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Google Patents Your Rights Online

Google Patents Staple of '70s Mainframe Computing 333

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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  • Re:The real problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:01PM (#42952121) Homepage

    Cut the foreign born crap (Aussie here). Just say they are incompetent and leave it at that. Its more accurate that way.

  • by dajjhman ( 2537730 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:05PM (#42952149) Homepage
    If you actually read the patent, it is specifically for a similar method, but designed for Distributed File Systems. This is different from just a single file being names a certain way. It is an algorithm based on the location of other related files, each different file's modified and Time to Live (TTL) dates, and the factors determined by the, keywords here, plurality of servers. If they tried to patent a regular temporary file that would be different, but this is a distributed system specifically for a file that is distributed in different parts on different systems. If you still think this has been done before, I would love to see the source for that information and gladly would recant myself given that.
  • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:25PM (#42952325)

    Did you also inspect the quota for the user owning the file to determine if you should delete it? Were the files also stored in a distributed file system, with chunks of the file on separate systems?

    Every single claim in that patent mention both of those things.

    The naming of files is an example of a part of a claim. To infringe on a patent you need to infringe on at least one entire claim.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @09:28AM (#42954805) Journal
    The "summary" wholly misrepresents what the patent is about. It's not about having an expiration date in the filename at all. When someone advocating a position lies to me, as this submitter did, I figure the reason they are lying about the issue is because they realize that the truth doesn't support their position.

    Rather than choosing an expiration date ahead of time, the patented method deletes a file (or not) based on multiplying the time to live by the inverse of the user's quota usage, plus the latest of several modification times. The patent covers only using that specific algorithm, and only when the TTL is represented within the filename.

    Is that algorithm obvious? Several Slashdot commentors who say the are programmers read the explanation of the algorithm and still didn't understand it at all. One might say that if it's explained to you and you don't "get it", it's probably not obvious.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.