[linux-elitists] FAT is the new GIF?

Ruben Safir ruben@mrbrklyn.com
Fri Feb 27 14:12:03 PST 2009

Jason Spence wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 01:13:09AM +0000, Dave Crossland wrote: 
>> 2009/2/27 Jason Spence <jspence@lightconsulting.com>:
>>> On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:56:02AM +0000, Dave Crossland wrote:
>>>> 2009/2/27 Jason Spence <jspence@lightconsulting.com>:
>>>>> the only motivation I can think of would
>>>>> be Microsoft demanding higher license fees for FAT implementations.
>>>> Maybe I've misunderstood the lawsuit, but er, isn't that what just started?
>>> [higher than] $250,000 per [distributor]
>> Doesn't higher than $0 per distributor chill free software?
> It depends.
> A patent license is basically an agreement not to enforce your patent
> claims against an infringing entity.  It's not a criminal action to
> violate a patent (35 USC 271), so if you're some volunteer-run
> distribution that's not making any money and don't have any
> significant assets, it's probably a bad business decision for the
> patent holder to try to squeeze blood from a stone.
> Therefore, if you mean free-as-in-beer when you're talking about free
> software, the chilling effect may be negated by the fact that it's
> dumb for people to sue you for infringing.
> But if you mean free-as-in-libre and you're collecting cash money,
> yeah, there's probably going to be a chilling effect.  What form that
> would take I don't know, because I can't fathom the major linux
> distributions delibrately breaking interoperability with USB keys.


No free software implementation uses fat. They interoperate with FAT. 
That is not likely
litigateable. The problem is in all the GNU boot devices such as the 
gumstix and such. And why
stop at FAT. How about the CD file extensions which MS might have 
greater patent claims to?


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