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by Franki

Last November a Microsoft employee issued a patent application on a function called “IsNot” the purpose of which is to check if two variables point to the same memory location. (In other words, they test if the two variables are in fact different names for the same variable). Every programming language has used such checks in the past and it is an extremely obvious function and should not therefore be granted as a “unique” innovation. However they are going to try anyway apparently.

Real Software have a product they call RealBasic that allows programmers to easily create programs that will work on Windows, Mac and Linux from the same code base, and Real are said to be worried that Microsoft is going to use it’s IsNot patent (assuming it is granted) to try and litigate RealBasic out of existence. As Richard Tallent, a software developer and project scientist at ERM Group Inc said:

The only reason a company would want to lay claim to such a patent would be to sue anybody who tries to implement that idea.

Patents are supposed to allow true innovators the opportunity to take advantage of their invention, not as a tool to allow big companies to block competitors from following obvious trends. This is why it is so important that the EU not fall into the software patent trap that the US is currently buried in. Microsoft has revealed no intention of having their Visual Studio tools updated to create Linux programs, and RealBasic already does this. You can see why Microsoft might be worried that programmers might like the idea of write once for all platforms rather then Microsoft’s apparent “Write once just for Windows and forget any other operating systems” ideology.
Read more at Eweek.








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