Feeds

back to article Apple patents 'net-booted' OS contraption

Apple has patented a network computing setup that involves a "net-booted" operating system. First filed in 2006, the patent describes a means of "supplying a reliable and maintainable operating system in a net-booted environment". Apple is building a $1 billion – yes, $1 billion – data center in rural North Carolina, and no one …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Paris Hilton

So ... previous art?

Windows terminal server comes to mind

LTSP for Linux

Unix

Citrix might have done something similar.

Should I go on?

Paris, because she's famous for having done something everyone else does too

4
0
Silver badge

Not quite

With those systems, the processing is done on the server and the results rendered on a local display. With this system, it will send the software over to the client to be processed locally.

1
0

Patentable?

How is this patentable? We've had network booting for a very long time. Is the only difference that it's going across the Internet instead of local LAN? That would seem to be quite a small distinction.

4
0
Flame

Small distinction?

Can't be too small, since all typical "Netboot" scenarios require specific BOOTP and/or DHCP options to function. Apple has to be thinking of a different protocol or method to accomplish this and that certainly should be patentable.

I'm more concerned with how far reaching this patent is. Sounds like an amalgamation of prioprietary and open standards, which shouldn't be patentable as a whole. Thankful that my tax dollars are hard at work supporting the glue sniffers at the US PTO.

/sarcasm

4
0
Bronze badge

problem

Actually, the problem is that tax dollars AREN'T supporting the USPTO, as of Reagan's decision to make the USPTO a cash cow rather than a public service. Of the $2 billion in fees they're collecting in 2010, they have to give the government $1.88 billion of that(1). USPTO is a major government profit centre. Unfortunately, they don't get to keep that money to improve operations. Therefore, to make ends meet, and since they only get money if a patent is approved, they're approving everything that gets submitted. The fact that it's costing their country billions upon untold billions, and driving the whole "innovation" thing into the ground and burying it, is "not their problem".

(1) source: http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2010/01/director-kappos-on-the-usptos-lack-of-funding.html

5
1
Headmaster

Minor correction

"We are actively working with Congress and the Administration to find ways to retain funds in excess of the $1.887 billion spending cap"...

It's not that they collect $2B and only get a sliver of it. It's that they collect $2B and cannot keep more than $1.88B of it. What that means, and how that compares to the money spent in patenting things, I don't know. But it does mean they keep 94% of the fees, not 6% as implied.

3
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Prior art and what is patentable...

That's the crux of it. What constitutes as prior art and what is patentable is always debatable.

Bootp and booting devices from a server over the network has been around for a long time. So if Apple has a proprietary way that is unique and not obvious from what already exists, then it could be patentable. If it would be an obvious extension of prior art, then no.

0
0
Silver badge
Jobs Horns

No

Just No.

0
0

XenDesktop

Isn't this exactly how Citrix XenDesktop works? The users base OS, applications and profile are dynamically assembled by provisioning servers on demand. The resulting vDisk is then either streamed to a fat client that has PXE booted, or in this patent's case, streamed to a XenServer and run as a VM being accessed by a thin client over ICA.

Not sure if it's exactly the same but it sounds dangerously similar.

0
0
Silver badge
Jobs Horns

Really, really in the clouds - more Apple Tosh!

This concept is so bloody old it ranks with the Stone Age.

Dumb boxes for loading OS + features pre-dates even Apple's 1999 patent - well before Apple was recognised as a serial IP plagiariser.

Guess Job's wants to get his name in early - maybe there is a competition running somewhere to see who can score the number of patent applications in one year.

Could it be now that Novell has sold off it's IP, Jobs knows the new IP owners won't complain about his tosh, seeing how Apple is one of the new owners?

2
3
Anonymous Coward

Pre 1999

I'm not certain but I'm sure I remember apple offering something like this before 1999.

The user logged into his mac and his apps and files installed from the server and then quit when he logged out.

It's only a vague memory so I might be completely off.

0
1

More like Sun Ray or boot from SAN technology

Since the OS and Apps run locally this is not like XenDesktop , Windows Terminal Services or Citrix. I've seen Thin clients that boot from the network via PXE and then launch a client for these three types of service, but this particular implementation sounds like an early Sun Ray thin client or a Boot from SAN style deployment. Early Sun Rays booted from an NFS file system hosted on a Sun Ray server. A Boot from SAN deployment attaches a network block storage device (iSCSI or FCAL) and boots locally, typically only with servers though, although there's nothing stopping you from putting a Host Bus Adapter in to a workstation and using it to boot the workstation.

Some servers these days also contain an embedded Hypervisor such as VMWare ESXi or XenServer that can load an operating system from a SAN or NFS volume.

1
0

But

XenDesktop images don't have to run remotely. They can also be streamed directly to regular fat clients providing the base OS image you're using has had all the relevant hardware drivers installed.

Granted, the disk image itself is kept local for the duration of the session so I see your point about SAN booting, but I wouldn't want to try that over the internet.

EIther way, point is that it doesn't seem to be anything new.

1
0
Go

A "Mister Ellison" on line 1 for Mr. Jobs...

Hm, considering Crazy Uncle Larry's network computer dream and Sun's "the network is the computer" prior art... I predict another expensive lawyer face-off soon...

1
0
Bronze badge
Happy

Well...

I always thought "Crazy" Larry and Lord Jobs were very much best friends, especially as they both have a slight dislike of Mr. Gates.

Moving back on subject...

Why has everything got to be about the cloud/network? Yes some things work absolutely wonderfully when connected but some things don't. I do not want to be up on the Cumbrian coast, shooting photos and have to drive 20 miles to the nearest mast with a half decent to get my laptop to boot. Alright, stupid example but you get the point.

1
0
C 2
Grenade

a "cloud-based" Apple operating system

This has to be one of the DUMBEST ideas I've ever heard of.

2
1
Flame

Oh really?

You obviously live under a rock.

0
0
FAIL

Ancient indeed!

The earliest example I know of was on a token ring. The manufacturer was named Apollo and the OS was Aegis. They had a following during the 1980s.

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

1
0

Prior art

Prior art, prior art, prior art, prior art, prior art, prior art, prior art, prior art.

I think it might have been done before.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Prior art? yes indeed!

Yes, the system looks very much like a solution launched by Nokia Data in 1990 (or was it 91?).

It was based on Microsoft Operating systems and LAN Manager with propitiatory extentions and supported MS-DOS/MS-Windows and OS/2 on top of Ethernet and Token Ring.

It's first large scale use was for the computer infrastructure in the then new terminal 5 at Arlanda international airport (STO-ARN).

1
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

From 1980's, actually

1990? Earlier! I worked as a summer trainee at Nokia Data in 1987 and saw the diskless client system operating there already. I think Nokia had introduced it a year or two before that.

Nobody thought it was rocket science: The concept of diskless clients had been known about as long as LANs in general.

The clients were Nokia's MikroMikko II:s, which were built around Intel 80186. Not quite PC-compatible, but they ran a customised version of MS-DOS 2.0, and they had a really good flicker-free B/W screen that was normally run with black-on white text. Infinitely easier on the eyes than the screens of most PC:s of that time.

0
0
g e
Silver badge

If the software is sent to the computer

Then how is it different from having a networked mounted apps drive, in essence?

Slightly different mechanism, sure, your puter probably fails to boot if you don't wear a polo neck sweater or something, but it's basically the same thing you could do with Win 3.11 (?)

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Prior Art

Sun SunOS ND Boot + Root Partitions - late 80s

Apollo Aegis - late 80s

Sun SunOS NFS Boot + Root - early 90s

Sun WANBoot - late 90s

2
0

Re : Prior Art

+ BOOTP (1985) used by some of the above

2
0

Re: Prior Art

> Sun SunOS ND Boot + Root Partitions - late 80s

I was working on such systems in 1984, so make that early/mid 80s. We (or rather our parent company) had an agreement with Sun that meant we got Sun stuff before it went on general release to the world.

1
0
WTF?

re: prior art

Citrix Xenclient?

NXTop?

0
0
Jobs Horns

Obvoius and Prior Art

Next case

0
0
Jobs Horns

why

So whenever you do something there will now be some latency as it is downloaded and there is a fee to your ISP / mobile provider for using your bandwidth allowance and another point of failure when connections are lost (which shockingly they are... quite frequently really).

This sounds more about control that about usefulness... don't pay your subscription to Apple, no more computer.

Don't want the latest incarnation of whatever Apple call their OS in future, tough you get it anyway.

Apple are more like MS day by day.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Deep Breaths...

The OS is downloaded at initial boot time. After that, everything proceeds as it does now. Also, there is no requirement for the user's data or apps to be stored in "the cloud".

The advantage I see of this is that is removes the need for the user to deal with OS updates: the OS manufacturer can automatically update your computer's OS and you are none the wiser. Basically, like the current situation with Chrome OS, but without the computer handling the updates.

It makes more sense in an iPhone/iPad setting that in a traditional desktop setting (outside of a business environment where the IT department get to control the OS updates).

0
0
Happy

Another money spinner?

I think that one reason Mr Jobs has patented this idea is that Apple will be able to churn out dumb terminals and STILL charge Mac prices for 'em.

Nothing like a mark up of 1000% to get the juices flowing.

Oh, and before any number crunchers start to take my markup figure apart, yes, it was off the top of my head, just for emphasis.

0
0
WTF?

WTF

Virtual PC's BIOS will try to boot off a network if nothing else works.

I've had physical computers do that.

Half of my school computers did that, much to everyone's annoyance since it took an age for THAT to time out!

Still. Apple created the tech. All hail Apple.

1
0
Jobs Horns

Prior Art? No

For us sane people, Prior Art for sure. However, for the land of sheep and USPTO, there is no such thing.

*It is common knowledge that Lord Steve created the universe and everything within.*

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

Epic USPO fail ... again

Clearly this already exists, many of us have used a net-booted computer. That's what thin-clients are.

1
0
IT Angle

Sun Network Booted since the 1980's, through 1990's, and through the 2000's until today

I remember working on Sun 3/50's, 3/60's, and 3/80's from the 1980's which were all network booted and most were disk-less.

I worked on some later data-less Sun SPARC workstations that were network booted in the 1990's.

Sun introduced network booting over HTTP into their firmware in the 2000's.

Today, I work with Sun-Ray's, which are network booted.

I don't see much of a big deal in this technology - it has existed in the mainstream forever.

I remember getting into a letter writing exchange with a trade journal writer who claimed Solaris could not network boot, when I pointed out it could with forwarding documentation on how to do it, he responded that he could not test it in his lab environment (and he never corrected his operating system comparison article.)

It seems many writers in trade journals are too ignorant to understand history in order to provide rational level of reporting as to what the differences in network booting environments, in order to write about it.

I would be interested in seeing the difference between Apple's patent, historical technology, and some of the existing technology. Perhaps, Apple came up with something innovative, but at this point, I am not sure anyone really knows enough to figure it out.

0
0
WTF?

How to prevent Jailbreaking 101

Make all your i products (iPhone) boot from a central server and store user data on the device

0
0
Flame

Very strange

This is a very strange patent. I used similar technology in 1996 to push out Win 95 to hundreds brand new systems.

phuck apple and mr jobs too.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.