Microsoft Wants Patent For Inserting User IDs In Filename

from the patents-patents-patents dept

theodp writes "In its just-published patent application for late-binding/dynamic pathname resolution, Microsoft explains that this invention allows a filename containing a variable such as '@username' to map to completely different files depending on which user is logged on. Microsoft explains to the USPTO that such a mechanism 'has, until now, eluded those skilled in the art,' and its absence has 'plagued computer system users and designers for some time.' "
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  • identicon
    Pete Austin, 28 Feb 2005 @ 3:40am

    This is the same as mail-merge

    Mail-merge into URLs is an obvious technique used in bulk emailing. For example an image tag like the following would display the logo of your favorite sports team:
    (href="http://domain/teams/{field teamname}.gif" alt="{field teamname}")
    Microsoft's patent seems to be copying this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Loraan, 28 Feb 2005 @ 5:00am

    No Subject Given

    Would UNIX's tilde (home directory) count as prior art? What about environment variables in a pathname?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2005 @ 10:49am

    GFS

    I don't know if this predates MSFT's claim, but RedHat's GFS supports variables as filenames -- see http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/csgfs/admin-guide/s1-manage-pathnames.html for a description of this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Rasmussen, 28 Feb 2005 @ 2:50pm

    Automounter

    We do this all the time w/ the automounter on unix (am-utils)... users, netgroups, all kinds of stuff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed, 1 Mar 2005 @ 12:19am

    ClearCase

    Adding to the prior art parade...

    In ClearCase, one can append '@@' followed by all manner of arcane data to the end of a filename to select a specific version of the file's contents, and this has worked for at least a decade.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2005 @ 12:39am

    Prior art?

    OK, maybe I'm missing something here, but isn't this something we've done for decades? Microsoft says:
    "One problem with existing systems is that pathnames are essentially static. There is currently no mechanism for pathname components that are customizable or evaluated in the context of a user of the path. Once a pathname has been created, that same pathname will resolve to the same data regardless of which user is logged on, which machine the pathname resolution occurs on, or the like."

    Isn't this accomplished with users have different /home directories in Unix? Or "chroot"?

    Or how about the "user home directory" in Windows networking? Or using the environment variable %USERNAME% in the pathname? (After all, the Windows registry has many references to pathnames containing %SYSTEMROOT%, so it would work with %USERNAME% too.)

    Again, maybe I'm missing something, but this hardly sounds like something that "until now, eluded those skilled in the art."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    iksobert, 6 Mar 2005 @ 9:15am

    What are they doing?

    It sounds like M$ is trying to pull the wool over the USPTO's eyes. We all know how little time they have to investigate each claim. So there's M$..."if we make it sound really hard and really neat, they will let us dominate."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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