[time-nuts] If any of your USB devices have stopped working lately...

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 24 09:01:00 EDT 2014

On 10/23/14, 9:14 PM, John Allen wrote:
> Hi Rick - I believe it was CompuServe (which AOL later bought.)  It didn't really cause any trouble...
> Regards, John K1AE
> -----Original Message-----
> From: time-nuts [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On Behalf Of Richard (Rick) Karlquist
> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:31 PM
> To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
> Subject: Re: [time-nuts] If any of your USB devices have stopped working lately...
> This dispute reminds me of another one.
> A long long time ago, .gif was the internet standard for encoding photographs.  Far and away the favorite.  Then the owner (was it
> AOL?) decided to enforce their patent by getting snotty with end users.  Almost overnight, .gif virtually disappeared off the face of the earth, to be replaced by .jpg, previously an also-ran.  The IP holder got their wish "We wish people would stop free loading on our IP.".  Be careful what you wish for as the saying goes.  Let's see if history repeats itself.
> Rick

It wasn't GIF, per se (which was promulgated by CompuServe), but the 
fact that it is LZW compression, which was patented by Welch and 
assigned to Unisys in the mid 80s (so the patent has expired by now)

Other compression schemes by Lempel and Ziv were also patented (earlier).

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