Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Patent Hints at Net-Booting Cloud Strategy

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the steve-jobs-helped-chuck-norris-invent-netbooting dept.

Networking 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."

cancel ×

156 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

"Cloud"?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760988)

"Cloud"?? How innovative!! You missed the boat on THIS one, Microsoft! Hahaha!

Wait...

Re:"Cloud"?? (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761864)

Yeah, people have been using a cloud to represent the Internet in diagrams for ages. Who does Apple think they are?

really? Are they? (0)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760998)

How many times has a similar story been posted, and NOT been true?

Seriously?

How about instead, "Apple patents cloud booting technology?"

Google, Microsoft, Sony, et al, are also in the same situation. Stop saying they're going to do this. They probably aren't if history's to be believed.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761052)

Booting off a network is nothing new. You've been able to buy NICs with ROMs that enable you to boot off the network for decades.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

medelliadegray (705137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761128)

and after decades of with this capability, what percentage of capable systems actually do this? ... very few.

who would want this w/o strong encryption either: Maybe a telephone company, and their vendor locked in phone. "oh i'm sorry, it wont work w/o the net boot OS"

Re:really? Are they? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761282)

and after decades of with this capability, what percentage of capable systems actually do this? ... very few.

I have quite a few systems that boot from SAN.

And PXE boot is very handy for installing or when you want to boot off of a virtualized floppy.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761400)

and after decades of with this capability, what percentage of capable systems actually do this? ... very few.

Right, because it was a dumb idea when it was originally developed and hasn't improved with the passage of time.

Bootable USB and MicroSD have rendered it obsolete and only the Control Freaks at Apple would want you to boot over the air from the cloud that they control.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761852)

Huh? Netbooting is anything but a dumb idea. Used all the time in enterprise situations. It makes the lives of admins much easier.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762010)

I find netbooting incredibly useful. I frequently netboot new virtual machines. Or machines to which I have no physical access other than a network-based KVM.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761530)

and after decades of with this capability, what percentage of capable systems actually do this? ... very few.

No, lots and lots. It's extremely common for OS installs on both servers and clients, and also typical for Citrix/Terminal Services dumb terminals.

Probably 80% of the computers in our organisation have been netbooted at least once.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761576)

very few home systems use it. quite a bit of home systems have had the capability.

tons of enterprise systems have a use for it.

that doesn't mean it adds anything new. if apple has a "cloud capable os" that actually has any traction, it will defeat any reason to even consider mac hardware.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761774)

Apple has discovered that they don't like selling hardware. iTunes gets them more profit margin. They kill the Xserve line, and make a virtual product that any computer can use, and which probably requires iTunes microtransactions to run/install software.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761904)

Apple has discovered that they don't like selling hardware.

What? Of course they do. But you're also right. Here's what Apple will do -- first, all future Macs, except for the ultra-expensive top-end machines, will be glorified dumb terminals operating entirely in the cloud.

Jobs will finally leverage his synergies to bridge the gap between the mobile and desktop paradigms. Apple's new dumb terminals, resembling slimline iMacs, will be sold at the typical Apple markup on hardware, but will be less expensive than today's full-featured Macs, so Apple and the economy-weary consumer both see it as a win-win situation.

Are you game, Steve?

Re:really? Are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761994)

I think you hit it right on the nose...

Re:really? Are they? (2)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761140)

Apple have NetBoot, just simply press 'N' on boot to boot up over a network.

Re:really? Are they? (1)

1729 (581437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761194)

Yup, one of my office computers is a diskless iMac that boots from a network server. Works fine.

Re:really? Are they? (3, Informative)

ohmantics (960586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761240)

And that's exactly what this continuation of a 1999 patent covers: NetBoot of the original iMac. This is a non-story published by yet another blog that doesn't know how to read patents.

Fraught with peril (0)

mqhiller (688190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761054)

I imagine a tech support nightmare for supporting the Gentle Users. It couid work OK for IT professionals. I don't see this for mobile devices for the unwashed masses however... mqh

Re:Fraught with peril (3, Insightful)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761124)

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.

Re:Fraught with peril (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Fraught with peril (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761514)

Yeah I got that. What I said was doing that anywhere *but* a LAN is insane.

Re:Fraught with peril (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761202)

I imagine a tech support nightmare for supporting the Gentle Users. It couid work OK for IT professionals.
I don't see this for mobile devices for the unwashed masses however...

On the contrary, I'd argue it is exacly for unwashed masses. Because, the l337 IT proffesionals may use this by tricking the iPhone to boot from their "cloud" and "temporary jailbreak" their phone (reverting afterwards to the Apple/intercom cloud when they like), they won't be scared by a patented method.

ISP caps and slow DSL speeds will make this sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761342)

ISP caps and slow DSL speeds will make this suck.

Also just think how slow a cable node will get then a full block is netbooting / remote desktop.

Do want download 1GB+ to use your system per boot? Apple can even get up dates rights 800MB-1000G just for a mac os update is bad.

Re:ISP caps and slow DSL speeds will make this suc (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761658)

Unless Apple has in mind to change their OS to a very slim size, you are absolutely right: this is a show-stopper for the patented technology, no matter for which market segments.
And, of course, unless Apple knows something that we don't about how ISP/Telecom will bill their clients and expand their network/bandwidth.

Re:Fraught with peril (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761826)

Not really... your brand new "iPhone 5" won't boot from code not signed by Apple... the TPM [wikipedia.org] in it will prevent it.

yes, and it will be called (0)

spoot (104183) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761070)

FruitBoot. Boot your Mac direct from backend by the Bay. Or, diskless from the data center North Carolina, this is the Toothless FruitBoot. Not as attractive of an experience, but a more streamlined boot.

More likely ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761148)

... it will be called borgboot.

linux - PXE? (1)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761072)

Has Linux not been able to do this for years using Intel's PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment)?

Re:linux - PXE? (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761258)

Only on your own LAN, without a PXE helper to redirect traffic elsewhere. Presumable a "cloud boot" will go directly to the internet and boot from there. I just wonder if it will be encrypted (assuming you trust the place it boots from).

Re:linux - PXE? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761836)

Presumable a "cloud boot" will go directly to the internet and boot from there. I just wonder if it will be encrypted ...

If not, we can trust that it'll only be a matter of a few weeks before people find that their ISP (think Comcast for example) is inserting their own software into the download. And it may only be a matter of days before lots of Windows botnets have inserted themselves into the boot process, making all Windows "cloud computers" part of one gigantic spam/phish System -- let's just call it "skynet" and be done with it.

Of course, the way most commercial network encryption goes, even if a cloud boot is encrypted, the encryption will quickly be cracked. But we won't read about it for a year or three, so we won't know it's happened.

What, me cynical? Nah ...

Re:linux - PXE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761966)

boot.kernel.org - been there, done that

Re:linux - PXE? (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762020)

What's this PXE helper that you speak of? My DHCP server tells the machine "go download the bootloader named X from the server Y" and that's it. After that, the bootloader can do as it sees fit (like install Debian).

Re:linux - PXE? (2)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761308)

Has Linux not been able to do this for years using Intel's PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment)?

There are much, much better examples of network booting than Linux. Solaris for one, and it's old as dirt in computing years. The install media has a working PXE grub image which is integrated with their installer, which makes additional DHCP queries for install configuration. SPARC PROMs do the same thing, although skipping the PXE part. Grub itself will make one DHCP query for the location of a grub.conf, and I guess that's how Linux folks manage network installs, by embedding everything in a smattering of grub.confs across the network. Anyway, doing remote installs is a very common use of net-booting today, then there's Sun's thin client stuff, but I have no idea how prevalent those are. Provisioning has got to be the most common use.

Nobody is accusing net-booting of being new. It would certainly be new, and weird for Apple though if there is any truth to it.
Anyone who's messed around with it much knows theres a lot of room for improvement. Esp. if they use it for more than automated provisioning, that would be significant.

Re:linux - PXE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761348)

If you are going to criticize Linux, at least be up to date with your knowledge [ipxe.org] .

Re:linux - PXE? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761502)

The user didn't criticize Linux at all. All they did was stop another fanboi from hijacking computing history. Sorry if you fanbois can't accept the fact that the vast majority of what you hoot and holler about as far as Linux advancements were normally in place well before Linus ever sat at a keyboard*.

If your ego is so badly bruised by this fact then maybe you need to go educate yourself and sulk in private instead of looking like an ass on Slashdot.

*Yes, boys and girls, the OS that your lord and master ripped off existed long before he was even born.

Re:linux - PXE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34762304)

Linus was born in December 1969.

UNIX was started on the PDP-7 in 1969 (a few months = "long before"?), but the name UNIX wasn't even invented until 1970. UNIX was written in assembler then, since Ritchie only invented B in 1971; the actual port to C (which is where I consider the modern UNIX codebase to originate, though I understand not everyone would agree) was done in 1972/73. The UNIX most of us would recognize

Now there's two possibilities: either you, while (admirably) taking a stand for facts over Linux-is-the-universe fanboism, are engaging in your own spot of contrafactual UNIX-is-the-universe fanboism (in that case, educate yourself [bell-labs.com] ).... or you're just an AC troll (in that case, Troll Harder).

Re:linux - PXE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761328)

That was my first thought as well, though I can't get to the article from here the summary sure sounds like it. That and not to mention all the other custom netboot setups used by thin clients.

Re:linux - PXE? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761632)

PXE can't, but I would bet you could rig up such a solution using gPXE/etherboot burned onto a boot ROM.

Stack overflow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761090)

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.

Anyone got an English translation of this? It's giving me a headache.

Re:Stack overflow (2)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761174)

"Lot of assumptions, illogical jump to conclusions, wishing headaches to submitter's favorite company's competitors and actually inflecting it on the readers."

Re:Stack overflow (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761674)

"Lot of assumptions, illogical jump to conclusions, wishing headaches to submitter's favorite company's competitors and actually inflecting it on the readers."

And Slashdot's making money from it.

MitM? (1)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761112)

I hope they implement some kind of security so Comcast can't give you their 'customized' version...

Definitely possible (4, Interesting)

KE1LR (206175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761138)

Having spent the last decade deploying a very homogeneous collection of hardware around the world, the idea makes some amount of sense as an evolutionary step. I don't see this happening in PC-land (Windows-based or or otherwise) because of huge variations in hardware configuration. I can definitely imagine Apple moving to cloud-booting ipads/iphones/imacs/appleTV's/whatevers. Of course, at that point who really owns (pwns) your hardware? Hmm.

Re:Definitely possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761256)

My old (old, old, old) realtek 10baseT network card had a socket for a bootrom so that you could boot off the network...

I am not sure about window's capability to boot off the network back then but linux has been able to boot off the network for quite a few years now.

To be completely honest, network booting is so oldschool that I would imagine that most of the patents covering it would be expiring or expired and it's hard to think of anything which could be patentable unless they just added "from the cloud" to a existing patent...

Re:Definitely possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761458)

Windows went backwards with that capability. They had it but now they don't. I worked at a place where hundreds of Windows for Workgroups machines were remote booting off a backend consisting of IBM servers running OS/2. All of this on a token ring network. It was actually in production till at least 2003-2004.

Re:Definitely possible (1, Informative)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761454)

"who really owns (pwns) your hardware? "

Why are you asking that question on an article about Apple? Isn't it obvious?

Re:Definitely possible (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761802)

"who really owns (pwns) your hardware? "

Why are you asking that question on an article about Apple? Isn't it obvious?

Le'me guess... AT&T? (the man in the middle?)

Re:Definitely possible (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761790)

I can definitely imagine Apple moving to cloud-booting ipads/iphones/imacs/appleTV's/whatevers.

Of course, at that point who really owns (pwns) your hardware? Hmm.

Wrong question. The right ones would have been:
a. who pays for the data transfer when you switch on the iPhone/iPad? A good reason never to switch-off your phone (or a very good deterrent to use a phone that eats your data allowance and a bit over evry time you switch on the phone).

b. who the hell have enough time to wait their iphone to boot over internet? Or, for that matter, their TV? I still remember the pre-semi-conductors era TV-sets, using vacuum tube - about 1-2 mins for the TV to come alive. Wonder if the iTV-OS would download faster than that?

Booting via the internet? I have three words... (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761146)

Time Warner Cable.

It's slow as old folks fucking, and yes I've done a personal comparison.

Re:Booting via the internet? I have three words... (2)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761218)

-1 Ewww...

Re:Booting via the internet? I have three words... (1)

yabba-dabba-do (948536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762002)

And two more... SaskTel Max. The provincial (Saskatchewan, Canada) Telco offers a TV service that I used for about a year. I dropped it because their cable boxes netbooted. So every time the box froze, it would take 8 - 15 minutes to reload the image. The other guy's box stores the OS locally, reboot time is about 15 seconds. Oh, and Ewwwww!

Re:Booting via the internet? I have three words... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762076)

TWC, (at least the Austin, TX market) has an extremely good back end. I suspect you have a physical signaling issues across your coax segment. So just to be clear, I suspect its the level of customer/technical support you're not properly receiving. Because a well working TWC connection should provide exceptional bandwidth results.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761152)

In Soviet Russia, booting nets you a pain in the ass.

Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed idea (0)

mat catastrophe (105256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761172)

You know, the one where they stopped putting in floppy drives? What a bonehead move *that* was.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761276)

I'll never understand why something that caused so many users so much trouble is heralded by some as innovative.

While most PC makers approached the aging floppy disk situation by first offering to leave the fdd out, then making them optional but not the default, and then making them available on select models, and only then ceasing to offer them, Apple dropped support entirely with no regard for their own users.

This is an example we are to hold in esteem?

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761470)

What trouble was caused for users? People were already using zip drives and CD-Rs by then, and not to be condescending, but the Mac userbase had likely already shifted away from floppies, being full of creative professionals who dealt with documents larger than 1.44 MB on a regular basis.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761552)

i personally knew several Mac users who were not pleased by the change. My uncle, a huge Mac guy had trouble with the transition, our high school computer lab who somehow purchased several new machines without realizing their entire "hand in your assignments on a floppy" system was screwed, etc.

i certainly remember much weeping and gnashing of teeth from the mac people i knew, but perhaps my experience was atypical. didn't know any "creative professionals", just normal folks who weren't too pleased with the deal.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761508)

When apple finally left floppy drives out was when I'd already considered them obsolete for 5 years -- maybe your collection of data on floppies was larger than mine so you see the situation differently, but as far as I'm concerned they weren't innovating, they were just holding the industry back the least.

To explain "holding the industry back", consider the modern equivalent of the floppy drive: IE6. There is an awful lot of cool stuff in the world of HTML5 / CSS3, but we aren't allowed to even use HTML4 / CSS2 to its limits because some customers insist on sticking with the obsolete tech. If MS were to end support for it and everyone upgraded, we could take advantage of new tech, our lives would be easier, and our products would be better.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (1)

reidconti (219106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761600)

They were dead when Apple stopped shipping systems with them. And they merely shifted the burden to the user who had to buy a USB floppy drive. So it went from standard to optional. Note how when I word it that way it turns into the more graceful method you think PC makers used.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761780)

not really. there was a huge variety of software that didn't work with USB floppies. maybe not so much on the mac, i wouldn't know.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762130)

I was about ask you to name something that didn't work with a USB floppy, and then I noticed you had switched the topic from Macs to PCs. That might be the reason that PCs held onto them for so long. MacOS was able to take advantage of the fact that a floppy was treated similarly to a flash drive or any other virtual drive -- just another storage medium, rather than requiring special handling.

I suppose I should have said that flash drives and other virtual drives (images, for example) were treated the same as a floppy, but the point remains the same. The MacOS file system is handled significantly differently from the CP/M style used by Microsoft.

Re:Yeah, this reminds me of Apple's other failed i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34762308)

Why was that such a failed idea? By that point in time 1.44MB was pretty much worthless. Much better to boot from the USB that they popularized. Before you have a fit, read that again - yes, USB had been around for probably years, but no one was really using it. When the first iMac had USB and no floppy, all of a sudden there was a real need for USB, and it got popular. Apple did not invent USB, but they sure as hell made it usable and necessary. After that, USB accessories took off, for both Macs AND Windows. Funny how that worked out. Besides, Apple was the first to use the 3.5" floppy, why not be the first to drop it?

and then... (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#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... (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:and then... (2, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761478)

Conceivably Tech is one of the most detrimental "journalism" outfits I've yet encountered. I'm fairly certain their writing method is as follows:

  1. Find an event or patent from a big company.
  2. Pick a Fear Of The Week or a Competitor Of The Week.
  3. Pick a Technology Of The Week.
  4. State that the company is aiming for the Fear/Competitor by using the Technology.
  5. Pick a related image that doesn't explain anything.
  6. Publish.

We've all seen this kind of system before, used by psychics to predict various catastrophes. "There will be a water disaster in 2011!" covers everything from drought to blizzard, and they will take credit for predicting it. I suspect that's what these folks are going for, too. If their predictions don't pan out, they can always claim something's "done well amidst fears of..."

Re:and then... (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761668)

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).

To be specific, since Mac OS 8, as in classic Mac OS. And it's been in OS X since an early version of OS X Server.

Best evidence I could find is here [lowendmac.com] . This was part of the reason the classic Mac OS installer would allow you to do an install with a universal set of drivers.

Re:and then... (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761532)

What technologies today do people think Apple invented rather than perfected? Or is more this lame "I'm so cool, I'm going to bash Apple fans for being sheep" propaganda?

Re:and then... (1)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761682)

MP3 players.

Re:and then... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761618)

...after 2 years they'll have the majority of the world convinced they invented net-booting....

... because the version they cooked up is actually useful.

Re:and then... (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761854)

Yeah too bad booting from a network was/is already done... I guess Apple is the first company to throw the term CLOUD in thus they clearly deserve another patent

Your Mac comes pre-rooted. (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761296)

No need to install aftermarket botnets.

slowly? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761304)

Apple has been offering cloud services since around 1996 when they ditched floppy drives and offered online storage instead. Sure, this is new, but to imply they're playing catch up by "moving slowly" when they offered cloud services before MS or any other consumer OS reseller and are offering new services like this first is a bit retarded.

Re:slowly? (1)

puto (533470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761424)

It was 1998. Which two years in "internet" time is eons. Webobjects from Next technology, was used by Dell and a few other companies for their online presences before Apple bought them to save Jobs ass.

Re:slowly? (2)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761542)

See, this is how the Apple RDF works. You think that this is a new service and that Apple is offering it first when neither are true. There has been a multitude of hardware vendors offering network and internet boot appliances for a long, long time now.

Have you ever heard the phrase "The network is the computer."? If you don't know it's Oracle's slogan. Oracle released a diskless network booted workstation in 1996, the same year that Apple only started offering online storage.

Somehow in the Apple world this means that what Oracle did 14 years ago, and that other hardware manufacturers have been doing all along, somehow magically didn't happen.

Re:slowly? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761644)

OK I'll bite. Are you saying Oracle did all that, or are you being sarcastic about Sun now being Oracle? I'm confused.

Re:slowly? (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761768)

See, this is how the Apple RDF works. You think that this is a new service and that Apple is offering it first when neither are true. There has been a multitude of hardware vendors offering network and internet boot appliances for a long, long time now.

Have you ever heard the phrase "The network is the computer."? If you don't know it's Oracle's slogan. Oracle released a diskless network booted workstation in 1996, the same year that Apple only started offering online storage.

Somehow in the Apple world this means that what Oracle did 14 years ago, and that other hardware manufacturers have been doing all along, somehow magically didn't happen.

Yes, it is their slogan and has been for about a year and a half.

Re:slowly? (2)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762204)

Not only that but, being true visionaries, Oracle even put a SUN logo on their JavaStations.

Useless buzzwords (1)

Splintax (828933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761332)

From TFS:

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.

This sentence means absolutely nothing. Editors are supposed to edit the content that appears on the site, not just act as gatekeepers. :-/

Re:Useless buzzwords (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761496)

I was half expecting a generic pie chart to magically pop up at that point...

Conceivably Tech misses the point, again. (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761336)

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.

Sounds like.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761526)

iSCSI operation against a writable snapshot of a lun. Or various nfsroot solutions for linux. Or probably a number of other things...

This patent was filed in 2006, back when Apple was taking enterprise semi-seriously. Expect the validity of this one to be a moot point as Apple ignores it.

Re:Sounds like.. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761736)

Regardless of whether the behavior could have been done before, the patent would still be valid unless the average professional in the field would have done it as a matter of course.

Given that I've never seen a system with exactly this combination of write permissions, deployments, and automatic configuration, I certainly think it's novel enough for a patent.

Re:Conceivably Tech misses the point, again. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761556)

Tons of prior art in this, including from VMWare. This is just another bullshit patent.

Re:Conceivably Tech misses the point, again. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761612)

That might be related to the large (even by patent standards) list of patent references dating back to 1988. Prior art just means something similar has been done before. If it isn't done in the exact same way, the idea's still novel, and the patent's valid.

NetBoot in all macs since 1999 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761338)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netboot [wikipedia.org]

Initial release: January 5, 1999

Sheesh, Slashdot's collective concept of the second-most-used desktop platform seems to consist entirely of making fun of the hipsters that are supposedly the only people who use it.

Control (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761362)

As with so many Apple "features", this is about control. It does mean that you can run the main part of the OS on a powerful server somewhere, but in this case it would be Apple's server. Think you didn't own your iDevice before? Hard to jailbreak a device when the OS isn't even local anymore.

Re:Control (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761414)

No it isn't. It's a design for a server infrastructure that manages network clients, for example in a large corporate environment, with the ability to have custom OS images ready to go depending on the type of client without having to set up and prepare a whole load of specific ones. It has absolutely nothing to do with "cloud computing".

Seriously, read the actual patent. The article is just FUD and buzzwords and baseless speculation.

What? (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761412)

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.

Holy run-on sentence, Batman! Buzzwords aplenty, too.

On-topic: meh. This has existed for ages in local networks, as have the means to secure this over the Internet. I would guess the reason it hasn't been done yet is that it's just not very practical, bandwidth-wise. So, unless Apple has something very novel/unusual up their sleeve, I fail to see why this is particularly interesting.

MBT Shoes buy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761442)

MBT shoes sale have been billed as "the world's smallest gym." Their unique design has supposedly help wearer's tone up, lose weight, and even smooth cellulite, which has garnered the brand a lot of attention as well. they increase muscle activity, strengthening and toning of the leg, buttock, stomach and back muscles takes place during everyday activities like walking and standing.
Anti shoes of MBT have been used in training by olympic medalists, and other top athletes. And according to Swiss Masai Inc., other benefits of the shoes include: Increased muscle activity, Increased circulation, Encourages upright posture and relaxed stride as well as relief of Muscular Tension, Joint Problems, Back Problems Leg & Feet Problems.
Because of these benefits, cheap MBT Shoes buy are widely accepted and best sold around the world. You should own them.

More Information (2)

Tordre (1447083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761450)

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=I8V6AAAAEBAJ [google.com]

The article is wrong with the dates as you can see in the patent described in the article it was filed in 1999 and granted in 2006 but the article stated it was filed in 2006, and granted recently. This gave the author reason to believe that this has something to do with what apple is doing next which seems unlikely since they have had the idea for over 10 years and have done nothing with it.

Also from the article it sounded much like a Net-boot Linux distribution with a NFS shared holding the file system to be used. Something like my school has set up for student computers. This gave me an impression of patent trolling/prior art as it has been in place since 1997 at least. But it does make some alteration to what i have seen in practice, for one there are 2 places where a user can make changes to the OS, first is a network stored diff file system which tracks the changes from the end users system and settings files. So that a user can make changes to the programs installed and OS files (not that they have good reason to do so) this is then compared with a master OS image, this i would assume allow a user to have the same programs and settings across any computer. There is also a Local Shadow Volume which stores larger files which cannot be stored on the server due to quota restraints, caching of regularly used files and server write queues. Possibly also can be used to a disconnected client although they don't appear to state how much of the master FS is transfered to the client to make it usable if the network is disconnected.

That being said it can be seen as similar to what Google is doing in Chrome OS but chrome only boots from the server to restore the OS and not to boot every time. Also Chrome OS uses the local copy as the primary and the network copy as a backup but apples patent seems to imply the opposite.

Given the age of the patent this article appears to be someone trying to make up news during a slow week more than anything else.

Plan9 anybody? (3, Interesting)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761456)

Anybody remember Plan9? A not fully developed idea in it was of an anonymous workstation. The workstation would behave like a caching terminal which could run applications. Since it merely cached from the file server, and the same apps ran on all hardware, you could move from station to station without an active sync.

The hierarchical storage mechanism in Plan9 was almost instantly recognizable in TimeMachine. Basically, all data from workstations dribbled towards file servers which snapshotted to optical storage. To go back to where you were yesterday, just involved mounting your workspace with a /yyyymmdd/ in the path.

That would make alot more sense than an internet wide bootp....

or SunRay (1)

markjhood2003 (779923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761654)

Sun's SunRay workstation worked the same way. Boot off the net, instant access to your work at a meeting exactly as you left it in your office, including 3D graphics streaming from a GPU server. Ahead of its time in so many ways. I miss Sun.

Re:Plan9 anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34762056)

This should be upvoted to infinity. The Plan 9 operating system (still very much alive!) has been providing a sophisticated architecture for networked grids of machines booting from central fileservers for about two decades now. I just spent some time reading through the horribly written Apple patent, and I can't see anything in there that a grid of tcp-booted plan 9 CPU servers hasn't been doing since 2000 or earlier. The apple patent does focus on a lot of awkward jiggery-pokery with temporary filesystem copies, but I don't see anything that isn't really just a specific subset of possible scripted filesystem operations at boot.

This needs a nontrivial amount of data (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761474)

And that means a nontrivial bandwidth requirement.

If these do come out, and and get popular, then the ISPs get to decide if they like the bandwidth usage...

Nice. I like being able to boot without a network, thanks.

BOOTP over a Cloud (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761554)

BOOTP over a Cloud, or an Internet Server via HTTP? Is this truly innovative? LAN cards have been able to do it for years as well. Yes, not a "Cloud" but an Intranet..

Wait, DEC VAX Workstations could boot into a VMS Cluster across a network..

Again, how is this truly innovative other than the image repository is "not on my local network" and the transport "can be unreliable?"

Useless without a network? (2)

commodore73 (967172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761584)

Such as on an airplane? Or when my router needs a reboot? Or when my ISP fails periodically? Why would I want this? Are there no security implications? Consumers might be that stupid, but techs should not be.

I'll bet on it (1)

dogzilla (83896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34761630)

Given Slashdot's track record predicting Apple's imminent failures, I'd bet on this being a success based on the number of people in this thread claiming it's nothing new and that no one would want this.

Slightly OT rant on net neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761638)

Let's set aside for a moment the technical merits of said "cloud strategy" and focus on what the Republican party and telco monopolies want. If net neutrality dies, then Apple, or any other innovator, would have to not just come up with the technology to do such a thing, but also the licensing agreements with the telcos to carry the bandwidth. Apple -- or whomever -- would have to go hat in hand to ATT/Verizon/etc. -- saying "we have this new service, how much do we have to pay you to carry it?"

This will drastically increase costs, squelch competition, and shut small players out of the game entirely.

Great, everyone booting at 9 a.m. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34761998)

No network saturation at all, I bet. Ummm, I vote no. You can if you want to, but I want a modicum of control over my machine.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>