back to article Apple patents OS X Dock

Apple has patented the OS X Dock, nearly a decade after the operating system made its public debut with a new slant on the taskbar. The late arrival isn't due to a lack of initiative, however. Apple applied for the patent December 20, 1999, and it was approved by the US Patent Office only yesterday. Apple summarizes the Dock …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Software Patents ...

    Have ZERO validity outside of the United States of 'Merka.

    Honestly: prior art. Zooming icons isn't computer science nor is it “innovative”.

  2. Yfrwlf

    Not Innovation

    I think this quote from Linus Torvald sums it up nicely:

    “I think that “innovation” is a four-letter word in the industry. It should never be used in polite company. It’s become a PR thing to sell new versions with.”

    “It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anybody actually use the magnification?

    IMHO it's bloody annoying (if purty) and fundamentally breaks the fairly important GUI paradigm that things should stay where they're put so as to make the best use of all that lovely muscle memory

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple have tried to protect UI patents before

    When they decided Windows 95 was an infringement to far, they took Microsoft to court and lost. Of course, that was a very different, and somewhat less competent Apple back then (during the leadership of the Coke salesman, I think). As a Mac noob, I like the Dock but still, I think this will be a difficult patent to enforce.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    I would have thought it failed that test for a start, especially as I've seen all sorts of mouse 'hover' actions on all sorts of desktops.

    I also remember the basic 'Icon Bar' concept on RISC OS 2 in 1987. Just about everything I've seen since then is an entirely predictable development (not necessarily an improvement)

  7. Brendon McLean
    Jobs Horns

    Thank you Apple

    Apple patenting the Dock is like news of someone patenting smegma. If only Apple itself could realise their "little baby" is actually more like a baboon's arse, then we could rid the planet of this travesty for good. Just what is the dock? Is it an application launch bar? Is it a task bar? Is it a place to store minimised windows (but not hidden windows)? Is it very confusingly all of those inelegantly tangled into one? Or is it just a gigantic pornographic platform for Steve Jobs to waggle his OpenGL layer in front of an audience used to 16x16 icons from planet ugly.

    RIP Apple Human Interface Group.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Dragging to docked applications isn't new

    "...and the ability to drag and drop files into applications on the Dock..."

    Well, unless calling it the "Dock" is the novel invention here then there is at least ten years of prior art for this in Acorn Computers' RISC OS released back in the day (or 1989 if you prefer, squire). That allowed you to drag documents from Filer windows onto application icons on the Task Bar to launch that application with that document loaded.

    Perhaps Apple really do have a Time Machine after all...

    ...Steve, 'cos, who else?


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't Convince Tog

  10. Fábio Rabelo de Deus
    Thumb Down

    Patent to DOC ?? ha!!! They do not invented it !!!

    For god sake, there are no one who had work in the past with Silicon Graphics Irix ?!?

    THAT was the first appearance of a "doc" , where latter IBM copied in OS2 and just after that Apple copycat it !!!

    If Apple get a patent on it I will really lost any faith in US patent office !!!

  11. Simon Wilson
    Jobs Horns


    RISC OS is an example of prior art for most of this:

    As usual, software patents are a big FAIL.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Since so much software is either made in, transported through or sold into USA an American SW patent is pretty powerful.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Brendon McLean

    " news of someone patenting smegma."

    Had me literally LingOL

  14. David Kelly

    Patents suck

    The US patent office is a travesty. Big corps file patents for all sorts of crap, regardless of whether they invented it or not. These days it pays to have loads of patents so that when you inadvertently infringe on someone else's ridiculous patent you have a few of your own that they will do doubt be infringing on as bargaining chips.

    The whole software patent idea should be scrapped.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    thank goodness, so noone else will copy it

    had a macbookpro for 3 months at new job, ended up finding it full of annoyances, like the dock. then I made it dual-boot linux and only booted OSX to manage the airport the boss made me buy.

    then I managed to palm the MBP off on a new starter and had a nice regular pc laptop which runs linux 99% of the time. I never miss OSX, and particularly not the dock.

    anon in case that colleague is reading.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Hey anyone seen Webster lately?

    I miss his wisdom and stunning outlook on articles about Apple.....oh wait thats just the $hit spewing out :) nm

    Though to add my two sense to this WTF??? I mean seriously WTF? Is it just me or is the US Patent Office a bunch of bullshit now? I live in the US so if I patent my pe*** does that mean I can go around suing everyone else that has one as they didnt pay me royalties first?

    US = FAIL!!!!!

    /anon cause of the FAIL comment

  17. Thomas

    @RISC OS fanciers, others

    The original version of the dock comes directly from NextStep, where the various relevant dates suggested it was invented independently of RISC OS and possibly a tiny bit earlier. This patent seems to refer to the zooming and labelling capacities it grew in OS X. And I'm pretty sure that both the NextStep and RISC OS variations on the idea predate whatever IRIX did.

    Both RISC OS and NextStep also came up with application bundles near-simultaneously and both introduced similar improvements in typography.

  18. Jim
    Jobs Horns


    Came out in early 2000 and was in beta in 99. I'd like to see an IP fight..

  19. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    Sure, AFTER STEALING it from Windows 3.1, 95, 98, etc.

    Oh come on, this one is so obvious ... after STEALING THIS off of Windows 95 (for the stupid Mac user, it debuted July of 1994 and OS X debutted early 2001), the GREAT iNOvator once again claims what Microsoft had long before.

    Now before you Apple Kool Aid Drinkers get your little girly panties in a bunch, the ESSENTIAL definition of a TTool Bar (oh yeah, that's what the INVENTOR MS called it) or "Dock" as the THIEF calls it, is the capability to have Applications launch from it that you can DRAG THERE, which Windows 95 DID and System 7, OS 8 nor 9 could do!!

    Oh yeah and BTW, NO versions of UNIX or BSD before WIndows 95 had any kind of Tool Bar or Dock where you could drag apps or tools EITHER!

    YOU! Have been caught STEALING again Stevie Gods and the Apple Cretans.

    Now, will the REG tards censor this too?

  20. Darryl
    Thumb Up


    If this means that I don't have to look at that annoying, obtrusive thing on any other OS'es, then I'm all for this patent. I think the 'Dork' is the main reason that I don't like OS-X.

  21. Sarev
    Paris Hilton

    @ Webster Phreaky

    RISC OS had the iconbar which you could drag applications to in order to launch them in the late 1980s. Or you'd drag a file of a type 'owned' by a certain application to the iconbar and the application would be launched with that file loaded. Or you drag a file to an application which is already on the iconbar to tell it to load the file.

    Just 6 years before Windows '95. Hey ho.

  22. Paul
    Gates Halo

    @Webster Phreaky

    NeXTSTEP would allow one to drag documents over an app on the dock and do one of several things:-

    If the app was running, it would pass inform the app to open the document.

    If the app wasn't running, start the application and have it open the document.

    The NeXT dock also had a recycler on to which users could drag unwanted files - similar to, oh surprise surprise, Recycle Bin (albeit this was probably taken from the Mac, as Jobs took a lot of ex-Apple Lisa/Mac hackers along to NeXT)

    If you look really closely at NeXTSTEP, you will even see the UI buttons used somehow make an appearance in Windows 95, but that's ok, as you're on your Apple-bashing spree, you'll just say that NeXT took the design from Microsoft... except NeXTSTEP was around before Windows 95 was even an idea.

    Oh, and your comment on Unix/BSD is somewhat moot given that the X11 Windowing System and window managers and desktop environments are somewhat independent from those systems. Even with that taken into consideration, I recall CDE allowing users to drag things from the file manager to applications in the dock. It seems that in your haste to troll, you missed out on something that was seen in most commercial Unix systems from the 80s and early 90s. I also suspect that OPEN LOOK did a similar thing - one could certainly do funky inter-application drags.

    Incidentally, the link to that blogspot entry is somewhat interesting, although it does miss out on an entire swathe of quite influential user interfaces, you might be better off using to actually research things before posting.

    So, to recap:

    NeXTSTEP 1.0 - 12 Oct 1988

    Windows 2.0 - 9 Dec 1987

    OPEN LOOK 1.0 - Apr 1989

    Windows 3.0 - 22 May 1990

    CDE 1.0 - 1993

    Windows 95 - 24 Aug 1995

  23. Tristan Young
    Thumb Down

    Not a new idea!

    Zooming icons, task bar, indicators - nothing really new or innovative - just annoying. How is that patentable?

    There is a similar (free) utility for Windows XP/Vista called Rocketdock.

    Personally, I think these sort of docks are annoying, so I avoid them, which is yet another reason for me to avoid Apple computers.

    My anti-Apple list continues to grow longer and longer.

  24. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    @By Sarev and @Paul .... Correct yourself.

    First off Sarev, "RISC OS" was not issued by or used by anyone in the US and we are talking about a US Patent. RISC OS was British , there is NO evidence I could find that it was was sold in the US. ..., but as you said it did predate BOTH Windows and ESPECIALLY OS X.

    Most importantly - Paul, Windows 95 with the first US Task Bar (Dockable apps) was first publically SHOWN in late 1994 WITH THE TASK BAR! I never wrote anything about first for sale. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is based on when first done and the proof was that MS showed it at the Dev Conf in Redmond (I was there along with 2300 other developers) in '94! There were press leak pics of Win 95 all over the place in 1994.

    Beside, there is NO Taskbar or "Dock" with and "dragable" capability on any version of NeXTstep ... before Windows 95 anyway! Proof?

    All Stevie Gods did with this "wonder OS" was rip-off FreeBSD anyway .... continuing his career as an OS Thief.

    So .... correct yourself. 8^P

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Still something new

    Sure, some features may have existed in other software, but only the Dock combines them seamlessly into a single interface.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    But you don't understand

    The new dock has "stacks"!!! This is the biggest and best innovation since OS/2 put "drawers" on the Launchpad!! All you non-belivers simply don't understand, these are NEW!!, these are _stacks_ you can tell they are new because it is spelled differently. Some people will never get it, Super Steve has lived through so much what with the fire, brimstone and pillars of salt and all.

  27. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Yup a dock is nothing new.

    Yup Fábio Rabelo de Deus is right, CDE (Common Desktop Environment) for SGI, HP-UX, etc... it was butt ugly but definitely had a dock. (I don't know if SGI's own 4DWM window manager did). OS/2 had a dock. Nextstep had a dock (which, given that OSX is Nextstep-based, probably is the true inspiration for OSX's dock). I'm pretty sure Stardock in fact has a dock app too (based on some googling, it'd be no surprise, they originally developed for OS/2). I've not seen RISCOS (the US has tons of ARMs but never got to enjoy any Acorns..), but I'm not surprised some older systems also had a dock. Apple really won't be able to patent very widely for their specific dock, since there's almost nothing unique about it.

  28. Clive Mitchell

    What is there to actually patent?

    I have a problem with the whole concept that this patent represents. Effectively the programmer has used a set of tools, the programming language, the OS, etc, and put them to the use that they were designed for.

    Seems to me to be akin to having a hammer and wanting to patent the idea of using it to crack walnuts. It's a hammer, hitting things is what it's for!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul re: Phreaky

    "you might be better off ... to actually research things before posting."

    Research? Crikey, mate - we're lucky if he *thinks* before posting.

  30. Washington Irving
    Jobs Horns


    I would have thought that Joshua Davis's praystation would count as prior art for the zooming effect. I always assumed that they nicked it off him in the first place.

    A bit like the two finger zooming and rotation they nicked off Jeff Han.

  31. Svein Skogen
    Jobs Horns

    Doesn "Prior Art" apply here?

    I think Apple will have a hard time proving that things like IRIX, Windows2, CDE, OS/2 3.x Warp, the "Norton Desktop" environment for Windows 3.x, etc wasn't older.


  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All of the RISC OS was after Next people should note that Arthur, the forerunner to RISC OS had an icon bar across the bottom of the screen in about 1987. According to wikipedia (yes, I know, but its the easiest resource available at the moment) The Next workstations/OS were only available in a beta test form in 1989.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Bunch of idiots!

    You're all a bunch of idiots - especially Webster.

    If any of you had bothered to read what it is that the patent has been granted for, it's NOT the generic area to store apps, documents etc. Apple even details prior art in the patent application.

    The patent covers actions such as fade-in rates, icon and cursor positioning, as well as the magnification factor when the cursor hovers over icons present in the dock.

    The patent goes on to detail circumstances that inspired the utility of the dock, citing Windows 95's task bar, the clutter involved with multiple windows open, the Control Strip from Mac OS 9 and before, and other sources.

    Before slagging something off, at least bother to read what you're talking about.

  34. Alexis Vallance

    @ Webster Freaky

    Who gives a fuck?

    If MS were so smart, why they ditch it and bring in their stupid Start menu, which is a pig to use and you spend more time keeping it tidy than using the thing.

    You can say what you like about the Dock, but it IS a cool thing to use and the best way of navigating between apps that I can think of, in any OS, at the moment.

  35. DrXym Silver badge

    OS/2 had a dock a long time ago, so did other platforms

    I really don't get what the novelty is here. OS/2 had a little popup dock where you could drag your favourite apps and files. So it didn't zoom or whatever... so what? That's just a stylistic thing. Windows has also *long* had the ability to drag icons onto the "quick launch" pane in the taskbar which itself has also *long* shown running apps. Before that you had docks and launchers in NeXT (as Jobs well knows) and other operating systems.

    I don't understand what there is to patent here.

  36. Ivan Headache

    @ Webster & several others

    Reading through the supplied links about Risc OS predating the dock - that is true but., according to Wiki (or at least the bits I've read), the Risc 'task bar' was NOT drag and drop. an app was used to put an icon into the task bar. Similarly, a document could not be opened by the simple act of dropping it onto the relevant icon in the task bar extra mouse clicking was required.

    My first mac came with OS7.1 or 7.2 (I can't remember now) and it had a dock then, it was called Launcher (it's still there in OS 9). It was truly drag and drop. It was configurable so that the user could set up subsets of apps or folders that appeared as buttons across the top with icons from the selected set showing underneath. (mine had buttons for Application, Games, Internet, Utilities, and Images (that contained icons to all my different Portfolio catalogues.)). An App could be added to a button just by dropping its icon on the button or into an open subset by dropping it in the open window.

    A document (or group of apps) could be opened just by dropping it on the relevant app icon - regardless of whether the app was running or not - also a document created with one app (MS Word for example) could be dropped onto the ClarisWorks icon (assuming you had the translators installed) and the doc would open up in CW. Similarly a jpeg (which would normally open in picture-viewer if double-clicked) could be opened in Photoshop just by dropping it onto the PS icon).

    All that (as far as I can tell) was not available in any other system. (certainly not Windows 95 - which wasn't even around!)

    With regard to the magnification 'feature' in the OSX dock - I don't know anyone who uses it after the first week. (Except for those who haven't realised that it can be turned off.)

  37. Jess
    Thumb Down

    @Ivan Headache

    "Reading through the supplied links about Risc OS predating the dock - that is true but., according to Wiki (or at least the bits I've read), the Risc 'task bar' was NOT drag and drop. an app was used to put an icon into the task bar. Similarly, a document could not be opened by the simple act of dropping it onto the relevant icon in the task bar extra mouse clicking was required."

    You can load an app by dropping it on the task bar or by double clicking from the filer. This works back to at least RISC OS 3 (1992ish).

    You can choose which app to open a file with by dragging and dropping it on the relevant icon on the bar. (The app needs to be running to appear on the bar. Having a shortcut on the RISC OS bar isn't possible (out of the box).

    Perhaps someone with a load of money could team up with Castle (who own RISC OS) to claim prior art then claim loads of royalties from apple. (Who would have been aware of Acorn/RISC OS, having previously made a false claim that the powermacs were the first RISC based desktop computers and having teamed up for the Newton and UK education project)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    IIRC the main reason that Acorn never managed to ship any Archimedes machines in America was Apple. Basically they were in a bigger company in a far better financial position and said something along the lines of: "If you release Arc/RISC OS in America, we'll sue you into liquidation."

    It would be nice to see Castle winning a case against them.

  39. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Wrong tool

    Hammers are no good for walnuts even if they aren't all sledgehammers. Hammers are what you need for coconuts, after draining them of course. Did one at the weekend in fact.

    For walnuts etc you need a newfangled thingy I shall call a nutcracker. Wonder if I can patent it..

  40. David Kelly
    Thumb Down

    @Webster Phreaky

    I'm having a hard time telling whether you really are as dumb as your posts suggest or if you're just trying to bait fanboys?

    As for this patent, the biggest shock is that it's taken a whole decade for it to be processed. Personally I'd love to see software patents outlawed altogether or, at the very least, limited to a reasonable lifetime given the pace of IT advancement; say two years.

  41. Law

    Software patents should be ditched anyway

    They are ridiculous and do nothing for the consumer. What they do do is stifle competition, and scare small developers into submission when a big company takes aim at something it deems as possible competition.

    Stop feeding the patent trolls and ditch them in software!!

    PS - I actually don't mind the dock... I just don't see it as a patentable invention...

  42. Dave


    Please pay attention: the patent has been granted. Prior Art is therefore largely irrelevant.


  43. Richard Porter
    Gates Horns

    Didn't Apple

    have a tie-up with Acorn in the educational field in the 90s? Wonder where they got all the good ideas from?

  44. Paul

    @ Webster

    "Most importantly - Paul, Windows 95 with the first US Task Bar (Dockable apps) was first publically SHOWN in late 1994 WITH THE TASK BAR! I never wrote anything about first for sale. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is based on when first done and the proof was that MS showed it at the Dev Conf in Redmond (I was there along with 2300 other developers) in '94! There were press leak pics of Win 95 all over the place in 1994."

    Your point being? NEXTSTEP was publicly demoed prior to that... now, I'd say more, but let's look at your next point first:

    "Beside, there is NO Taskbar or "Dock" with and "dragable" capability on any version of NeXTstep ... before Windows 95 anyway! Proof?"

    Congratulations! You've posted a link to an image! All that does is prove that you've never seen NEXTSTEP in action, so you see a static image and cry 'Oh, there's no drag'n'drop!' Well done!

    You see that row of icons on the right-hand side? That's the dock. You drag icons from the file browser window over to the dock. If they are applications, and the dock icon slot is free, your application now sits proudly on the dock ready for you launch by double-clicking it.

    A 'taskbar'-ish functionality was provided by visual cues inside the app icon. An ellipsis in the dock icon means that the application is not running. Not the best in the world, but certainly easy to spot apps that weren't running. Incidentally, if an app was running which wasn't in the dock, it would put a tile along the bottom of the display, along with any iconised documents.

    Now, like I said earlier, if you have a document you want opened, you can just drag the document icon over a relevant icon on the dock and it'll open up for you.

    Here is Jobs demoing NeXTSTEP 3. I am unsure of the date this was produced, but I think it's safe to say that it was somewhere around 1993:

    Pay attention to what Jobs says about the dock. He doesn't go into great depth, but is that enough proof that NeXTSTEP did drag'n'drop to the dock?

    There is also which appears to be NeXTSTEP 2. It's just a shame he doesn't show off the drag'n'drop capabilities of the dock to any great extent.

    "All Stevie Gods did with this "wonder OS" was rip-off FreeBSD anyway .... continuing his career as an OS Thief."

    Partially correct, partially hand-waving and trolling.

    Jobs took initially took on the developer of CMU Mach to work at NeXT. Mach was to form the kernel with 4.2BSD providing the rest of the underlaying operating system. Naturally, 4.2BSD is somewhat deprecated now, so what did Avi do when it comes to updating Mach for OS X? Use a recent descendant of 4.4BSD.

    So OS X isn't exactly a FreeBSD 'rip off', much in the same way that Windows isn't a 'rip off' of 4.3BSD for including a socket implementation based on that of BSD.

    "So .... correct yourself. 8^P"

    ...but there's nothing to correct?

  45. Mark

    re: Bunch of idiots!

    And Apple are a bunch of idiots paying to patent this then. Because if that is what is patented, then all you have to do to avoid it (and all benefit to Apple of a patent) one or more of:

    a) change the algorithm for how much zoom happens

    b) change the algorithm about where the pointer has to be for zoom

    c) change the algorithm about where the others go when they aren't zoomed and something else is

    Now either:

    a) Apple have patented the general idea and added bits like the specifics so that if the general case doesn't win (costing you money to fight a patent lawsuit), they get the next less generic patent

    b) Apple are thick as pigshit and like to waste money on patent lawyers

    Which do you think it is?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    RE: re: Bunch of idiots!

    What is with you wintards?! They filed a patent 10 FUCKING YEARS AGO! Get over it! Surely the fact that it took the patent office 10 years to grant it is more pressing!

    BTW Since 1976:

    Microsoft: 46932 patents

    "Apple computer": 6511 patents

    "Apple inc": 349 patents

  47. Hywel Thomas


    The main problem with Magnification is that it's too configurable. This is normally not a problem with a Mac. Usually it works one way, with some room for tweaking within limits. The problem here is that the default setting sucks. The icons move, so targets move. Makes it difficult to use.

    The right way to set it up is to have the magnification on, but only slightly larger that the normal size. Then there is valuable visual feedback without the problem of the target moving. Set up this way, it becomes a good feature. Used at the default (shop wow factor setting), it seems useless.

    First thing I do is not turn the magnification off, just down.

    It's odd though, that the people who don't like it can't simply switch it off.

    As for the patenting of it. Urgh!

  48. Law

    RE: RE: re: Bunch of idiots!

    " Microsoft: 46932 patents

    " Apple computer": 6511 patents

    " Apple inc": 349 patents" "

    And people claim M$ don't innovate!!! lol...

  49. Mr Blonde

    Hello there! just lay off Webster Phreaky!!!

    He's just a minor bot or should I say A" lilttle-BOT" (otherwise known as a phenomenon only known to kNee-jerk web-sites such as tHe reGisters esteemed forum and other worthy or WoRdY Internet-communities)

    Mac and Apple desgtroyed his childhood and all his "HOODS" in the dark years of Computer-Dark-aGes"

    Love a hoodie <3<>hate a woodie

    Love Your "Webster Phreaky " today before it's Testosterone-Day and all is lost or forwarded to the IRA...

    I för one welcome our alco-posting inhibitors overlords already

  50. Warren
    Jobs Halo


    BTW. which patent laywer R-tard allowed Microshaft to trademark the name 'windows' after all, they were aping the GUI environment of the first Macintosh OS's.

    all original GUI's were referred to as a WIMPS environment.

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer. once M$ successfully nailed down Windows, the rest of the industry recoiled and coined the term GUI. That's why the Linux and GNU crowd get upset if you refer to 'X' as 'windows'. They scream NO!! it's the X-windowing system!!! because they all hate M$ for stealing a generic word and making a trademark out of it.

    Now all you kids like Webster who only know the world since 1995, try reading about computer science and start with a CRAY super and start on from 1970, you may learn something.

  51. Pooper Scooper
    Thumb Down


    No...if Apple takes someone to court over this patent, prior art is *very* relevant.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Thank you Apple -- I HATE the "Dock"

    Some guys at work have boogered up their PC's with software that mimics the "dock", and when I try to use those machines, that crap dock gets in the way of the task bar.

    Sue'em Jobs! Get that crap dock software banned! Since we'll never have Macs at work, I won't have to see that junk any more!

  53. Anonymous Coward

    +1 dock

    It's cool.

    It annoyed me for a while (years), I used dragthing instead which does it all more neatly ... but in the end the dock with its animation and magnification won me back again. It's better.

    When did 'pretty' become an insult? If the dock was functionally identical but ugly I don't see how it would be improved. Windows is ugly, Linux is trying to be ugly (the scraps of skin it has have redmond tattoos). OSX is as aesthetically discreet as Apple hardware.

  54. Trix
    Jobs Horns


    Um, Apple "borrowed" the Windows GUI off Xerox Parc in the first place. Xerox didn't give a toss about showing it to all and sundry at that time (and came up with the term "WIMPS"). The Xerox 8010 was released in 1981.

    As for those justifying the patent by saying cursor positioning, and *zoom factor* equates to "innovation", give it a rest. Copyright the icon set. End of. Or do we start paying Apple whenever a user mouses over one of our webpage buttons at a 270 deg angle, and we do the button image size +200% thing, which I was doing in HTML 10 years ago? (Hey, I'm a bit less cheesy these days)

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @ Warren

    WIMP = Windows, Icons, MENUS, Pointer

    Here's a tip for you: Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia, or ANYTHING that Apple tell you.

    You are welcome.

  56. Mark

    "They filed a patent 10 FUCKING YEARS AGO"

    And the dock was in use 17 FUCKING YEARS AGO.

    If it's been seen by the public for more than 1 year, you can't patent.

    Hell, this prior art includes NeXTStep which Jobs was hugely involved with.

  57. Anonymous Coward


    Where? On what system? Did it work in exactly the same way? Are you a patent attorney?

    READ THE GOD DAMNED ARTICLE!!! They have not patented the idea of a dock, but the way THEIR particular dock works. Its a major feature of their operating system that no-one has asked you specifically to like. There seems to have been a glut of poor imitations of a Mac OSX style dock appearing lately and as discussed in a previous article Apple, like M$ (Lindows anyone?), attemped to defend a major part of their GUI TEN years ago.

    A little less kneejerking, more comprehension and joined up thinking required perhaps?

  58. Joel

    Those other docks?

    I don't think Apple will worry about those other docks that are available, mainly because they're marketed as offering the Apple experience on a PC or whatever, which, you know if people want to destroy window's GUI with a pretty Mac UI.. wouldn't that make Apple happy?

  59. Mark

    @Anonymous Coward

    If it's how it looks, you can't get a patent (design patent, yes), but this isn't a design patent.

    Patents were originally a grant by the crown to its cronies.

    Then they were taken out of the crown's hands and the reason for patents were to replace trade secrets.

    Try keeping this a secret.



    So the public pay in enforcement and the loss of rights in giving a patent and in return we get NOTHING we wouldn't have had if there had been no patents.

    And to answer your queries:

    KDE had this since 2.2

    CDE had this earlier.

    It came from NeXTStep before that.

    XFCE has it.

    If, as I said before (and I note that you ignored it) it is only this precise geometry (maths, huh) then the patent is worthless: you can change the ratios and how it reacts, removing the patent. If the "innovation" is so great as to demand a patent, why would ANYONE want to change it???

    Even Apple don't think it is wanted.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Had a dock like that..

    ..on my Amiga, darned if I can remember what provided it- was some thing with a MUI config backend, and worked nicely with MagicWB, and was really shiny. This was around the time of the first PPC macs, which were of course running MacOS "classic".

    Oh, and Webster Phreaky, what a fsckwit. Not just pretentious, but ill-informed, and barely able to construct a sentence. "Off of", 'nuff said.

    Paris, because even her comments on the situation would be more measured and better informed than Webster's.

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