway. It's a fucked up situation.

Re:You would think... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813120)

Note that the patent was filed in 1994, but didn't issue until 1998. In those 4 years MS wouldn't have had any knowledge of the pending patent (unless specifically told). By the time '98 rolled around they'd already had the code in use and probably were unaware of the infringement until sued.

Re:You would think... (1, Insightful)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813147)


You would think that since intellectual property protection is so important to Microsoft, they would be more cautious about insuring that nothing they shipped infringed any patents instead of continuing to get caught in these embarassing lawsuits.

The problem is that issuing patents is largely a money making activity for the state. The result is that people can (and have) patented almost every imaginable (and quite a few unimaginable) things.

When the internet became popular, people rushed to patent everything that had already been patented but just with the words "on the internet" appended.

The results are that there are so many patents, covering so much activity that you have undoubtly "infringed" upon quite a few when you pressed the "submit" button. (and so will I)

Apart from a lot of patents being so vague that they could cover almost everything, It simply is not possible to match everything you do against issued patents.

Re:You would think... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813261)

instead of continuing to get caught in these embarassing lawsuits

Embarassment probably doesn't mean anything to Microsoft. As long as they can pursuade government departments or your granny (and nearly every clueless person in between) that Windows and MS products are the way, the truth and the light, they'll continue to rake in the dollars.

I had a frustrating experience last week when I was trying to explain alternatives to an acquaintance who, when asked what he used his computer systems for, since he was so adamant that Windows had to be installed, and he said "everything. Absolutely everything".

When pressed, it turned out that his staff used Word, IE and Excel for very basic tasks that could easily be accommodated by open-source alternatives.

He wouldn't even consider the idea; just too far out of his head-space.

Patents (5, Interesting)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813077)

Even though this was a loss for Microsoft, I am not happy about that ruling. In my opinion, this shows the harm that patents are doing to the computer industry. I also believe that patents last too long.

Re:Patents (1)

LittleK (640585) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813107)

I agree, this patent issue could really injure the development of better web browsers, and hurt the internet community as a whole.

Re:Patents (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813128)

Maybe they should put a clause in patents which effectively says "do something with the idea in this timespace or have the patent nullified". That would stop idiots from wasting money patenting ideas that they aren't going to use and it would probably help industry in general, rather than just the computing sector. It should also be required that they make patented concepts more exact - ie (No pun intended ;) give a specific potential use and implementation of the idea rather than just the idea.

Re:Patents (1)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813260)

I agree with you. Sadly, things will probably never change since so many companies have a vested interest in seeing in the current system continue.

Re:Patents (5, Interesting)

blowdart (31458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813270)

Well there would be one advantage, no more plugins means no more flash.

*contented sigh* No more navigation bars, adverts with sound, splash screens

(Note the W3C meeting was hosted by Macromedia, who probably have more to lose than anyone else)

That stinks. (4, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813086)

There's this really neat feature that IE has (whie no other browser has) is the ability to save a webpage in 1 file. It puts a base64 attachments before the tag, and self-links all the links.

If thats what they're talking about, that stinks.

activex (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813111)

What i can see is that they are talking about activex and the way it is integrated.

Re:That stinks. (3, Interesting)

naph (590672) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813194)

i believe that's not microsofts invention, i think it's an RFC [faqs.org] .

should get into moz sometime.
:D

Re:That stinks. (4, Informative)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813303)

Konqueror can do that, "Archive Webpage" creates a single .WAR file.

Barry Bonds patent (0, Funny)

BarryBondsTroll (699883) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813088)

I heard Barry Bonds was attempting to obtain a patent for his amazing hitting technique. Supposedly Ted William's frozen head is claiming prior art, but I feel that Bonds will ultimately prevail, as possession is 9/10 of the law.

Re:Barry Bonds patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813198)

As John Lennon once said, "possession is 9/10 of the problem" :)

"plug-ins" = ...specifically what? (5, Interesting)

Empiric (675968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813091)

From the W3C statement:

The implementation can be local or distributed across a network, and is automatically invoked based upon type information in the document or associated with the object's data.

It seems on initial glance that if this patent holds up, it could be argued to apply to the entire model of MIME types by which browsers invoke different behavior based on type.

It also seems to directly apply to the notion of having Word launch when clicking on a ".doc" file.

Couldn't one consider a browser and a word processor to both be "plug-ins" to the operating system? What specifically differentiates a "plug-in" from any other type of application functionality?

Surely there is massive prior art on this going back at least to the early 80's. This patent is obscene.

Re:"plug-ins" = ...specifically what? (5, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813177)

Actually thats my biggest complaint about both this, and any other patent lawsuit.

It needs to be more clearly defined *EXACTLY* what is being patented... these vague patents... or more specifically, a patent without an actual implementation, opens us up to all kinds of useless broadreaching patent lawsuits. In the end, this kinda stuff tends to hurt the consumers more then anyone!

IMHO, you should not be able to receive a patent unless you have an exact implementation to demonstrate exactly what it is you are patenting. Patents should be almost as specific and exacting as trademarks are.

Re:"plug-ins" = ...specifically what? (3, Interesting)

jez_f (605776) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813203)

I think if you read on
.., and there is a control path to the object's implementation to support user interaction with the object..
Kind of makes it distinct to plugins, even though if you had the rendering for, say, a gif image in a DLL it may also be using the patent idea.
There is also
..where at least some of the object's data is located external to the document..
So if you had a mime encoded document with all parts encoded within the document weather they neaded a plugin or not it would not be covered
This is a really bad thing. Basicaly it looks like you shouln't be able to even put a java widget in a web page.
Now that they have been payed off my M$ I wonder if one of there team of [mony grabbing pigf$$king evil] lawyers will decide to go after web site authors??

All IMHO IANAL ETC

Pay for innovation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813224)

Patent 4,838,906 [uspto.gov] (the patent in question)

If the patent is invalid due to prior art, Microsoft should of course appeal the ruling and it should be struck down.

If the patent is valid, the W3C members should raise some money and offer to pay a one-time lump-sum ransom for the patent to be freely licensed to anyone who wants to use it. (This is what has to happen in a system where inventions are patentable. You have to pay for innovations that would otherwise, once introduced, spread naturally to all producers in the course of ordinary market competition. Invention, not production, is rewarded in the near term.)

If the patent system is invalid... but that's another discussion.

Software patents suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813093)

Any idea why?

Do you think this is just a setup? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813095)

Do you suppose Microsoft is simply "letting" these guys win, "forcing" them to change some minor detail in IE, so they can help legitimize software patents in preparation of going after Open Source should the microsoft-backed SCO lawsuit fail to destroy it?

Just my 0.02 conspiracy theory.

Re:Do you think this is just a setup? (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813152)

What do you mean "should the microsoft-backed SCO lawsuit fail to destroy it?" >.

Re:Do you think this is just a setup? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813251)

Maybe if they're planning to take them over after they win. Microsoft: "Awww you won, well there's no possible way we'd be able to operate if we had to license all of this IP from you. How about we buy you out for LOTS of money?" Eolas: "Who are you talking to? You know we allready agree..." MS: "Shut up! I want them to hear this." *tap* *tap* "Is this thing on?"

Hypermedia, embedding obvious - (mini-rant) (3, Insightful)

nuggz (69912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813097)

Hypermedia? wtf is that?

Embedding of stuff, this is obvious.

I remeber when I had a typewriter, if I wanted a picture, I would glue a photo onto the page.
Computers allowed you to cut and paste the picture. Later sound, or video.
What makes the remoteness a differentiating factor?

This isn't even an issue of software patents, just stupidity.
Putting payment informaiton into a device, and then with a single click selecting the product is obvious.
I do it at Amazon.com, a Pop Machine, and a laundrymat, the computer doesn't really make it any difference.

Re:Hypermedia, embedding obvious - (mini-rant) (1)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813180)

This isn't even an issue of software patents, just stupidity.
Putting payment informaiton into a device, and then with a single click selecting the product is obvious.
I do it at Amazon.com, a Pop Machine, and a laundrymat, the computer doesn't really make it any difference.


Ah, but you fail to realize the common denominator in the above examples. Dollar signs. You see even "duh-massess" can understand complicated technology when a $ is in the equation. Hyperlinking in computer related context takes the exact same currency related formulas that people understand and transforms it into some unknown magical calculus theory that only geeks can get.

Re:Hypermedia, embedding obvious - (mini-rant) (4, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813243)

Hypermedia? wtf is that?

"Hypermedia" is what we used to call the often proprietary amalgamation of hypertext and multimedia back before Tim Berners-Lee came along and sorted it all out for us. I don't know about how far back prior art on this goes, but I was quite happily embedding dynamic clocks, calenders and such like in a multi-user hypertext authoring system at Liverpool University in the early 90's. Embedded images, sound and even video was *already* old-hat at this point.

It was an in-house developed tool called MUCH (Many Users Creating Hypertext) written in the Andrew toolkit (think a forerunner of GTk/Qt) and running on HP-UX, if you were wondering.

Re:Hypermedia, embedding obvious - (mini-rant) (1)

naph (590672) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813249)

i think the point is that so many people have a problem with this kind of thing because of the fact that to us it is obvious, and the people outside the industry generally don't seem to have any idea of this. which is allowing all these ridiculous patents to be granted and spoiling the industry.

i mean, if i didn't know anything about computers and programming then amazons remembering my details each time really would seem like a great invention by them.

Re:Hypermedia, embedding obvious - (mini-rant) (1)

User8201 (573530) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813267)

Actually, you can EMBED things remotely in programs like PageMaker, an old program. If the filename specified is on a network drive (e.g. "\\ASIANPC\Cool.gif" and if the network is all the way around the world - say in ASIA - you have remote embedding.

Nothing new here but we're probably oversimplefying the patent, whic hI haven't read.

This might be a good thing (5, Funny)

Dog and Pony (521538) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813100)

If this means the end of overdesigned, shiny and glittery flash sites, and sites that demand IE because they want to use Active X objects etc, then I'm all for it.

I'm not hostile to new technology and all that, but these technologies are so frequently abused so anything that will lessen it will be a good thing.

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813131)

including frivolous lawsuits that set all browsers and technology in general back by 20 years.

Getting rid of flash is worth that.

You are dumb. Drive thru.

Re:This might be a good thing (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813184)

Maybe they'll be kind enough to take all those active x vulnerabilities down with the ship too ^_^

SVG (2, Interesting)

Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813213)

My only beef with flash is that (1) it is not a "standard", and (2) implementations are proprietary, and therefore only available or easily available on the right platforms.

Getting rid of Flash plug ins might give SVG a fighting chance to displace it. (Can someone please provide a link to svg?)

This might be a motivation for Microsoft geeks to get excited about building a good SVG implementation into IE. I think other browsers (Mozilla?) already are working on this?

Re:This might be a good thing (1)

brucmack (572780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813259)

The thing is, it's not MS who is designing all those sites... so why should they be the one sufferring from another too-broad software patent?

Media players and Java Applets (4, Interesting)

Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813278)

While I would love to see the demise of Flash in favor of SVG, I would be sad to see Java Applets go away.

It is good to have a way to run open-ended software in the user's browser, in a sandbox. For example, the VNC viewer is a java applet. But this particular application of applets was not necessarily what was envisioned when applets were first added to web browsers. I'm thinking of useful applications of java applets, not the latest flashing, blinking, twitching, scrolling seizure inducing eye candy.

Similarly, I don't want to see media players go away. (But I would like to see the demise of proprietary controlled formats.)

One solution is to link the applet capability and the media player capability directly into the browser. Then you probably don't violate this patent.

With an open enough Java implementation, Mozilla for instance, could just include the ability to run java applets.

With an open enough real-player implementation, Mozilla could probably also directly link that code right into the browser.

In fact, Mozilla, or more generally, Open Source browsers could become the "rich" cousins, while proprietary browsers become the feature poor cousins. This would be very ironic.

Re:Media players and Java Applets (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813293)

In fact, Mozilla, or more generally, Open Source browsers could become the "rich" cousins, while proprietary browsers become the feature poor cousins. This would be very ironic.
And it would save us a _lot_ of money - what more do you want?

WOW quite a discussion on the mailing list :p (-1, Offtopic)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813109)

messages: 2

What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813112)

People will use old versions of internet explorer, mozilla, netscape, opera... anything that is affected by it. Browser innovation will stop... dead in its tracks.

Patents are bad. (-1, Troll)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813113)

Republicans are bad. When will people learn that supporting the people instead of the businesses is good for everyone.

I can forgive the stupid people for voting for Bush in 2000 because they didn't know better. However, if anyone votes for Bush in 2004, they need to pull their head out of their ass.

War, recession, tax-cuts for millionaires, cut benefits for military & federal employees, ...

Sad really. The only justice is every military dipshit who bitched about Clinton can now reap the rewards from their ignorance.

Re:Patents are bad. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813157)

I voted for Bush in 2000. I will vote for him in 2004 unless he signs an extension to the assault weapons ban. If he doesn't stand up for gun owners, then he can go down just like his father did.

Re:Patents are bad. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813169)

My head may be stuck in my own ass, but it looks as if your head is stuck in an ass other than your own.

Short-sightedness is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813193)

You might as well say "research and development are bad" too. Without patent protection for at least some time, there will be no motivation to advance any science whatever. Those millionaires funding the R&D will just take their millions somewhere else.

Besides, you're blaming the wrong targets. The Republican Congress passed and Clinton signed the bills screwing up the patents and copyrights.

I think I'm in trouble (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813114)

Does that mean when I'm embed I have to pay money? I mean I understand having to do that with hookers and stuff but what about with my girlfriend? I thought they were free.

Re:I think I'm in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813255)

what about with my girlfriend? I thought they were free.

Oh, my young friend, you have so much to learn.

abuse of patent systems... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813117)

In the end there will be nothing done since eveyone has a patent on something and no one else can innovate..
And that was not the intentions with the patent system.

In the future everyone and everything is illegal..

ActiveX? (3, Interesting)

ptaff (165113) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813119)

Will these changes finally fix the object tag, which is not only for ActiveX?

Currently, for any object tag to work in IE, you have to enable ActiveX scripting.

And will that fix the display-everything-in-every-object-tag bug too? I guess I'm asking for too much here.

Reminds me of the Netscape4-era when you couldn't use CSS unless javascript was active.

aargh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813130)

I'm so sick of hearing about these stupid lawsuits over patents!

Even tho I don't much care for microsoft, I hate seeing them get picked on so much jsut because they have money. It isn't right.

Re:aargh.. (1)

vudujava (614609) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813232)

Even tho I don't much care for microsoft, I hate seeing them get picked on so much jsut because they have money. It isn't right.

No one picks on Microsoft simply because they have money. Microsoft bashing is about bad software, predatory business practices, poor business ethics, and the attempt of one company to own the entire of technology.

-

golf clap (2, Interesting)

rot26 (240034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813132)

The patent relates to the embedding of objects in hypermedia documents, and Microsoft has indicated they will have to make changes to Internet Explorer as a result of the ruling. There may also be far-reaching effects to both other web browser vendors and page authors

All I can say is "it's about friggin time." Plugins are great when they work, but nothing on the internet sucks worse than when they don't. They've also been used as a tool by microsoft to break competing browsers (and OS's) as often as possible, and I'd love to see that simply go away. The only downside that I can think of is that some dynamic and/or media content will have to open in a separate window now. Boo hoo.

On another note, how will this affect the Microsoft desktop, since they insist that I.E. is an integral part of that which cannot be removed? Are Active-X (and other com-type) components going to be considered "browser plug-ins" when they're run on what Microsoft insists is an integral browser/desktop?

Re:golf clap (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813181)

oh get real. MS has nothing to do with Shockwave, various fools deciding what is needed to view their site, etc.

They gave us a pretty damn good browser. It was the rest of the world that flocked to supporting it.

Re:golf clap (1)

rot26 (240034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813210)

I didn't accuse microsoft of foisting shockwave (or Real or any other piece of shit) on us. I just said I'd like to see them all go away, at least as plugins.

Far-reaching implications (1)

Decaffeinated Jedi (648571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813134)

Yikes! This move could have some serious implications for webmasters and companies developing various web tools. I can see quite a few projects having little choice but to start over from scratch.

Still, why do I get the feeling that Microsoft will manage to get by without making too many changes to IE before it's all said and done?

DecafJedi

Juries (1)

jetkust (596906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813138)

What exactly is the thinking behind these juries which award judgements on stupid patents like these? Happens all the time.

Re:Juries (1)

Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813306)

What exactly is the thinking behind these juries which award judgements on stupid patents like these?

They could be thinking about their dislike for Microsoft.

"My daugher's computer with Windows ME is less than two years old, and I had to take it to the shop and pay a huge amount to get Windows fixed. And a bunch of my files were lost."

They could also be thinking of negative experiences they might have had related to NOT having the right plug in for some favorite web site.

Just a theory. You asked.

Changes (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813140)

You mean, like the addition of popup blocking and tabbed browsing? ;-)

This is exactly why... (2, Insightful)

The_DOD_player (640135) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813144)

softpatents are evil

Now, you cant be really sad when it's Microsoft that gets it, but this is just silly. Not to mention extremely expensive for all browser makers, 'cause just wait, these guys arent stopping with MS.... this is also going to effect Opera, Konqueror/Safari and Mozilla.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813148)

Is Mozilla affected by this at all?

Patent scope (4, Interesting)

deepchasm (522082) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813151)

If the patent covers "mechanisms for embedding objects within distributed hypermedia documents, where at least some of the object's data is located external to the document, and there is a control path to the object's implementation to support user interaction with the object" then does OLE also infringe?

Is there really no prior art?

Re:Patent scope (2, Interesting)

Distan (122159) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813183)

This is a simple patent to engineer around. Simply embed all of the content within the document, so that there is no external data whatsoever.

Yeah, so, the html files will have to get bigger, but it will also solve the problem of all these "steaming only" media files that are flowing around.

Re:Patent scope (2, Interesting)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813216)

Or store it in database and give the control an id rather than a path ^_~

Re:Patent scope (1)

Moth7 (699815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813252)

Hold on a second. Doesn't this make the tag along with half of the HTML 4 standard in breach of the patent o_0 ? Images are stored externally, style sheets are stored externally, fonts are stored externally and don't even get me started about server side includes o_0

Anyone want to call Timecop? (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813163)

Because blatant abuse of time travel is the only explanation I can see for these lawsuits. It's beyond ridiculous - a technology/feature is used by software company X for ages then a crappy little company pops up claiming they patented it ages ago. I'm astonished by how cases as ridiculous as these even get to court.

Java Apps? Get me up to speed.... (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813166)

When I read in the article that "embedded" objects that link to data "external to the document", I get the bad feeling that this might apply to java-based front ends for databases. Is that true? Do this make a java app that links to oracle require a license from these guys?

Re:Java Apps? Get me up to speed.... (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813298)

I doubt it since the patent [uspto.gov] states, "The program object is embedded into a hypermedia document ...". The hypermedia document piece is lacking in the definition you're thinking of.

Pantents are damaging the industy (3, Insightful)

koniosis (657156) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813170)

Why do all these companies make such a fuss about these patents, they aren't going to get any money, because if the company has the choice to just alter their software to avoid the patent then they will. All they are doing is slowing development of software and causing incompatabilities around the world. Basically making a mess of the current system which WORKS. How long to US patents last? It seems to long. Patents are forcing software to take steps backwards and not forward, I just hope the companies realise the potential damage they are doing before it becomes too late.

Patents will kill the EU's Industry (1)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813290)

What I'm trying to figure out is why the hell the EU is actually considering adopting OUR patent system.

Do they really want to subject their software industry to the US's HUGE software patent portfolio?

affected web sites (1)

muirhead (698086) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813174)

From the pubil mailing list:
In the near term, Microsoft has indicated to W3C that they will very soon be making changes to its Internet Explorer browser software in response to this ruling. These changes may affect a large number of existing Web pages.
Which web sites are going to be affected?
Answers on a post card please.

Hahaha (1)

stephenry (648792) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813176)

One really has to see the irony here: on the one side, Microsoft utilises and assimilates other peoples technology and property into one of their most important projects without even blinking an eye; and on the other, we have them spending millions "licensing" such "important" technology on extremely dubious reasoning to support SCO, because they "respect the importance of IP rights".

Now, I know that Microsoft will never be punished in the US, but isn't undermining a competing product, Linux, through unsubstantiated FUD, even by proxy, against the law to some degree? Even if its not, one has to seriously wonder whether it will be considered in the upcoming EU anti-trust case, as it should be now in the US.

But, what i'm really wondering is if it is uncovered in the IBM/RH vs SCO case that Microsoft had engineered the situation (which isn't has far fetched as it may sound) whether the Linux community would be compensated for any wrong doings, in a similar fashion to what is being sought by Eolas.

Mozilla (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813196)

Fuck M$FT. How will this affect my beloved Mozilla?

Do I sense amicality... (1)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813199)

between parties:

Microsoft presented several options that it has under consideration, and benefited from constructive discussion of these options. In addition, the meeting participants strongly supported clear communication on this matter [...]

This document was written by Steven R Bratt of the W3C... so no rimshots on how he's a sell out - please...

I think this just might be the beginning of a broader trend (I hope at least)... a trend where Moft starts getting its ass bitten more and more often, and is finally 'forced' or finally learns to cooperate with open community standards.

NB: I said open standards, not open source.

Re:Do I sense amicality... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813242)

They've got a long road ahead of them if they want to earn respect from many in the industry.

Re:Do I sense amicality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813264)

Every journey starts with a step...

I am not naive though... this is probably just wishful thinking.

-pVoid

morons suggest fudgeheads be(a)ware of Godless.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813204)

corepirate nazi militarIE/indusTRIAL complex.

no, we didn't make that up. it was one of our electded presidents, a while back. check it out.

meanwhile, if you can see far enough ahead to step out of the ?pr? ?firm? greed/fear based stock markup execrable hypenosys:

fuddles'.con is running linux now. no DOWt about that.

fauxking phonIE payper liesense stock markup FraUD execrable that they are/promote.

that's right, after the walking dead finish exterminating themselves, & sadly enough, some of us, it won't take long to clean up this cesspool of greed/fear execrable.

we're calling it the planet/population rescue program (formerly unknown as the oil for babies initiatve).

the Godless wons are helping by continuing to show where their hearts lie.

what's wrong with folks selling their kode? if it causes convenience, & interoperates with all the other kode on the planet, we say, no harm, no foul, so long as you fail to employ gangsterious/felonious practices to asphyxiate the 'competition'. sabotaging your free version of anything is a tad dastardly. if there's value added, without FUDging up the compatability, we'll pay. same with music. no more gouging dough though.

fortunately, mr stallman et AL, etcetera, is now offering comparable/superior software, to the payper liesense spy/bug wear feechurned models, in almost every circumstance. there'll be few, if any more softwar billyonerrors, as if there's a need for even won. tell 'em robbIE. you are won of the last wons whois soul DOWt, right? .asp for va lairIE's whoreabull pateNTdead PostBlock(tm) devise?, used against the truth/to protect robbIE's payper liesense stock markup bosses/corepirate nazi 'sponsors'. yuk.

back on task.

what might happen to US if unprecedented evile/the felonious georgewellian southern baptist freemason fuddite rain of error, fails to be intervened on?

you already know that too. stop pretending. it doesn't help/makes things worse.

they could burn up the the main processor. that would be the rapidly heating planet/population, in case you're still pretending not to notice.

of course, having to badtoll va lairIE's whoreabully infactdead, pateNTdead PostBlock(tm) devise, robbIE's ego, the walking dead, etc..., doesn't slow us down a bit.

that's right. those foulcurrs best get ready to see the light. the WANing daze of the phonIE greed/fear/ego based, thieving/murdering payper liesense hostage taking stock markup FraUD georgewellian fuddite execrable are #ed. talk about a wormIE cesspool of deception? eradicating yOUR domestic corepirate nazi terrorist/gangsters will be the new national pastime.

communications will improve, using whatever power sources are available.

you gnu/software folks are to be commended. we'd be nearly doomed by now (instead, we're opening yet another isp service) without y'all. the check's in the mail again.

meanwhile... for those yet to see the light.

don't come crying to us when there's only won channel/os left.

nothing has changed since the last phonIE ?pr? ?firm? generated 'news' brIEf. lots of good folks/innocents are being killed/mutilated daily by the walking dead. if anything the situations are continuing to deteriorate. you already know that.

the posterboys for grand larcenIE/deception would include any & all of the walking dead who peddle phonIE stock markup payper to millions of hardworking conservative folks, & then, after stealing/spending/disappearing the real dough, pretend that nothing ever happened. sound familiar robbIE? these fauxking corepirate nazi larcens, want us to pretend along with them, whilst they continue to squander yOUR "investmeNTs", on their soul DOWt craving for excess/ego gratification. yuk

no matter their ceaseless efforts to block the truth from you, the tasks (planet/population rescue) will be completed.

the lights are coming up now.

you can pretend all you want. our advise is to be as far away from the walking dead contingent as possible, when the big flash occurs. you wouldn't want to get any of that evile on you.

as to the free unlimited energy plan, as the lights come up, more&more folks will stop being misled into sucking up more&more of the infant killing barrolls of crudeness, & learn that it's more than ok to use newclear power generated by natural (hydro, solar, etc...) methods. of course more information about not wasting anything/behaving less frivolously is bound to show up, here&there.

cyphering how many babies it costs for a barroll of crudeness, we've decided to cut back, a lot, on wasteful things like giving monIE to felons, to help them destroy the planet/population.

no matter. the #1 task is planet/population rescue. the lights are coming up. we're in crisis mode. you can help.

the unlimited power (such as has never been seen before) is freely available to all, with the possible exception of the aforementioned walking dead.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator. more breathing. vote with yOUR wallet. seek others of non-aggressive intentions/behaviours. that's the spirit, moving you.

pay no heed/monIE to the greed/fear based walking dead.

each harmed innocent carries with it a bad toll. it will be repaid by you/us. the Godless felons will not be available to make reparations.

pay attention. that's definitely affordable, plus, collectively, you might develop skills which could prevent you from being misled any further by phonIE ?pr? ?firm? generated misinformation.

good work so far. there's still much to be done. see you there. tell 'em robbIE.

as has been noted before, lookout bullow.

mynuts won: phlame on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813307)

you're so fuddIE robbIE, you're making getting a mynuts won/subversion of va lairIE's pateNTdead PostBlock(tm) devise, a goal/reality.

we'll see you/lairIE after the big flash?, no DOWt?

10% markup on robbIE's phonIE ?pr? ?firm? stock markup FraUD fortunes today. must be the immesurabull sucksass of the aforemeNTioned PostBlock(tm) devise?

Quick Quiz time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813217)

All who thinks that changing the way browsers use their resources will change http, please move to bottom deck of the titanic.

Strange thing about http, IT DOESN'T REQUIRE PLUGINS. It's every other spyware, pRonovision, screensaver on the browser, gotta have for website X toy that will have problems.

Guess microsoft will open OS api's for the special web toys. And call it an OS utility.

Patent legislature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813221)

Patent legislature ideas and sell them to the government ..or other governments.

"System and method of pretending to provide healthcare to everyone so you can win next election"

Re:Patent legislature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813254)

Sell to a congresscritter, get royalties when the law is passed.

Result of Lawsuit: Hypocrisy (1, Informative)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813225)

With only a few exceptions, most people here seem to believe that this ruling is a Good Thing (tm) solely because it hurts Microsoft, whereas a similar decision regarding any other company would be met with irate grumbling about the broken patent system.

Like it or not, most people coming to this site do in fact use IE. Now as good or bad an app that IE may be (an arugment for another time), this lawsuit results in Microsoft being forced to remove a feature that, potentially, a lot of us use.

So even if you are still the knee-jerk hate-Microsoft type, think about how angry you'd be if this happened to YOUR favorite app. Just because this hurts Microsoft, it doesn't make it a good thing by any stretch.

What about the Google Toolbar (1)

TooOldForThis (2437) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813234)

Does this affect things like the Google toolbar (or any of the other available toolbars for IE)? Or does this specifically refer to objects *w/in* the web page?

patent claim a service to OpenSource? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813245)

I believe initially Eolas claimed that they were running this case as a service to the industry to cause harm to Microsoft (since they were let off so easy in the anti-trust case). I think it's time Eolas revealed their intentions to other products.

Perhapse we could try to get a representative for a Slashdot interview?

worth reading, again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813248)

Dubya's resume:

* I attacked and took over two countries.
* I spent the US surplus and bankrupted the Treasury.
* I shattered the record for biggest annual deficit in history.
* I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
* I set all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
* I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
* I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
* In my first year in office Iset the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
* After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, Ipresided over the worst security failure in US history.
* I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips by any president in US history.
* In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
* I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.
* I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
* I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
* I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president since the advent of TV.
* I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other president in US history.
* I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
* I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
* I cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
* I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind
* I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
* I 've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.
* Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.)
* I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
* I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.
* I am the first president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation, and Idid so against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
* I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
* I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.
* I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of Congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
* I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
* I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
* I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
* I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.
* I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
* The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
* I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
* I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force1).
* I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.
* I took the world's sympathy for the US after 9-11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
* I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
* I am the first US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than by their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
* I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
* I set the all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
* I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
* In a little over two years I have created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided that the US has been since the civil war.
* I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down, record unemployment being the most recent achievement.

Records and References

* I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas drug conviction has been erased and is not available).
* I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during a time of war.
* I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
* All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my father's library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which Iserved on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* Any records or minutes from meetings I(or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

ch-ch-changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813253)

I thought Microsoft couldn't make any more changes to IE - hence it's staleness while we all waited on the next version with Longhorn (or whatever it's called)

If they can make changes CAN YOU PLEASE FIX YOUR CRAPPY CSS BUGS

Thank you.

Why don't we use the Slashdot Effect? (4, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813272)

Hey, with all of this patent craziness, why don't we use the "Slashdot Effect" and write our senators or whatever and really start pushing for patent reform in an organized fashion?

While I think that most of the current patents, especially the business practices ones, are against the original spirit of the Patent/Copyright/Trademark laws, as far as I know most of these patents fail the requirements for patents. I seem to recall the following things being required for a patent:

  1. Useful
  2. Novel
  3. Unobvious to those versed in the applicable art

While a lot of these patents are useful, I think they pretty much all fail either the Novelness or Unobviousness requirements. I work for a company that patents hinge designs, for crying out loud! I recall the days that a waterbed patent was denied because waterbeds were described in a Heinlein novel. Aren't the patent checkers aware of not just prior art, but novel and unobvious? (It's like the laser cat toy patent of a previous Slashdot article (please help with link) - sure it might be useful, but any doofus 3 year old knows that if you shine a light on a wall a cat will chase it.)

Rather than just yap about this, why don't we form some kind of task force to fight this nonsense?

I'd be happy to join.

Hey, Microsoft! (1)

mosschops (413617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813283)

While you're making the plug-in changes, please also complete the PNG enhancements you promised us. We'd like to be able to use alpha in our images without it looking ugly to most Windows users.

Cheers!

May we treate EU with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6813287)

Is it possible that EU uses this in some of their
publications on the web?
If so, we may point to them that they will have to change their layout or deny such patents in Europe.

IP patents v.s. Demonstrated Product (3, Interesting)

Ducati_749S (646019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813299)

At the risk of taking M$'s side......
This seems to be another example [slashdot.org] in an alarming trend of individuals or companies who had the forsight to patent an "idea" in technology for which they take no steps to develop, sit on it until they see that idea manifested and realized in someone elses work, and then sue them to make their money.
It seems to me that a better way to quantify these patents would be to require some set of initial source code, architecture or methods of arriving at a techinical solution for the idea being patented rather than allowing the patenting of an idea whose makeup & implementation are left floating in a technological ether.

the eolas tax . . . (1)

kraksmoka (561333) | more than 11 years ago | (#6813300)

is actually firmly pointed at microsoft. as i recall from previous [slashdot.org] I,Cringly bully pulpit sessions (is this guy Bruce Almighty or what?) the Eolas kind folks planned on hitting m$ solely for the purpose of striking at their desktop monopoly in the heart. we can only hope that some money hasn't changed that.

however, if they deny usage rights to m$, a glorious victory of the type that m$ can understand has been won. truly a case of Schumpertarian creative destruction if i have ever seen one.

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