Re: Linux stifles innovation...

From: Michael H. Warfield (
Date: Sun Feb 18 2001 - 13:04:00 EST

On Sun, Feb 18, 2001 at 12:00:03PM -0600, Gregory S. Youngblood wrote:
> On Sun, 18 Feb 2001, Michael H. Warfield wrote:

> > On Sat, Feb 17, 2001 at 09:15:08PM -0800, Ben Ford wrote:
> > > >
> > > > On the other hand, they make excellent mice. The mouse wheel and
> > > > the new optical mice are truly innovative and Microsoft should be
> > > > commended for them.
> > > >
> > > The wheel was a nifty idea, but I've seen workstations 15 years old with
> > > optical mice. It wasn't MS's idea.

> > I think their "innovation" was not requiring the optical cross
> > grid mouse pad common on Sun workstations over the years. The Microsoft
> > optical mouse uses variations in the surface characteristics of whatever
> > it's on to perform it's function. The old optical mice just used two
> > different colors of LED's (red and IR) and a special pad. This would
> > actually have to scan and track the surface below it. Don't know that
> > I've seen anyone do that before.

> I remember being at a computer show in Minneapolis where a small company
> was showing off this mouse that worked on a variety of surfaces without a
> ball. I'm trying to remember if the mouse was optical or used yet another
> method of functioning -- I think it was optical, though I could be
> mistaken. This was in 1992/1993.

        I think you are correct here. I seem to recall mention of some
of those earlier devices at the time of the Microsoft announcement. I
seem to also recall some of the reliability problem they had. I believe
they were extremely fussy about the surface they were on.

> The point is, I really do not believe Microsoft made the "leap" to provide
> opitcal mice without the need of the mousepad grid. Their "innovation" was
> in marketing it on a wide scale though.

        I would agree there. They did something to improve the reliability
on a wider variety of surface textures, though. Is that innovation or
merely getting a good idea, that's been around, to finally work? Don't
know. I didn't find the idea itself particularly innovative. The fact
that they did get it to work reliable is something to be said.

        The marketing is a given, of course. Particularly in the face
of the preception in some camps that this style of optical mouse was

> I could be mistaken - if so then let's give them their credit - but I have
> a hard time believing it was their idea without some serious proof.



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