Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Web threatened by patent?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I have my doubts.

But, according to this article on AustralianIT, that’s just what the W3C is argueing. Apparently, there’s a one-man company called Eolas who won a $521 million law-suit against Microsoft for allegedly infringing a patent covering technology that “allows interactive applications – plug-ins and applets – to be embedded in web pages”. Now, that’s not the entire web, but it’s a big slice of what Microsoft pushed over the years. Even this blog doesn’t fall under that category, I don’t think, because the programs that run it aren’t actually embedded in the web page itself. Frankly, that’s one of the reasons that I’ve been working on PERL lately. It’s not tied to one particular company or browser. Hey, it’s not tied to a browser at all!
What astounds me about this case, though, is that Tim Berners-Lee, the “inventor” of the web is going to bat for Micro$oft! He says the patent is invalid due to “prior art”. He goes on to say that any redesign of IE “will render millions of web pages and many products of independent software developers incompatible with Microsoft’s product”. My thought is, “so what”? People Micro$oft is NOT the Internet! They’re not even the Web! And most of these “plug-ins” that would be effected are just junk that slows me down anyway. I don’t want streaming sound or video to my PC, thanks. Just the words. Just the ideas. For that, I don’t need Micro$oft’s restrictive product.
In any case, Micro$oft is obviously going to appeal. It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

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