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Re: [DotGNU]flexible for users, or flexible for developers? (was Re: Use

From: Jonathan P Springer
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]flexible for users, or flexible for developers? (was Re: User Interfaces)
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 14:48:39 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

On Mon, Jul 01, 2002 at 09:41:19AM +1000, Rhys Weatherley wrote:
> > An example would be the ubiquitous picklist  where the user is expected to
> > pick one (and only one) item from a list of options.  Off the top of my 
> > head,
> > this could be implemented in a GUI as a dropdown, dial, radio button list,
> > or scrollbox with one highlight allowed.  Adding in portability
> > concerns, one could implement it in curses as emulation of the above.
> > To go to an extreme, if one is using a block-based terminal (e.g. 3270),
> > the best way to implement is as a numbered menu where the user enters
> > the number of the appropriate choice.
> Be careful.  Geoworks has patent 5,327,529 on something
> that uses a generic description of a UI and then renders
> it differently on different platforms.  Precisely what
> you are talking about here.  And they are known to wield
> this patent pretty heavily.
> I've been trying for 2 years to find sufficient prior
> art to knock this one over.  It exists, but finding the
> references for it is very hard.  It's safer to avoid it
> for now.
> Formats like glade describe the widget controls themselves
> rather than the purpose, and can slip past the patent as
> there is prior art for such formats: Windows .rc files,
> Apple resources, and X/Motif UIL.  But the more "purpose"
> you mix in, the more difficult things become.
> Cheers,
> Rhys.

Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!  I just needed to vent.  Patenting good programming
practice is IMHO decidedly unethical.  I guess that's why I'm on this

Rhys, thanks for the heads-up.  I printed the patent and will read it on
the way home tonight.  I concur that it's very close to what I
described, but I agree that much of it exists as prior art which was
just not documented properly for a patent fight.  I'd love to see any
references you have, if they're convenient for you to send (out of

Maybe I should go for a law degree instead of a Masters.


-Jonathan P Springer <address@hidden>
"A standard is an arbitrary solution to a recurring problem." - Joe Hazen

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