RE: Oracle's Internet File System

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From: Meltsner, Kenneth (
Date: Fri Dec 29 2000 - 08:59:04 PST

I'd guess that either it was re-invented (the idea isn't that novel) or that
the patent was narrow enough (the integration of a "real" RDBMS with a
mostly off-the-shelf OS) to not cover this situation. Did BeOS allow you
to look at all files within a filesystem for a query without the annoyance
of walking through a tree of directory structures? That's the key idea in
this situation. I should be able to find all files created after date XXX
starting with "YYY" in the title without grinding through an entire
filesystem (like Windows...), and it would be great if I could set up a
"folder" that would have as its contents the results of a query without
incurring ridiculous overhead to do so.

The flexible handling of categorization and hierarchies in Placeless
Documents was also cool. It gave you the ability to drag files in or out of
a directory otherwise defined by a query's results -- adding the ability to
handle a simple operation that users expect a file system to provide, but
that a pure query-based system couldn't handle.


-----Original Message-----
From: Robert S. Thau []
Sent: Friday, December 29, 2000 10:41 AM
To: Meltsner, Kenneth
Cc: Adam Rifkin;
Subject: RE: Oracle's Internet File System

Kenneth Meltsner writes:

> The alternative is patented by IBM -- put hooks in a traditional OS
> so that the file system is kept in sync with the RDBMS. Usual
> OS-speed for simple file service + fancy games with metadata
> queries for other applications.

Hmmm... I thought BeOS used this sort of mechanism, mirroring the file
system metastructure in some sort of quasi-relational db in order to
support BQuery objects (which let you ask for all file system nodes
satisfying some set predicate, which can even be expressed as a string
something like the 'where' clause of a SQL 'select'):

This machinery has, I think, been there since Be's first release.

Have they licensed the patent?


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