|RIM to pay Microsoft protection money for exFAT patents|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2012-09-18 21:45:37|
|Microsoft and RIM have announced that RIM has licensed Redmond's exFAT patents. The press release contains a ridiculous amount of hyperbole nonsense, and if you translate it into regular people speak, it basically comes down to RIM paying Microsoft protection money for stupid nonsensical software patents. Ridiculous articles like like this make it seem as if we're talking about patents on major technological breakthroughs, but don't be fooled: this is because for some inexplicable reason, we're using crappy FAT for SD cards.|
|RE: How silly Thom!|
|By Alfman on 2012-09-19 20:09:25|
"It is not protection. RIM for some reason needed to have extra code and full use of exfat for their product or series of products. So why not pay for what you need?"
It's *possible* that RIM genuinely gained some MS technology in the deal, but I wouldn't say it's a forgone conclusion. Do you know for a fact that RIM needed or wanted MS code? Or are they paying royalties over functionality that their own engineers have already implemented themselves?
You might just call it a business transaction and leave it at that, but all too often these patent licensing deals are about avoiding lawsuits and have nothing to do with the technology.
|- Score: 3|
|RE: Comment by ilovebeer|
|By phoudoin on 2012-09-19 20:11:46|
Let's reformat our sdcard into ext2/3 and install this driver on our Windows machine and bye bye exFAT patent trap.
|- Score: 0|
|By UltraZelda64 on 2012-09-20 00:21:48|
That is NO EXCUSE for an operating system based on the Linux kernel to not just read and use an ext2/3/4-formatted microSD card that I formatted in Linux myself. Similarly, it's no excuse for a system with a modified NT-based kernel to refuse to use an NTFS file system that I formatted in Windows myself. |
NTFS "interoperability" with systems other than Windows has been pretty decent for a while now thanks to FUSE and NTFS-3G with full read/write capability, although Microsoft would prefer that it wasn't. And even if it wasn't, considering Microsoft would like you to believe that no operating system other than their own exists in the world--even from that perspective it makes absolutely NO SENSE why FAT is required of a modern video game system released by them in 2005.
Consider all of the technical and graphical specifications the Xbox 360 has... some impressive stuff... and for external storage devices, it supports... FAT32?! WTF?!? Even Windows has moved away from it--I haven't used FAT partitions on my hard drives starting with Windows XP over a decade ago, and being the default I doubt many other people have either. The immensely improved reliability was well worth it (no more randomly lost files and fewer failed Windows boots), but the performance is much better too (as long as you stay on top of the excessive fragmentation and resulting slowdown typical of Windows...).
To put it simply, unless you are using DOS on ANY of your machines, you really do NOT need FAT for interoperability with all of your computers. Are you? I'm not. It's 2012, not 1990. And if a device (cell phone, digital camera) runs a kernel that natively supports its own file system, you should NOT be forbidden from formatting your storage device to that file system and using that instead of the lowest common denominator (FAT), especially in a time when dozens or hundreds of gigs have long been typical and FAT has been losing relevance for years. Hell, when I left Windows in late 2006 I was using NTFS, ISO9660 and the occasional UDF... no sign of FAT, anywhere.
Either way, my point still stands. If no one steps up and just says "fuck FAT" and uses something else instead, FAT will continue to be used indefinitely. It's cheap, it's simple, it's unreliable and inefficient and it's crap, but the first two parts seem to make up for the rest for most companies. There is no need for it in many cases, and once people start using (or even allowing) other file systems on their devices FAT will finally fade away. If not, we'll be constantly tormented by it on virtually all portable devices for decades to come, despite many better alternatives being available.
Of course, it doesn't help that Microsoft doesn't support any disk file systems other than their own three... other people have already brought this up as being anti-competitive, and I agree. Would it kill them to implement read/write support for ext2/ext3/ext4/UFS? Microsoft wants to keep everyone on FAT for their portable storage, so once flash drives are commonly seen in sizes like 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and bigger and capacities of 64GB and lower become more uncommon, they will already have the companies by the balls and easily get them to start using exFAT by default.
Then after that comes hardware support--and by hardware support, I mean exclusive exFAT support, because at such capacities any other version of FAT would make zero sense. And with the active patents on the exFAT file system... well, you can guess what will happen next if someone implements it and doesn't pay Microsoft the toll. By then, it'll be time for Microsoft to start cashing in the big bucks, whether a company pays Microsoft for a license or they end up being taken to court (assuming the court doesn't invalidate the patent(s) in the process).
|- Score: 2|
|By UltraZelda64 on 2012-09-20 00:25:46|
If the Xbox 360 does in fact *not* actually use a modified version of the NT kernel, that is still no excuse for using FAT when NTFS was already well on its way to becoming the PC standard if it wasn't already--and default (due to Windows XP)--well before the time of the system's release. |
I briefly read the page linked from the Wikipedia article you pointed out, and honestly... the way it was written (vaguely), I'm not so sure it's talking about the *kernel* as much as it's referring to the complete *operating system* that the machine runs. I would have to guess it's talking about the whole deal. Duh, obviously it doesn't run a complete Windows OS--I wasn't implying that at all. But I seriously doubt that Microsoft built a brand-new kernel 100% from scratch, and surely they didn't take much if anything from the DOS kernel when they've got NT and would be better off rewriting parts that are not already in it.
That blog entry doesn't really make it clear (to be fair, I just kind of skimmed through it), but it sounds to me like they're talking about the system as a whole... I see no mention specifically of the kernel, which I still would assume is NT-based. It does mention that the OS was built from the "ground up," but if I wanted to bad enough I could build an OS from the ground up based on the Linux kernel. It might share the userland and have the same kernel as the rest, but hey... it'd be built from the ground up.
|- Score: 0|
|By moondevil on 2012-09-20 06:51:28|
|You know that there are many other types of computers besides desktops, right?|
|- Score: 3|
|By UltraZelda64 on 2012-09-20 08:19:05|
> You know that there are many other types of computers besides desktops, right? |
Yes. And you know there are other file systems besides FAT, right?
Coding in support for a few file systems more modern than that creaky old thing developed back in the 1970s with 8.3 file names and a kludge for what has become known as "long filenames" wouldn't kill anyone, would it?
Is it really so much to ask that the portable devices we actually spend money on be designed to accept the small handful of file systems that are native to the operating systems installed on our desktops/laptops/tablets/et c., which they are supposedly designed to connect with in the first place? Or even the file system(s) native to the kernel the fucking device itself it running (Android=ext2/3/4)? If it's removable storage (SD, microSD, etc.), you should be given the choice. Simple as that.
It's not like they would have to support microwave ovens, traffic light control systems, space shuttles, and supercomputers. Just the types of machines that normal people would plug a typical cell phone, camera or other portable device into using a USB cable.
Just to make it clear: Supporting other operating systems does NOT fucking mean you have to immediately drop FAT support, and therefore all of those Windows machines already out there that Microsoft continues to stubbornly and anti-competitively not allow interoperability with the rest of the computing world.
|- Score: 1|
|By lucas_maximus on 2012-09-20 09:29:29|
You said it ran a cut down version of NT or something along those lines, I can't be arsed quoting from up the comment pyramid. |
I just corrected you.
The target demographic of the Xbox 360 don't really care about the underlying file-system. FAT is good enough for playing some MP3 and some Movies.
|- Score: 3|
|RE: How silly Thom!|
|By lucas_maximus on 2012-09-20 09:34:01|
This is how business works my friend.
|- Score: 2|
|By kurkosdr on 2012-09-20 11:21:39|
"Hey, if that's part of a standard shouldn't patents in question be licensed on RAND terms?" |
They are. Much like the H.264 patents are.
|- Score: 2|
|By lucas_maximus on 2012-09-20 13:54:56|
At the end of the day modern FAT is good enough and works with most other devices, there isn't any incentive to do anything else. |
I don't really understand why you would be getting so upset about it.
|- Score: 3|