Santa Brings MS Patents for Editing, Compiling Code

from the good-work,-patent-examiners dept

theodp writes “Courtesy of the USPTO, Microsoft found two new patents under the tree this holiday season. The first covers Editing a software program in a common language runtime environment, while the second lays claims to Compiling multiple source language files that share a common library, which must come as a real shocker to members of the DEC OpenVMS Common Language Environment, IBM Language Environment (LE), and IBM Integrated Language Environment (ILE) teams. Gotta teach those patent examiners to use Wikipedia instead of Microsoft Encarta for their prior art searches! “


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Comments on “Santa Brings MS Patents for Editing, Compiling Code”

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3 Comments
Michael Meiser (user link) says:

HAHA! Another ridiculous patent suit in the making

I thought you really might enjoy this one.

“Trading Technologies, a software vendor for futures and options, Tuesday asked the world’s four major futures marts for a slice of their revenues in return for protection from patent lawsuits.”

This sounds like the SCO of the futures industry. Awesome!

Jonas Maebe (user link) says:

Correction

You have to look at the claims of the patent to find out what it covers. Just looking at the title tells you nothing.

The first patent seems to cover things like Apple’s “Fix and continue” feature (http://developer.apple.com/documentation/DeveloperTools/Conceptual/Xcode
QuickTour/qt_fix/chapter_5_section_1.html).

The second one however does seem to cover the combination of the C preprocessor and the C compiler (whereby the preprocessor processes the “meta-information”, whose results are then used by the C compiler). I’m not sure though.

Note that I’m not trying to defend these patents (e.g. like pretty much every other software patent, they claim the problem and not the solution), but these are not patents on the principles of compiling or editing source code.

Sean Conner (user link) says:

No Subject Given

The impression I get is that this allows one to compile programs where parts are written in different langauges—such as the user interface written in VB, the heavy numerical processing in Fortran with the networking code in C++ while business logic could be in Cobol or Prolog.

Prior art to this may be the GNU compiler, which has multiple frontends (that process C, C++, Fortran, etc) that produce an intermediate format (LISPish) that is then fed into a backend for the actual compilation, but the patent itself is rather hard to parse.

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