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FreeType posts patent warning

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the i-want-my-verdonna dept.

X 206

Anonymous Coward writes "According to the the FreeType web page, there have been some new concerns raised about Apple's patents on TrueType. I hope this doesn't affect the planned TrueType support in XF86 4. " It appears that they are still checking into the issue, but I'd really like TrueType support. A lot. Let's hope Apple responds nicely.

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How about paying for a license? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739916)

Does the Linux community really have to grab everything for free? I'm sure the development of TrueType wasn't exactly cheap, and Apple is under no obligation to just give the rights away.

Why should anyone pay for MacOS when the patented technology could just be reimplemented for free?

Trademarks, not patents. (1)

irh (27628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739917)

It is a trademark holder that must actively prevent their mark from being released into the public domain by failing to protect it. There is no such requirement with regard to patents.

What would be interesting to see is whether Apple takes the approach to patents that many companies do (IBM in particular) - that patenting is a source of licensing revenue rather than a means of denying entry into a given technological market, i.e. an 'open licensing' policy.

Open source patent infringements aren't really an issue in that case - no money made directly off of XFree86's licensing of the technology, no reason to pursue a patent license, and no -real- reason to pursue any other expensive infringement action.

I.

fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739918)

man cool fonts on X would really do de trick. specially for graphic people... gimp freaks... and stuff like that... linux could use some cool fonts... and don't come with that crap we already have some cool fonts im sick of the same four damn types!

Really? (1)

raph (3148) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739932)

What kind of evidence do you have for this? Can you point to published documents and/or software dated before May 8, 1988?

If so, it would be an excellent argument to overturn the patents.

Alternatively, I think some of the Metafont work may anticipate the TrueType patents. People don't give it very many props now, but it contains some pretty amazing technology, and is truly one of the pioneering Open Source projects.

But these kind of claims require documentation.

Re:TKJRTICTEFSDP (1)

Talisman (39902) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739933)

"TKJRTICTEFSDP"

Slashdot is one word, not two. Perhaps you need instruction on how to properly assemble an acronym. Anon smackass.


Talisman


Moderate the previous comment upwards, please! (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739934)

The previous comment is central- if it's true, that Apple failed to file one year after publishing, it's not a valid patent (Even if the USPTO issued one to Apple. The examiners may not have noticed (or even worse, cared) that the deadline had expired on their right to file for patents.).

Re:I hope Apple sues their asses off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739935)

What I, anonymous coward, really meant to say is that I love linux, and that I have my finger shoved so far up my rectum that it is impeding my ability to think clearly. :P

Ummmm, gold....

Re:YARTCESP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739936)

And if two people think up the SAME idea 10 minutes apart, but the first one gets to the patent office first, does he deserve worldwide exclusive rights to the idea, even though the other guy thought it up independantly? Face it, holmes, software patents are pure and utter BS. The sooner we are rid of them, the sooner this industry can start to make some real progress.

Apple Misses One Year Patent Deadline (2)

Brian Ristuccia (2238) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739937)

IANAL, but I think that if a patent holder doesn't protect it's intellectual property, it loses the right to defend. If Freetype has been around for a long time, it could be argued that this is the case.

I'm not a lawyer either, but I can tell you that patents are a little bit different than trademarks, where the owner risks losing protection altogether by failing to enforce their mark. With a patent, so long as you obtain one within a year of first publishing, displaying, or selling your invention, you own the right to make others stop using or selling that invention for 20 years. If you choose not to enforce your patent for the first 10, and then go after people when your invention falls into widespread use, that's your prerogative.

In Apple's case, it looks like they missed the one year deadline. They published the TrueType specification and software using it circa 1990, but didn't file for their patents until 2 years later.

Creative expression not always copyrightable (2)

Tet (2721) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739938)

Yes, fonts are copyrightable. However, if they were published as a set of purely numeric data, they wouldn't be. It is because fonts are programs (at least with PostScript -- I assume TrueType is the same), that they are copyrightable. In fact, Adobe took a deliberate design decision when creating the Type 1 font format to make each font a PostScript program, specifically to allow fonts to be copyrighted.

Of course, if you scan in a font, trace the outline and save it as a new font, you're creating a different program, and hence no copyright infringement has occurred (except in the case where the traced outline happens to be identical to the original, right down to the last hint -- but the chances of that happening are so small as to be negligible).

Re:TrueType Renderer Without the Fonts (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739939)

It's good to see someone who TRULY understands something about typography... :) :) :)
-- ----------------------------------------------
Vive le logiciel... Libre!!!

Re:YARTCESP (1)

Pascal Q. Porcupine (4467) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739940)

That's exactly what happened with the telephone. And because of it, Alexander Graham Bell made a fortune, and 'that other guy' (I can never remember his name) lapsed into obscurity.

Patents don't cause trouble just in the software world. They're a two-edged sword.


---
"'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

Re:How about paying for a license? (1)

seppy (2431) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739941)

This sounds like a clean room implementation that happens to fall under the broad generalization of a patented process. Why pay for work you've been willing to do yourself, simply because it supposedly slices and dices sort of like that thingamajig whamo 2000 patented fifteen years ago. You know the patent, the one for slicing and dicing! IANAL.

Is a good idea limited to one person?

Opensource (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739944)

With the entire opensource movement and the popularity of TrueType I wouldn't see a reason for apple to not make it distributable under some sort of lisence, even if it requires downloading an extra lib or something directly from them.

This would also boost their popularity a bit if they did do such a thing.

--
Life is short, Play hard.... ow.. stich in my side! stich in my side!

YARTCESP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739946)

Yet Another Reason To Completely Eliminate Software Patents. Every time something like this happens ( Apple hasn't technically began to pursue this yet ), it sets the software industry back a bit further ( M$ is responsible for five years of setbacks by itself ).

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... First Post!

I probably blew it 'cause I took so long to type this.

Stifled Laws (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739948)

The irony of the situation is that one can patent font systems, but one cannot patent the individual fonts.

For example, someone mentioned to me that Corel, when in need of fonts, simply wrote a font-copier, and created a whole new set of fonts with different names.

Great irony would exist if we could have all the fonts in the world, but have to pay money to look at them. Apple walks a tightrope with this one, and they know it.

In reality, they cannot truely block the usage of truetype fonts, or block the software necessary for using it. One can post source code, and indicate that it's usage may be illegal in any particular country; Apple condemning such code's existence would simply put it into the outreaches of the law.

They are, in effect, powerless to really do anything against those who really want truetype fonts. But for those who are not willing to go around the world searching for a TT renderer, Apple could detriment it's usage in, for example, XFree86 4.

The best Apple can do is destroy the mainstream distribution. But the possibility does not exist that they can even dent the background distribution of covert software, in my humble but correct opinion. Those that will pay for Apple's restrictions, should they be placed on Truetype, would be the users just starting with Linux.

It is also a concern as to how Corel will play a part in this, being a font giant itself, and self proclaimed Linux advocate.

Re:YARTCESP (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739950)

Wouldn't that be like eliminating the entire concept of patneting an idea? Think of it. What if say a chemical engineer of a company develops a process that makes steel 20 times faster than before. He patents the process. Fine. Now what if they hire someone, for the same company, develops software to handle the process and sells it. Now what do they do if someone steals the concept out of the software?

Yeah.. you missed it ;>

Arg! (1)

styopa (58097) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739952)

I hate pixmap fonts. It would be very nice if Apple let XFree86 use TrueType.
Perhaps it is time to ask SGI to be so kind as to donate their vector based graphical technology and help Linux encorperate it and make it standard. Then we really wouldn't have to worry too much about fonts and scalability. Vector based fonts are much nicer than TrueType fonts.

Until then lets hope Apple decides to play well with others.

Re:Stifled Laws (1)

Coretti (17558) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739954)

...or we could just wait and see what Apple really does before jumping to conclusions, since no one at Apple has made any statements about this yet.

Apple has (c) on TrueType??! (1)

Paranoid (12863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739955)

I'm surprised I haven't heard of Apple doing anything negative with the patent in an attempt to hurt Microsoft, considering how often they're used in Windows...
--
Paranoid

Re:YARTCESP (1)

razzmataz (69616) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739958)

No, you missed it.

Patents are not secrets. If I patent a process to make widgets, the information on my process is publically available.

Why steal the concept of making steel 20 times faster than before from software that handles the process, when I can get the information on the process from the patent filing itself?!?!?!

Re:YARTCESP (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739960)

um can't processes and designs be patented? much like car design and what not? the point is if the process is patnentable, wouldn't it be extractable via the software?

who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739961)

Use a font server like xfstt. Verdana is a good choice for netscape. Now you can actually read smaller print.

Re:How about paying for a license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739962)

Why should Apple pay Xerox when the patented technology can be implemented for free ?

Very unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739963)

Considering that Apple has been patenting technologies since the late 70's, it would be quite surprising if they had suddenly forgotten how to correctly file for a patent.

Re:Creative expression not always copyrightable (1)

irh (27628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739964)

You're right, of course, but these days whether an espression actually has to be a written program depends on jurisdiction. I don't know about the US for sure, but in Canada pure binary data - even compiled object code - is protected by copyright.

I.

Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1739965)

Apple DID pay Xerox.

This may be irrelevant (1)

hu (69214) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739966)

This may be becoming irrelevant quite quickly for the two following reasons:
  1. Diskspace is cheap, compression is fast
  2. X can use font servers, font servers can be in some place US patents don't apply
The first means that it may soon be possible to "use" TrueType by pre-rendering the small point sizes that benefit from moving control points and store them in some format similar to Type1 bitmap fonts, including things like leadings and real kerning info for that point size, and then use the renderer to render the outlines for bigger point sizes without using the patented features.
This has the added benefit that "hinting" bitmaps can is easy to distribute between a lot of developers on the internet :)

The second means that you can keep your font server in some patent-free zone and use just the result of using the patent - afaik the patent protection does not extend to products that are manufactured using patented technologies.

Evidence or patent #'s please. (1)

irh (27628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739967)

In Apple's case, it looks like they missed the one year deadline. They published the TrueType specification and software using it circa 1990, but didn't file for their patents until 2 years later.

This is the second time this has been claimed, but nobody has provided the relevant patent numbers or provided any evidence. Could we have them, please?

I.

Re:YARTCESP (2)

Eccles (932) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739968)

That would be Elisha Gray, who ended up founding Western Electric.

Apple = Gates Behind (1)

FuzzyAzurePenguin (79086) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739969)

You know Gates isn't going to allow that to happen? Although if it did, we could benefit a great deal.

Don't mean to be pessimistic, but....

How many times do I have to tell you? (2)

Neph (5010) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739970)

Why does everyone keep pining for TrueType fonts? You can have them in X now; I certainly do. You can either rebuild your X server with support compiled in, or have a separate, dedicated font server. I prefer the latter solution because it's easier to upgrade.

Here's how I did it:

  1. Grab a copy of the FreeType font server here [unc.edu] (for linux/x86 w/glibc2), h ere [unc.edu] (for solaris/SPARC) or here [unc.edu] (patch to XFree sources -- not for the faint of heart).
  2. Put the xfsft executable somewhere in your $PATH.
  3. Get a directory full of TT fonts. I have a directory on my Linux partition full of symlinks to /dosc/windows/fonts/*.ttf, for example. /usr/X11R6/lib/fonts/tt is not a bad place.
  4. Run the ttinst [ed.ac.uk] script in that directory; this will create a fonts.scale file.
  5. ln -s fonts.scale fonts.dir
  6. echo "catalogue=/usr/X11R6/lib/fonts/tt" > /usr/X11R6/lib/fonts/tt/xfsft.conf
  7. Add the following to your .xinitrc:

    xfsft -port 7100 -config /usr/X11R6/lib/fonts/tt/xfsft.conf
    sleep 1 # Give xfsft a chance to start up
    xset +fp tcp/127.0.0.1:7100
    xset fp rehash

And you're set!

Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

Re:YARTCESP (1)

Gorgonzola (24839) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739981)

Funny enough, while following lectures in competition law, I encountered a lecturer who was very much in favour of abolishing the patent system. His PhD dissertation on intellectual property has been quoted in one or more Supreme Court decisions, so he might have had a clue on the subject. Funnily enough he was as much a capitalist as you can find in Europe and mantra of his work was 'competition is the lifeblood of innovation'. This somehow gives me impression that your opinion on people opposed to certain forms of IP is less valid than you might think.

That's the ISSUE date, not the file date. (2)

irh (27628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739982)

Just to follow-up on my above post, Apple did NOT miss the deadline.

The date of filing was May 9, 1989. They published the specification (according to your information) in 1990, about three years later.

I.

Metafont (2)

mik (10986) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739983)

Metafont predates these patent applications by at least 3 years and looks (to me) like it effectively covers all the claims.

What will they rethink of next?

Laserwriter II - January 1988 (1)

Brian Ristuccia (2238) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739984)

The Laserwriter II series, introduced in January 1988, had TrueType support.

Dang! (1)

Neph (5010) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739985)

You'd think after previewing 4 times I'd get it right. Here's the mistake:

xfsft -port 7100 -config /usr/X11R6/lib/fonts/tt/xfsft.conf &

Without that ampersand, X would never get past that line to the rest of the script.

Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

Laserwriter II Series had TrueType in January 1988 (1)

Brian Ristuccia (2238) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739986)

The LaserWriter II, introduced in January 1988, had TrueType support. Sorry for any confusion I created with earlier vague dates.

Re:TrueType Renderer Without the Fonts (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739987)

Considering that every single person who owns a computer (at least Intel based) now a days is sure to have paid the Microsoft Tax on at least one of them, everyone already paid for all the TrueType fonts in Windows -- so just use those. I know I personally paid for at least four different copies of Windows - but only "actively" use two -- one on my wife's computer and one in a vmware session...

Re:How many times do I have to tell you? (1)

gravious (19912) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739988)

I don't have much to add here except ask if somebody could moderate the informative parent to this post up? It made a big difference for me and is very succinct :)

Re:Apple = Gates Behind (1)

Coretti (17558) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739989)

Since when does Gates, or Microsoft for that matter, have a say in what Apple does?

And before you even consider their $150 million investment - it's non-voting stock.

Re:Dang! (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 15 years ago | (#1739990)

How about a unidiff next time... :-)

This end user doesn't care about TT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740001)

I own several Corel Win and DOS products, and I have more Type 1 fonts than I can shake a stick at. Remember, Corel destroyed the font market by giving them away.

Just fix Xfree so it can browse a directory of random fonts and name them, and then have each app be able to use them. If T1 font support was complete, this would be a nonissue.

GIMP is about the only app that can use added fonts. Applix, WP, NS all have their own systems. Ugh.

Other Advantages to using Font Server (2)

Brian Ristuccia (2238) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740002)

Another advantage to using a font server is that it keeps the X server from coming to a griding halt when it needs to render a font with many glyphs. Ever click on one of those eastern fonts with a zillion different characters in it?

Even small fonts take a while to render on a 386 or 486 X terminal, so the concurrency provided by a separate font server is highly desirable there.

Solution? (1)

umoto (19193) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740003)

Why not just convert TrueType fonts to a format similar to TrueType, but which is not TrueType? To do the conversion, render the fonts into a memory buffer at 1000 points with no anti-aliasing, trace around the edges, record the key points, and save them as "vector" graphics. Then use the anti-aliasing feature of FreeType to render the fonts. The font binaries would come out much larger, but since the patented portion (the TrueType rendering engine) would be almost eliminated, there would be no more problem with Apple.

Of course, we're all jumping to conclusions here and maybe, just maybe, Apple will give FreeType their blessing. It seems to me that Apple would benefit the most just by requiring a small notice to be displayed whenever the FreeType engine is used. It would be healthy for the religious movement they have built.

xfstt (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740004)

I've been using xfstt for years. You don't need to hope for anything as regards true type fonts. I hear xfstt took some brilliant programming to pull off but the solution isn't always the most hyped.

Re:Opensource (1)

dr. claw (14821) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740005)

Conversely, it would really hurt Apple's popularity if they were to refuse to let XFree86 make use of TrueType. Can they really afford that kind of backlash at this point?

TT Patent (3)

Stephen "The Carp" C (1007) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740006)

As the Xfstt maintainer I thought I should post a
note. I was informed of this patent a few weeks
ago but hadn't had a chance to really look at
it beyond a quick glance.

Suposedly it only covers "hinting". Someone
had said to me that prior art almost definitly exists (going back to the egyptions and the
ancient greeks no less).

It was also pointed out that Apple has never
pressed this issue with anyone. I have been to
busy lately to figure out how/if to respond to
this problem.

As it is now I plan to release xfstt 1.0 within
a few days (no major changes since the last one..
just a few minor fixes and updates that make
things a bit more polished).

If Apple isn't enforcing the patent...then might
as well let sleeping dogs lie. At worst it can
be moved to servers and maintainership outside
of the non-free world.

elaborate?? (1)

John Allsup (987) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740008)

Could you elaborate?
John

Re:YARTCESP (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740009)

In order to get a patent, you have to fully disclose the thing being patented. That's the whole point.

Coca-Cola keeps their formula secret. It's a "trade secret". They do *not* have a patent on it. You can't have both patent and trade-secret protection for the same intellectual property.

Transmeta may have some patents. Those patents may be part of a *larger* thing that we don't know about, but the entirety of the processes that're covered by those patents are disclosed fully.

SGI's Fonts (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740010)

I agree about SGI's fonts - I think SGI's fonts are roughly comparable in quality to Apple's fonts, with Microsoft's fonts trailing them. Of course, Linux font technology trails even Microsoft's :-(.

SGI's fonts are a major reason I still use a 1994 Indigo2 running Irix instead of Linux as my workstation. I find it much more comfortable to read stuff.

D

----

r (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740011)

rrr

Re:YARTCESP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740012)

> Patents simply make life miserable for coders, with no real benefits.

Sure they have benefits. They make rich people richer without the need for work.

That's why governments are happy to enforce them.

s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740013)

sssss

e (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740014)

ee

i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740028)

i

c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740029)

c

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740030)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740031)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740032)

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Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740033)

Hey, Microsoft invented TrueType! Why is Apple involved???

o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740035)

oo

Re:xfstt (1)

Stephen "The Carp" C (1007) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740038)

xfstt did take some brilliant programming. As
the current maintainer I can only take credit
for a few of the newer features...mere hacks
compared to a complete rendering engine that
was written from scratch by the original author.

However we do need to hope that Apple doesn't
decide to use their patent...defending it
could mean costly legal battles for some of us.

f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740039)

f

Re:Apple has (c) on TrueType??! (1)

smileyy (11535) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740047)

Apple and Microsoft cross-licensed technology. MS got TrueType. Apple got something that was (surprise) useless. Or at least never used.

Lapse of patent? (1)

larien (5608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740048)

IANAL, but I think that if a patent holder doesn't protect it's intellectual property, it loses the right to defend. If Freetype has been around for a long time, it could be argued that this is the case.

Two flies in the ointment; I can't remember if this is in relation to trademarks or patents; I could, however, imagine similar laws applying to the two. Secondly, to fight Apple in the courts would require a fair bit of money which I would imagine the Freetype authors don't have (they certainly couldn't afford legal advice on the patents, according to the web page).

In any case, I hope Apple allows the continued use of truetype fonts for no charge. *crosses fingers*
--

Re:YARTCESP (1)

CaptainSuperBoy (17170) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740049)

What if the process for making steel 20 times faster is never allowed to be marketed and sold, because someone holds the patent on making steel the old way?

This example would never happen, but it does happen often with software. FreeType is faster and less bloated than the TrueType support developed by Apple and MS. This is the problem with software patents - better software can be suppressed because someone thought of it first. It's not the idea that counts, its the implementation.

Re:YARTCESP (1)

Ares (5306) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740050)

No more so than its extractable from the patent application.

TKJRTICTEFSDP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740052)

Typical Knee-jerk reaction that I've come to expect from Slashdot posters

Re:Stifled Laws (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740055)


Just to make it clear, binary font files still are copyrighted, only the 'design' can not. You can't legally cat YourFont.ttf > MyNewFont.ttf (of course you would need to change some metadata too.)

You can 'copy' someone elses fonts as long as your font drawings are original. For example, you can scan in text and then draw your own outlines around the pictures of the glyphs.


--

Re:YARTCESP (1)

razzmataz (69616) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740056)

Yes processes can be patented(any thing novel and useful can). From what I understand of what you are saying in the example you provided earlier, is the process can be extracted by reverse engineering the software that
handles the process. If this is wrong, please clarify.

My response was, don't waste time figuring out the process from the software that handles it, just get the information on the process from the patent on it.

Patents are public information. Of course, implementing them without a license can get you in trouble, but you knew that already, right? :)

Re:YARTCESP (2)

eponymous cohort (8637) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740058)

Patents are not secrets. If I patent a process to make widgets, the information on my process is publically available.

Not necessarily, many companies keep their processes secret, IE Coca-Cola. Transmeta hold at least two patents, yet we still don't OFFICIALLY know what they are doing.

Re:YARTCESP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740060)

"What if the process for making steel 20 times faster is never allowed to be marketed and sold, because someone holds the patent on making steel the old way?" Er, if it's a completely different method then there's nothing the patent-holders of the old method can do. "This example would never happen, but it does happen often with software. FreeType is faster and less bloated than the TrueType support developed by Apple and MS. This is the problem with software patents - better software can be suppressed because someone thought of it first. It's not the idea that counts, its the implementation." So if it's the implementation, why can't a clean-room implementation escape patent restrictions? Real up, it's the idea (or at least the algorithm, which is much the same). IANAL. Axolotl.

t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740066)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740067)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740068)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740069)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740070)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740071)

e

s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740072)

ss

Re:YARTCESP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740075)

> The only two types of people who are against IP are communists and stupid people who can't
> innovate.

The IP system as it stands is basically a big money grab for large corporations. The only people who should be in favor of it are those who have large investments in IP holding corporations. Anybody else should realize that IP basically reduces innovation (because it's more profitable to extract money by patent licensing that applies to other people's innovations than actually innovate yourself), and the cost paid to license IP subtracts from the real value of a product, not to mention the money available for such things as wages.
And of course probably 99% of revenues from IP go to people who have nothing to do with the actual creation of the IP.

> My guess is that if retardo here were to come up with a new fast encryption algorithm that was
> better than RSA, that he'd cash in.

Well, Bruse Schneider designed Blowfish, which is faster than RSA, and made it publicly available and not patented. Do you have any other wild bits of speculation to tell us about?

Re:YARTCESP (2)

binarybits (11068) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740076)

So if it's the implementation, why can't a clean-room implementation escape patent restrictions? Real up, it's the idea (or at least the algorithm, which is much the same).

Because a patent protects not just the implementation, but the idea itself. If all you want to do is protect programmers from having their implementations copied, just give them copyright protections and they can keep their source closed. What software patents do is to set up a minefield for coders. Every time he comes up with a clever way of doing something, he must look it up at the patent office, and make sure that no one has thought of it before. If someone has, then he can be effectively blackmailed into either paying outrageous fees or rewriting major sections of his software. And if he doesn't catch the patent in time, then he will release his product, and can then be ruined by a lawsuit.

The basic problem is that "inventions" in the computer field are different from those in other fields. Algorithms get rediscovered and reimplemented dozens of times by different programmers working independently. We get paid to "invent" better ways of getting a given task done. And while an inventor in another field might become rich off a single invention, programmers discover dozens of new algorithms in the course of a given project. Therefore it simply is not reasonable to give out patents to such "discoveries."

This is compounded by the lack of technical knowledge in the patent office. Most patent officials don't have a clue about our industry. Thus a clever lawyer can get a patent for a technique that any competent CS grad could tell you was common knowledge for years. That no one wrote about the technique is often simpy a result of the fact that it seemed too trivial to bother documenting. Yet if you know little about how programming works, it might seem to you that it is a new discovery. Thus unscrupulous folks can obtain patents for things that a talented high school student could dream up in an afternoon.

That's why many programmers oppose software patents. Copyrights are sufficient to pretect against piracy. Patents simply make life miserable for coders, with no real benefits.

Re:YARTCESP (1)

larien (5608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740085)

atents are not secrets. If I patent a process to make widgets, the information on my process is publically available.
This is one reason the makers of Irn Bru (a soft drink made in Scotland) have never patented their recipe; this way no-one gets to know how it is made. The exact recipe for the main syrup used is known by the two managers (I assume it's also written down and locked up somewhere else in case both managers die).

Just a small aside on patent law...
--

Oops (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740086)

Just to clarify what I said - binary font files are distributed under a software licence (GPL, MS EULA, X, etc.), just like any other software. The actual art design of the font can't be copyrighted however.
--

Re:YARTCESP (1)

razzmataz (69616) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740087)

Coca-Cola's secret formula is a trade secret. This is far different than a patent.

And Transmeta's patents (and patent applications) are public information. What they plan on doing with them is, um, secret.

Re:Arg! (1)

Pascal Q. Porcupine (4467) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740088)

Vector based fonts are much nicer than TrueType fonts.

I hope you're kidding. TrueType fonts are vector-based. Also, X already has plenty of vector-based (scalable) font support; however, there aren't that many good vector-based fonts in X. 'All' of the good fonts would appear to be TrueType nowadays.


---
"'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

TrueType Renderer Without the Fonts (2)

Jordy (440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740089)

While having a TrueType font rendering system sounds great and all, there don't appear to be any free TrueType fonts which are all that much better than their T1 counterparts.

Good TrueType fonts are typically manually hinted. Also, each style of the font such as italic, bold, and bold italic are individual fonts instead of having the font renderer try to fake it.

This results in a much cleaner, crisper font than what you get from using one of the many font creation programs out there.

Unfortunately, the skill involved in creating manually hinted fonts doesn't come cheap and while individual fonts can't be patented, they can be copywrited.

Microsoft has been somewhat generous and made a few commonly used typefaces available for limited distribution at no cost. I believe these include Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana and Courier, which is really all you need 99% of the time.

The exception being menus and what not, these typically use a font specially created for small labels. I believe MS uses MS Sans Serif for this.

--

Re:YARTCESP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740090)

Coca-Cola don't have a patent on coca-cola for that very reason. After 20 years anyone could make coke. By keeping it secret, no-one can ever make coke because they can't find out how. Transmeta's patents presumably describe some kind of algorithm or process that they want to use. This doesn't have to tell anyone what the company is up to, simply because no-one can figure out exactly how they're planning to use their patent. You don't have to hand in a form with your patent saying "and by the way, I'll be using this to make tastier meatballs" or whatever..

Re:I hope Apple sues their asses off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740091)

begone troll!

Re: What about "ClearType" (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740092)

Will X pick up sub-pixel aliasing (a.k.a. "ClearType")? Sub-pixel aliasing is supposed to be the Next Big Thing in font rendering (of course it currently only works on LCDs...)

Re:TrueType Renderer Without the Fonts (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740093)

Actually, Times New Roman is generally regarded as not a very good choice for a general purpose font. The serifs' aren't that desirable for a font that is very often rendered at a small size.

Not irony, just misunderstanding of IP law. (1)

irh (27628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740094)

This is not ironic: individual fonts ARE protected, just under a different intellectual property category. You cannot patent a font, because a font is not an invention - it is a creative expression. Creative expression is protected by copyright law. A "font system" is in the nature of an invention. Neither can you copyright a font system - a system is just an well -defined idea, reproducible and having a pre-determined result (i.e. the processing, formatting and display of fonts).

Neither patent nor copyright are inherently weaker or stronger forms of legal protection - they are just different, mutually exclusive catetories. One does not belong in the other.

Furthermore, there is no question of whether it's legal to USE or LOOK AT a font - they are copyrighted: protection is, again, against copying, not use.

I.

XFree4.0 (1)

Mammouth (21987) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740115)

What kind of true type support will be in XFree4? Will it be able to serve antialiased true type (or type 1) fonts out of the box?

Apple Forfeited TrueType Patent Rights (1)

Brian Ristuccia (2238) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740116)

Apple's three patents on TrueType are invalid, because they forfeited their patent rights by failing to file for a patent within one year of publishing documents and software containg the patented technologies.

Re:YARTCESP (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740117)

The only two types of people who are against IP are communists and stupid people who can't innovate. My guess is that if retardo here were to come up with a new fast encryption algorithm that was better than RSA, that he'd cash in.

Apple, patents and money. (1)

SyscoKid (78729) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740118)

Nah, just takes a bigger bat.

It's kind of funny that Apple has a patant on true type.. What makes it pantable?? People have been using picuture letters way before apple came out on the scene. Think about ransom notes! I wonder when someone will claim they have the patent of fonts in general. But looking at what Apple has been doing lately, I feel they are trying to make it anyway they can, becuase the fact that the have lost alot of ground on everything they did. But that points out that they do things in a manor to make more money, not that it's sensable.

Re:TrueType Renderer Without the Fonts (1)

_Dante_ (14004) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740119)

Though you are correct that many truetype fonts are copyrighted, there are many sources of "free" (beer not speech) fonts.

Font Foundry [fontfoundry.com] has loads of free fonts you can use (most of the fonts are the sort of thing you would use in the gimp as opposed to on the cover of your thesis). Between these and the fonts you mentioned, free softniks like us should be able to typeface till we go blue in the face.

Which are the "real" fonts (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 15 years ago | (#1740120)

Speaking about copying fonts, something that has always bugged me...

With so many knock-off "sound-alike fonts" (for example, 3 fonts named Tech, Technical and Architect that all look the same), how do you know which is the "original"?

I have always been looking for some sort of list so I can be sure to have the "true" fonts instead of all the cheap copies. Sometimes the shoddy copying is obvious but my eye is not so sharp to detect them all...

I would love to have some resource to filter the authetic fonts from the fakes.

Re:I hope Apple sues their asses off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1740121)

Why would you say such a thing ?
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