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Microsoft Seeks Patent On Virtual Desktop Pager

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the enlightenment-anyone dept.

Patents 716

ihabawad writes "Microsoft has a patent on file for this really cool new technology called 'virtual desktops' where you see a 'pager' on the screen. Read all about it by searching under "Published Applications" for patent #20030189597 at the US Patent and Trademark Office. You know, I had a dream that I was using such a thing once; what was it called? -- yes, FvwmPager! Weird, eh?"

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716 comments

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PF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385522)

roses are red
violets are blue
in soviet russia
poems write you

+1, Priceless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385701)

Just the way it should be in a Communist society.

FR1ST PS0T!!!11! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385526)

FR1ST PS0T!!!11! OMG LOL WTF

Re:FR1ST PS0T!!!11! (0, Redundant)

FerretOnMountDew (716007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385547)

I guess people just really don't care today about another foolish USPTO flub... in MSs' favor no less. huh. news they call it.

Re:FR1ST PS0T!!!11! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385679)

FATMOUSE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR SILLY uspto. FATMOUSE CARES ONLY FOR FEEDING. AND 1st POST.

Re:FR1ST PS0T!!!11! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385659)

um... you fail it?

Frsity posty haiku (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385529)

this is not first post
Sadly, slow as a turtle
Yes, I fail it.

GO FUCK YOURSELVES SLASHDOT (nt) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385532)

nt

I AGREE WITH THIS POST (nt) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385551)

nt

nVidia Desktop Explorer does this on windows (3, Informative)

maharg (182366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385535)

It's crap, but it does provide the same functionality

Post link to site! (0, Funny)

toyotaboy (583027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385594)

Geez, can't you post the link instead of us having to copy+paste? http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=P TO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2F srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220030189597%22.PGN R.&OS=DN/20030189597&RS=DN/20030189597

Re:nVidia Desktop Explorer does this on windows (4, Informative)

tunah (530328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385600)

Microsoft also has an (unsupported) utility for this, one of their XP Powertoys [microsoft.com] .

Re:nVidia Desktop Explorer does this on windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385691)

ATI does too. I'm beginning to think everyone has done this already.

Microsoft is once again on the cutting edge of technology

You may want to mention that (5, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385536)

to the Patent Office! Because you just know they don't read slashdot.... if they did, they wouldn't approve half the patents they approve.

Re:You may want to mention that (4, Insightful)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385603)

I don't think that you understand. The US Patent office's function is no longer to get into validity. The new function is simply to accept money and issue patents which become legal weapons for businesses.

Microsoft will probably get this patent and go on to sue anyone using the technology out of existence.

Embrace and extend.

Re:You may want to mention that (-1, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385658)

Show me an example of Microsoft suing anyone for patent infringement.

They haven't. They don't do business that way.

There are plenty of folks suing them over frivolous patents. Perhaps their latest rash of applications are more defensive than offensive.

Re:You may want to mention that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385695)

Perhaps they're seeing how much money they're losing on failed patent litigation and want to see the tides turning. Nab a bunch of patents and sue others for once. Recoup some of their losses.

Re:You may want to mention that (2, Funny)

XpirateX (691224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385692)

Microsoft will probably get this patent and go on to sue anyone using the technology out of existence.

Translation:

They're "innovating"

Re:You may want to mention that (3, Insightful)

$calar (590356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385652)

I've never used FVWM, but isn't this the same as virtual desktops in any environment/WM? GNOME, KDE, CDE, and others have virtual desktops. KDE even has something called the Pager. FVWM? Maybe they came up with the idea, but it's all over I'd say.

Re:You may want to mention that (4, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385683)

You know, why doesn't the US Patent Office simply open up a web submission system? Whip up your own patent document, upload it, and it's automatically assigned a number.

It's not really the Patent Office's job to ensure that every patent is totally original and has never been done before. A patent is only really used when the invention ends up in court. If it's not defendable, it will be nullified. However, who wants to sit across from Microsoft in a courtroom? Maybe if you slip and break your leg on the sidewalk in front of their office building. Even in that case you'd probably end up paying $10,000 to repair the scuffmarks you made in the concrete.

Re:You may want to mention that (1)

ed__ (23481) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385718)

here is some information on how to protest it. i mean here btw [uspto.gov]

i'm reading through it now to see how to tell the pto formally.

This has got to stop (4, Interesting)

ralf1 (718128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385539)

Someone at the patent office needs to wake up and smell the coffee. We are going to have a situation like the landrush on domain names as a few bottom feeders run off and patent every idea in the book, and if the past is any indication, the patent office will grant patents on whoever is the first to show up, regardless of prior developments or use.

Truth about linux co$t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385540)

Let's have a close look at the costs involved when running a Linux system.

An important factor in Linux' cost is its maintenance. Linux requires a *lot* of maintenance, work doable only by the relatively few high-paid Linux administrators that put themselves - of course willingly - at a great place in the market. Linux seems to be needing maintenance continuously, to keep it from breaking down.

Add to this the cost of loss of data. Linux' native file system, EXT2FS, is known to lose data like a firehose spouts water when the file system isn't unmounted properly. Other unix file systems are much more tolerant towards unexpected crashes. An example is the FreeBSD file system, which with soft updates enabled, performance-wise blows EXT2FS out of the water, and doesn't have the negative drawback of extreme data loss in case of a system breakdown.

According to Linux advocates, an alternative to EXT2FS would be ReiserFS. Unfortunately, ReiserFS is still in beta stage. This means it is not intended for production use (although according to many Linux advocates this shouldn't be a problem, which makes me wonder how (little) valuable they find your data).

The other proposed 'solution', EXT3FS, is nothing more than an ugly hack to put journaling into the file system. All the drawbacks of the ancient EXT2FS file system remain in EXT3FS, for the sake of 'forward- and backward compatibility'. This is interesting, considering that the DOS heritage in the Windows 9x/ME series was considered a very bad thing by the Linux community, even though it provided what could be called one of the best examples of compatibility, ever. When it's about Linux, compatibility constraints don't seem to be that much of a problem for Linux advocates.

Back to Linux' cost. Factor in also the fact that crashes happen much more often on Linux than on other unices. On other unices, crashes usually are caused by external sources like power outages. Crashes in Linux are a regular thing, and nobody seems to know what causes them, internally. Linux advocates try to hide this fact by denying crashes ever happen. Instead, they have frequent "hardware problems".

The steep learning curve compared to about any other operating system out there is a major factor in Linux' cost. The system is a mix of features from all kinds of unices, but not one of them is implemented right. A Linux user has to live with badly coded tools which have low performance, mangle data seemingly at random and are not in line with their specification. On top of that a lot of them spit out the most childish and unprofessional messages, indicating that they were created by 14-year olds with too much time, no talent and a bad attitude.

I could go on and on and on, but the conclusion is clear. Linux is not an option for any one who seeks a professional OS with high performance, scalability, stability, adherence to standards, etc.

Re:Truth about linux co$t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385595)

Wow! That's really clever! I had no idea about some of that stuff!

Did you really just type all that stuff in that quickly? I'm impressed. You must type very quickly! Are you one of those "hackers" I've heard so much about?

Man, I tell ya - that's the great thing about Slashdot! You get all these really brilliant people, who you know are posting Anonymously for reasons of national security, sharing the inside information with us that we otherwise would never see! If you, dear parent poster, hadn't seen fit to tell me about the big SCAM that Linux is, I'd never have known!

Thanks a million, and keep 'em coming!

Re:Truth about linux co$t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385650)

Thanks for confirming my story!

Re:Truth about linux co$t (-1, Flamebait)

buhatkj (712163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385719)

dude, wtf does this have to do with anything even remotely relating to this post?? and in any case, when you have a windows 200 machine or an NT box with 185 days uptime lemme know. cuz i have 3 linux servers here at work with that or better. if it weren't for power failures it would be a year. linux is i agree FAR less stable than commercial UNIX, like solaris. but once it's set up(as with unix) it requires little if ANY maintenence. what i think people miss is that linux is best suited as a server OS, most distributions aren't designed for desktop users or games or whatever it is trolls like you do all day. get a girlfriend... moderators: i recommend you do some serious cleaning in this forum, its full of trolls!!

Seems familiar (4, Funny)

SpiffyMarc (590301) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385541)

Microsoft reminds me of that kid who always has to be "reminded" of the rules whenever he plays a game with the other kids...

"No Billy, that's not your toy. That's FVWM's toy. Say you're sorry!"

Jesus fucking christ! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385549)

Jesus fucking christ on a pogo-stick, those cockbiters at Microshaft would try to patent SCO code if they thought they could get away with it.

Man, oh man, why doesn't Al Qaeda actually do us a FAVOUR for once and go pay a one-way visit to One Redmond Way?

Re:Jesus fucking christ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385601)

Flamebait? FLAMEBAIT!?!?!??!?

I'll show you some "flamebait", you god damned cocksucking motherfucking jesus christ'n son of a cum guzzling bitch! Come into my immediate vicinity and I'll give you a dose of motherfucking flamebait you will NEVER forget.

P.S. Get fucked!

Re:Jesus fucking christ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385678)

Wait just a cock-sucking second, you cum guzzling cock gobbler you! You can't go and take my perfectly fashioned "flamebait" post and moderate it "offtopic".

That's just not fucking fair.

You've got to hand it to him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385550)

Bill's got a real knack for stealing other people's ideas, claiming them for his own and making money from them... Xwindows anyone?

Re:You've got to hand it to him (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385591)

Windows 1.0 is one year older than the xwindow project.

Wrong Number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385553)

Results of Search in 1790-2003 db for:
PN/20030189597: 0 patents.

Re:Wrong Number? (1)

sjwrick (539446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385621)

Try the 2004 db worked for me.

It's an application. (2, Informative)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385668)

It isn't a patent yet. Search for applications rather than patents.

Prior art.. (4, Informative)

kimmo (52756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385554)

Wasn't there also something like "wintop" in some NT3.51 resource kit, in addition to Fvwm pager (and possbily some others)?

you could do this in twm, too! (0, Redundant)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385556)

methinks that prior art is going to be a concern for msft.

twm, the window manager from whence all others came - has a pager concept, too.

Re:you could do this in twm, too! (1)

Delirium Tremens (214596) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385584)

Wasn't that ctwm [plig.org] ?

Re:you could do this in twm, too! (1)

jvbunte (177128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385599)

Actually, I if I remember correctly, it was a seperate window manager called "tvtwm" that had the virtual screens + pager.

Re:you could do this in twm, too! (0)

thestarz (719386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385660)

Don't both KDE, Gnome and Fluxbox have this too? In fact does anyone know of a window manager for Linux that doesn't have this feature?

Re:you could do this in twm, too! (1)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385697)

yes, but all those are johnny-come-lately's.

Direct Link (5, Informative)

huha (755976) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385557)

Those of you who don't want to search for the document, this is the direct URL:

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1 =P TO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnu m.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1='20030189597'.PGNR.&OS=DN/2 0030189597&RS=DN/20030189597

It took ages to find it... *sigh*

-huha

Re:Direct Link (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385598)

Well, now:

It took ages to find it... *sigh*

Story Posted

Microsoft Seeks Patent On Virtual Desktop Pager
Posted by timothy on Wednesday February 25, @09:37AM


Comment posted:

Direct Link (Score:1)
by huha (755976) on Wednesday February 25, @09:41AM (#8385557)


Conclusion:

Either you are whoring for karma with the old poor me excuse, or you suffer from ADHD.

Re:Direct Link (1)

evilad (87480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385606)

Not only did it take ages to find, it's useless. They use a session ID or something.

Wankers.

Re:Direct Link (5, Funny)

tunah (530328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385627)

Posted by timothy on Thursday February 26, @03:37AM

by huha (755976) on Thursday February 26, @03:41AM (#8385557)

It took ages to find it... *sigh*

Re:Direct Link (0, Redundant)

q.kontinuum (676242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385632)

http://tinyurl.com/2oyo9 [tinyurl.com]
is a bit more convenient. (Yes, I know, redundant...)

Re:Direct Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385663)

Thanks. But your search result URL won't be valid for long. Now that you found it, note that you can go to uspto.gov and search for patent number 20030189597

Re:Direct Link (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385672)

You are a massive, html-crippled failure. Please fuck off and die now, thx.

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/LEARN_\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)__HTML_|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\JACKASS/_//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Re:Direct Link (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385676)

Well unless the ustpo is slashdotted it seems your link doesn't work. is there a typo?

here is what I get following that url (using cut and past):

Error #1005
Error!

(a solid line here which slashdot's code thinks is lame)

BRS was unable to process your request. A diagnostic message was mailed to the appropriate personel.

--
Mycroft

Major Corporation... (5, Funny)

GypC (7592) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385558)

... patents idea with lots of prior art.

News at 11.

So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385560)

...the patent can't be granted because there's another piece of software that used that same pager-thingy before the patent was filed?

Re:So... (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385645)

...the patent can't be granted because there's another piece of software that used that same pager-thingy before the patent was filed?


I'm suprised they didn't notice the prior art. After all they bought 10 Million dollars worth of SCO IP licenses so they could run Linux in house for security.

crazy! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385566)

this is ridiculous. I've seen about 10 - 20 different implementations of virtual desktop pagers. many in unix enviornments and many on the windows ones as well. ranging from gpled to freeware to shareware. is microsoft stupid or what? i hope they crash burn in hell and see hundreds more viruses for their software.

-Jonathan c.

vtwm (4, Informative)

bluestar (17362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385567)

I'm willing to admit that I'm old enough to remember (and use) vtwm, or Virtual Tom's Window Manager. A version of the venerable twm that added virtual desktops.

This was circa 1990, even before fvwm. I think xrooms was earlier still.

Re:vtwm (2, Insightful)

TheAcousticMotrbiker (313701) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385640)

I remember that one.
Although as far as my recollection goes it was called tvwm (Toms Virtual WM)

Re:vtwm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385657)

xrooms I don'r remember I do, however, remember ROOMS which was invented by Xerox and was a part of some of their Interlisp-D distributions.

So yes, there is plenty of prior art and yes that IS a problem for MSFT. Such a shame, that people's memory cannot be DRM'ed.

CodeTek Virtual Desktop? (4, Interesting)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385568)

I use a program called CodeTek Virtual Desktop for Mac OSX, and the abstract in that application sounds an awful lot like it.

I'm sure there are differences, but is this patent, if it is awarded, going to allow Microsoft to send C&D letters to every company and organization that has been providing virtual desktop software for years, regardless of platform?

How could such a thing happen?

Protest to the Patent Office (2, Insightful)

Anonytroll (751214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385571)

Write a well thought-out email or better snail mail to the US Patent Office that explains the prior art and why this patent should not be granted. The more people do this, the better!

mod this as flamebait or a troll whatever (-1, Flamebait)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385575)

Yesterday in very moderate tones I insinuated that the US has lost the plot. I was moderated as a troll and as flamebait.

Thankyou Microsoft for new proof. You guys have officially lost the plot. You can't deny the bare facts I'm afraid.

Re:mod this as flamebait or a troll whatever (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385674)

Sorry, but what does it mean to "lose the plot"? Is it like losing track of the story? Not being a wise@$$, just wondering what you mean exactly.

Re:mod this as flamebait or a troll whatever (1)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385687)

Ah, and this is what we call the "martyr complex." Fascinating specimen, isn't it?

if you are a developer ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385576)

dont read the patent. if you later write a pager like program which infriges the patent you are in for a tough ride as you infriged it willfuly.

Ach Du Lieber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385578)

Even in a patent systems as f***** up as USPTO this ought to be laughed out. But who knows, money talks laoder than facts over there

Tabbed Displays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385585)

So... How long have tabbed windows have been around? Those use a horizontal page selection display.

I remember seeing them on the Apple II and on DOS text displays.

Dreaming Prior Art ...? (4, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385596)

You know, I had a dream that I was using such a thing once; what was it called? -- yes, FvwmPager! Weird, eh?

Can a dream constitute prior art?

-kgj

Re:Dreaming Prior Art ...? (1)

elFarto the 2nd (709099) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385708)

Can a dream constitute prior art?

If stupid ideas can constitute as patents, I don't see why not.

Regards
elFarto

Innovative (5, Funny)

r0ckflite (63420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385605)

Ah, but you don't understand. MS's patent uses xml! That's makes it sufficiently different from all previous desktop pagers. :)

Power Toys for Windows XP (5, Informative)

Dios (83038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385612)


This is available in XP as a power toy.


http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/p owertoys.asp [microsoft.com]


Works fine I guess... never really got used to it myself.

Re:Power Toys for Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385689)

Actually, no, it doesn't work fine. It's a piece of crap.

Re:Power Toys for Windows XP (2, Informative)

LedZeplin (41206) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385730)

VirtuaWin [sourceforge.net] is what I use at work. It's GPL'd.

Really (1)

jcrash (516507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385616)

This surprises you why?

Bill is a firm believer in the fact that you don't get ahead in business by doing the "right thing."

It's a sad statement.

MS *doesn't* have a patent on this! (5, Informative)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385617)

They have *applied* for this patent, so they don't actually have it yet. The poster needs to read a bit more before frothing at the mouth.

This means that the USPTO could still be contacted and instances of prior art be submitted.

No references (4, Interesting)

Refried Beans (70083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385619)

It is interesting that they don't cite any references in their application. But if you do a quick search for "virtual desktop" you'll get a dozen results with dozens more references. This patent application should be thrown out pretty quickly. This patent was filed in 2002, while a quick search shows references in the 1987 to 1995 time frame.

Thank you for your application fees. Don't call us, we'll call you.

Patently abusive (5, Informative)

shrubya (570356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385628)

To quote from the patent application [uspto.gov]
October 9, 2003
Virtual desktop manager
Abstract
A method for a user to preview multiple virtual desktops in a graphical user interface is described. The method comprises receiving an indication from a user to preview the multiple virtual desktops and displaying multiple panes on the display. Each pane contains a scaled virtual desktop having dimensions that are proportionally less than the dimensions of a corresponding full-size virtual desktop. Each scaled virtual desktop displays with one or more scaled application windows as shadows if the corresponding full-size virtual desktop has one or more corresponding application windows that are active.
That exactly describes the little rectangles in the toolbar on my Linux box ... from several years ago.

Another free windows pager (1)

numakris (684589) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385631)

I have had good success with Deskwin.It can be found here. http://www.yipton.net [yipton.net]

Read the patent... (5, Informative)

larien (5608) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385633)

They're not actually trying to patent virtual desktops, they're trying to patent a pager with a preview of each desktop. You know, kind of like Gnome has (and probably KDE as well; can't remember).

Doesn't make it that much better, but at least make sure you're ranting about the right thing.

not to be obtuse... (1)

reynhout (89071) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385636)

...but has Microsoft actually, finally, produced an operating system that is capable of such breakthrough technology?

If so, good for them. The rare occasions when I have to get work done on a Microsoft operating system will be slightly less painful.

I know the PTO people have good hearts. They just need a few more domain experts.

abstract (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385656)

A method for a user to preview multiple virtual desktops in a graphical user interface is described. The method comprises receiving an indication from a user to preview the multiple virtual desktops and displaying multiple panes on the display. Each pane contains a scaled virtual desktop having dimensions that are proportionally less than the dimensions of a corresponding full-size virtual desktop. Each scaled virtual desktop displays with one or more scaled application windows as shadows if the corresponding full-size virtual desktop has one or more corresponding application windows that are active.

Re:abstract (4, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385723)

In other words, the same exact pager that Enlightenment has had since the nineties. Lesson to be learned: in a patent-crazy society, patent defensively.

enable Virtual Desktop (2, Interesting)

lscoughlin (71054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385661)

I actually registered a copy of enable Virtual Desktop, one of the best vdm's and pagers out there for any operating system as far as i'm concerned.

Wtf, is there a way for us to comment on the patent by sending all this prior art somewhere?

-T

Prior Art (5, Informative)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385662)

FvwmPager would definately be considered Prior Art - but - this is the United States Government, and let's face it.. government employees are often behind the curve, and many of them have probably never heard of Linux, or X, or Fvwm, or are even aware of the existence of Window Managers in general. So why don't we tell them?

(Gets out Soapbox) So why don't we give the USPTO and Congress a good old fashioned snail mail slashdotting and try to convince them that while software copyrights on source code is fine, that software patents are patently stupid.

C'mon - who's with me? Anyone want to step up and coordinate this effort?

Let's write letters and Slashdot the USPTO! And the US Senate! And The House! Here's the USPTO Mailing address -

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
USPTO Contact Center (UCC)
Crystal Plaza 3, Room 2C02
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

http://www.senate.gov for finding your state's senator. http://www.house.gov for finding your district's representative.

Open source lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385665)

Open source really needs some dedicated lawyers.
Open source should be patenting every new idea that comes up in open source projects, licence them for companies like M$ to provide fundings for further open source development.

LINK? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385666)

patent link [uspto.gov]

Pager Virtual Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385670)

Is this the same thing that KDE, Gnome and other window managers use for Unix-like OS's? If so, it sounds like just another evil move by M$ to kill open source OS's. When did Windows ever use virtual desktops in the past?

How do you report "Prior Art" to the Patent Office (0)

eamacnaghten (695001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385680)

How do you report prioor Art to the US Patent office? Or draw trhere attention to it? If there was a case for doing so this would be it!

Enlightenment? (-1, Redundant)

jockeys (753885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385681)

Is it just me or has the Enlightenment wm been doing the same thing for quite a while now? (small preview of each desktop floating in a dock, pager, whatever)

Re:Enlightenment? (2, Interesting)

eamacnaghten (695001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385711)

fvwm was doing this in 1993!

Lame post but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385685)

I used a program in Windows to do this years ago although I forget its name [may have been part of Windows Blinds or that popular shell replacement *I have mental blocks tonight apparently so this is anonymous heh*].

What about olvwm (0)

Y! (109179) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385686)

I thought OpenLook had a Virtual window manager before fvwm... but I am to lazy to look it up.

Anyone actually looked at the patent application? (2, Interesting)

N4m0r (592310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385694)

It seems like Microsoft is claiming they have built a better mouse trap so to speak. They do not seem to be claiming they invented virtual desktops.
From the document:

[0013] FIG. 1A is a pictorial diagram illustrating a desktop of a graphical user interface according to the prior art.

The figure is a sketch that clearly shows a KDE desktop. So they seem to think they have somehow improved the idea of virtual desktops. Of course, I was not able to see anything in the application that looked very new to me.

I'm sure the patent will be granted, MS will sue someone, then the FSF [fsf.org] or some other body will get involved and 5 years from now some judge wil rule against MS and it will be the end.

But its just a "defensive patent" (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385699)

Right? Nothing to worry about. At least that's what the Microsoft drones here always say when Microsoft patents some obvious technology. Who do they need protection from? Oh that's right. The people who actually invented this like 10 years ago.

GNOME/KDE Ripoff? (5, Interesting)

Leoric (540150) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385700)

I was looking through the patent application pdf at (http://www.dagsavisen.no/innenriks/apor/2003/06/7 39300.shtml)
On page2. Isnt that a gnome and KDE screendump? You can clearly see the foot and the KDE logo in the right bottom corner.
How is it possible to file a patent on someone elses technology, and use a picture of their product to describe it?

Sounds like Apple's Expose. (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385703)

From the USPTO abstract:
A method for a user to preview multiple virtual desktops in a graphical user interface is described. The method comprises receiving an indication from a user to preview the multiple virtual desktops and displaying multiple panes on the display. Each pane contains a scaled virtual desktop having dimensions that are proportionally less than the dimensions of a corresponding full-size virtual desktop. Each scaled virtual desktop displays with one or more scaled application windows as shadows if the corresponding full-size virtual desktop has one or more corresponding application windows that are active.

This really sounds similar to Apple's Expose with its ability to display multiple windows. And it is Expose if you are running a bunch of emulators on a Mac and each "window" is an emulated desktop.

Pager? (3, Informative)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385709)

Another poorly-chosen article title. To most people, this [motorola.com] is a "pager". And here is a link to the actual patent application [uspto.gov] , rather than a generic link to the patent office.

There is a difference... (5, Interesting)

cheide (731641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385716)

The way it's described in the patent, the 'preview' of all of the desktops is hidden until the user specifically triggers it, whereas all the other virtual desktops I'm familiar with have an omnipresent preview on your current desktop.

Of course, this is exactly the kind of trivial difference that disqualifies it from being 'new and non-obvious', so it still deserves to get laughed out of the Patent Office...

Abolish Software Patents by Lobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8385720)

Patents should not apply to Software.

Time to create a new lobby to fight for change of laws.

Ruined by Windows (0)

p_millipede (714918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385721)

Unfortunately, since I had to use windows for many years before finally getting into Linux, I was used to NOT having this functionality - I just keep my windows organised on one desktop through use of *gasp* minimize, maximize, tile, cascade, etc.
I'm so used to this, that one of the first things I do when I install/configure Linux is to disable the pager in whatever window manager I'm using since I won't be using it anyway!

I'd like to know (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385731)

If software businesses end up patenting everything, then you can still use the idea in a GNU (free) software, right?

The patents are only prohibitive if you charge for your software, is that correct?

In that case, wouldn't pretty much all software become GPL? Since no one but the BIG software vendors could possibly pay all the patents included in their software, they would end up having to charge an arm and a leg for the software they produce, and since no one would buy it at that price, the GNU project would quickly become THE software industry.

I'm probably all wrong, can someone explain?

Full Screen Preview? (1)

archaicTG (451371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385736)

It appears that MS also describes a full-screen multi-desktop preview. Was anyone able to view the images associated with the application?
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