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[P]
Microsoft patents Debian package system?

By Lionfire in News
Fri May 05, 2000 at 04:56:24 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Recently, Microsoft aquired a patent for a "Method and system for installing and updating program module components". This sounds suspiciously like the Debian package system, which has been around since well before this patent was filed... It could also very well be applied to Red Hat and other package-based linux distributions, as well as many other pieces of hardware and software.


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Microsoft patents Debian package system? | 34 comments (34 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
From the summary: A ... (4.50 / 2) (#1)
by rusty on Fri May 05, 2000 at 03:11:17 AM EST

rusty voted 0 on this story.

From the summary: A determination is made whether the current date is on or after a date stored in a registry key on a computer.

AFAIK, Linux package systems do not use a "registry key". Patents are very specific, and this one specifically says "registry key". So there you go. Perfectly legal, probably, and no threat to us. I hope this doesn't get everyone all riled up again... heh.

____
Not the real rusty

Re: From the summary: A... (none / 0) (#33)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 06, 2000 at 11:51:02 PM EST

Is this another instance of Bill Gates trying to fuck over Apple? Macs r001!!! I am so l337!!!!

[ Parent ]
Let me say that I think this is a m... (2.00 / 1) (#9)
by evro on Fri May 05, 2000 at 04:28:10 AM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

Let me say that I think this is a more worthy patent than MS's. And, of course, who could forget the sad day when Microsoft Patended Ones and Zeros?
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Looks like the patent is specifical... (none / 0) (#21)
by Marcin on Fri May 05, 2000 at 04:40:43 AM EST

Marcin voted -1 on this story.

Looks like the patent is specifically for Windows Update (obviously). I doubt it'd have an impact on debian or redhat because they work slightly differently (AFAIK).

The patent also mentions Windows Registry and stuff, which obviously doesn't apply. And RPMs don't work on file dates but rather 'versions' and checksums or similar, don't they?

Anyway.. :)
M.

Bah. Yeah...the difference is that... (none / 0) (#12)
by buzzbomb on Fri May 05, 2000 at 05:06:15 AM EST

buzzbomb voted 1 on this story.

Bah. Yeah...the difference is that the MS version doesn't bother checking if the files are there and copies them anyways. Heh. Every time I fool with the net card under that POS..."Please insert Windows CD" and proceeds to copy shit that's been there since day one. 10 million lines of code, but some asshole forgot: if (exists(filebeingcopied)) next;

Yes, it's a stupid patent which giv... (none / 0) (#4)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri May 05, 2000 at 05:42:05 AM EST

Nyarlathotep voted 0 on this story.

Yes, it's a stupid patent which gives one more piece of evidence that the patent system is evil and unworkable. Yes, It could be used to hurt free software, but RedHat/VA/etc. has more then enough legal resources to win a fight. The issue is will RedHat/VA/etc. pick a fight to help raise anti-patent syentament. The suspect the answer to that question is "no." Anywho, we need a real movement to reform intellectual property, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Perhaps people who really understand intellectual property can educate the rest of the world about what goes wrong with it. Perhaps we can prevent countries like China from ever creating the cangerous inelectual property situation that we have here.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

Could do with more writeup, but its... (none / 0) (#11)
by inspire on Fri May 05, 2000 at 06:47:44 AM EST

inspire voted 1 on this story.

Could do with more writeup, but its fairly good discussion material right now. Next un-written up story gets -1 from me though.
--
What is the helix?

I've read enough articles of the ty... (none / 0) (#28)
by Toojays on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:32:26 AM EST

Toojays voted 0 on this story.

I've read enough articles of the type "Evil Corporation A is patenting something we've all been doing for the last 500 years." So existing patent laws are lame. It's gotten through to me now. Tell me when it changes. You have to wonder about whether this is going to present yet another security hole though.

Needs much more details on the pate... (none / 0) (#26)
by Mr.Duxup on Fri May 05, 2000 at 08:00:57 AM EST

Mr.Duxup voted -1 on this story.

Needs much more details on the patent. With no link to the patent or story it is too vauge.

naah.. talks about registrykeys and... (4.50 / 2) (#16)
by el_vez on Fri May 05, 2000 at 08:20:53 AM EST

el_vez voted -1 on this story.

naah.. talks about registrykeys and stuff, also if i get it right the upgrade is done automatically and the user recieves a popup type mesages "update availabe", which i really hate. seems applicable to microsoft products only. also if debians and other distros package-manageing-systems are released under the GPL, could microsoft really use its patent against them?

Sounds like the 1-click-buy story. ... (none / 0) (#24)
by farlukar on Fri May 05, 2000 at 08:51:05 AM EST

farlukar voted 1 on this story.

Sounds like the 1-click-buy story. This is probably Microsofts idea of "innovative".
______________________
$ make install not war

while I think this is important it ... (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by schporto on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:07:21 AM EST

schporto voted 1 on this story.

while I think this is important it would've been good to see a writeup of this. More a point by point comparison of the various issues covered in the patent and what they mean. This would require someone with knowledge of both systems. For instance does Debian (or RedHat) actually use the date to determine weather a new package is needed? What about the database query? I really don't think RPMs do and I'm not terribly familiar with Debian. Even autoRPM doesn't use a DB as far as I can tell. But how does this effect the entire system? I found some other things rather odd about the patent also. This patent refrences several patents that were submitted after this one. That just seems weird to me.

Hmmmm... I'm going to apply for a p... (none / 0) (#6)
by Emacs on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:15:10 AM EST

Emacs voted 1 on this story.

Hmmmm... I'm going to apply for a patent for my method of performing an exact number of computations on my computer. Here's how it works:

1) I tell the computer how many times I want it to do something, say 10 times. I do this with my LOOP(tm) technology by creating a statement that tells the computer to start at zero and count to 10. I'll declare it like this:
x = 0;
while (x < 10){

2) I'll then perform my compation...lets say I want to print something to stdout..
printf("Hello World\n");

3) Now here is the trick...I use my soon to be patented INCREMENT(tm) technology to add one to the variable...like this
x++;}

That's it..Patent pending.

I don't really care - it's another ... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by Dacta on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:28:42 AM EST

Dacta voted 0 on this story.

I don't really care - it's another patent that they won't ever try and enforce (the prior art is too well known) except in a defensive suit. I think IBM has been doing something similar with their mainframes since the '60s, and one thing is for sure: no one, not even Microsoft takes on IBM in a Patent dispute (They have a HUGE portfolio of patents to counter-sue you for infringing on). Even Intel is scared to sue them, and Intel sues everyone.

Rounding down for the lack of write... (none / 0) (#5)
by Demona on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:39:57 AM EST

Demona voted 0 on this story.

Rounding down for the lack of writeup. Great topic, if a little lacking in the culture aspect.

Anyone who bothers to follow the li... (none / 0) (#15)
by homer on Fri May 05, 2000 at 10:37:55 AM EST

homer voted -1 on this story.

Anyone who bothers to follow the link will notice that the headline is patently false. Sorry...
-----------
doh!

The brief description of the patent... (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Zero on Fri May 05, 2000 at 10:59:11 AM EST

Anonymous Zero voted 1 on this story.

The brief description of the patent sounds a lot like Debian's dselect/dpkg/apt-get. This patent claim was filed in 1997 and granted in Oct 1999. I'd be curious to know if those Debian packages were around before 1997.... perhaps someone could take a look at the source and verify that.

interesting -- where is Bruce Peren... (none / 0) (#7)
by davidu on Fri May 05, 2000 at 10:59:57 AM EST

davidu voted 1 on this story.

interesting -- where is Bruce Perens?

already on TOS ... (none / 0) (#27)
by haiku san on Fri May 05, 2000 at 11:19:42 AM EST

haiku san voted -1 on this story.

already on TOS

Even Microsoft can't be that stupid... (none / 0) (#10)
by Ozymandias on Fri May 05, 2000 at 11:22:37 AM EST

Ozymandias voted 1 on this story.

Even Microsoft can't be that stupid... can they?

The only package system Microsoft uses is the Extract/Cabinet file method. It's actually not a bad system, and considering they're a proprietary, closed-code corporation, I can see patenting it. \but I just don't see them trying to apply it to RPM or Debian packages.
- Ozymandias

Even though k5 has scooped slashdot... (none / 0) (#2)
by ramses0 on Fri May 05, 2000 at 11:27:09 AM EST

ramses0 voted 0 on this story.

Even though k5 has scooped slashdot on this story, it still has to do with "MS being stupid", which isn't that news-worthy. There's not enough meat in the writeup either.
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

I've seen sillier patents (I'll add... (none / 0) (#20)
by Rasputin on Fri May 05, 2000 at 11:34:05 AM EST

Rasputin voted 0 on this story.

I've seen sillier patents (I'll add the links as a reply to this if I can find them). If M$ ever actually tries to enforce this one, they will (rightfully) I hope get smoked for being even dumber than usual.
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

Here is where Slashdot can get ahea... (none / 0) (#3)
by hattig on Fri May 05, 2000 at 01:13:48 PM EST

hattig voted 1 on this story.

Here is where Slashdot can get ahead of Kuroshin - this probably was put up here way before Slashdot put their story up, yet because this story has to wait a long time to get the required score it ends up being late.

Re: Here is where Slashdot can get ahea... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by rusty on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:18:59 PM EST

Indeed. In the realm of inflammatory non-news, /. is way ahead of us. :-) This is still a non-story: First, anyone can patent anything they like, but there's no point in getting upset about it until they try to use that patent to extort money from someone. Second, the patent pretty clearly (IMO) describes an MS-based system. I think they'd have a really hard time prosecuting Debian or RedHat for infringement, since apt and RPM do not match the particulars of the patent. So, I had hoped this wouldn't even be posted, but oh well. It's still a non-story, and a non-issue. I'm glad /. was first on the non-scene. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Debian has its database on the comp... (none / 0) (#18)
by nicktamm on Fri May 05, 2000 at 01:26:41 PM EST

nicktamm voted 0 on this story.

Debian has its database on the computer upgrading itself. This patent describes sending queries over the Internet to a database server which looks for newer packages. Debian also just installs the packages from whereever its pointed to and happens to understand how to transfer over HTTP and FTP. Plus, I don't think Debian has a registry :)
Nick Tamm nick-k5@echorequest.net http://www.nicktamm.org

Re: Debian has its database on the comp... (none / 0) (#31)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 06, 2000 at 10:15:33 AM EST

It has a registry. It's called debconf. Also, you could call the dpkg database a "registry". Same for apt's.

[ Parent ]
At first I thought, who cares? Ever... (none / 0) (#22)
by MadDreamer on Fri May 05, 2000 at 01:35:21 PM EST

MadDreamer voted 1 on this story.

At first I thought, who cares? Everyone's got some method for updating software. But then I read it. Wow. That's almost exactly the same as Red Hat. Scary.

What's to discuss? It's a badly-gr... (none / 0) (#23)
by leshert on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:34:19 PM EST

leshert voted -1 on this story.

What's to discuss? It's a badly-granted patent, and if Microsoft tries to enforce it, it will be thrown out on prior art.

stale... (none / 0) (#14)
by prevostjm on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:55:22 PM EST

prevostjm voted -1 on this story.

stale

Without seeing the full text, and a... (none / 0) (#13)
by soulhuntre on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:58:15 PM EST

soulhuntre voted -1 on this story.

Without seeing the full text, and a point by point analysis, of the applied for patent then the title ont his piece is needlessly inflammatory. The info is interesting, as far as it goes and should be put up with a different slant.

YAEOBPL (yet another example of bad... (none / 0) (#19)
by CmdrPinkTaco on Fri May 05, 2000 at 04:56:24 PM EST

CmdrPinkTaco voted 1 on this story.

YAEOBPL (yet another example of bad patent laws) I guess that they would be regarded as patent processes rather than laws, but the fact still remains (as has been said over a million times before) that the lwas need to change in regards to software patents.
--
Guess CmdrPinkTaco's .sig and win - nothing :)

What this really means (and a link to the Debian d (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by pretzelgod on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:48:00 PM EST

This does not affect Debian. I imagine it doesn't affect Red Hat either. Here's why: the patent refers to a system that uses a server-side database and determines whether the file needs to be updated by date. Debian uses a client-side database that determines whether a package needs to be updated by version number.

Patents are very specific, so this one does not apply to dpkg. For more information, see the thread on the debian-doc mailing list.


-- 
Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


Re: Microsoft patents Debian package system? (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat May 06, 2000 at 02:06:07 PM EST

To me what Microsoft did was always wrong in anyway.

Who needs packages? (none / 0) (#34)
by feline on Mon May 08, 2000 at 05:29:44 PM EST

Who the heck needs packages when you have tarballs?!?!?!

RPMs and Debs and whatever other package thingies are a pain in the ass when you get to be an experienced user. For instance, a few months ago, I had several problems with gtk. While on Freshmeat, I found a neato little thingie called penguin eyes which needs gtk 1.2.7 or later to install. "Ok, no problem, I'll just go and get the RPM," I thought to myself. I go around and finnally find the rpm. But wait, it still won't install, citing that I still don't have gtk 1.2.7 or later. I yell at the screen, "YES I DO, YOU JUST SAW ME DOWNLOAD AND 'rpm -i gtk*'!"

So, after a month or two long trek, I finnally get experinced enough to get a tarball, and compile it, and then finnally get it installed, 3 months later. I'm now playing with penguin eyes all the time and enjoying it :) (no, I'm not a developer, just an enthusiastic user)

But anyway, packages are a pain in the ass. This is, of course, my oppinion, and I'm certianly _not_ trying to start any holy wars.
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

Microsoft patents Debian package system? | 34 comments (34 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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