W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > September 2003

Re: Separate programs

From: Reza Roboubi <reza@requestfinder.com>
Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2003 12:50:43 -0700
Message-ID: <3F5A3A93.2EA38CC6@requestfinder.com>
To: public-web-plugins@w3.org

Neil Munro wrote:

> [...]  works it out for itself).  The separate program would then
> open in OWN (borderless) window in "stay on top" mode, overlaying
> the browser area set aside for the helper. This is NOT a plugin as
> if you close the browser window, the helper window would remain
> open.

That's an interesting idea.

> In terms of the patent it says: "... and enable interactive
> processing of said object within a display area created at said
> first location within the portion of said first distributed
> hypermedia document being displayed in said first browser-controlled
> window."  which to me says it must display in the BROWSER window,
> which this would NOT be doing.

You're right.  This does appear like a central theme in this patent.
If you circumvent it, the problems should go away.

But see

The thought that this kind of patent can become a "business model"
patent is troubling.  Imagine if the patent claimed, "we are serving
our customers documents in such a way that in *one* download they can
view all the other related documents, at the same time, and embedded
into the main document.

Sort of like the famous Amazon.com 1-click patent.  (notice the word
*one* in both places!)

Again, I am not sure how far this sort of B-M patent could be pushed.
AFAIK, Amazon vs. B&N finally ended their fight through an
out-of-court settlement (details not disclosed!)  So there is not much
precedence that I'm aware of. But the whole thing is worrisome

>  This has quite a few advantages: - it is a separate program so
> allows the user to choose the helper program they install and many
> people can provide different versions - the user can opt to NOT run
> the helper or not even install it (for people like me who hate
> inappropriate use of Flash) - it separates responsibility for each
> program, reducing the risk of crashing the browser And some
> disadvantages - the helper program is independent, so if you
> navigate to a new page with the browser, the helper will stay
> there. Personally I wouldn't mind, I routinely load BBC TV News etc
> with the browser (lauched as a separate program) and keep it at the
> bottom right while I browse. The patent (if valid) rules out
> inter-process communication that would allow the browser to tell the
> helper what to do, but does that really matter?  - the helper has to

W3C can also standardize Javascript, so it can communicate with
the external program (through a pipe or socket) if the programmer so
wishes. Would that be well outside the patent protection?

Standardizing Javascript has other great benefits.  In the end, with
the event model now being standardized by W3C, it makes sense to glue
DOM/XML/etc together, through Javascript standardization.  Putting the
D into DHTML seems to be the whole point here, correct?

> have its own input (clicks etc.), socket (server connection) and
> display handling (to avoid inter-process communications), but that
> is no big deal and shared libraries for this would be possible to
> keep the size down.

Received on Saturday, 6 September 2003 15:38:57 UTC

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