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Changing Browsers

Posted by daniel on September 4, 2003 at 5:25 AM PDT

We referenced the W3C patent article yesterday in a featured story and now today in a news item. The document begins a discussion of possible effects of the Eolas v. Microsoft case. The document reports that

Microsoft has indicated to W3C that they will very soon be making changes to its Internet Explorer browser software in response to this ruling. These changes may affect a large number of existing Web pages.

In the September 3 edition of The Pulpit, Robert Cringely argues that this decision may have a greater impact on web based Java than previous Sun suits against Microsoft. Cringely writes

Read the patent, and you'll see it covers the use of embedded program objects, or applets within Web documents. The patent also covers the use of any algorithm that implements dynamic, bi-directional communications between Web browsers and external applications. Every Web browser you can name currently supports embedded applets, and is therefore in violation of the Eolas patent. But wait, there's more! The Eolas patent covers the whole concept of executable content, which is at the very foundation of Java. So it looks like Java, too, is in violation of the patent. For that matter, so is Microsoft's Internet Explorer and ActiveX.

[...] What does this have to do with the various Microsoft legal cases?

In the case of Sun versus Microsoft, it looks like Eolas is in a position to put Java out of business, if it likes, not to mention big parts of Netscape and AOL.

You can find many more links to stories about this suit collected on a page called The Eolas '906 patent backgrounder. What sort of changes do you expect to see in browsers?

In today's featured Weblogs Hans Muller catches up and posts a belated blog titled LinuxWorld Tradeshow Shows Desktop Java. Muller reports on Swing UIs from a variety of vendors. Philip Brittan continues his thoughts on Java vs. .NET in I wonder when Java developers will be as happy as the Mickeys. He quotes a friend of his as saying that

when he uses Java, he finds himself thinking mostly about the technology itself. And when he uses Microsoft tools, he finds himself thinking mostly about the problem he is trying to solve. Somehow, he believes, Java distracts the developer with a sense of itself and its character, whereas Microsoft technology seems to blend into the environment, almost disappearing, and thus allowing the developer to concentrate more fully on the task at hand.

In the Also today section we link to David Geary's article Follow the Chain of Responsibility. Suppose you call tech support and ask a question. They say "hang on a minute" and put you on hold. While you get more annoyed by the music designed to soothe you, they call their manager and ask the question you asked, their manager in turn calls their manager. The big manager says "can't be done" to the little manager who says "can't be done" to the front line support who takes you off of hold and tells you "can't be done". This is Chain of Responsibility. In reality tech support might put you on hold, go out to lunch, come back and say "can't be done". That is still chain of responsibility. You have sent a message to the only end of a chain that you can see. You trust that at each stage the message will be handled or passed on to someone who can handle it.

Our other featured article is Dee-Ann LeBlanc's collection of links on the SCO UNIX issue called A SCO-Fighting Press Kit. She has collected over twenty links to materials that she considers "good debunking material". Readers have added more links and commentary in the talk back section. Note that LeBlanc's links have titles that you may want to reword before making your case with your boss. The link to the Computer Business Review article "SCO Preparing Legal Action Against Customer" is listed by LeBlanc as "Oh yeah, and they never planned to sue anyone".

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