AltaVista started in 1995. But an AltaVista search on "internet history wais
gives as its top hit http://www0.delphi.com/navnet/history.html , which explains
* Archie, from Peter Deutsch & McGill University, was already spidering and
indexing FTP sites in 1989
* WAIS, from Brewster Kahle & company, was full-text indexing content soon
thereafter (certainly no later than 1991)
* Veronica, from University of Nevada-Reno, was spidering and indexing
gopherspace by 1992
So these AV patents can't be nearly as broad as Wetherell implies in the
interview. More likely, they apply to specific optimizations of the spider-
index-search process that AV thinks they invented first.
Only time will tell whether those optimizations are really novel, crucial
techniques that others will pay to license -- or just more junk patents that
companies can afford to ignore, invalidate, or circumvent.
In the meantime, overstating the breadth of AltaVista's patents to the press
will only breed resentment of AV and CMGI as patent-abusers. For example, the
query referenced above will likely be *my* final AltaVista search.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:19:00 PDT