Very important reading today for anyone even remotely involved with building web pages: an article from CNet with details on how Microsoft's recent loss in court to Eolas could mean substantial workarounds for any web developer with pages that contain technologies such as Macromedia Flash, Java Applets, or Adobe Acrobat PDF files:
"If you're currently using a plug-in, you will have to change your pages quite significantly."
This is a prime example of why software patents are too easy to obtain and once obtained they can cripple innovation and standards compliance. Furthermore, far too much development has been allowed to be done, using plug-in and applet technologies, during the time since the suit was first brought against Microsoft back in 1999. If there were any benevolence in Microsoft they would have settled with Eolas long ago and dumped the technology onto the W3C's lap where it belongs:
"When you think about this, having to go around the patent highlights the stupidity of the patent system. Everyone in the field is very saddened by the whole thing... The W3C has worked very hard to make the Web remain patent free and this might be the one thing that screws it all up. It's really very frustrating."