It appears that Microsoft have won the FAT patent in the US at the third attempt. For non-computer people, FAT is a filesystem. A filesystem is just the way of your computer organise the files on the disk and there are quite a few different types of filesystem. FAT is probably the most common filesystem in use as it is used for Windows and also on most flash disks and media cards that come with your digital cameras and whatnot. What this means for you is that the cost of your flash disks, memory sticks, memory cards for digital cameras and so on are going to go up if Microsoft decide to charge for its use. What this means to me is that Microsoft might chase FAT support out of the Linux and Open Source world, using the patent as a stick, unless people are willing to pay Microsoft for FAT support in Linux. What this also means to me is that if they decide to do this, I won’t be able to use my USB mini hard disk or my digital camera under Linux any more because they won’t be able to support FAT disks. This also means that to use my mini disk, I’ll have to format it as ext3 or Reiser – some of the Linux filesystems, which will mean that it won’t be usable on Windows machines or my work Mac. It also means I won’t be able to use my brand new digital camera with Linux as the camera doesn’t understand ext3 or Reiser disks. Fuck.
Well, let’s take Microsoft’s Will Hilf at his word in LUG Radio – don’t slate Microsoft for things they did 5 or 10 years ago, look at how they act now. Only time will tell.
Also, the first Intel Macs are due to ship. Cool for Mac people. I have to admit that I quite fancy one, Macs are always nice bits of kit, but then, I’d still prefer a regular x86 box with Linux on it.
In other news, my girlfriend Jenny and I make it through a year together on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. At work I am finally playing Asterisk@Home, VPNs and a few other things. I am not however playing with C, Vexim, PHP, Python, Xen and all of the other things I’ve been threatening to for these last few months, but… Meh. I have however bought an Exim book while I prepare to get stuck in to Vexim.