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Microsoft Patents Multithreaded Opening and Saving

By - Source: USPTO | B 34 comments

Microsoft has been granted a patent that provides the rights to multithreaded opening and saving of documents as well as all other files that can be edited.

According to the patent, multithreaded opening and saving is beneficial in scenarios where files become increasingly complex and large and would take too long to be processed in a traditional single-threaded way, especially when the selected document requires the launch of an application that is not loaded yet.

Microsoft's idea describes a three process pipeline, in which the first pipeline is leverage to load a document into an application and the second to execute the application process thread, including "tasks associated with operating on the documents". A third pipeline is employed to execute the load process thread. The structure is designed as a synchronization primitive for regulating access to a "circular queue" as the technology is configured to "pass tokens from the first pipeline as input to the tasks in the second pipeline," and the tasks in the second pipeline "are configured to pass tokens as input to the tasks in the third pipeline."

Microsoft already owns similar patents, including the right to multi-threaded processing of spreadsheets.

 

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    excella1221 , January 20, 2013 12:51 PM
    Yet another patent to help slow down the evolution of technology.
  • 18 Hide
    bigdragon , January 20, 2013 1:20 PM
    As a developer I see this as something obvious that shouldn't be patentable. Unfortunately, much of the government is run by a few clueless old people who make terrible decisions for the rest of us. I bet the patent office's approval rating would be as low as congress' if they measured such a thing.
  • 16 Hide
    dark_wizzie , January 20, 2013 12:08 PM
    Well, I don't recall having performance issues with simple Office, but multi-threaded can only be better than nothing.
Other Comments
    Display all 34 comments.
  • 16 Hide
    dark_wizzie , January 20, 2013 12:08 PM
    Well, I don't recall having performance issues with simple Office, but multi-threaded can only be better than nothing.
  • 4 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 20, 2013 12:34 PM
    I wish that patent was actually being used before 2003. SimCity 4 takes at least several minutes for cities to load because of my 10 GB of plugins (ranging from several kilobytes to dozens of megabytes), even after using DatPacker to turn them into a gigantic 10 GB file. Even worse when the cities themselves have over several million population.

    dark_wizzieWell, I don't recall having performance issues with simple Office, but multi-threaded can only be better than nothing.


    The main issue arises when you open gigantic MS Office files, or if they were created with a different version of Office (thus requiring additional time to convert them).
  • 4 Hide
    ojas , January 20, 2013 12:35 PM
    Why do i see a server in the diagram?
  • 7 Hide
    demonhorde665 , January 20, 2013 12:36 PM
    i don't see how MS can get this kind of patent , doesn't the patent office realize how important it is that something like this remain open ??? MS doesn't even make processors at all let alone processors that do multi threaded task. not to mention it helps cement the very thing that the US government went after MS over in the late 90's (that being monopolizing )
  • 23 Hide
    excella1221 , January 20, 2013 12:51 PM
    Yet another patent to help slow down the evolution of technology.
  • 7 Hide
    Onihikage , January 20, 2013 1:19 PM
    ARGH I can't stand this kind of patent!
  • 18 Hide
    bigdragon , January 20, 2013 1:20 PM
    As a developer I see this as something obvious that shouldn't be patentable. Unfortunately, much of the government is run by a few clueless old people who make terrible decisions for the rest of us. I bet the patent office's approval rating would be as low as congress' if they measured such a thing.
  • 4 Hide
    Shin-san , January 20, 2013 1:20 PM
    demonhorde665i don't see how MS can get this kind of patent , doesn't the patent office realize how important it is that something like this remain open ??? MS doesn't even make processors at all let alone processors that do multi threaded task. not to mention it helps cement the very thing that the US government went after MS over in the late 90's (that being monopolizing )

    They make OSes, and multithreading isn't about multicore. This mechanism is actually quite common. Applications, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, you name it, usually have a message loop. In that loop is the draw command. If that command isn't run, your application looks frozen.

    So, offloading the task to a thread on a single-core system would keep your app from looking frozen
  • 9 Hide
    chewy1963 , January 20, 2013 1:29 PM
    Programming methods should not be patentable... The program itself can be copyrighted. There is your compensation for innovation. Otherwise we're going to see program loops and bubble sorts patented and that is just ridiculous!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2013 1:37 PM
    Photoshop already does that. I don't know since then though.
  • 1 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , January 20, 2013 1:45 PM
    There's 1 million comments for patents like these Apple gets. Its not Apple that's patenting everything, they're actually quite late to the game compared to other companies, this is just the new reality of the broken patent system.

    Patent any little thing possible hoping you do get it. The cost to corporations for a patent is small, but if its used in something the licencing / royalties can be massive. Horrible game of blind darts with a broken system that in theory is to protect innovation and spur economic growth not stifle it.
  • 2 Hide
    str8cuse , January 20, 2013 2:21 PM
    ojasWhy do i see a server in the diagram?


    This shows saving a document client side and server side both of which could benefit from multithreading
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2013 2:33 PM
    Does this mean that I can open a file on multiple PCs and work on different sections then save the file and only the edited part would be saved and over written? Because the biggest problem I have is that 2 or 3 people need to work on say an excel spread sheet but only one gets access at a time. If this is the solution to the problem then hoeray! If it has nothing to do with simultanious working then the patent serves no other purpose than stagnating progress.
  • -2 Hide
    jalek , January 20, 2013 2:52 PM
    Three different delays instead of just one. Brilliant.
    The client Windows OS is just a bad file manager as it is, too many files and every file operation becomes an exercise in patience as explorer goes unresponsive as it calls for file scans, generates thumbnails, and prefetches, all because you clicked on a folder's icon to drag it to the recycle bin. If, while dragging, it passes over a shared volume, it's break time, it'll be a while before Explorer unlocks the folder.

    Sure, I can disable a lot of the ridiculousness, but why should that even be necessary? When the person is waiting on the computer to have time to respond to commands after doing the things Windows has decided are more important than taking directions from the meat puppet, who is the user and who is the tool?
  • 4 Hide
    devBunny , January 20, 2013 4:17 PM
    Patenting the blindingly obvious is truly a scam. A pox on all their houses.
  • 3 Hide
    teh_chem , January 20, 2013 5:22 PM
    demonhorde665i don't see how MS can get this kind of patent , doesn't the patent office realize how important it is that something like this remain open ??? MS doesn't even make processors at all let alone processors that do multi threaded task. not to mention it helps cement the very thing that the US government went after MS over in the late 90's (that being monopolizing )

    This isn't specific to muti-core processors, or even the processor area entirely. You can parallel-thread an application on a single core or single-CPU system and still benefit from increased performance or decreased dwell/latency for user input. It's not a hardware-level execution, it's an OS-level application. Without an OS or file-handling mechanism, the CPU is generally worthless, so there's no reason why this "invention" should be dependent on a CPU.
    chewy1963Programming methods should not be patentable... The program itself can be copyrighted. There is your compensation for innovation. Otherwise we're going to see program loops and bubble sorts patented and that is just ridiculous!

    It's an interesting situation. "Algorithms" are not patentable (I guess because they inevitably fall back to basic mathematical concepts--but developing a programming method can require a significant amount of investment and work--no reason why it shouldn't be patentable when other physical things that require the same amount of investment and work are. Then again, I disagree with the entire patent system in general, so if it were up to me, nothing would be patentable in the ways that they currently are.
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , January 20, 2013 5:26 PM
    For everyone complaining, this is certainly a software level operation. As in, this would have to be applied to a program specifically and individually, as is the case with multi-threading of any program. As for application, this would almost certainly be applied to something like PowerPoint, which even now can be slow to open full presentations with images, sounds, and transitions. I don't see what necessarily makes this an idea that MSFT shouldn't have patented. Just because it's a great idea that we think everyone should use doesn't mean someone doesn't have a right to patent it. It's sufficiently complex that they have the right to patent the process, a set three-channel method, and so far as I see it's limited to documents, not programs in general. This seems to meet all the thresholds for a patent under reasonable circumstances. For MSFT this would only really help with either OS level loading of programs, or Office. Don't really see how this limits anyone else's ability to experiment/research/develop with multi-threading. Can hate on MSFT for a lot of things, but I don't think this is one.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2013 5:41 PM
    How are things like these patentable? These are standard programming practices. Ive used them myself in various applications over the years.
  • 1 Hide
    Miharu , January 20, 2013 7:31 PM
    Make sense : 1 process read the header and execute the required application. 1 process load the file in memory and the third manage both thread.

    At least it's better than precaching an application with a service (which take time on startup and always take your memory).
  • 0 Hide
    PreferLinux , January 20, 2013 9:14 PM
    I think there's a slight issue in most peoples' initial understanding of this patent – mine included: the article title is misleading.

    The second paragraph of the article is critical:
    Quote:
    Microsoft's idea describes a three process pipeline, in which the first pipeline is leverage to load a document into an application and the second to execute the application process thread, including "tasks associated with operating on the documents". A third pipeline is employed to execute the load process thread. The structure is designed as a synchronization primitive for regulating access to a "circular queue" as the technology is configured to "pass tokens from the first pipeline as input to the tasks in the second pipeline," and the tasks in the second pipeline "are configured to pass tokens as input to the tasks in the third pipeline."


    So, the patent is not about making your software use multiple threads to load/save a file, but rather about using multiple threads in the operating system when loading a file in software.
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