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Unisys Is a Bunch of Retards
1999-08-26 17:57:02


Laughable Technology
 
When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
-- Henny Youngman

 

Remember way back when Unisys started enforcing their LZW patent, and everyone said that if you used GIFs on your site you'd have to pay a fee? And how that was wrong, it was only people who had software that MADE or SHOWED GIFs who had to pay a fee? Well, NOT ANY MORE!

Har har har! Poor dumb Unisys! Why don't you go make some COMPUTERS instead of continuing to milk this ridiculous patent, huh? HAR! It's not even an ORIGINAL patent -- the LZW compression algorithm is pretty much a minor tweak on public- domain Lempel-Ziv.

(Those of you who haven't been online porn lords for the last 10 years may not know about this, BUT the Unisys company owns the patent on the LZW compression technique, which is used in GIF files to make them all small. A while ago they decided they would start charging software makers who had software that reads or writes GIFs -- like Photoshop or your browser. There was a big uproar, and lots of misinformation, like you'd have to pay Unisys for every DOGFUKR2.GIF file you had on your hard drive or else the Feds would come lock you up in Pelican Bay. It was a lot of hooey, but it was such a big deal that lots of people swore off GIFs forever. The rest of us learned to live with it.)

So, after squeezing all the blood out of the software patent rock they could, now the folks at Unisys apparently think that they can finagle some BIG DUM Web sites into paying for LZW patent licenses. The fine print on the doc that the link at the bottom of this page goes to says that it saves you the hassle of being liable for using software from people who haven't paid their patent fee. I'm no lawyer, but how could you possibly be liable for that, anyway? And everybody's already paid their patent fee for the GIF encoding, so WHO HAVEN'T THEY GOT!?

Like, let's say there was a browser that didn't pay the fee. And then people used that browser to go look at your Web site. And they look at a GIF file. COULD YOU BE LIABLE AND HAVE TO GO TO PRISON AND GET BUGGERED? Of course not. But the Unisys licensing deal seems to imply that you could. Ha ha ha!

The idea that anyone would pay FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS just to have some crummy "one-pixel-clear.gif" files on their Web site is ridiculous. Screw that. I guess a lot of the big sites like C|Net are probably gonna pony up for this shakedown just so they don't have to deal with the hassle. The rest of us will flip Unisys the BIRD.

The whole thing is so patently stupid (haha) that I think there must be some ulterior motive behind the idea. At first, I thought it might be another publicity stunt, since Unisys has been out of the game so long that no one could even remember that they are a computer company the LAST time GIFs came up.

But then I thought of another idea: a lot of folks are taking this opportunity to strip all the GIF files off their Web sites and replace them with JPEGs or PNG files, a new lossless format that doesn't depend on Unisys's compression algorithm. (I don't plan to do this, by the way -- I don't want to give them the pleasure).

Eventually, with this pressure, EVERYONE is going to ditch GIF in favor of PNG. Web folks will stop asking image software vendors to support GIFs, and the software guys won't want to pay the license fees so they'll just stop supporting GIF. Then even people who WANT GIF won't be able to get it. GIFs will disappear!

And I think that's EXACTLY what Unisys wants! I'm serious! I think the poor slob lawyers who have been trying to enforce this marginal and retarded patent for the last 15 years are just SICK of it. They want OUT, even if it means going completely ABSURDIST and LITIGATING themselves out of a job. Good for them! GIF is stupid! Kill all GIFs, and let God sort them out!

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

vagrant@pigdog.org


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