Reply to post: Re: Is it an attack on Rust?

Apple: Trust us, we've patented parts of Swift, and thus chunks of other programming languages, for your own good

Michael Wojcik Silver badge

Re: Is it an attack on Rust?

Maybe I misunderstood reading the abstracts of the two linked patents.

Don't read the abstracts; legally they have no weight. Read the claims, particularly the primary claims. (Endeavor to remain awake.)

I only skimmed the claims in the two patents linked in the article, but my sense is they boil down to "first pass separates C-syntax and non-C-syntax code segments, second pass takes those two partitions through appropriate language-specific compilers". Offhand I'm not thinking of prior art - obviously there are a lot of precompilers which translate a macro language or similar embedded in source TUs into the target language and then compile the intermediate output, but I can't name another instance of this "separate and do two things in parallel".

Oh, wait - Knuth's WEB might be considered sufficiently similar. Of course, the rub there is "considered by whom?". Unless it's the jurors in your infringement suit, it Really Doesn't Matter.

But it seems they are preparing to attack Rust.

I strongly doubt that. Big corporations patent stuff with wild abandon, for defensive purposes and because patents are assets. Unless you're in business as a PAE (Patent Asserting Entity, aka patent holding company, aka troll), it's rarely useful to threaten anyone with an infringement suit.

How would attacking Rust be of any use whatsoever to Apple? Other than Firefox (and forks) and Dropbox, what major projects is Rust used for? And while many people dislike Rust (the borrow checker is anathema to some programmers), it's also very popular - it keeps winning Most Loved Language in the Stackoverflow dev survey (admittedly by no means a methodologically sound study, but it's suggestive).

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