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Mount Rainier for Linux 87

Cpyder writes: "Seems like Philips is getting the "patents are bad"-picture, as they have decided to let Linux support the Mount Rainier next-generation file device system. Seems like the end of floppies+zips+cdrw+whatever is finally in sight. Check it out at The Reg."
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Mount Rainier for Linux

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  • by HaloMan ( 314646 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @10:17AM (#2516123) Homepage
    Someone has seen sense and realised the only way to have a mass-market storage device is to make it easy to develop for. Ever wondered why the Floppy/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R/DVD-RW are each successful?

    But I think its the only way that Phillips can hope to compete with DVD-R, DVD-RW or whatever ;)

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @10:49AM (#2516169)

    > Why should someone pay lots of money for your product that implements an amazing new encoding algorithm that you payed a million dollars to develop when they could use Free Software that does the same thing

    How many algorithms do you know of that someone spent a million dollars developing?

    Most of the really important algorithms, just like mathematics, are coming out of public research institutions (aka "universities") and are published without patent encumbrance.

    Unfortunately the PTO has succumbed to pressure from money interests and made lots of formerly unpatentable stuff patentable, opening up a gold rush.

    No, not an innovation rush -- a gold rush.

    Also, notice that (in the USA at least) patents are justified as a way to promote commerce. Commerce, like innovation, was absolutely booming in IT even without algorithm patents.

    As Alan Cox said, patents are just a way for the big guys to keep the little guys out. The big guys all hold lots of patents, so they can pay each other off with funny money (or by swapping licenses for lawsuits), but the little guy has to pay real money if he wants to play.

    The rich get richer by natural processes; patents are a government institution that serves primarily to speed the process up.

    Just like with the DoJ's pact with Microsoft, the US government is more interested in floating the stock market than in supporting economic fair play, or even long-term economic well being.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2001 @11:21AM (#2516222)
    They will make their money. Opening up their standards will make them more money over time. Lets say they went the DVD route, the Linux community would just reverse enginner the specs and the law suits would flow like rain. Bad press for them and low adoption rates of Mt rainier.Make the software specs open then the licensing fees will get payed by the companys that make the hardware/disks, they then pass that cost onto the consumer. The consumer will be willing to pay for the drives and disks if they know that everybody can use the media. So development costs will be spread out over time into the cost of the drives and media.
    Thus by opening up their specs everybody wins, being open makes the format popular which leads to a large user base, which leads to increased sales of the drives and media. This whole senario only works if the software specs are open to begin with.
  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @11:46AM (#2516272) Journal
    Patents make it illegal to invent new things based on older inventions.

    In which country do you live?

    I never heared that patents make anything illegal anywhere ...

    Likely in the US where a patent holder can force licensees to agree to absurd fees the situation is a bit different.

    Most inventions are done BECAUSE the patents of related or basic works existed and are inspectable for the general public.

    A patent is in the first instance a way to prevent espionage on industrial knowledge.

    If I patent my stuff and you do just the same, I can say: I was first. And it does not matter whether you where to stupid to look first if prior art exists (saved you a lot of research money) or if you dared to break into my facilities and copy everything.

    If I do not patent it and you take over my designes I have a hard stand in case you indeed robbed my stuff.

    The main goal of patenst is to give industries an ability to share knowledge and to be sure they get revenues for distributing their knowledge. Its just a stock exchange for knowledge.

    The fact that US patent offices regulary run mad in issuing dumb patents is of course a mayour drawback.

    However renewing "How to grant a paten" and a more reliable "What will it cost me to license a patent" business habits or law regulations could realy lead to an open knowledge exchange via patent markets.

    IMHO the idea of patents is one of the best ever in human history.

    IMHO the practice of issuing and using patens, especialy in the US is one of the worst inventions ever in human history.

    So try to understand what is good on it and emphasize its use and try to understand what is bad on it and emphasize to get rid of that.


  • by Josuah ( 26407 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @04:39PM (#2516852) Homepage
    I don't think Mount Rainer can be patented. This format is declared "next-generation" because it allows you to treat CD-Rs and CD-RWs as regular media with drag-and-drop capabilities for burning data. But I'm pretty sure the latest version of Mac OS X already does that. I run Mac OS X but don't have a burner, so I haven't been able to try it myself, but after reading a recent review on C|NET, it appears you can drag-and-drop onto DVDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs to burn data. Prior art, right there.

    And since the main purpose of this format appears to be the functional benefits of treating CD-Rs and CD-RWs as regular removable media (floppies, JAZ disks, etc.), the only thing left to patent would be the physical disk. But, that's not possible because there's nothing special or different about "MRW" disks: they are just regular CD-RWs. The real support for MRW comes from the OS and software, not from hardware.

    So don't get your hopes up that Philips decided to forego the royalties in favor of widespread adoption. It's entirely possible that someone who works for Philips actually has a Mac OS X system and discovered that the project they've been working on for two years was just shown up by Apple.

    In my opinion, however, Philips is more interested in making money by selling lots of disks marked "MRW" at a premium instead of selling CD-RWs. Having support for MRW everywhere then makes more sense than charging developers for support for the format. I doubt Philips ever intended to close off access to the specification despite what Andre Hendrick says. Perhaps they were just keeping it closed until it was finalized.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI