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Re: Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'

 
 
Skip Montanaro
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      11-19-2004

My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.

Seems pretty slimy.

Skip
 
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Dennis Lee Bieber
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      11-20-2004
On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 12:51:27 -0600, Skip Montanaro <(E-Mail Removed)>
declaimed the following in comp.lang.python:

>
> My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
> clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
>

Like the language in OpenOffice?

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Lenard Lindstrom
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      11-22-2004
Skip Montanaro <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
> clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
>

No, Claim-2 refers to a "BASIC-derived programming language". Description 42
claims "BORLAND DELPHI" is such a "BASIC-like or BASIC-derived language". Now I
have not used Delphi but understand it is a kind of Pascal. It looks like
Microsoft is casting a wide net indeed. Is it wide enough to ensnare Python?

We all know Python is not Basic, though it fills a similar niche. But let me
indulge my paranoia for a moment. Could the Python Software Foundation weather
a lawsuit from a large company, even if the lawsuit was unfounded? A small
change like removing 'is not' from the language would still be a significant
inconvenience. And hey, maybe IronPython would remain unaffected, making
it more backward compatible than CPython. But enough with being the
conspiracy guy.

Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
from potential competitors.

Lenard Lindstrom
<(E-Mail Removed)>
 
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Paul Robson
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      11-23-2004
On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 23:53:37 +0000, Lenard Lindstrom wrote:

> No, Claim-2 refers to a "BASIC-derived programming language". Description 42
> claims "BORLAND DELPHI" is such a "BASIC-like or BASIC-derived language". Now I
> have not used Delphi but understand it is a kind of Pascal.


Delphi *is* Pascal - or Borland's variant of it anyway.

It's an extension of Object Pascal, which came in with Turbo Pascal 5.5
and was (I think) designed by the guy responsible for the C# design,
Andreas Heiljberg (?).

I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
1991.

 
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Duncan Booth
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      11-23-2004
Lenard Lindstrom wrote:

> Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
> from potential competitors.


Probably not even that. Microsoft are simply grabbing patents for anything
they think is remotely patentable. The primary reason for doing this is
probably defensive: if anyone threatens to sue Microsoft for patent
infringement they can almost certainly find grounds to countersue. This is
a useful position for Microsoft since they have said that in nearly all
cases they will indemnify their customers against claims that Microsoft
software infringes patents.

(see http://news.com.com/Microsoft+to+bac...3-5445868.html)

Of course they can then use this stance as an argument against using 'risky'
non-Microsoft software.

 
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Carlos Ribeiro
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      11-23-2004
On 23 Nov 2004 09:37:11 GMT, Duncan Booth <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Lenard Lindstrom wrote:
>
> > Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
> > from potential competitors.

>
> Probably not even that. Microsoft are simply grabbing patents for anything
> they think is remotely patentable. The primary reason for doing this is
> probably defensive: if anyone threatens to sue Microsoft for patent
> infringement they can almost certainly find grounds to countersue. This is
> a useful position for Microsoft since they have said that in nearly all
> cases they will indemnify their customers against claims that Microsoft
> software infringes patents.
>
> (see http://news.com.com/Microsoft+to+bac...3-5445868.html)
>
> Of course they can then use this stance as an argument against using 'risky'
> non-Microsoft software.


It's actually worse and much more dangerous than this. It's not a
simply defensive move. It's a preemptive defensive move against
open-source software. With patents will become impossible to implement
software that is compatible with MS offerings. This problem has
already bitten some projects, particularly Samba and some X related
projects, specially color management and font rendering (which the
play field is full of patents, some actually worthy, some silly).

With patents, Microsoft can also strike back at open-source with an
economical argument: "I am the innovator and those guys are copying my
innovation and dumping the market with cheap copies". Its a good
argument for courts, and one that a conservative administration (read
Bush) is ready to buy.

--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: (E-Mail Removed)
mail: (E-Mail Removed)
 
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Lenard Lindstrom
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      11-23-2004
Paul Robson <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 23:53:37 +0000, Lenard Lindstrom wrote:
>
> > No, Claim-2 refers to a "BASIC-derived programming language". Description 42
> > claims "BORLAND DELPHI" is such a "BASIC-like or BASIC-derived language". Now I
> > have not used Delphi but understand it is a kind of Pascal.

>
> Delphi *is* Pascal - or Borland's variant of it anyway.
>

So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.

> It's an extension of Object Pascal, which came in with Turbo Pascal 5.5
> and was (I think) designed by the guy responsible for the C# design,
> Andreas Heiljberg (?).
>

Interesting. If this is true I wonder if Heiljberg knows someone in Microsoft
claims Object Pascal is modelled after Basic. Certainly the windowing extensions
made to VB and Delphi are not BASIC-like or BASIC-derived.

> I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
> 1991.


I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before the patent
is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too vague to be meaningful.
Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are missing. I imaging the patent is
intended to protect Visual Basic.NET rather than restrict unrelated languages
like Delphi and Python anyways.

Lenard Lindstrom
<(E-Mail Removed)>
 
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Greg Ewing
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      11-24-2004
Lenard Lindstrom wrote:
> So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
> basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
> that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.


So it would be more accurate to say that those Basic
dialects are, in those respects, Pascal-like...

--
Greg Ewing, Computer Science Dept,
University of Canterbury,
Christchurch, New Zealand
http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/~greg

 
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Paul Robson
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      11-24-2004
On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 18:35:01 +0000, Lenard Lindstrom wrote:

>> I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
>> 1991.

>
> I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before the patent
> is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too vague to be meaningful.
> Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are missing. I imaging the patent is
> intended to protect Visual Basic.NET rather than restrict unrelated languages
> like Delphi and Python anyways.


It's blatantly obvious to me that the C# classes, ASP.NET etc. are knock
offs of the Delphi design. They also bear little resemblance beyond the
most basic syntactic stuff to VB6.0 let alone VB1.0

 
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Carlos Ribeiro
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      11-24-2004
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 07:36:26 +0000, Paul Robson
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 18:35:01 +0000, Lenard Lindstrom wrote:
>
> >> I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
> >> 1991.

> >
> > I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before the patent
> > is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too vague to be meaningful.
> > Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are missing. I imaging the patent is
> > intended to protect Visual Basic.NET rather than restrict unrelated languages
> > like Delphi and Python anyways.

>
> It's blatantly obvious to me that the C# classes, ASP.NET etc. are knock
> offs of the Delphi design. They also bear little resemblance beyond the
> most basic syntactic stuff to VB6.0 let alone VB1.0


I think that Delphi is *so* underated when it comes to language &
framework design... Delphi suffered from a couple of problems; first,
it was Pascal's child, and not C; also, because it was a proprietary
project, owned by a single company.

For some reason, being a Pascal descendant was regarded as a big "no"
by a huge part of the industry, not to mention academia, that was at
that time fascinated with the prospect of C++. I wonder what could
have happened if Delphi (maybe with another name -- P++ anyone?) was
widely adopted instead of C++ for big projects...

--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: (E-Mail Removed)
mail: (E-Mail Removed)
 
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