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Networking Operating Systems Patents Apple IT

Apple Patent Hints at Net-Booting Cloud Strategy 156

An anonymous reader writes "Apple has received a patent that hints at the intent of providing network computers that will boot through a 'net-booted environment.' It may seem that Apple is moving slowly into the cloud computing age and that it has many assets that are simply not leveraged in what could be a massive cloud environment that could cause more than just a headache for Google and Microsoft. However, it appears that Apple has been working for some time on an operating system, conceivably a version of a next-generation Mac OS or iOS, that could boot computers and other devices via an Internet connection."
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Apple Patent Hints at Net-Booting Cloud Strategy

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  • by Penguinshit ( 591885 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @09:35PM (#34761124) Homepage Journal
    No doubt. This technology is only appropriate in tightly controlled environments such as a corporate LAN. The problems with doing it over the public Internet range from noisy/slow/dropped connections to DNS redirection to "h4x0rpr0m.img". Insanity.
  • and then... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @09:48PM (#34761224)
    Apple will spend $50 million in advertising and after 2 years they'll have the majority of the world convinced they invented net-booting. (This article representing the first $20k of that.)
  • Re:and then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @10:01PM (#34761326)

    The article is nonsense.

    Apple has had network booting for some time now (hold N while booting, or select "network" as your default startup disk). I think the article is after some cheap clickthrough, or some cheap FUD. This is from a site linking to a related article citing OS X as "the most dangerous OS [in terms of malware issues] to use in 2010", based on some security company that "won;t give details, but claims the 'penchant for secrecy' and the '644Mb OS update' are sufficient reason to crown it the riskiest OS to use in 2010.

    So, ignoring the detailed security knowledgebase articles that accompany every update, including more in depth ones for people who want more detail is "secretive", and let's not forget, the lack of any serious malware outbreak on OS X in.... well, ever, let alone 2010. No one is claiming OS X is immune to security threats or malware/trojans/viruses, but calling it "the most dangerous OS of 2010 [in security terms]" is just nonsense.

    So, in my opinion, move along, nothing to see here.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @10:03PM (#34761336) Homepage

    The last thing we need is more patent FUD. The patent [uspto.gov] is quite clear on what it's intended for:

    2. Description of the Related Art

    Most organizations currently employ local area networks (LANs) of thick clients, e.g., personal computers. While this represents an improvement over the disconnected computing environments of a decade earlier, many limitations still exist. In current LAN environments, each client computer has its own local copy of operating system software, application programs, and user customizations to the desktop environment. Typically there is no centralized mechanism for maintaining a consistent system configuration in such a computing environment. Consequently, individual user workstations often get out-of-sync with each other as one or more users upgrade to newer versions of the operating system, upgrade their application programs, or install application programs that were not part of the original system configuration. Additionally, in this type of uncontrolled, decentralized environment, the operating system of a client computer can easily become corrupted. This is especially true with the Microsoft.RTM. Windows.RTM. 95, 98 and NT operating systems where user modification of a single system file can have undesirable consequences and require significant downtime. For example, editing the Windows Registry file could render a client computer unusable thereby requiring reinstallation of the computer's operating system software and all the application programs.

    In view of the foregoing, it should be apparent that administration and maintenance of current computing environments is complex and time consuming. Therefore, what is needed is a reliable computing environment that can be maintained more easily and at a lower cost.

    This has nothing to do with cloud computing. This has everything to do with managing a large net-booted environment, like a large corporation with a few thousand workstations. From reading the patent's claims, it's a design for a net-boot server that maintains separate boot volumes for each client class. Those volumes can be modified on the fly, without the need for carefully creating images.

    TFA implies that this may be a technology for Apple to have more control over iPods and other devices, by keeping the OS internal and possibly charging a subscription fee to keep the device booting. With today's systems, that's ridiculous. Downloading a whole working OS is impractical over current residential networks, and it kills one of the best features of handheld devices: they're ready at a moment's notice. It simply doesn't make sense for Apple to expect users to wait for a half an hour every time they turn on an iPod.

    The more reasonable in TFA speculation is that this is a push to have a bigger corporate Apple presence, but that's glossed over in favor of more outlandish claims.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @10:16PM (#34761444)

    They aren't patenting booting from a lan.

    They are patenting booting over an internet connection.

    And If you ask me, this has nothing at all to do with corporate, and has everything to do with Apple wanting Joe Sixpack's ipad/iwhatever to merely be an extension of Apple Inc, with nothing for Joe to fiddle with other than the one big on/off button.

    You were dead on about the tightly controlled bit. You just forgot who the patent was issued to.

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