__/ [ Rafael ] on Friday 02 March 2007 11:14 \__
> Roy Schestowitz wrote:
>> [Groklaw's Jadeclaw informs us of this news from Germany,
>> which he translates for us: As Heise.de reports today, the
>> German federal patent court declared the FAT-patent DE69429378
>> as invalid. The court told Microsoft in clear words, this
>> patent is not an invention and added that prior art also led
>> to the invalidation of the patent, including, but not limited
>> to the RockRidge extension, that makes ISO9660-CD-Roms
>> readable on Unix-systems.] - Heise
> AFAIK, regarding MS-DOS FAT being based on prior art, I remember
> the similarity to the CP/M-80 based hard disk format. 20 years
> ago I used the excellent Xerox documentation through their
> surplus store, which was liquidating their personal computer
> products and parts.
> Using their CP/M documentation, I was able to install a 10 MB MFM
> hard disk that was configured differently than the OEM one (2
> heads and 720 cylinders versus OEM's 4 heads and 360 cylinders).
> (I bought it from a bulletin board sysop, it was a spare and he
> let it for a very reasonable price. It cost me a fraction of
> what the OEM did.) From studying the documentation, I
> disassembled the CP/M hard disk formatting program, patched it
> and manually edited the hard drive partition table. I also
> patched the BIOS from their disassembler listing I had purchased.
> Now I had a hard disk with 3 formatted partitions (and each
> bootable. I liked Xerox's monitor program, it was so "mainframe"
> like. You actually had to specify whether to boot from floppy,
> which floppy or hard disk partition. "LE" loaded from "E:",
> which was the first hard disk partition. One could examine
> memory locations from their monitor, write or receive from a
> hardware port or invoke built in VT-52 terminal emulation. Ahh,
> those were the days!)
> Since I had purchased their generic MS-DOS 2.0, manual had byte
> by byte description of the disk format. There were differences
> such as the ability to have subdirectories. CP/M had the space
> (bytes) in the file allocation table for time/date information,
> but it was not implemented.
> UNIX had these features already implemented. Based on the
> article's description of EU court findings, Microsoft must have
> borrowed concepts from UNIX. There is only so much one can do
> with a format using hard disk controller commands with PC
> non-unique hardware (thanks to the IBM PC and clones).
Article now available in English:
Federal Patent Court declares FAT patent of Microsoft null and void
,----[ Quote ]
| The Federal Patent Court has declared a Microsoft patent on the
| file allocation system File Allocation Table (FAT) invalid for
| the Federal Republic of Germany.
~~ Best wishes
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