patent threaten samba open source
The FAT file system, first developed by Microsoft in 1976, has become the ubiquitous format used for interchange of media between computers and, since the advent of flash memory, also between digital devices.
In its decision to re-examine the FAT patent (here in PDF form) the Patent and Trademark Office last week said that "a substantial new issue of patentability, which has not been previously addressed, has been raised …. In particular, storing a checksum of the short filename in the directory entry."
"If Microsoft successfully commercializes its six FAT patents—we attacked the oldest and narrowest one of them—as it is trying to do with hardware manufacturers like those of flash cards and digital cameras that format such file systems manufacturers, then it could be possible for Microsoft to argue that anybody using a free software system that reads and writes to the MS DOS FAT file system also has to pay a royalty. Everyone has grown accustomed to using those file systems on low-density removable media," Moglen said.
so samba that translates between linux-unix and windows and is essential for integrating linux-unix in an existing windows environment is threatened.