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Licensing on FAT16

Started by s0lstice August 6, 2008
Is it true, as I understand from wikipedia, that only the
implementation of long filename support is commercially restricted
when using FAT16?

We would like to add a compact flash card interface to an ARM7 product
we have. It would be nice if the card used a format that we could
easily read on a PC.
you can use FAT16 with short file name support. it is really not
commercially restricted. you can also find many sample codes and
libraries which are realted with that.
Un bel giorno �merkarak���k digit�:

> you can use FAT16 with short file name support.
Are you implying that every open source VFAT implementation with long filenames (Linux, *BSD, and so on) violate some license? -- emboliaschizoide.splinder.com
dalai lamah <antonio12358@hotmail.com> writes:

> Un bel giorno &ouml;merkarak&uuml;&ccedil;&uuml;k digit&ograve;: > >> you can use FAT16 with short file name support. > > Are you implying that every open source VFAT implementation with long > filenames (Linux, *BSD, and so on) violate some license?
They appear to violate some patents <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT_licensing> -- John Devereux
John Devereux wrote:
> dalai lamah <antonio12358@hotmail.com> writes: > >> Un bel giorno &ouml;merkarak&uuml;&ccedil;&uuml;k digit&ograve;: >> >>> you can use FAT16 with short file name support. >> Are you implying that every open source VFAT implementation with long >> filenames (Linux, *BSD, and so on) violate some license? > > They appear to violate some patents > > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT_licensing> > >
According to my reading of that web page, all the patents in question are for mixing short and long filenames on FAT, which was necessary for older DOS and Win16 programs to be able to work with files with longer file names. To my knowledge, every other FAT implementation is on a system that is either happy with 8.3 file names (typically good enough for embedded systems, cameras, etc.), or where programs can work properly with consistent long names (such as any *nix system). Without having read either the patents, or the Linux (or *BSD, etc.) source code, I'd be surprised if there are infringements. It's also worth remembering that there are interested parties who *have* read the patents, the legal rulings on the patents, and the source code for the OS'es in question. Both Linux and the BSD's development teams make a specific point of avoiding patent issues whenever they know about them (occasionally *nix code is only available from sources outside the USA, because of such nonsense as silly software patents and DCMA that does not apply in the free world). You can be sure that the FAT code maintainers are aware of such high-profile patents, and that they make sure there is no infringement. And even if there *were* an infringement, MS would have a very hard time suing anyone over it. Linux developers and supporting companies have repeatedly asked the for details of any know patent infringements so that the issues can be sorted out. There is no court anywhere that would believe MS if they "suddenly" found out that Linux infringed their FAT patents. Patents don't "expire" like trademarks if you don't defend them, but it would certainly count badly against them in court. Add to that the likelihood that these patents, and many others that MS licenses to commercial third parties, would quickly be ruled invalid, and the risks involved in starting a patent war, and you can be very sure MS will not take action against Linux over these patents.
"David Brown" <david.brown@hesbynett.removethisbit.no> schrieb im 
Newsbeitrag news:f5GdnVMInb3qCgbVnZ2dnUVZ8s7inZ2d@lyse.net...
[....]
> And even if there *were* an infringement, MS would have a very hard time > suing anyone over it. Linux developers and supporting companies have > repeatedly asked the for details of any know patent infringements so that > the issues can be sorted out. There is no court anywhere that would > believe MS if they "suddenly" found out that Linux infringed their FAT > patents. Patents don't "expire" like trademarks if you don't defend them, > but it would certainly count badly against them in court. Add to that the > likelihood that these patents, and many others that MS licenses to > commercial third parties, would quickly be ruled invalid, and the risks > involved in starting a patent war, and you can be very sure MS will not > take action against Linux over these patents.
Let's not forget about the little footnotes commonly found in many of Microsoft's patents, stating that they claim a patent to avoid being sued by somebody who DOES try to collect cash for this matter. In case of industry majors like Sun or Microsoft, it oftentimes pays to read their statements regarding the patent; in no small number of cases, they explicily grant the right to use that stuff free of charge to anybody interested - while still maintaining the right to the patent (simply covering their own a**). I did not check on this one specifically, but if patent infringement fears are of concern in the project in question, it probably would ease things to simply read Microsoft's take on it. After all - Microsoft's patent on passing an implicit 'this' pointer to a subroutine otherwise would have wreaked havoc on the software industry at large (this is kind of the base object oriented software is sitting on). My wishes are with you, Stefan
Stefan Carter wrote:
> "David Brown" <david.brown@hesbynett.removethisbit.no> schrieb im > Newsbeitrag news:f5GdnVMInb3qCgbVnZ2dnUVZ8s7inZ2d@lyse.net... > [....] >> And even if there *were* an infringement, MS would have a very hard time >> suing anyone over it. Linux developers and supporting companies have >> repeatedly asked the for details of any know patent infringements so that >> the issues can be sorted out. There is no court anywhere that would >> believe MS if they "suddenly" found out that Linux infringed their FAT >> patents. Patents don't "expire" like trademarks if you don't defend them, >> but it would certainly count badly against them in court. Add to that the >> likelihood that these patents, and many others that MS licenses to >> commercial third parties, would quickly be ruled invalid, and the risks >> involved in starting a patent war, and you can be very sure MS will not >> take action against Linux over these patents. > > Let's not forget about the little footnotes commonly found in many of > Microsoft's patents, stating that they claim a patent to avoid being sued by > somebody who DOES try to collect cash for this matter. > In case of industry majors like Sun or Microsoft, it oftentimes pays to read > their statements regarding the patent; in no small number of cases, they > explicily grant the right to use that stuff free of charge to anybody > interested - while still maintaining the right to the patent (simply > covering their own a**). > > I did not check on this one specifically, but if patent infringement fears > are of concern in the project in question, it probably would ease things to > simply read Microsoft's take on it. > > After all - Microsoft's patent on passing an implicit 'this' pointer to a > subroutine otherwise would have wreaked havoc on the software industry at > large (this is kind of the base object oriented software is sitting on). >
While some patents (perhaps even the majority of software patents) are purely defensive, MS sell licenses to use their FAT32-related patents. I don't know the wording of these licenses, but it looks like MS uses these patents actively. Someone who is genuinely concerned about patent infringement should, of course, talk to a lawyer rather than relying on advice in a newsgroup!
"s0lstice" <wp.marple@googlemail.com> wrote in message 
news:56026857-8014-46d1-a016-3c906e70c1a3@k30g2000hse.googlegroups.com...
> Is it true, as I understand from wikipedia, that only the > implementation of long filename support is commercially restricted > when using FAT16?
Well the answer is definiately YES, or definately NO depending on who you ask. I have asked lots of people. The following document http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/fatgen.mspx details FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32, read the first few paragraphs of the license on this page then see if you are any the wiser. -- Regards, Richard. + http://www.FreeRTOS.org & http://www.FreeRTOS.org/shop 17 official architecture ports, more than 6000 downloads per month. + http://www.SafeRTOS.com Certified by T&#4294967295;V as meeting the requirements for safety related systems.
Un bel giorno John Devereux digit&#4294967295;:

>>> you can use FAT16 with short file name support. >> >> Are you implying that every open source VFAT implementation with long >> filenames (Linux, *BSD, and so on) violate some license? > > They appear to violate some patents > > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT_licensing>
Wow. I won't never stop to be surprised on how stupid a patent can be. And patent offices accept them, and sometimes courts of law enforce them! Amazing. -- emboliaschizoide.splinder.com
On 8 Aug, 18:37, "FreeRTOS.org" <noem...@given.com> wrote:
> "s0lstice" <wp.mar...@googlemail.com> wrote in message > > news:56026857-8014-46d1-a016-3c906e70c1a3@k30g2000hse.googlegroups.com... > > > Is it true, as I understand from wikipedia, that only the > > implementation of long filename support is commercially restricted > > when using FAT16? > > Well the answer is definiately YES, or definately NO depending on who you > ask. =A0I have asked lots of people. > > The following documenthttp://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmw=
are/fatgen.mspxdetails
> FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32, read the first few paragraphs of the license on t=
his
> page then see if you are any the wiser. >
It is clear that none of us here speak the language that the license above is written in (or care to learn). It looks like I have to decide whether to risk the wrath of MS, or pay someone to read it for me. (Is it possible to download the source for a lawyer ;-> )

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