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Google Patents Your Rights Online

Google Patents Staple of '70s Mainframe Computing 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the collecting-the-classics dept.
theodp writes "'The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field,' Alan Kay once lamented. And so it should come as no surprise that the USPTO granted Google a patent Tuesday for the Automatic Deletion of Temporary Files, perhaps unaware that the search giant's claimed invention is essentially a somewhat kludgy variation on file expiration processing, a staple of circa-1970 IBM mainframe computing and subsequent disk management software. From Google's 2013 patent: 'A path name for a file system directory can be "C:temp\12-1-1999\" to indicate that files contained within the file system directory will expire on Dec. 1, 1999.' From Judith Rattenbury's 1971 Introduction to the IBM 360 computer and OS/JCL: 'EXPDT=70365 With this expiration date specified, the data set will not be scratched or overwritten without special operator action until the 365th day of 1970.' Hey, things are new if you've never seen them before!"
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Google Patents Staple of '70s Mainframe Computing

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  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:07PM (#42952181) Homepage

    The same thing happened in the 80s and early 90s when microcomputers started gaining features like virtual memory, protected modes, out of order execution, etc... People thought these were all brand new things, when in fact mainframe processors had done all that 20 years prior in the 1960s.

    I bet when all the kids were super-excited about programming on the i386 with its "OMG VIRTUAL MEMORY!!!" the older guys who had worked on mainframes just rolled their eyes. :)

    Read about the IBM 360/91 if you want details on what I mean. It was amazing when you consider the year it came out.

  • by cowtamer (311087) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:14PM (#42952241) Journal

    I think it's time for a crowdsourced patent challenge web site run by the USPTO where there would be a period of public comment for each patent about to be awarded in order to help underpaid (and I imagine under-resourced) examiners find Prior Art.

    A lot fewer patents might be awarded, but ones that are would be genuinely new -- this might also save the world billions of dollars.

  • by stevesliva (648202) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:35PM (#42952401) Journal

    I think it's time for a crowdsourced patent challenge web site run by the USPTO where there would be a period of public comment for each patent about to be awarded in order to help underpaid (and I imagine under-resourced) examiners find Prior Art.

    A lot fewer patents might be awarded, but ones that are would be genuinely new -- this might also save the world billions of dollars.

    http://peertopatent.org/ [peertopatent.org]

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:40PM (#42952439) Homepage

    Miniaturization took care of that.

    Whether or not it could be done for some arbitrary price is not relevant.

    Doing something over again in a different medium is still not invention no matter how much you want to shill for companies that would grind you into crackers if given enough motive.

  • GROW UP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:01PM (#42952549)

    geez, when is slashdot ever gonna stop running these stupid articles that only show how little the posters know about patent law
    or, at least, READ THE FILE WRAPPER 111
    MAYBE THE IBM PATENT IS AN X OR Y DOC IN THE SEARCH REPORT 111
    OR THE VERY LEAST, READ THE CLAIMS !!!

    claim 1:
      A computer-implemented method comprising: selecting a file having a path name in a distributed file system, wherein the file is divided into a plurality of chunks that are distributed among a plurality of servers, wherein each chunk has a modification time indicating when the chunk was last modified, and wherein at least two of the modification times are different; identifying a user profile associated with the file; determining a memory space storage quota usage for the user profile; deriving a file time to live for the file from the path name; determining a weighted file time to live for the file by reducing the file time to live by an offset, where the offset is determined by multiplying the file time to live by a percentage of memory space storage quota used by the user profile; selecting a latest modification time from the modification times of the plurality of chunks; determining that an elapsed time based on the latest modification time is equal to or exceeds the weighted file time to live; and deleting all of the chunks of the file responsive to the determining

    to be covered by claim one, you must meet each AND every part..
    did IBM, back in 1970s , describe a file divided among two or more (= plurality) servers, where at least two of the parts has a diff modification time, and dong the storage quote athing ??

    patents are specific; i leave it to the experts to say if this one is worth anything

  • by cruff (171569) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:10PM (#42952587) Homepage
    The NCAR Mass Store (tape archive) had an expiration period attribute (units of days) on the bitfiles. The default, if not specified was 30 days, which effectively made it a temporary file. Expiration periods of 31 days or more were considered more permanent, and the owners would receive email two weeks and one week before the projected expiration date arrived. Expiration processing was run each Sunday, and the bitfiles were moved into the trash, from which they could be recovered for another 30 days before they were permanently deleted. This was in the mid-eighties.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:10PM (#42952589) Journal

    So if I add "over a network" to a claim that makes it patentable?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:59PM (#42952789)

    As an aside... I remember a few years ago - when we were still running tape backups - I went to one of our then-sysadmins and asked him to recover an important directory one of our faculty had managed to delete. I was told he couldn't do it because it would require they stop the backup system for several hours, which would throw their backup tape rotation scheme out of sync.

    So we were continuously generating backups we could never actually use.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:18AM (#42953137)
    It's just another version of a dog licence intended as a petty revenue stream. When a patent is granted that's proof of nothing other than the government is aware of it and has it on file - validity these days is apparently supposed to be sorted out in court and is none of the patent office's business.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:29AM (#42953205)

    I believe that In the 1960's Burroughs Corporation used a zero date for temporary files on their B-5500 systems running CANDE.

  • Re:I'm Sorry, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:22AM (#42953911) Homepage

    Google only uses patents defensively, at least up until now. In a way it is better that such a ridiculous patent went to a non-troll company that won't use it to suppress the competition, if the USPTO is going to grant such nonsense.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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