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Red Hat Enlists Community Help To Fight Patent Trolls 166

Posted by Soulskill
from the strength-in-numbers dept.
Stickster writes "Back in 2007, IP Innovation filed a lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell. IP Innovation is a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies. You may have heard of them — they're reported to be the most litigious patent troll in the USA, meaning they produce nothing of value other than money from those whom they sue (or threaten to sue) over patent issues. They're alleging infringement of patents on a user interface that has multiple workspaces. Hard to say just what they mean (which is often a problem in software patents), but it sounds a lot like functionality that pretty much all programmers and consumers use. That patent was filed back on March 25, 1987 by some folks at Xerox/PARC, which means that prior art dated before then is helpful — and art dated before March 25, 1986 is the most useful. (That means art found in a Linux distribution may not help, seeing as how Linus Torvalds first began the Linux kernel in 1991.) Red Hat has invited the community to join in the fight against the patent trolls by identifying prior art. They are coordinating efforts through the Post Issue Peer to Patent site, which is administered by the Center for Patent Innovations at the New York Law School, in conjunction with the US Patent and Trademark Office."
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Red Hat Enlists Community Help To Fight Patent Trolls

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  • Amiga 1000... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @09:25AM (#26855303) Homepage Journal

    ...in 1985. Next question!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by VagaStorm (691999)
      I think the important question here is how can they sue over a patent filed in 1987? I thought a patent where valid for 20 years... Also, I can not remember KDE without multiple desktops. How can you just sit on a patent waiting until someone breaks it, let em use if for 10-20 years then sue... Then again, I do not claim to understand the us patent system.
      • The new system is that patents last 20 years from date of filing. The older system, however, was that patents lasted 17 years from the date they were GRANTED, and were secret until granted. Furthermore, companies had the procedural means to delay the process of getting their patent granted by YEARS, if they wanted to. And some companies have done just that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by psxndc (105904)

          Specifically, patents filed before June 8th, 1995 are granted a life of 20 years from earliest U.S. filing to which priority is claimed (excluding provisionals) or 17 years from issue, which ever is longer. After June 8th 1995, patents have a life of 20 years from earliest U.S. filing to which priority is claimed (excluding provisionals).

          See also here [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Assuming that "multiple in-memory screens" would be covered by this patent, Amiga 1000 did in fact have this in 1985. I did some checking to be sure, and it appears that not only were multiple workspaces supported, but each workspace could even have a different resolution and color depth. It also appears to have supported dragging items from one workspace to another.
      • Re:Amiga 1000... (Score:5, Informative)

        by DG (989) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @10:51AM (#26855725) Homepage Journal

        Yup. And you could grab the titlebar of a screen and drag it down, and it would reveal the workspace behind it, upscaled to the resolution of the forward screen.

        One of my favourite "blow friends away" demos was to pull a screen halfway down with F18 Interceptor running behind it, and then type in a word processor (or whatever) in the forward screen with no slowdown in either the game or the application.

        That computer had its quirks, but it was powerful way beyond its time.

        DG

        • by eric-x (1348097)

          Ironically everyone used the hotkeys to flip through the screens. However, that same trick (changing modes and colors at arbitrary vertical position) was very useful for games and demos.

    • by amiga3D (567632)
      Oh yeah...multiple screens at different resolutions. I can't believe nobody at redhat ever used an Amiga. I remember when I switched from the Amiga to Linux in 1999 how limited I thought the GUI was in Linux.
    • Good shooting Sir - If anyone needs a look I think I have one in my loft. Next question!
    • Re:Amiga 1000... (Score:5, Informative)

      by CodeBuster (516420) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @01:05PM (#26856575)
      The people over at toastytech have a GUI timeline [toastytech.com] with screenshots of various OS desktops from different years; including one of the Amiga 1000 [wikipedia.org], a computer which was available in 1985 for the rather princely sum of $1,595 dollars, running a "user interface that has multiple workspaces".
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228)
        Didn't GEM have something similar? I seem to remember playing with multiple desktops on my uncle's C64 using GEM and some add on program that was sold for it. It has been too many years for me to recall the details, sorry. But I'm betting a lot of these patent trolls could be shot down by the Amiga or the GEM running on C64 or the Atari 800. Both setups really are the bedrock that most GUIs today are built on.
        • by hawk (1151)

          Didn't GEM actually run as a GUI on top of something else? It seems to me that it first appeared for CP/M, but that may be a hazy memory.

          CP/M had a multitasking version (CCP/M) by at least 1984, which had four workspaces and could multitask msdos progrgams on a 640k machine.

          hawk

          • Concurrent CP/M-86 had the ability to run four windows of gem concurrently. I was the World Troubleshooter for that product and the four Gem display did knock everybodies eyes out. Right around the time of Gem, IBM was doing presentation manager too. Gem was able to run on lots of OSs. there was a CPM version, a Concurrent version, ... I think there was even a Dos version. I hired on at DRI the day Concurrent was releases and David August went from OEM Systems to Graphics to work on GSX and Gem. Gary's in
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FatdogHaiku (978357)
      Way, Way, Way back when I had a buddy that was a programmer at Pick Systems (PickOS). I don't remember a lot of the details about the system except that they built it up to running on IBM iron. It was a multi-user, Unix (Dick Pick liked to call it "Eunuchs") competitor back in the 70's and beyond, so there may be some prior art to be discovered.
      More about Pick at:
      http://www.answers.com/topic/pick-system [answers.com]

      Also, Jonathan Sisk wrote extensively about PickOS. He's at http://www.jes.com/ [jes.com]
  • Sorry, but... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Rusty pipe (1471075)
    I am not going to fix the broken patent system of america.
  • Apple's Switcher (Score:4, Informative)

    by msauve (701917) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @09:26AM (#26855311)
    came out in 1985, and switched between multiple applications/workspaces. I know there were MS-DOS utilties to switch between workspaces, too, just can't remember any names.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dintlu (1171159)

      Depending on how you define workspace, Windows1.0 also qualifies as prior art.

      Or you can look to the history of the physical facsimile of software "multiple workplaces," the KVM, invented sometime in the early 80s and ubiquitous by the late 80s.

    • MS-DOS (Score:5, Informative)

      by msauve (701917) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @09:42AM (#26855385)
      Quarterdeck Desq and Desqview [wikipedia.org] (1985).

      There's a subtle, but possibly important, distinction between Apple's Switcher, DESQview and the AmigaOS mentioned by an earlier poster. The patent is said to apply to "multiple workspaces." Switcher and DESQview switched between workspaces. Although the underlying OS only supported a single application in a workspace, a workspace could also contain things like Macintosh Desk Accessories. AmigaOS supported multiple applications running in a single workspace.
      • You beat me to it (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bearhouse (1034238) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @10:19AM (#26855567)

        Was just searching for the date:
        "DESQview was released in July 1985, four months before Microsoft introduced the first version of Windows. It was widely thought to be the first program to bring multitasking and windowing capabilities to DOS, but in fact there was a predecessor, IBM's failed TopView, released in 1984, from which DESQview inherited the popup menu."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DESQview [wikipedia.org]

        From the the entry for TopView:
        "TopView ran in real mode on any x86 processor and could run well-behaved MS-DOS programs in windows. "

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TopView [wikipedia.org]

        So I guess there's plenty of prior art.

        Of course, there's MVS also which came out in 1974 IIRC...not sure if that counts, tho.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        AmigaOS supported multiple applications running in a single workspace.

        AmigaDOS supported both multiple applications running in a single workspace, and applications which had their own workspace. In essence the system was much like MDI, except that all your applications that were MDI had their own screen, which could be pulled up and down, stacked, layered, etc but not resized - and all your other applications were on a single screen. You could specify that they could not be pulled up and down as well, although the operating system would pull them down anyway to display fatal

        • by msauve (701917)
          AmigaDOS [wikipedia.org] had a CLI. It was AmigaOS [wikipedia.org] which included the Workbench [wikipedia.org] GUI.
          • by andersa (687550)
            You are both wrong actually. AmigaDOS is just a library. Written in BCPL originally, and converted to C for AmigaOS v2.0. You can't call AmigaDOS directly from the CLI and there wouldn't be any point in doing so.
            • by msauve (701917)
              Feel free to correct the Wiki article. While you're at it, you might want to get the myriad [back2roots.org] web [safalra.com] sites [devili.iki.fi] which [aminet.net] disagree [markmail.org] with [economy-point.org] you [audiovideoart.com] to fix their pages.
        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lisa [wikipedia.org]
          Of course, I suspect this is why he didn't include Apple in the suit...

          Actually, they were quite nice, if expensive machines. And everyone wanted one when they came out, because there was nothing like it in the consumer market. Note - nobody could *afford* one, but god, we all wanted and lusted after these things..

        • by andersa (687550)
          It's called AmigaOS, not AmigaDOS. AmigaDOS is just a library in AmigaOS. I have the manuals right here on the shelf if you need to know more. Oh and of course suplemented by the Amiga Guru Book, by Ralph Babel, the defacto AmigaDOS reference book. Yeah, so just wanted to make that clear.
      • Glad to see I am not the only one who remembers this program! I used it a great deal myself and I think it applies to this problem pretty well. With Desqview you could run multiple instances of your environment without problem. So, while I was sorting\organizing mail from one BBS I could be dialed into another downloading more programs :-)

        Also, there was another program that MIGHT qualify. I cannot quite recall it's specific name but I think it was GEM. It was VERY much like Windows but was most certainly o

    • by Isao (153092)
      DoubleDos
    • by yuna49 (905461)

      The best of these was Desqview, essentially a sophisticated task-switcher that loaded on top of DOS. With the advent of the 386, it was a terrific "multi-tasking" solution for that time. There weren't really multiple desktops involved, though; you'd simply switch among the various active programs. I could easily run 1-2-3, WordPerfect, and SPSS on a 386 with 2 MB of memory, and still have room to spare for a DOS box. This was in 1988, though, and Desqview386 wasn't very old at that time. Hell, the 386

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      This could turn into a pretty good argument over the legitimacy of proprietary software as outfits like Microsoft may have quite a bit of prior art hidden within their OSs. That would put them in the position of actively aiding a fraud which is a crime in itself.

    • by Gr8Apes (679165)

      DeskView was one, don't recall when it came out. There also was GEM, as previously reported. I vaguely recall something else way back then, but it's blurred in the memories of "SmartDisk" overwriting the CMOS on my EISA board....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2009 @09:39AM (#26855369)
    http://www.ip-innovation.info/ [ip-innovation.info]
    http://www.acaciatechnologies.com/ [acaciatechnologies.com]
    They may want to patent the slashdot effect next, so an example of the prior art may be necessary.
  • Contact Groklaw... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @09:43AM (#26855389)

    For this kind of issues, make sure folks at Groklaw [groklaw.net] get to know fast. They are the only folks I know that will dig up facts fast. In the Novell/SCO case, One guy provided evidence dating back to 1971! By the way, SCO appears to have lost that case. Amazing.

    • ... they're done, for all intents and purposes. Whether the reason is fatigue, health issues, or a new full-time job, it appears that PJ is no longer championing legal issues (on-line, at least). A shame, really, since the last few years has seen some of the finest collaborative work on the web, in an area where education and research is sorely needed.

      Sorry for the melancholy off-topic guys. Would that the parent post was correct.

  • I'd think both the BeOS interface and Desqview/X might've qualified as well. Finding the "Microsoft link" is sort of a joke. They're a big technology company that's been around for decades. How many ex-Microsoft people are floating around? It's not like they're sending stealth agents out to infiltrate the industry. That's a little too "CoS-like", isn't it?

    • by jipn4 (1367823)

      BeOS started development in 1991 and was first released in 1995; it's not prior art for anything.

      • it's not prior art for anything.

        Prior art, it is
        For quite important project
        Project called Haiku

        (is "called" one sylable or two?)

    • Neither DesqView/X nor BeOS predate 1987. But, I would definitely think SunView [wikipedia.org], which ran on Solaris 4 in the 1980s would count.

      • Maybe, but is there a more definitive date than Wikipedia's "early 1980s"? I don't remember coming across any SunOS 4 kit until much later (around '90 I think). The Wikipedia picture's from 2005.

  • Surely virtual terminals (TTYs 0—7 and onwards, switchable using control and Fx) count as workspaces, and have been around since Xenix (the forerunner to SCO UNIX) in 1980-85ish?

    If it's a truly graphical thing they're after, the Amiga is an example of prior art IIRC. However, it's such an obvious idea that it shouldn't be patentable, and the fact America's patent system is so broken is truly depressing.

    • by causality (777677)

      However, it's such an obvious idea that it shouldn't be patentable, and the fact America's patent system is so broken is truly depressing.

      It's the best patent system money can buy.

      Sort of like our politicians. We have the best politicians that money can buy, too.

    • by domatic (1128127)

      If the system has a gui then distinct instances can be started on multiple VTs and switched betweeen by a keystroke.

    • by yttrstein (891553)
      And we've had VT's since the Xerox Alto in 1973. It's what Jobs saw when he made that infamous visit to Xerox PARC, which later influenced the Apple Lisa.
      • by hawk (1151)

        [hawk does the happy dance]

        Wow. Someone else that knows that the Lisa was influenced by, not derived from, the Parc visit.

        Uhm I think that makes six of us :(

        hawlk

    • I don't think so. Unix virtual terminals do allow switching from one to the other (and obviously "what's on the other screen" is still held somewhere) but reading the (very obtuse) patent suggested that there's more to it than that - there's no link back to the previous workspace from the current one.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I am not [much of] a programmer and anyway have no experience writing virtual desktop managers. But it sounds like the patent would apply pretty well to the typical way of doing things up to this point: "The user can invoke a switch between workspaces by selecting a display object called a door, and a back door to the previous workspace is created automatically so that the user is not trapped in a workspace." This sounds like they are patenting not just the actual software method of going about this (which

        • by hawk (1151)

          Both pushd/popd and invoking another shell from a shell would seem to meet this notion. For that matter, so would "boss mode" in any number of games, and the ability to launch a shell with a cleared screen from hack (still around in nethack. Rogue had it too, but without the clear screen)

          hawk

    • by hackstraw (262471)

      If it's a truly graphical thing they're after, the Amiga is an example of prior art IIRC.

      From reading the patents, it seems to be a graphical thing (which I can't define) and a virtual workspace thing which seems pretty clearly defined.

      Wikipedia has an article on Virtual Desktops here [wikipedia.org]. It specifically mentions the patents in this article, as well as

      One thing that the virtual desktop article does not mention is switching between users which also appears to violate the patents. UNIX, OS X and Windows have b

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @10:01AM (#26855485)

    That's where the claims come in. The claims represent the boundaries of the "property" to which the patent lays claim. Forget about the abstract, forget about the detailed description - read the claims, and then use the specification to help you understand what the claims are talking about. Interpret the claims as broadly as is reasonable, given what the specification says.

    The claims are shown here [google.com], and yes, there are a lot of them and they will make your head explode. Stick to the independent claims at first (the ones that don't say, for example, "The system of claim 1, wherein...").

    The trouble with prior art on this one is that the patent is so old. It was issued at the end of 1991, and it just expired in the past couple of months. Some Slashdotters weren't even born yet when this patent was issued, much less filed. Plus, you're not arguing invalidity of a patent issued to some fly-by-night company that develops crap and files applications on it - this was Xerox, and they typically have/had their shit together.

    In any case, good luck to the defendants on this one.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Plus, you're not arguing invalidity of a patent issued to some fly-by-night company that develops crap and files applications on it - this was Xerox, and they typically have/had their shit together.

      They have the same incentive as any company to patent things even when prior art exists, though. And claim 1 of the '412 patent is certainly covered by Apple's 1985 "Switcher".

      The other major "innovation" they appear to claim is that of pinning windows so the same one appears on multiple desktops. Given multiple

  • With a simple poke statement in basic, you can change the graphical workspace to the other screen. Finding a computer that didn't have different workspace pages may be a tougher find.

  • But isn't there some provision in patent law excluding things that are so obvious that if an "average person" can come up with it without specialized knowledge, it's not covered? Specifically Sect 103: "if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art"

    Why isn't that clause being used more to get rid of all these frivolous

    • But isn't there some provision in patent law excluding things that are so obvious that if an "average person" can come up with it without specialized knowledge, it's not covered?

      On these trivial patents, the part that is non-obvious is that you CAN actually get a patent for them, anyone that figures that out is rewarded with a patent. See what they did there, actually pretty clever!

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      How about making patent holders have to defend their patent like trademark owners have to. I think there was one case where some company licensed their patent out far too widely and they lost their protection as well.

      Dont patents last for 20 years or did they up the times on that too? Because if the patent was filed in 1987 then 2007 would have been when it became public domain.

  • by SQL Error (16383) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @10:28AM (#26855619)

    X-Window (MIT, 1984)
    Apple Lisa (1983)
    Windows 1.0 (1985)

  • If you understand the human rights and expectation of using Abstraction Physics [abstractionphysics.net] you'll know patents on software are acts of fraud against the human race. And its not like copyrights are not strong enough and even provide longer protection.....

  • by bsyd (795309) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @10:34AM (#26855643)
    Graphical Environment Manager : that's the answer RedHat is searching after.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_Environment_Manager [wikipedia.org])
    This product was used in Ventura Publisher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventura_publisher [wikipedia.org])
  • Might want to check out prodigy, and compuserve, they were doing interesting things around that time.

  • This was a god send to me back when I ran my bbs. Task switching at it's finest, err.. at least for us dos types.
    see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DESQview [wikipedia.org]

    • DESQview on the 386 did full-blown multitasking, not just task switching. Godsend when running a BBS because it meant, given enough RAM, you could run multiple BBS nodes and leave a window open for DOS, etc.

  • The title of the game has escaped me, but I used to load a "USA vs. USSR" game from audio cassette on my
    TRS-80 Model-1 back in 1984 or so. The game allowed you to switch back and forth between the USA and the
    USSR map, which essentially gives you two independent work area's.

    As remote as it may be from today's systems, I think this would be prior art.

  • by Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @11:37AM (#26855995)

    From reading the patent, it isn't a patent for a "GUI", multiple screens or even multiple windows - all of those predate 1985. What it appears to be is a patent for is what became "Xerox Rooms" - which was eventually offered as a Windows add-on around the early '90s.

    From the linked patent:
    "The user can invoke a switch between workspaces by selecting a display object called a door, and a back door to the previous workspace is created automatically so that the user is not trapped in a workspace".

    It seems an odd patent to try and hit Redhat with, because I can't think of any current GUI that uses anything close to the "Rooms" model. Something close to the "standard" GUI was available on Xerox commercial workstations in around 1985-1986, before this patent was issued (I remember them from college).

    The nearest that might qualify as "prior art" that I can think of is the display handling on some minicomputer workstations in the early 1980s (specifically Wang VS, but possibly others). You could just about make a claim for "multiple windows held in memory" and there being a "display object" which took you back the previous workspace. You'd struggle at calling it an "object-based user interface" though.

  • Sorry for pointing out the obvious, but I believe y'all should be going to TFA and posting your comments there.

    Echoing earlier posts, I used an Amiga, DESQview, GEM, MUC-DOS, etc. in the 80's.

  • by meburke (736645) on Saturday February 14, 2009 @12:08PM (#26856209)

    The Oberon Project started in 1985 and I think it had independent screenspaces from the start. Smalltalk was developed in the early 70's at PARC, and and I'm not sure what the relationship is with the disputed patent, but independent screen space management was a feature.

    While UNIX didn't have X-Windows in the early very early 80's, it did have multiple screens, virtual TTY's, and multiple screenspaces. The extensive documentation that came with SystemV rel3.x told how to create applications in C that used independent screen space. All Xenix, Cromix, Esix and Kodak versions included this documetation, and so did the official Bell documentation.

    • Didn't curses have viewports you could switch between?
      • by meburke (736645)

        Oh, yeah. I forgot about viewports. I remember those on PDP8 and PDP10 systems, and UNIX was pretty popular on those systems.

        • In 1976 I was programming pdp-8s in assembler (with the switches as I remember) and in 1974 I had a consulting gig programming in MIIS (mumps) for the Hospital Data Center of Virginia. The PDP-10 had those cute little tapes, remember? Just after that I used PDP-11's under RSX-11M and RSTS at Turpin Systems. It wasn't until a few years later I found out about Unix. Meanwhile the Dec Minicomputers were what was being used at UC Berkeley for the development of the BSD Extensions to Unix Version 7, and later Sy
  • It looks like they are trying to argue that they invented the tabbed multiple document selection within an application. With that in mind, what we would be looking for is evidence of an application that supports the editing of multiple documents that predates this patent. Could the venerable emacs claim to have supported multiple files prior to then?

  • There was a popular app called "screen" which allowed switching between multiple contexts and workspaces.

    I used it all the time to make the best use of (then) limited desktop real estate. In that era, big bitmapped displays were a rare luxury in the marketplace.

  • The issue date is 1991, and what's the current year? I thought patents lasted 18 years, meaning that the patent expires this year. Why the worry?

    • by Sique (173459)

      Because the suit was filed in 2007, and at this time the patent was valid.

  • Im sure GrokLaw covered this a year or two ago. Perhaps RedHat should go and trawl through their archives. I'm sure the original XT-PC had multiple text screens built into the video BIOS and that was 1981 ish
  • by coolgeek (140561)

    Digital Research created two products in the 80's, Concurrent CP/M and Concurrent DOS, which had a multi-view aspect to the user interface. You could run 4 text-based applications simultaneously and switch between them using a hotkey. (Alternatively, you could also custom code an XIOS to connect each process to an individual terminal and timeshare, which is something we did at the first place I worked) I'm fairly certain Concurrent CP/M was available prior to this patent being filed.

    • I was there when these were made and I would be surprised if I did not speak to Rolander at some time. We used MP/M and many other operating systems.
      I designed an operating system in 1975 that predated many of these however. I also had a multiple desktop OS that was commercial before this time. It does not show up as a consumer system as it was strictly designed for process control, and as an industrial operating system. I did my first work on designing an OS while studying JCL, BAL, and COBOL to do IBM ma
      • by Plekto (1018050)

        Perhaps, then, this is the real source or the problems. Idiots who work at the Patent Office not doing their job.

    • by hawk (1151)

      I was doing quality control on CCP/M in 1984, so that's a pretty safe bet. Concurrent Dos/CDOS wasn't a separate product, just another stab at a name.

      CCP/M had four spaces, which could either be full screen or arranged as part of the single screen.

      Oh, this is the same product later known as DR-DOS. I believe that a year or two ago it went back to a previous name.

      It's been free for years, and they may have open sourced it when they when all-linux.

      hawk

      • It was a seperate product based on mpm. I took the source code of Concurrent and CP/m plus to england and the engineers there created a dos-like version with an int e0 emulator. Later it was renamed DR-dos. Many years ofter that they folded concurrent into DR-dos and it became DR Multiuser dos.
        • by hawk (1151)

          Hmm. At olivetti, we were sent the "next" version as a name change, iirc.

          It seems to be that every version we had rand msdos programs, although directories were not supported.

          hawk

          • I can't account for what a salesman might have said but I worked with the product at source level and Concurrent was derived from mpm-86.

            cp/m-80 -> cp/m-86 -> cp/m86 plus -> dos plus -> drdos

            mp/m-80 -> mpm-86 -> ccp/m-86 = dos emul -> cdos86

            Eventually they just folded it all together when DRI was bought by Novell, then they just gave it away when it was sold to Caldera. For what it is worth, I am very sure about this. Please take my word for it. Respectfully, Doug

    • The first versions of concurrent switched the whole screen. LAter there was a version that could detect if the consoles were in graphics mode and do the right thing. After that a version came out with sizeable moveable windows, that was about the time it changed to concurrent DOS.
      • by coolgeek (140561)

        Even still, I believe switching screens even in the primitive way CCP/M did would be enough to establish prior art. That is all that a desktop switcher does, it sweep the contents of one screen away and replaces it with another.

        • CCP/M-86 version 1.0 for the IBM PC did that much. I believe that was about 1984.
        • http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/os/ [retroarchive.org] has a compupro.zip with a ccpm86 directory with a v2-0 directory with a d3 directory containing the XIOS code I wrote for the Olympia People machine and that contained the code that screen switched the virtual consoles. Does that help? I was surprised when I stumbled across this code with my name in it. I was the first person to write XIOS using rasm and link instead of asm86 and gencmd. the Olympia XIOS was my first commercial effort with Concurrent after I went to work
        • I really miss those days. Porting Concurrent to non-ibm compatible machines was some of the most challenging work I did in my whole life. Every system was a major debugging challenge and those several years were the hardest and the most satisfying. The best of all was the port I did in japan for the IBM 5550. I did the whole port in one month despite hostile conditions. On day 30 I demonstrated the 5550 with four quadrants each running a different GSX application. Also four copies of wordstar running at onc
          • by coolgeek (140561)

            I had two instrumentation approaches for debugging asynchronous events.

            First: send 1 letter at a time out an aysnc port to another computer that captured it. Different letter for each event. After collection, dump the data into a file and run another program that would expand the 1 letter codes into a single line of text. Usually that would give some kind of clue as to what was stepping on what.

            Second: same thing but use a ring buffer in RAM. At a certain point, I ran across a problem where the interrup

            • I can tell from your story you were right there in the same head space I was. Only some of us knew enough to red the track in one revolution. That was quite a trick and made the difference between a great driver and a lousy one. I worked with multiprocessor CP/M guys also. We may have known each other. Were you in silicon valley? Your posting really took me back.
  • Might make for an interesting slashdot poll, how many workspaces do you use? Would it be a big deal if Red Hat 'turned off' this feature? There would emerge unofficial ways to turn it back on easily applied by geeks, but by officially not having it Red Hat could get around the patent.

    • by erikina (1112587)
      Oh hell no. You realize what absolute crap software would turn into if we had to avoid every single stupid patent. The only workable solution would be doing clones of ~20 year old software (so you're sure you're not infringing something).
  • Let the patent trolls do their thing. Let them bring technological advance to a crashing halt. Let them hold industry and commerce hostage, and jack the price of all services completely out of site. Make the problem completely intolerable. Human being have an inordinate capacity to put up with terrible conditions (in case you have been paying attention to the last 8 years.)

    Let the people who've taken a 99.99999% slice of the pie for themselves at everyone else expense do so. When the remaining 340 million A

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