AOL Patent Creates IM Wrinkle

from the a-potential-story dept

Someone over at just noticed that AOL (via ICQ) owns a patent that seems to describe just about any instant messaging system. They were awarded the patent a few months ago, but haven’t done anything with it, and haven’t shown any indication they were planning on doing anything with it – suggesting this could be a non-story. If AOL actually used the patent (or threatened to use it) against competitors, then it would be a story.

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Comments on “AOL Patent Creates IM Wrinkle”

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Steve Kostecke says:

Prior Art?

Zephyr (from MIT’s Project Athena) provides networked instant messaging and a “buddy list”. The man pages show copyright dates of 1987,1988,1989

From the zephyr(1) man page:

Zephyr is a notice transport and delivery system developed at MIT which runs under 4.3BSD Unix.

A Notice Transport and Delivery system is a method of getting small quantities of time sensitive information effi?ciently from one client (or server) on a network to another.

Zephyrd(8) servers run on designated server machines. These servers maintain a database of subscriptions and locations for every user using Zephyr.

Each client machine on the network runs a zhm(8) HostManager client program which is the link between the Zephyr servers and the users.

Each user on the network usually runs a WindowGram client program automatically upon login. Zwgc(1) displays notices to the user, and handles user responses. Only notices to which the user has subscribed will be sent to the WindowGram client.

From the znol(1) man page:

Znol provides a way for you to be notified when “interest?ing” people log in or out. It uses the Zephyr(1) Notifi?cation Service, which causes a message to appear on your screen for every person specified in a namelist (which defaults to $HOME/.anyone).

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