Discussion:
Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'
(too old to reply)
Neal D. Becker
2004-11-19 17:40:38 UTC
Permalink
http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220040230959%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20040230959&RS=DN/20040230959
Skip Montanaro
2004-11-19 18:51:27 UTC
Permalink
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.

Seems pretty slimy.

Skip
Dennis Lee Bieber
2004-11-20 16:34:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Like the language in OpenOffice?
--
Post by Skip Montanaro
============================================================== <
============================================================== <
Home Page: <http://www.dm.net/~wulfraed/> <
Overflow Page: <http://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/> <
Lenard Lindstrom
2004-11-22 23:53:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
No, Claim-2 refers to a "BASIC-derived programming language". Description 42
claims "BORLAND DELPHI" is such a "BASIC-like or BASIC-derived language". Now I
have not used Delphi but understand it is a kind of Pascal. It looks like
Microsoft is casting a wide net indeed. Is it wide enough to ensnare Python?

We all know Python is not Basic, though it fills a similar niche. But let me
indulge my paranoia for a moment. Could the Python Software Foundation weather
a lawsuit from a large company, even if the lawsuit was unfounded? A small
change like removing 'is not' from the language would still be a significant
inconvenience. And hey, maybe IronPython would remain unaffected, making
it more backward compatible than CPython. But enough with being the
conspiracy guy.

Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
from potential competitors.

Lenard Lindstrom
<len-***@telus.net>
Paul Robson
2004-11-23 07:09:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
No, Claim-2 refers to a "BASIC-derived programming language". Description 42
claims "BORLAND DELPHI" is such a "BASIC-like or BASIC-derived language". Now I
have not used Delphi but understand it is a kind of Pascal.
Delphi *is* Pascal - or Borland's variant of it anyway.

It's an extension of Object Pascal, which came in with Turbo Pascal 5.5
and was (I think) designed by the guy responsible for the C# design,
Andreas Heiljberg (?).

I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
1991.
Lenard Lindstrom
2004-11-23 18:35:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Robson
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
No, Claim-2 refers to a "BASIC-derived programming language". Description 42
claims "BORLAND DELPHI" is such a "BASIC-like or BASIC-derived language". Now I
have not used Delphi but understand it is a kind of Pascal.
Delphi *is* Pascal - or Borland's variant of it anyway.
So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.
Post by Paul Robson
It's an extension of Object Pascal, which came in with Turbo Pascal 5.5
and was (I think) designed by the guy responsible for the C# design,
Andreas Heiljberg (?).
Interesting. If this is true I wonder if Heiljberg knows someone in Microsoft
claims Object Pascal is modelled after Basic. Certainly the windowing extensions
made to VB and Delphi are not BASIC-like or BASIC-derived.
Post by Paul Robson
I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
1991.
I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before the patent
is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too vague to be meaningful.
Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are missing. I imaging the patent is
intended to protect Visual Basic.NET rather than restrict unrelated languages
like Delphi and Python anyways.

Lenard Lindstrom
<len-***@telus.net>
Greg Ewing
2004-11-24 05:13:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.
So it would be more accurate to say that those Basic
dialects are, in those respects, Pascal-like...
--
Greg Ewing, Computer Science Dept,
University of Canterbury,
Christchurch, New Zealand
http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/~greg
Lenard Lindstrom
2004-11-24 18:04:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg Ewing
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.
So it would be more accurate to say that those Basic
dialects are, in those respects, Pascal-like...
By saying Delphi is BASIC-like I just mean that many languages have come
to resemble each, having adopted many of the same features. But it was
definitely Basic that did most of the adopting. So yes, more precisely,
Basic has become more Pascal-like. I was just giving the patent applicants
a minor benefit of a doubt.

Lenard Lindstrom
<len-***@telus.net>
Paul Robson
2004-11-25 05:36:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Post by Greg Ewing
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.
So it would be more accurate to say that those Basic
dialects are, in those respects, Pascal-like...
By saying Delphi is BASIC-like I just mean that many languages have come
to resemble each, having adopted many of the same features. But it was
definitely Basic that did most of the adopting. So yes, more precisely,
Basic has become more Pascal-like. I was just giving the patent applicants
a minor benefit of a doubt.
I believe the author of .NET is the bloke that designed Turbo Pascal, so
it's hardly surprising :)
Lenard Lindstrom
2004-11-25 17:57:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Robson
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Post by Greg Ewing
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
So Delphi is definitely not BASIC-derived. It is BASIC-like in that various
basic dialects, including QBasic, came to support the structured programming
that Pascal was designed from the beginning to teach.
So it would be more accurate to say that those Basic
dialects are, in those respects, Pascal-like...
By saying Delphi is BASIC-like I just mean that many languages have come
to resemble each, having adopted many of the same features. But it was
definitely Basic that did most of the adopting. So yes, more precisely,
Basic has become more Pascal-like. I was just giving the patent applicants
a minor benefit of a doubt.
I believe the author of .NET is the bloke that designed Turbo Pascal, so
it's hardly surprising :)
Is this Andreas Heiljberg which you mentioned in an earlier posting to
this thread?

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=g:thl3163358907d&dq=&hl=en&lr=&selm=pan.2004.11.23.07.09.08.229463%40autismuk.muralichucks.freeserve.co.uk

Lenard Lindstrom
<len-***@telus.net>
Peter Otten
2004-11-25 18:36:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Is this Andreas Heiljberg which you mentioned in an earlier posting to
this thread?
"Name ist Schall und Rauch", but:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Hejlsberg

Peter
Paul Robson
2004-11-26 08:35:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Post by Paul Robson
I believe the author of .NET is the bloke that designed Turbo Pascal, so
it's hardly surprising :)
Is this Andreas Heiljberg which you mentioned in an earlier posting to
this thread?
Yes.... well the name is something like that. The similarities between
Delphi and C# are so obvious if anyone should be suing it's Borland.

VB.NET is much much closer to Delphi than it is to VB6.0.
Paul Robson
2004-11-24 07:36:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Post by Paul Robson
I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
1991.
I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before the patent
is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too vague to be meaningful.
Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are missing. I imaging the patent is
intended to protect Visual Basic.NET rather than restrict unrelated languages
like Delphi and Python anyways.
It's blatantly obvious to me that the C# classes, ASP.NET etc. are knock
offs of the Delphi design. They also bear little resemblance beyond the
most basic syntactic stuff to VB6.0 let alone VB1.0
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-24 09:46:47 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 07:36:26 +0000, Paul Robson
Post by Paul Robson
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Post by Paul Robson
I bought a copy of this in I reckon about 1986ish. Visual Basic debuted in
1991.
I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before the patent
is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too vague to be meaningful.
Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are missing. I imaging the patent is
intended to protect Visual Basic.NET rather than restrict unrelated languages
like Delphi and Python anyways.
It's blatantly obvious to me that the C# classes, ASP.NET etc. are knock
offs of the Delphi design. They also bear little resemblance beyond the
most basic syntactic stuff to VB6.0 let alone VB1.0
I think that Delphi is *so* underated when it comes to language &
framework design... Delphi suffered from a couple of problems; first,
it was Pascal's child, and not C; also, because it was a proprietary
project, owned by a single company.

For some reason, being a Pascal descendant was regarded as a big "no"
by a huge part of the industry, not to mention academia, that was at
that time fascinated with the prospect of C++. I wonder what could
have happened if Delphi (maybe with another name -- P++ anyone?) was
widely adopted instead of C++ for big projects...
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Tim Roberts
2004-11-26 04:11:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
I think that Delphi is *so* underated when it comes to language &
framework design... Delphi suffered from a couple of problems; first,
it was Pascal's child, and not C; also, because it was a proprietary
project, owned by a single company.
For some reason, being a Pascal descendant was regarded as a big "no"
by a huge part of the industry, not to mention academia, that was at
that time fascinated with the prospect of C++. I wonder what could
have happened if Delphi (maybe with another name -- P++ anyone?) was
widely adopted instead of C++ for big projects...
You are absolutely correct. I have never understood the industry prejudice
against Delphi. The code is just as efficient as the typical C compiler.
GUI design in the IDE has always been easier in Delphi than in Visual
Studio. VCL is easier to understand than MFC
--
- Tim Roberts, ***@probo.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-26 11:25:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Roberts
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
I think that Delphi is *so* underated when it comes to language &
framework design... Delphi suffered from a couple of problems; first,
it was Pascal's child, and not C; also, because it was a proprietary
project, owned by a single company.
For some reason, being a Pascal descendant was regarded as a big "no"
by a huge part of the industry, not to mention academia, that was at
that time fascinated with the prospect of C++. I wonder what could
have happened if Delphi (maybe with another name -- P++ anyone?) was
widely adopted instead of C++ for big projects...
You are absolutely correct. I have never understood the industry prejudice
against Delphi. The code is just as efficient as the typical C compiler.
GUI design in the IDE has always been easier in Delphi than in Visual
Studio. VCL is easier to understand than MFC
Not to mention that Delphi is way 'saner' (sic?) than either VB and
VC++ when it comes to weird features & behavior. But it also strikes
to me that a lot of Delphi folks are now Python converts. It seems
that, in a sense, Delphi managed to be a step in the right direction;
in a time where everyone was jumping in the C++ bloat wagon, Delphi
was clearly a much better choice in terms of language & environment
design. Of course, now Delphi is nearly dead, but we have Python :-)
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Caleb Hattingh
2004-11-27 01:46:47 UTC
Permalink
I have been using Delphi 6 at work for several years now (python where I
can squeeze it in!).

As a programming environment, Delphi is *awesome*. Sure, it's statically
typed. Sure, it's proprietry. Sure, it is Windows-based.

BUT as an IDE, the Delphi environment is amazing. What I want in a Python
IDE is the Delphi ide, but with python as the language. The
*code-insight*, code/class completion, integrated debugging, integrated
help, and *incredibly* fast GUI design is a killer combination. We
actually use Delphi mostly for numerical stuff (chemical reactor
modelling), and find its runtime speed is pretty good. The other amazing
thing is that Delphi exhibits the fastest compilation I have seen in a
native optimising compiler. Working with it is almost like working in an
interpreter.

So why is my wish to use Python if I think Delphi is so great?

Because Python is dynamic and compact while still easy to read (although
decorators have curbed my enthusiasm a little). Python is just a better
language. ObjectPascal syntax is very verbose (compared to Python). The
Delphi IDE minimizes this issue to great extent with several
code-completion mechanisms, but I tried to use FPC several days ago
(without Lazarus), and couldn't type up a simple unit without referring
the docs - After having used Delphi for 5 years! I was 80% productive in
Python after reading the tutorial *once* (but probably not with the most
optimal code).

STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy. I know
there are several ever-improving options out there already...I guess I am
waiting to see which one floats to the surface. I also tend to want to
use Tk because it is the 'standard' while the more exciting work seems to
be with the other toolkits, wx, GTK, etc. I am keen to see what becomes
of Tk3000 though.

Thanks
Caleb
Post by Tim Roberts
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
I think that Delphi is *so* underated when it comes to language &
framework design... Delphi suffered from a couple of problems; first,
it was Pascal's child, and not C; also, because it was a proprietary
project, owned by a single company.
For some reason, being a Pascal descendant was regarded as a big "no"
by a huge part of the industry, not to mention academia, that was at
that time fascinated with the prospect of C++. I wonder what could
have happened if Delphi (maybe with another name -- P++ anyone?) was
widely adopted instead of C++ for big projects...
You are absolutely correct. I have never understood the industry prejudice
against Delphi. The code is just as efficient as the typical C compiler.
GUI design in the IDE has always been easier in Delphi than in Visual
Studio. VCL is easier to understand than MFC
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-26 23:08:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Caleb Hattingh
I have been using Delphi 6 at work for several years now (python where I
can squeeze it in!).
As a programming environment, Delphi is *awesome*. Sure, it's statically
typed. Sure, it's proprietry. Sure, it is Windows-based.
BUT as an IDE, the Delphi environment is amazing. What I want in a Python
IDE is the Delphi ide, but with python as the language. The
*code-insight*, code/class completion, integrated debugging, integrated
help, and *incredibly* fast GUI design is a killer combination. We
actually use Delphi mostly for numerical stuff (chemical reactor
modelling), and find its runtime speed is pretty good. The other amazing
thing is that Delphi exhibits the fastest compilation I have seen in a
native optimising compiler. Working with it is almost like working in an
interpreter.
So why is my wish to use Python if I think Delphi is so great?
Because Python is dynamic and compact while still easy to read (although
decorators have curbed my enthusiasm a little). Python is just a better
language. ObjectPascal syntax is very verbose (compared to Python). The
Delphi IDE minimizes this issue to great extent with several
code-completion mechanisms, but I tried to use FPC several days ago
(without Lazarus), and couldn't type up a simple unit without referring
the docs - After having used Delphi for 5 years! I was 80% productive in
Python after reading the tutorial *once* (but probably not with the most
optimal code).
That's an interesting remark. I felt the same while trying to write
code using FPC. It's actually a tribute to Delphi's IDE design that
they manage to hide that much complexity. On the other hand, it's a
tribute to Python because it manages to be *so* simple as not to need
an IDE for most tasks.
Post by Caleb Hattingh
STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy. I know
there are several ever-improving options out there already...I guess I am
waiting to see which one floats to the surface. I also tend to want to
use Tk because it is the 'standard' while the more exciting work seems to
be with the other toolkits, wx, GTK, etc. I am keen to see what becomes
of Tk3000 though.
If you like Delphi, and want a GUI constructor, Boa Constructor is an
interesting project for you to check. I used it a little bit, but in
the end, I felt it was too heavy for my computer at the time (it was
really old & slow). Since then I have upgraded my configuration, but
haven't tried it again.

Boa is still not at the 1.0 stage (meaning that it's really deemed not
to be stable enough), but it's already quite usable. In my own
personal opinion, the interface is not as well organized as Delphi's,
and I feel it could be improved. However, it's pretty easy to say that
and *not* contribute any patch to solve the situation :-) so take my
opinion with a large grain of salt. (And of course, I still think that
Riaan is a great guy, and that all the work done by him on Boa is
amazing).
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Doug Holton
2004-11-26 23:45:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Caleb Hattingh
I have been using Delphi 6 at work for several years now (python where
I can squeeze it in!).
As a programming environment, Delphi is *awesome*. Sure, it's
statically typed. Sure, it's proprietry. Sure, it is Windows-based.
BUT as an IDE, the Delphi environment is amazing. What I want in a
Python IDE is the Delphi ide, but with python as the language. The
*code-insight*, code/class completion, integrated debugging, integrated
help, and *incredibly* fast GUI design is a killer combination. We
Yeah, there have been plenty of threads about python gui designers (boa
constructor, wxdesigner, wxglade, ...). I don't really like the gui
designers that make you plan the layout with sizers before you can even
drag in a new control.
QT Designer for me was the easiest and nicest to use. However, you have
to pay if you are using it to develop Windows applications.

We have been working on a plugin that lets you use boo (a python-like
language for .NET) with the free SharpDevelop IDE (very similar to
visual studio).
http://www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/
http://boo.codehaus.org/
Others have already created the initial boo language binding for
SharpDevelop, so you can edit boo scripts with syntax highlighting and
build applications with SharpDevelop. Also there is a built-in
interpreter window (like python IDLE). I was planning on adding support
for SharpDevelop's gui designer, and I think others already have code
that can be adapted for code completion and debugging in SharpDevelop.

The drawback is that SharpDevelop is Windows-only. Monodevelop is an
alternative that works on Linux or Mac, but it has no gui designer yet.
Someone apparently is working on one called "stetic".
bearophile
2004-11-27 13:17:38 UTC
Permalink
Delphi is a very good language, and quite fast too:
http://dada.perl.it/shootout/delphi.html


Caleb Hattingh>STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy.

Maybe here you can find a way to use both at the same time:
http://www.atug.com/andypatterns/pythonDelphiTalk.htm
http://membres.lycos.fr/marat/delphi/python.htm

Bearophile
Caleb Hattingh
2004-11-28 02:58:56 UTC
Permalink
thx, I already have and use PythonForDelphi (and am on the mailing list).

It works very well indeed, my impression is that Python-Delphi connection
is even easier than Python-C integration (e.g. via SWIG, etc), due once
again to the Delphi IDE. Drag-n-drop in the IDE gets you python code in
your delphi code, or delphi units/objects accessible in python.

However, Delphi is not platform indpendent (which is important for me as I
use a different OS at work and at home), and I don't know if
PythonForDelphi supports Kylix. I am fairly sure it doesn't support
Lazarus, which IS platform independent, but not as feature-rich as Delphi.

Btw, on the SHOOTOUT page, you'll see that the Delphi rank for LOC is 28.
This number is pretty meaningless in practice because the IDE does a lot
of code generation for you. More interesting would have been to see the
rank for LOC you have to type yourself...
Post by bearophile
http://dada.perl.it/shootout/delphi.html
Caleb Hattingh>STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy.
http://www.atug.com/andypatterns/pythonDelphiTalk.htm
http://membres.lycos.fr/marat/delphi/python.htm
Bearophile
John
2004-11-30 20:16:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Caleb Hattingh
thx, I already have and use PythonForDelphi (and am on the mailing list).
It works very well indeed, my impression is that Python-Delphi connection
is even easier than Python-C integration (e.g. via SWIG, etc), due once
again to the Delphi IDE. Drag-n-drop in the IDE gets you python code in
your delphi code, or delphi units/objects accessible in python.
However, Delphi is not platform indpendent (which is important for me as I
use a different OS at work and at home), and I don't know if
PythonForDelphi supports Kylix. I am fairly sure it doesn't support
Lazarus, which IS platform independent, but not as feature-rich as Delphi.
Btw, on the SHOOTOUT page, you'll see that the Delphi rank for LOC is 28.
This number is pretty meaningless in practice because the IDE does a lot
of code generation for you. More interesting would have been to see the
rank for LOC you have to type yourself...
Post by bearophile
http://dada.perl.it/shootout/delphi.html
Caleb Hattingh>STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy.
http://www.atug.com/andypatterns/pythonDelphiTalk.htm
http://membres.lycos.fr/marat/delphi/python.htm
Bearophile
Python + Delphi is pretty much the Zen of programming for me, for
now. Both excel in what they try to accomplish, stand at opposite ends
of the spectrum, yet compliment each other beautifully.
PythonForDelphi is the only language embedding I have done without any
stress recently.

When I make GUI software, I only do it for MS Windows. So portability
is not an issue. I have not moved to Delphi.NET because Python gives
everything missing from Delphi and I can have best of both the worlds
while still having a fast, very rich (thanks to all those VCL
freeware) and responsive GUI and under 2-3 MB distribution. For same
reasons, I never really made a full blown GUI app with any Python
bindings. It's just too easy to design a GUI with Delphi and write
Windows specific code.

I wish Borland focussed more in this direction. Bruce Eckel has been
saying for quite a while that Borland should bring their IDE expertise
to make a Python IDE.

I think Python For Delphi module is grossly under rated like Delphi.
Colin J. Williams
2004-12-02 00:02:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
Post by Caleb Hattingh
thx, I already have and use PythonForDelphi (and am on the mailing list).
It works very well indeed, my impression is that Python-Delphi connection
is even easier than Python-C integration (e.g. via SWIG, etc), due once
again to the Delphi IDE. Drag-n-drop in the IDE gets you python code in
your delphi code, or delphi units/objects accessible in python.
However, Delphi is not platform indpendent (which is important for me as I
use a different OS at work and at home), and I don't know if
PythonForDelphi supports Kylix. I am fairly sure it doesn't support
Lazarus, which IS platform independent, but not as feature-rich as Delphi.
Btw, on the SHOOTOUT page, you'll see that the Delphi rank for LOC is 28.
This number is pretty meaningless in practice because the IDE does a lot
of code generation for you. More interesting would have been to see the
rank for LOC you have to type yourself...
Post by bearophile
http://dada.perl.it/shootout/delphi.html
Caleb Hattingh>STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy.
http://www.atug.com/andypatterns/pythonDelphiTalk.htm
http://membres.lycos.fr/marat/delphi/python.htm
Bearophile
Python + Delphi is pretty much the Zen of programming for me, for
now. Both excel in what they try to accomplish, stand at opposite ends
of the spectrum, yet compliment each other beautifully.
PythonForDelphi is the only language embedding I have done without any
stress recently.
When I make GUI software, I only do it for MS Windows. So portability
is not an issue. I have not moved to Delphi.NET because Python gives
everything missing from Delphi and I can have best of both the worlds
while still having a fast, very rich (thanks to all those VCL
freeware) and responsive GUI and under 2-3 MB distribution. For same
reasons, I never really made a full blown GUI app with any Python
bindings. It's just too easy to design a GUI with Delphi and write
Windows specific code.
I wish Borland focussed more in this direction. Bruce Eckel has been
saying for quite a while that Borland should bring their IDE expertise
to make a Python IDE.
I think Python For Delphi module is grossly under rated like Delphi.
Let's not forget Boa-Constructor, developed by Ryaan Boosen, which goes
a long way in this direction.

Colin W.
j***@rediffmail.com
2004-12-02 08:13:32 UTC
Permalink
Yes! Boa goes a long way. I have been using it for almost 2 1/2 years
now. But it does not come close to the comfort of Delphi. But then of
course, Delphi is not just a WYSIWYG GUI designer. VCL is very advanced
compared to GUI toolkits available for Python. The community has over
the years created an amazing number of open source components. Just go
to torry.net to find literally thousands of good quality freebies (not
to mention commercial GUI components). How many third party controls do
we see for wxPython?
Jon-Pierre Gentil
2004-11-30 15:10:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Caleb Hattingh
STILL...Having a Delphi-like IDE for Python would make me giddy. I know
there are several ever-improving options out there already...I guess I am
waiting to see which one floats to the surface. I also tend to want to
use Tk because it is the 'standard' while the more exciting work seems to
be with the other toolkits, wx, GTK, etc. I am keen to see what becomes
of Tk3000 though.
The closest things I have found are eric3
(http://www.die-offenbachs.de/detlev/eric3.html) and Activestate
Komodo (http://www.activestate.com/Komodo/)

I hope this helps you.
Peter Maas
2004-11-26 09:11:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
I think that Delphi is *so* underated when it comes to language &
framework design... Delphi suffered from a couple of problems; first,
it was Pascal's child, and not C; also, because it was a proprietary
project, owned by a single company.
Like VB :) but this only means that software decisions are largely
driven by prejudice. I'm a long time supporter of Delphi (and
C++Builder), fascinated by the design of the VCL and the IDE and
could never understand why so many developers preferred VB which
is just crap compared to Delphi.
--
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j***@rediffmail.com
2004-12-02 08:19:54 UTC
Permalink
All the VB fans I know have not experienced Delphi. They just don't
know what they are missing. I am sure there are people who actually
chose VB, but not any one I know. When I marvelled at VB myself, it was
back when I myself was unaware of Delphi/C++ Builder. I used to think
C++ programming on Windows had to be with VC++ and MFC and VB was the
only sane choice for most of my apps. When I first tried Delphi, it
only took me a couple of hours to realize that I will never use VB
again.
s***@jmu.edu
2004-12-12 09:39:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by j***@rediffmail.com
All the VB fans I know have not experienced Delphi. They just don't
know what they are missing. I am sure there are people who actually
chose VB, but not any one I know. When I marvelled at VB myself, it was
back when I myself was unaware of Delphi/C++ Builder. I used to think
C++ programming on Windows had to be with VC++ and MFC and VB was the
only sane choice for most of my apps. When I first tried Delphi, it
only took me a couple of hours to realize that I will never use VB
again.
Well, Delphi has its share of problems and unfixed bugs. But it is
still the best development system for Win32, especially in comparison
to Visual Studio 6.

I've heard some good things about Python too, but haven't had any
reason to try it yet.

Piet van Oostrum
2004-11-25 13:05:39 UTC
Permalink
LL> I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before
LL> the patent is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too
LL> vague to be meaningful. Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are
LL> missing. I imaging the patent is intended to protect Visual Basic.NET
LL> rather than restrict unrelated languages like Delphi and Python
LL> anyways.

If it would be applied to Python there would be enough prior art anyway.
And they forgot to put the word 'invention' between quotes.
How stupid can they become?
--
Piet van Oostrum <***@cs.uu.nl>
URL: http://www.cs.uu.nl/~piet [PGP]
Private email: ***@hccnet.nl
Lenard Lindstrom
2004-11-25 17:38:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Piet van Oostrum
LL> I would hope that a rewrite of Claim-2 of the patent is required before
LL> the patent is accept (if it is not outright rejected). Claim-2 is too
LL> vague to be meaningful. Proper definitions of "BASIC" and "derived" are
LL> missing. I imaging the patent is intended to protect Visual Basic.NET
LL> rather than restrict unrelated languages like Delphi and Python
LL> anyways.
If it would be applied to Python there would be enough prior art anyway.
It is not whether or not Python has prior art but rather what the cost
would be to defend a patent infringement lawsuit. But honestly, I believe
that is a remote possibility.
Post by Piet van Oostrum
And they forgot to put the word 'invention' between quotes.
How stupid can they become?
I do not know what the proper form of a US patent application should be.
But on my first read of this claim I did find a typo in part 12 of the
FIELD OF THE INVENTION section. So this application was not carefully
proofread. It needs at least one revision.

Besides, many other assertions are plainly wrong. The constructs in parts
3-5 of the above section are not Basic. They are Microsoft's own additions
to the language. And to the claim Basic hid pointer arithmetic (part-2)
remember PEEK and POKE.

No, the scope of this patent will have to be narrowed to VISUAL BASIC-derived
languages, which is a very narrow scope indeed.

Lenard Lindstrom
<len-***@telus.net>
Duncan Booth
2004-11-23 09:37:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
from potential competitors.
Probably not even that. Microsoft are simply grabbing patents for anything
they think is remotely patentable. The primary reason for doing this is
probably defensive: if anyone threatens to sue Microsoft for patent
infringement they can almost certainly find grounds to countersue. This is
a useful position for Microsoft since they have said that in nearly all
cases they will indemnify their customers against claims that Microsoft
software infringes patents.

(see http://news.com.com/Microsoft+to+back+customers+in+infringement+cases/2100-1014_3-5445868.html)

Of course they can then use this stance as an argument against using 'risky'
non-Microsoft software.
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-23 11:12:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Duncan Booth
Post by Lenard Lindstrom
Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
from potential competitors.
Probably not even that. Microsoft are simply grabbing patents for anything
they think is remotely patentable. The primary reason for doing this is
probably defensive: if anyone threatens to sue Microsoft for patent
infringement they can almost certainly find grounds to countersue. This is
a useful position for Microsoft since they have said that in nearly all
cases they will indemnify their customers against claims that Microsoft
software infringes patents.
(see http://news.com.com/Microsoft+to+back+customers+in+infringement+cases/2100-1014_3-5445868.html)
Of course they can then use this stance as an argument against using 'risky'
non-Microsoft software.
It's actually worse and much more dangerous than this. It's not a
simply defensive move. It's a preemptive defensive move against
open-source software. With patents will become impossible to implement
software that is compatible with MS offerings. This problem has
already bitten some projects, particularly Samba and some X related
projects, specially color management and font rendering (which the
play field is full of patents, some actually worthy, some silly).

With patents, Microsoft can also strike back at open-source with an
economical argument: "I am the innovator and those guys are copying my
innovation and dumping the market with cheap copies". Its a good
argument for courts, and one that a conservative administration (read
Bush) is ready to buy.
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Frithiof Andreas Jensen
2004-11-25 11:12:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
With patents will become impossible to implement
software that is compatible with MS offerings.
In the end, all that is achieved is to be in the position that DEC, IBM, and
countless others placed themselves in:
Sealed in behind proprietary connectors, standards and protocols and finding
that they forgot to leave airholes in that box ;-)
Just about *every* proprietary standard ever invented eventually is
subverted and die because nobody wants the hassle and risk of dealing with
it, it gets in the way of "The Job" whereas the Generic *facilitates* "The
Job".
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
With patents, Microsoft can also strike back at open-source with an
economical argument: "I am the innovator and those guys are copying my
innovation and dumping the market with cheap copies". Its a good
argument for courts, and one that a conservative administration (read
Bush) is ready to buy.
T-Rex was pretty fearsome too for a while but it did not cut much ice when
the ecosystem changed!
Neal D. Becker
2004-11-19 19:18:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Seems pretty slimy.
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Erik Max Francis
2004-11-19 21:52:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neal D. Becker
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Hell, _Lisp_ shows prior art.
--
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San Jose, CA, USA && 37 20 N 121 53 W && AIM erikmaxfrancis
They have rights who dare defend them.
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Martin v. Löwis
2004-11-19 21:56:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neal D. Becker
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Wrt. claim 1, yes. Actually, C is prior art here: you have two
expressions representing pointers, and you have a system where
you can determine that the pointers refer to different memory
locations.

Wrt. claim 2, nothing is prior art.

Wrt. claim 3, Python is *not* prior art, because Python's operator
is the two keywords "is not", not the single keyword "IsNot". Paragraph
[0050] elaborates that the claim extends beyond the literal spelling
they give (e.g. to "is_not", "isnot" etc.), but apparently not to
having the operator written with *two* keywords. C is also not prior
art, because the operator (==) is not written in letters.

Wrt. claim 4, both C and Python are prior art (although it is debatable
whether Python features an "executable-generator").

Wrt. claim 6, I don't know. In Python, does the parser "determine if the
operator is preceded by and followed by an operand"? Grammar/Grammar
reads

comparison: expr (comp_op expr)*

Assuming that, in Python, expr denotes operands, one may claim prior
art. OTOH, apparantly, VB is not written with a formal grammar, so
the parser seems to determine that by imperative logic (which the Python
parser does not).

and so on.

Regards,
Martin
Mike Meyer
2004-11-19 23:51:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Post by Neal D. Becker
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Wrt. claim 1, yes. Actually, C is prior art here: you have two
expressions representing pointers, and you have a system where
you can determine that the pointers refer to different memory
locations.
LISP has had NEQ for about 40 years.

Can they actually get away with patenting the spelling of the
keywords in a language?

<mike
--
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Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Tim Churches
2004-11-20 00:36:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Meyer
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Post by Neal D. Becker
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Wrt. claim 1, yes. Actually, C is prior art here: you have two
expressions representing pointers, and you have a system where
you can determine that the pointers refer to different memory
locations.
LISP has had NEQ for about 40 years.
Can they actually get away with patenting the spelling of the
keywords in a language?
It is worth remembering that US patents are only valid in the US.
Although a US patent application like this establishes a priority date,
if Microsoft (or anyone else) wants patent protection in other
countries, then they still need to pursue separate applications in each
of those countries. Here in Australia, the test for novelty has been
tightened for patents applications filed after Jan 2002. Previously the
prior art needed to be described in a single document (or single public
"performance of an act"). Now elements of prior art published in
separate published documents but which is clearly related (in the view
of a skilled person) are also acceptable. Thus prior art comprising any
published description of the BASIC programming language, and the prior
art comprising a published description of "is not" in just about any
other programming language should be sufficient to torpedo the
application. Previously it may have required prior art of someone
describing in a published work the concept of "is not" specifically in
the context of BASIC.

Of course, if and when Microsoft files an application for this in
Australia, it may be necessary for someone to lodge an objection
pointing out the above, if the Australian patent office examiners don't
reject the application at its preliminary examination.

Oh, IANAL.
--
Tim C

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Terry Reedy
2004-11-20 01:59:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Wrt. claim 3, Python is *not* prior art, because Python's operator
is the two keywords "is not", not the single keyword "IsNot".
But, for whatever it is worth, the ref manual *does* label 'is not' as *an*
operator. In this context, 'is not' is a compound (key)word with a space
(rather than a hyphen or neither). Since English compounds can often be
written both with and without a space or hyphen, with the choice being a
matter of taste, the difference between 'IsNot' and 'Is Not' is rather
trivial
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Paragraph
[0050] elaborates that the claim extends beyond the literal spelling
they give (e.g. to "is_not", "isnot" etc.),
And 'is_not' is the CS alternate spelling of 'is not' with ' ' changed to
'_' (instead of '-') to indicate that the space is connective, forming a
compound word. In names, Python also requires, for obvious lexical
reasons, connective spaces ('_'s). Recognizing 'is not' as a unit requires
a special rule; 'is_not' might have been more consistent with the rest of
Python, but Guido was and is a keywords minimizer. Without knowing this
rule, one could easily parse 'a is not b' as 'a is (not b)' like Basic
does.

To be, this 'patent' is so absurd that I initially had difficulty believing
to to be real and not a joke.

Terry J. Reedy
Martin v. Löwis
2004-11-20 22:38:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry Reedy
But, for whatever it is worth, the ref manual *does* label 'is not' as *an*
operator. In this context, 'is not' is a compound (key)word with a space
(rather than a hyphen or neither). Since English compounds can often be
written both with and without a space or hyphen, with the choice being a
matter of taste, the difference between 'IsNot' and 'Is Not' is rather
trivial
To a reader, but not in an implementation. I believe that Microsoft
would have allowed "foo is not Nothing" if they knew how to implement
it. In the compiler, input is split into tokens, and you can not only
have space between them, but sometimes also line breaks and comments.
It appears that the VB parser, when receiving the IsNot token,
immediately checks whether the thing it got before is an expression.
If this would have to take "is not" into account as well, it might
become more complicated.
Post by Terry Reedy
And 'is_not' is the CS alternate spelling of 'is not' with ' ' changed to
'_' (instead of '-') to indicate that the space is connective, forming a
compound word.
And I firmly believe that Microsoft has only "connected" spellings in
mind, in this patent application. The option of unconnected spelling
(i.e. in multiple tokens) did not occur to them, or else they would
have given that in the examples.
Post by Terry Reedy
In names, Python also requires, for obvious lexical
reasons, connective spaces ('_'s). Recognizing 'is not' as a unit requires
a special rule; 'is_not' might have been more consistent with the rest of
Python, but Guido was and is a keywords minimizer. Without knowing this
rule, one could easily parse 'a is not b' as 'a is (not b)' like Basic
does.
See, in Python, there is *no* special rule for 'is' 'not'. It just falls
out naturally - the expression after 'is' just can't start with a 'not',
since only tests can start with 'not'; expressions are a special case of
test that can only start with '(', '+', '-', '~', '[', '{', '`', a name,
a number, or a string.

Regards,
Martin
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-20 23:00:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Post by Terry Reedy
But, for whatever it is worth, the ref manual *does* label 'is not' as *an*
operator. In this context, 'is not' is a compound (key)word with a space
(rather than a hyphen or neither). Since English compounds can often be
written both with and without a space or hyphen, with the choice being a
matter of taste, the difference between 'IsNot' and 'Is Not' is rather
trivial
To a reader, but not in an implementation. I believe that Microsoft
would have allowed "foo is not Nothing" if they knew how to implement
it. In the compiler, input is split into tokens, and you can not only
have space between them, but sometimes also line breaks and comments.
It appears that the VB parser, when receiving the IsNot token,
immediately checks whether the thing it got before is an expression.
If this would have to take "is not" into account as well, it might
become more complicated.
Post by Terry Reedy
And 'is_not' is the CS alternate spelling of 'is not' with ' ' changed to
'_' (instead of '-') to indicate that the space is connective, forming a
compound word.
And I firmly believe that Microsoft has only "connected" spellings in
mind, in this patent application. The option of unconnected spelling
(i.e. in multiple tokens) did not occur to them, or else they would
have given that in the examples.
Post by Terry Reedy
In names, Python also requires, for obvious lexical
reasons, connective spaces ('_'s). Recognizing 'is not' as a unit requires
a special rule; 'is_not' might have been more consistent with the rest of
Python, but Guido was and is a keywords minimizer. Without knowing this
rule, one could easily parse 'a is not b' as 'a is (not b)' like Basic
does.
See, in Python, there is *no* special rule for 'is' 'not'. It just falls
out naturally - the expression after 'is' just can't start with a 'not',
since only tests can start with 'not'; expressions are a special case of
test that can only start with '(', '+', '-', '~', '[', '{', '`', a name,
a number, or a string.
I'm curious. I know that Python is not going to enter into a
'patent-filling' frenzy anytime soon. But isn't the 'is not' trick
also patentable on it's own? The reason I ask this is twofold:

1) I always found the "is not" with two tokens a novelty -- I knew no
other language before where this spelling was acceptable. But I am no
"linguist" (in the CS sense), either.

2) Some people seem to think that the better way to defend Open Source
applications against silly patents is to fill a lot of patents in
behalf of open projects, as a defensive measure. I don't have any clue
as to whether this would be effective in practice or not, but anyway,
it seems interesting.
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Peter Hansen
2004-11-22 03:25:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
I'm curious. I know that Python is not going to enter into a
'patent-filling' frenzy anytime soon. But isn't the 'is not' trick
1) I always found the "is not" with two tokens a novelty -- I knew no
other language before where this spelling was acceptable. But I am no
"linguist" (in the CS sense), either.
Novel or not, it still fails the "obvious" test, as the vast
majority of software patents do.

As proof by example, I point out that at one time early in
my Python learning, I had never seen a single example of
the negative form of the "is" operator, and had never in
fact needed one, yet when the time came for me to write
code which required the inversion, I just did what you
should almost always do with Python and tried the simplest
and most obvious thing: "is not". Of course, it worked...

Doing it different might not have been obvious to a
parser writer, but to someone who speaks English it
is certainly the more obvious way to specify what was
desired here than the alternatives ("not is", "IsNot",
etc.).

Being the first to think of something doesn't make that
thought "non-obvious". After all, for each really obvious
thing in the world, *someone* was the first to think of it!

And here is an appropriate place to quote from the Wikipedia
on the topic of patents:

"""The standard of obviousness and its application are more
subjective and controversial than that of novelty. If the requirements
are set very high, virtually nothing is patentable. Similarly if the
requirements are very low, all kinds of trivial inventions can receive
patents."""

Hmm... sounds like they have set the bar very, very low right now...

-Peter
Frithiof Andreas Jensen
2004-11-25 12:11:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Hansen
Hmm... sounds like they have set the bar very, very low right now...
America has become The Land of The Lawyers - neatly illustrated by the
replacement of Cowboys, Saloon and Praerie(?) with Armani Suits, Court
Rooms and Open-plan Offices on Television programming - so the
Lawyer-politicians decided to remove the bar altogether and leave the
Lawyer-lawyers to get rich on debating the merits of trivial patents at USD
1000 per hour in the legal system.

Eventually the tide will change again.
Martin v. Löwis
2004-11-20 23:52:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
I'm curious. I know that Python is not going to enter into a
'patent-filling' frenzy anytime soon. But isn't the 'is not' trick
also patentable on it's own?
If the Microsoft patent is granted, then Python's approach would
certainly patentable as well.
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
1) I always found the "is not" with two tokens a novelty -- I knew no
other language before where this spelling was acceptable. But I am no
"linguist" (in the CS sense), either.
It really is new in this context. However, there are many "similar"
notations.
- SQL is full of multiple-keyword constructs. E.g.

constraint_declare :: = [ CONSTRAINT constraint_name ]
PRIMARY KEY ( col1, col2, ... ) |
FOREIGN KEY ( col1, col2, ... ) REFERENCES f_table [ ( col1, col2,
... ) ]
[ ON UPDATE triggered_action ] [ ON DELETE
triggered_action ] |
UNIQUE ( col1, col2, ... ) |
CHECK ( expression )
[ INITIALLY DEFERRED | INITIALLY IMMEDIATE ]
[ NOT DEFERRABLE | DEFERRABLE ]

triggered_action :: =
NO ACTION | SET NULL | SET DEFAULT | CASCADE

So "ON DELETE SET NULL" are really two "things" only, not four things.

- in particular, for WHERE clauses, they have
expression NOT BETWEEN expression AND expression
expression NOT LIKE "string literal"
expression IS NOT NULL (notice that IS NOT can only be combined with
NULL here)
expression NOT IN value

- likewise, COBOL has many compound keywords:
ADD id-1 TO id-2 ON SIZE ERROR impstmt-1
ADD id-1 TO id-2 NOT ON SIZE ERROR impstmt-2
[notice how this features a four-word keyword]
MERGE fname-1 ON ASCENDING KEY id-1 COLLATING SEQUENCE IS
EBCDIC USING fname-2 GIVING fname-3
[the only multi-work keyword here is "COLLATING SEQUENCE IS".
"EBCDIC" is a parameter to that (with "ASCII" the other
alternative); ON ... KEY can use either ASCENDING or
DESCENDING]

- C has had "unsigned long" for quite some time, and now
also has "unsigned long long".
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
2) Some people seem to think that the better way to defend Open Source
applications against silly patents is to fill a lot of patents in
behalf of open projects, as a defensive measure. I don't have any clue
as to whether this would be effective in practice or not, but anyway,
it seems interesting.
I think it would be a waste of resources. Defense is only needed when
there is an actual threat, at which point, if the patent is silly,
litigation can be started. This is something the PSF could do should
the need arise.

Regards,
Martin
Terry Reedy
2004-11-21 03:27:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin v. Löwis
To a reader, but not in an implementation. I believe that Microsoft
would have allowed "foo is not Nothing" if they knew how to implement
it.
I believe, having read the entire mess, that 'foo Is Not Nothing' is
currently meaningful in MS Basic with the meaning 'foo Is (Not Nothing)',
as I suggested one might naively parse Python. Hence, changing the meaning
to make (Is Not) a unit, as in Python, would break code. But someone with
access to one or more versions of current MS Basic would have to verify
either way.

Of course, they *could* have learned to implement Is Not by reading the
Python source ;-) But IsNot is certainly much easier. To my mind, their
problem is not having thought through the matter carefully enough when they
introduced Is. I appreciate that Guido appears to have done much better 15
years ago.

Terry J. Reedy
not [quite] more i squared
2004-11-30 19:49:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry Reedy
To be, this 'patent' is so absurd that I initially had difficulty believing
to to be real and not a joke.
So did I - a trojan horse like Sokal's in 1996, but substituting

Social Texts --> Patent Office
Social Scientists --> Patent Lawyers
Physicists --> Software Engineers
Steve Holden
2004-11-20 02:38:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Post by Neal D. Becker
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Wrt. claim 1, yes. Actually, C is prior art here: you have two
expressions representing pointers, and you have a system where
you can determine that the pointers refer to different memory
locations.
Wrt. claim 2, nothing is prior art.
Wrt. claim 3, Python is *not* prior art, because Python's operator
is the two keywords "is not", not the single keyword "IsNot". Paragraph
[0050] elaborates that the claim extends beyond the literal spelling
they give (e.g. to "is_not", "isnot" etc.), but apparently not to
having the operator written with *two* keywords. C is also not prior
art, because the operator (==) is not written in letters.
[...]
This makes me want to patent FuckingRidiculous. Or perhaps I should make
that SingleClickFuckingRidiculous?

I seriously wonder how long the US Patent Office is prepared to continue
making an ass of itself.

regards
Steve
--
http://www.holdenweb.com
http://pydish.holdenweb.com
Holden Web LLC +1 800 494 3119
Andrew Koenig
2004-11-20 14:32:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Holden
I seriously wonder how long the US Patent Office is prepared to continue
making an ass of itself.
I do not know if this is still true, but I heard a number of years ago that
the US Patent office, in response to Congress denying their request for more
funding for patent examiners, combined with court rulings that require them
to accept software patents, decided to accept any software patent that is
filed.

Of course, such acceptance does not guarantee that the patent is worth
anything. What happens instead is that if there is an infringement case,
the defendant has the opportunity to claim that the patent is invalid,
either because it is obvious or because there is prior art.

So in effect the Patent Office is shifting their financial burden onto the
shoulders of prospective defendants.
Erik de Castro Lopo
2004-11-20 22:28:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Holden
This makes me want to patent FuckingRidiculous. Or perhaps I should make
that SingleClickFuckingRidiculous?
Don't waste your money.
Post by Steve Holden
I seriously wonder how long the US Patent Office is prepared to continue
making an ass of itself.
Patents like this one should be encouraged. The more
ludicrous patents that the patent office accepts, the
sooner the whole pile of crap will collapse on itself
and implode.

Erik
--
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
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+-----------------------------------------------------------+
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good idea." -- Alexander Viro on linux-kernel mailing list
Tim Roberts
2004-11-22 07:49:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin v. Löwis
Post by Neal D. Becker
Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever invented)
display prior art here?
Wrt. claim 1, yes. Actually, C is prior art here: you have two
expressions representing pointers, and you have a system where
you can determine that the pointers refer to different memory
locations.
Wrt. claim 2, nothing is prior art.
Claims 1, 15, and 21 are the only independent claims. If claim 1 is deemed
invalid, because of the obvious prior art, then all the claims that
elaborate upon it (that is, 2 through 14) are also invalid.
--
- Tim Roberts, ***@probo.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
Martin v. Löwis
2004-11-22 23:08:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Roberts
Claims 1, 15, and 21 are the only independent claims. If claim 1 is deemed
invalid, because of the obvious prior art, then all the claims that
elaborate upon it (that is, 2 through 14) are also invalid.
Is that really the case? My understanding of patents is that, even if
the more general claim might not be granted, a more specific one might
be. For example

1. a device to move from point A to point B

2. a device like in claim 1, at a speed faster than light

Clearly, 1 is not novel, but 2 is, so claim 2 might be granted. Then,
people could still build cars and planes, but need a license to build
a rocket that travels faster than light.

My understanding is that things were slightly different if somebody
else would already hold a patent on claim 1 (or be granted such a
patent later). Then anybody building a car would need a license from
that inventor, and anybody building a rocket that travels faster than
light would need *two* licenses: one to build vehicles at all, and
one for the very fast ones. This would include the patent holder
of claim 2 himself, who would also need a license to build his own
invention (for the "move from A to B" part).

Of course, my understanding of patents might be completely wrong.

Regards,
Martin
Charles Allen
2004-11-20 02:09:11 UTC
Permalink
I suggest that someone quickly file an application for the "IsToo"
operator. Skeptics may doubt that this is patentable, to which I say...

Is Too!
Is Not!
Is Too!
Is Not!
...
--
Charles Allen <***@earthlink.net>
Eric Pederson
2004-11-20 19:02:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Allen
Is Too!
Is Not!
Is Too!
Is Not!
...
NOTICE

In light of this instant notice of our intent to patent the following inventions, please cease and desist from using them immediately:

meToo (and the equivalent variants: me too, MeToo, meToo, me_too, _me_too, _me_too_, etc.)

+1 (also: plus1, +_1, plus_1, plus_one, and nonplussed)

No claim is made, however, to MS_sucks, as we acknowledge this sentiment is well established within the public domain.



EP
"knowing Mr. Bill and his legions lose no sleep over the various protests..."



:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
domainNot="@something.com"
domainIs=domainNot.replace("s","z")
ePrefix="".join([chr(ord(x)+1) for x in "do"])
mailMeAt=ePrefix+domainIs
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Eddie Parker
2004-11-19 19:29:10 UTC
Permalink
Best way to discourage visual basic knock offs, is to try and use visual
basic, in my opinion.

</subjective>

-----Original Message-----
From: python-list-bounces+eddie=***@python.org
[mailto:python-list-bounces+eddie=***@python.org] On Behalf Of Skip
Montanaro
Sent: November 19, 2004 11:51 AM
To: Neal D. Becker
Cc: python-***@python.org
Subject: Re: Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'


My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim 2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.

Seems pretty slimy.

Skip
--
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Skip Montanaro
2004-11-19 19:41:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Neal> Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever
Neal> invented) display prior art here?

Sure, but maybe there is no such prior art in the BASIC arena.

Skip
Peter Maas
2004-11-19 20:34:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Neal> Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever
Neal> invented) display prior art here?
Sure, but maybe there is no such prior art in the BASIC arena.
Isnot is semantically equivalent to the inequality operator which is
some hundred years old. I doubt that this can be an approved patent,
even under the liberal patent US laws.
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------
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E-mail 'cGV0ZXIubWFhc0BtcGx1c3IuZGU=\n'.decode('base64')
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m***@gmail.com
2004-11-19 21:01:05 UTC
Permalink
But it is approved :(
Post by Peter Maas
Post by Skip Montanaro
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Neal> Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever
Neal> invented) display prior art here?
Sure, but maybe there is no such prior art in the BASIC arena.
Isnot is semantically equivalent to the inequality operator which is
some hundred years old. I doubt that this can be an approved patent,
even under the liberal patent US laws.
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Maas, M+R Infosysteme, D-52070 Aachen, Tel +49-241-93878-0
E-mail 'cGV0ZXIubWFhc0BtcGx1c3IuZGU=\n'.decode('base64')
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jarek Zgoda
2004-11-19 21:04:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
But it is approved :(
As I see, it's patent application, so it is not approved yet.
--
Jarek Zgoda
http://jpa.berlios.de/ | http://www.zgodowie.org/
Jeff Shannon
2004-11-19 21:48:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Maas
Isnot is semantically equivalent to the inequality operator which is
some hundred years old. I doubt that this can be an approved patent,
even under the liberal patent US laws.
Maybe it's not a technically *valid* patent, but that doesn't mean it
can't be approved. The US patent system has become appallingly lazy
about checking for things like prior art and obviousness. (After all,
we're talking about the system that approved a patent on "one-click
purchasing"....)

The sad thing about this is that these patents can be challenged in
courts... but only if you can afford the legal budget necessary. And
big corporations can afford to defend these patents, regardless of their
legal viability, well enough to prevent all but the most determined (and
well-heeled) challengers from actually getting a judgement on the actual
merits of the case.

Jeff Shannon
Technician/Programmer
Credit International
Mike Meyer
2004-11-19 22:36:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Shannon
The sad thing about this is that these patents can be challenged in
courts... but only if you can afford the legal budget necessary. And
big corporations can afford to defend these patents, regardless of
their legal viability, well enough to prevent all but the most
determined (and well-heeled) challengers from actually getting a
judgement on the actual merits of the case.
Right. In the late 80s, there was a company whose sole source of
income was from suing smaller companies about violation of their
patent on xoring the cursor onto the screen

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <***@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Jan Dries
2004-11-20 00:21:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Shannon
Post by Peter Maas
Isnot is semantically equivalent to the inequality operator which is
some hundred years old. I doubt that this can be an approved patent,
even under the liberal patent US laws.
Maybe it's not a technically *valid* patent, but that doesn't mean it
can't be approved. The US patent system has become appallingly lazy
about checking for things like prior art and obviousness. (After all,
we're talking about the system that approved a patent on "one-click
purchasing"....)
IIRC, a few years ago there was an Australian lawyer who wanted to show
the ineffectiveness of the patent application procedure in Australia,
and so he filed a patent application for the invention of some sort of
rotating device (the type that is more commonly known as "a wheel").
The application was approved.

Jan
Jeff Shannon
2004-11-20 01:05:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Maas
Isnot is semantically equivalent to the inequality operator which is
some hundred years old.
Actually, looking at the patent claim, this is *not* semantically
equivalent to inequality. It specifically mentions 'isNot' as something
that compares memory addresses, which in Basic are normally hidden. In
other words, they are referring to something with the same semantics as
Python's 'is not', comparing object identity rather than object equality.
Post by Peter Maas
[] is not []
1
Post by Peter Maas
[] != []
0
It's still a pretty questionable patent, though. Even without anyone
explicitly having used 'is not' in Basic before, its prevalence in so
many other languages would seem to fail the "nonobvious" test
(supposedly) required for patent validity.

Jeff Shannon
Technician/Programmer
Credit International
Peter Maas
2004-11-20 21:20:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Shannon
Post by Peter Maas
Isnot is semantically equivalent to the inequality operator which is
some hundred years old.
[...]
Post by Jeff Shannon
Actually, looking at the patent claim, this is *not* semantically
equivalent to inequality. It specifically mentions 'isNot' as something
that compares memory addresses, which in Basic are normally hidden.
Isnot is the inequality operator applied to memory addresses. That these
are hidden in VB, doesn't make this a new invention worth to be protected.
E.g. electrical power supplies are a pretty old thing. If somebody would
try to get a patent on the application of electrical power supplies to
TVs this would probably (hope so) rejected and so should the application
of the inequality operator to memory addresses.
Post by Jeff Shannon
It's still a pretty questionable patent, though. Even without anyone
explicitly having used 'is not' in Basic before, its prevalence in so
many other languages would seem to fail the "nonobvious" test
(supposedly) required for patent validity.
Could this patent be circumvented by writing "not (a is b)" instead
of "a is not b"? If that would be the case the patent claim would
be even more ridiculous.
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Maas, M+R Infosysteme, D-52070 Aachen, Tel +49-241-93878-0
E-mail 'cGV0ZXIubWFhc0BtcGx1c3IuZGU=\n'.decode('base64')
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-20 21:36:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Maas
Could this patent be circumvented by writing "not (a is b)" instead
of "a is not b"? If that would be the case the patent claim would
be even more ridiculous.
Going off-topic.

Ridiculous patents are not the exclusive domain of software. A few
years ago someone (I think it was Motorola, but I'm not sure) got a
patent on "Vibracall", or how to make a cell phone vibrate when
receiving calls. They didn't want to license the patent to their
competitors. Nokia circumvented it by putting the vibracall circuits
into the battery pack. So when you bought a Nokia digital phone, you
have to buy a "vibracall enabled battery". It was that weird.
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Terry Reedy
2004-11-21 03:17:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Maas
Could this patent be circumvented by writing "not (a is b)" instead
of "a is not b"? If that would be the case the patent claim would
be even more ridiculous.
Somewhere deep in the verbiage they explicitly mention 'Not (A Is B)' as
the currently necessary idiom (which competitors would presumably have to
continue using) and tout 'A IsNot B' as nicer or something. Replacing the
former with the latter is the whole and entire point of this
ridiculousness. No new actual functionality. Yes, mind-boggling.

Terry J. Reedy
Peter Maas
2004-11-21 19:17:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Maas
Isnot is the inequality operator applied to memory addresses. That these
are hidden in VB, doesn't make this a new invention worth to be protected.
E.g. electrical power supplies are a pretty old thing. If somebody would
try to get a patent on the application of electrical power supplies to
TVs this would probably (hope so) rejected and so should the application
of the inequality operator to memory addresses.
I believe what these patent guys get wrong and mixed up is the
difference between inheritance and specialization. If you invent a
power supply that transmits power without using a wire this is an
invention that inherits from power supplies in general and is of
course something new because it has a feature not shared by previous
power supplies. But to simply narrow down the application range is
not new but a trivial twist not worth to be metioned let alone be
patented.
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Maas, M+R Infosysteme, D-52070 Aachen, Tel +49-241-93878-0
E-mail 'cGV0ZXIubWFhc0BtcGx1c3IuZGU=\n'.decode('base64')
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Skip Montanaro
2004-11-19 19:42:43 UTC
Permalink
Eddie> Best way to discourage visual basic knock offs, is to try and use
Eddie> visual basic, in my opinion.

QOTW?

S
Eddie Parker
2004-11-19 21:24:18 UTC
Permalink
Pardon me, what's "QOTW"?

[ Quote|Quiz ] of The Week, is the nearest thing Google tells me. :)

-e-

-----Original Message-----
From: Skip Montanaro [mailto:***@pobox.com]
Sent: November 19, 2004 12:43 PM
To: Eddie Parker
Cc: 'Neal D. Becker'; python-***@python.org
Subject: RE: Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'


Eddie> Best way to discourage visual basic knock offs, is to try and use
Eddie> visual basic, in my opinion.

QOTW?

S

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Robert Kern
2004-11-19 21:42:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eddie Parker
Pardon me, what's "QOTW"?
[ Quote|Quiz ] of The Week, is the nearest thing Google tells me. :)
Quote of the Week.

Look for the "Dr. Dobb's Python-URL!" posts to this newsgroup.
--
Robert Kern
***@ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter
Terry Reedy
2004-11-19 23:25:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
But Claim 1 is generic. Not being an initiate into Patentese, I would not
be sure is Claim 2 is a restriction or an exemplification or a backup
claim.
Post by Skip Montanaro
Seems pretty slimy.
To me, this confirms the depravity of software claims.

I think the Python Software Foundation should notify both the Patent Office
and the claimant lawyers of Python's prior art of an 'is not' operator with
the same meaning. The necessity, for Basic, to delete the space or change
it to '_' (and both forms, with all variations of casing, are 'claimed' as
inventions) is because Microsoft Basic currently parses 'a Is Not b' as 'a
Is (Not b)' instead of 'a (Is Not) b' as Python does and coupled with a
proper reluctance to change the meaning of currently legal code. But
changing ' ' to '_' for pragmatic reasons is standard in programming
languages, including Python.

Terry J. Reedy
Steve Holden
2004-11-20 02:43:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry Reedy
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
But Claim 1 is generic. Not being an initiate into Patentese, I would not
be sure is Claim 2 is a restriction or an exemplification or a backup
claim.
The normal method of applying for a patent starts with the most general
claims and has subsequent claims restricting the scope successively. The
argument then becomes how far down the list the patent examiner must go
before seeing what he or she regards as a defensible claim.
Post by Terry Reedy
Post by Skip Montanaro
Seems pretty slimy.
Yep.
Post by Terry Reedy
To me, this confirms the depravity of software claims.
Stupidity, I should have said.
Post by Terry Reedy
I think the Python Software Foundation should notify both the Patent Office
and the claimant lawyers of Python's prior art of an 'is not' operator with
the same meaning. The necessity, for Basic, to delete the space or change
it to '_' (and both forms, with all variations of casing, are 'claimed' as
inventions) is because Microsoft Basic currently parses 'a Is Not b' as 'a
Is (Not b)' instead of 'a (Is Not) b' as Python does and coupled with a
proper reluctance to change the meaning of currently legal code. But
changing ' ' to '_' for pragmatic reasons is standard in programming
languages, including Python.
While I admire the sentiment, I can't really support the Foundation
becoming involved in such nonsense.

regards
Steve
--
http://www.holdenweb.com
http://pydish.holdenweb.com
Holden Web LLC +1 800 494 3119
Steve Holden
2004-11-20 02:43:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry Reedy
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2
clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
But Claim 1 is generic. Not being an initiate into Patentese, I would not
be sure is Claim 2 is a restriction or an exemplification or a backup
claim.
The normal method of applying for a patent starts with the most general
claims and has subsequent claims restricting the scope successively. The
argument then becomes how far down the list the patent examiner must go
before seeing what he or she regards as a defensible claim.
Post by Terry Reedy
Post by Skip Montanaro
Seems pretty slimy.
Yep.
Post by Terry Reedy
To me, this confirms the depravity of software claims.
Stupidity, I should have said.
Post by Terry Reedy
I think the Python Software Foundation should notify both the Patent Office
and the claimant lawyers of Python's prior art of an 'is not' operator with
the same meaning. The necessity, for Basic, to delete the space or change
it to '_' (and both forms, with all variations of casing, are 'claimed' as
inventions) is because Microsoft Basic currently parses 'a Is Not b' as 'a
Is (Not b)' instead of 'a (Is Not) b' as Python does and coupled with a
proper reluctance to change the meaning of currently legal code. But
changing ' ' to '_' for pragmatic reasons is standard in programming
languages, including Python.
While I admire the sentiment, I can't really support the Foundation
becoming involved in such nonsense.

regards
Steve
--
http://www.holdenweb.com
http://pydish.holdenweb.com
Holden Web LLC +1 800 494 3119
James Stroud
2004-11-19 20:01:53 UTC
Permalink
Anybody want to go in on patenting

WhileNot
IfNot
AreNot (users would probably have to license both IsNot and AreNot)
UntilNot (borrowing from perl)
UnlessNot (ibid)
NotGreaterThan (shorthand !>)
NotLessThan (shorthand !<)

?
--
James Stroud, Ph.D.
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
611 Charles E. Young Dr. S.
MBI 205, UCLA 951570
Los Angeles CA 90095-1570
http://www.jamesstroud.com/
Fredrik Lundh
2004-11-22 10:22:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Skip Montanaro
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Neal> Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever
Neal> invented) display prior art here?
Sure, but maybe there is no such prior art in the BASIC arena.
IIRC, the "inventor" mentioned on his weblog that he didn't come up with the idea
himself; it was suggested by customers. In other words, the solution clearly wasn't
obvious to the "inventor" himself, since he didn't invent it. And if it's not obvious,
it can be patented, right? As chewbacca would say, if it doesn't make sense, you
must patent!

I need coffee.

</F>
Carlos Ribeiro
2004-11-22 10:31:17 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 11:22:20 +0100, Fredrik Lundh
Post by Fredrik Lundh
Post by Skip Montanaro
Post by Skip Montanaro
My guess is Microsoft hopes to discourage Visual Basic knock-offs. Claim
2 clearly seems to restrict the scope to BASIC.
Neal> Doesn't Python (along with probably every other language ever
Neal> invented) display prior art here?
Sure, but maybe there is no such prior art in the BASIC arena.
IIRC, the "inventor" mentioned on his weblog that he didn't come up with the idea
himself; it was suggested by customers. In other words, the solution clearly wasn't
obvious to the "inventor" himself, since he didn't invent it. And if it's not obvious,
it can be patented, right? As chewbacca would say, if it doesn't make sense, you
must patent!
Patenting something that was suggested by customers is asking for
trouble. What if the customer who suggested the feature sues
Microsoft? Or worse -- if it turns out that the suggestion came after
seeing 'prior art' elsewhere? (Of course, the patent itself doesn't
cover the idea, but also the implementation, which is why Microsoft
could get away with it. But it does not invalidate the above points,
because the customer could possibly have suggested enough of the
implementation to Microsoft).

(btw, do I automatically assign to Microsoft the property of any idea
that I eventually communicate to them? I'm curious).
Post by Fredrik Lundh
I need coffee.
Me too (but not of the java variety, please) :-)
--
Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
mail: ***@gmail.com
mail: ***@yahoo.com
Tim Roberts
2004-11-24 06:13:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Ribeiro
(btw, do I automatically assign to Microsoft the property of any idea
that I eventually communicate to them? I'm curious).
Did you sign the NDA? Then you might have done exactly that.
--
- Tim Roberts, ***@probo.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
Philippe C. Martin
2004-11-26 11:57:58 UTC
Permalink
I like eric3 (http://www.die-offenbachs.de/detlev/eric3.html) very much but
it's a QT 'aware' environment and I need Tkinter for portability/$ reasons.

So I'm back to lovely emacs (thanks again and again Mr. RS) and snavigator
(http://sourceforge.net/projects/sourcenav) when it comes to heavy project
browsing.

My needs in GUI are trivial enough; so I'm perfectly happy now.

Regards,

Philippe
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