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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Buy your digital camera and media now while they’re cheap because things are going to get a little more expensive soon. Microsoft, everybody’s favorite (by default, largely) operating system manufacturer, is going to start requiring the licensing of the FAT file system for consumer electronics. They’re pretty reasonable about the whole thing, if you consider 25¢ per unit (cap of $250,000) reasonable. Seems expensive to me, especially for media.

As the site itself notes, this file system has been free for the last 27 years. Why they start charging now—which seems like a trial balloon—is unexplained. I suspect that once the coffers start filling up on this one they’ll spread the love to other users of FAT, especially one fruit-themed company near and dear to my heart.

Do they have a right to do this? Of course. Does it seem like bad form to charge for something as basic as this after decades of giving it away to all comers? Definitely.