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Oracle Clings To Java API Copyrights

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the hold-on-tight dept.

Java 207

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about some of the ramifications of the Oracle-Google lawsuit. "You could hear a collective sigh of relief from the software developer world when Judge William Alsup issued his ruling in the Oracle-Google lawsuit. Oracle lost on pretty much every point, but the thing that must have stuck most firmly in Oracle’s throat was this: 'So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical. Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the implementation is different. When there is only one way to express an idea or function, then everyone is free to do so and no one can monopolize that expression. And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.'"

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Unix (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326513)

Can you imagine if Bell Labs had sued for control of the Unix APIs? We'd never have GNU, Linux, or many other projects that rely on those.

It would be a different world.

Re:Unix (0, Troll)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326629)

While I agree with the ruling, Oracle didn't sue for control of Android. The Java licence terms are fair: everybody can use Java IP as long as they implement at least one Java standard. Google couldn't get JSE to work on a phone, but could have implemented JME with little effort. Although I don't think that Oracle has any ground to sue, Google was quite a jerk in this case.

Re:Unix (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326679)

While I agree with the ruling, Oracle didn't sue for control of Android.

No, their motive was simply the same as every lawyer in the copyright business: "All your moneys are belong to us".

Oracle cant kill Sun or Java fast enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327309)

If you love Solaris its so hard to watch. Solaris is like family. All the crap, it went down hill so bad so fast, its frickn amazing.
Its time to dump the old girl, and her Java sister.

Re:Unix (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327899)

One note on this idea that lawyers are about taking everyone's money - it is akin to saying that software developers are out to take money from anyone who is a client of their development skills. Lawyers are proxies - they themselves don't do anything at all.

They are like paid soldiers on the legal battlefield. Lawyers don't have standing to sue anyone themselves, nor can they bring suits without a client. The client is the one who is suing, and the client is the one who has a claim. Lawyers can be paid hourly, or flat fee, or contingency percentage. In other words, if the client is asking the lawyer to bring suit, and will pay 10% of the damages in fees, then the client has agreed to that.

The real question is: why are you so indignant that lawyers get paid to represent clients? Do you hate the adversarial court system? Then legislate to change it. Do you hate lawsuits? Them legislate change to how lawsuits are brought. The idea that lawyers get PAID (heaven forbid) to represent someone's interests should not be a shock to you. We pay for all kinds of services from waiters to janitors to tax accountants to represent our interests, but if it is a legal representative, OH NOES!

I have family members in the legal profession, and they are good people - I get very tired of hearing about how evil lawyers are. If anyone is evil it is the CLIENTS.

Re:Unix (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328213)

There are too many lawyers that are too willing to say or do ANYthing for money. At least whores have limits.

That's not to say all lawyers are that way (I know a few who I believe to be good people doing good things), but too many are. As officers of the court, it is their duty to keep crap out of the courtroom.

As for the rest, nobody ever lost their house because someone hired a waiter but they couldn't afford one so they got their own sandwich.

Lawyers are hardly the only problem, but they (collectively) have the power to stop it and don't. They are also the public face of the very troubles system.

Wrong in quite a few ways. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326727)

1. You have to obey the rules to get the Java license, but your compiler, if it isn't being called java, doesn't have to obey them. dalvik.
2. The license doesn't require you implement at least one java standard. You have to implement a minimal functionality and can place your own in a different namespace. But you don't have to implement at least one java standard. But see #1 as to why this doesn't apply
3. dalvik was written because Google didn't want to implement java to their license, not because they couldn't.

Your assertion of google's jerkness is predicated on incorrect assertions.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327179)

Consider the many security problems Java has had wherever a browser plugin exposes it to the real world. Now consider how much more exposed an app on a phone can be.

Then you'll see why Google needed more freedom to maneuver than Oracle was willing to give them.

Compared to what?? Androd's horrendous record? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327229)

Android is not a secure platform by any means. Even the official app store is infected with malware.

Re:Compared to what?? Androd's horrendous record? (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327367)

Consider how much worse it would be if it was vanilla Java.

But most of that malware is of the Trojan type. It claims to be one thing, but does another with the unwitting permission of the user. That is quite different from circumventing a security mechanism to do something that was forbidden.

Re:Compared to what?? Androd's horrendous record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43328045)

There are still several orders of magnitude less Android malware than Windows malware.

And that's despite Android overtaking Windows in the OS market, and being poised to overtake it in installed base within a couple of years.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (1)

putaro (235078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327877)

That's just dumb. The security problem is that the sandbox has too large of an attack surface. If you're using the OS to contain untrusted code, rather than the sandbox, Java is just as secure or insecure as C or Perl.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327971)

Who said anything about the OS? Java is supposed to support a sandbox well, but in practice it didn't work out that way.

To have a prayer of making it work, Google needed to be free to modify the spec in a few critical places.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (2)

putaro (235078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328013)

Or don't use the sandbox. It's an added feature that most languages do not have.

Except that Dalvik is NOT A COMPILER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327213)

It is a binary translator. You can't do anything android without 1st compiling with a JAVA CERTIFIED compiler before you can run dalvik on the binary output.

Try building an android app without an Oracle or IBM java compiler .... and see how far you get.

Re:Except that Dalvik is NOT A COMPILER (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327453)

I've built java apps without either. Not sure exactly why you're having trouble with it....

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (2, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327299)

I wish people would stop thinking this is about Java. Its about Java Mobile Edition.

Now Oracle (or Sun, whatever) released Java with a permissive licence that said you can use it pretty much freely, but they kept the Java ME version to themselves, if you wanted the phone edition, then you had to buy a licence form Oracle. Google didn't feel they wanted to give Oracle a percentage of each Android sale so made their own very-compatible version.

Much as I dislike Oracle, I don't feel Google played fair on this, they took someone else's technology and effectively stole it. It doesn't have anything to do with Java the language, or Java that everyone (no longer) uses. Its all about the proprietary ME version.

Its not like Microsoft who used patents (IIRC) to extort a cut of each Android sale.

Its still good news for developers though, so the big boys - now all of us can copy whatever APIs we want. I guess any API that's out there is now effectively an open standard, all you have to do is write your own implementation. I wonder if Google'll see the funny side when someone creates a map and exposes it to developers using an identical google maps API. The Samba boys can write their own Active Directory with exactly the same external surface, just with their own internal mechanisms and there's nothing MS can do about it. Anyone could write a Facebook API as long as it uses their own internal implementation. This is still good news for us, but I still can't help thinking its feels like we'd be thieving someone else's designs.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (5, Insightful)

FrangoAssado (561740) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327651)

Much as I dislike Oracle, I don't feel Google played fair on this, they took someone else's technology and effectively stole it.

How exactly did any technology got stolen?

1) Dalvik is completely different from the usual Java VMs (Dalvik is register-based, while Java VMs are stack-based). That's how they got away with a VM that interprets (modified) Java bytecode without infringing any patents related to Java (as was confirmed by the "Oracle vs Google" case).

2) Android uses the exact same interfaces than Java, but that has been standard practice for decades (Unix, for example). No code between Android and Sun/Oracle's Java is the same, except for the stuff that must be the same to implement the same interfaces. The "Oracle vs Google" confirmed that's OK (as the summary says).

In the end, what happened is that Google didn't want to pay Sun/Oracle for a license to use Java mobile, so they implemented their own Java-compatible system (or rather, bought it from other people). That's how technology evolves. As someone else said here a few posts back: imagine if anyone wanting to do a Unix-like OS had to pay a license to someone. Where would we be now?

Oracle lawyers digging Oracle grave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43328119)

Imagine if Windows API could be copyrighted. Microsoft could claim copyright over ever app ever written, including Java, including Oracles products.

So Oracle lawyers are really digging Oracle's grave here. If they lose they lose, if they win they lose everything, All of their database business will be open to Microsoft infringement claims, all of their apps, all of Java, everything, will be there for Microsoft to claim ownership over.

They really don't see the bigger picture here.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (0, Flamebait)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327375)

The jerkiness of Google is they went against the direct wishes of the creator of the project. Sun wanted to make sure that Java was compatible with Java anywhere, which is why they sued Microsoft for adding incompatibilities.

Sun decided they wanted to make Java open source, but took measures to make sure any new implementation would be compatible. They did whatever they could to make sure it would be.

Then Google decided to make an incompatible version, apparently to avoid the J2ME license issues, but for whatever reason, they made it incompatible. Not cool.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (2)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327685)

Let me quote RMS on that one

The freedom to run the program means the freedom for any kind of person or organization to use it on any kind of computer system, for any kind of overall job and purpose, without being required to communicate about it with the developer or any other specific entity. In this freedom, it is the user's purpose that matters, not the developer's purpose; you as a user are free to run the program for your purposes, and if you distribute it to someone else, she is then free to run it for her purposes, but you are not entitled to impose your purposes on her.

Sun had a legitimate right to trademark the name "java" and control what could be called Java. But davlik is "java like" I don't see where Sun has any rights over a Java like language.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327761)

I don't see where Sun has any rights over a Java like language.

This is why you are having trouble understanding. I wasn't talking about rights, I was talking about not being a jerk. Ask Stallman what he thinks about xemacs, if you want a real analogy.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (4, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327839)

Stallman has defended right to fork long after XEmacs. At the time what he said was:

The long delay in releasing Emacs 19 is the FSF's fault. (In some sense, therefore, mine.) While it's regrettable that there are multiple versions, I can't blame people for filling the gap that the FSF left. One of the goals of the copyleft is to allow people to do this--so that one central maintainer's lapse does not hold back the rest of the community.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (-1, Flamebait)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327853)

I'm not sure if you are incapable of understanding, or if you are purposely acting dense, but I'll repeat it for you again just in case: it's not about rights. You have a right to be a jerk.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (3, Insightful)

putaro (235078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327895)

Implementing your own system that meets your needs is not being a jerk. Asserting rights that you do not have is jerky behavior. Oracle is being the jerk in this instance.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (-1, Offtopic)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327905)

Implementing your own system that meets your needs is not being a jerk.

It's orthogonal to being a jerk.

Mainly I suspect you're a fanboy who is trying to defend Google because you like them, because I suspect normally you would be more logical about the situation.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (0)

putaro (235078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328027)

No, I'm tired of companies and people trying to assert rights they do not have. BTW, this post is copyrighted by me and if you reply to it you will have to pay me $10 (feel free to call me a jerk).

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (-1, Troll)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328097)

You may be tired, and that may be the reason you lack reading comprehension. This thread is about being a jerk, not about rights. Please try to pay attention if you're going to post.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327933)

I'm not being dense I don't think Google was being a jerk. Google was doing what they thought was best. Google doesn't work for Sun. Just because Sun wants something doesn't mean Google is being for not doing it. I'm sure Microsoft wasn't fond of Open Office, that doesn't mean that Sun was being a jerk for not canceling the project because Sun objected.

I'm hard pressed to see what the difference is between what Google did when they created Davlik and what Sun did when they made Java from Oak.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328077)

Let's consider what you wrote. Here is your thesis: "I'm not being dense I don't think Google was being a jerk." OK, not a bad start. Let's see how you support it. Your first sentence: " Google was doing what they thought was best." Irrelevant. You can be doing what you thought best, and still be a jerk. Your next sentence: "Google doesn't work for Sun." Also irrelevant, being a jerk is orthogonal to working for Sun.

Thus far you've demonstrated you are incapable of constructing a coherent paragraph that supports your point. OK. The next point you bring up is vaguely relevant, but suggests you might not understand why forking someone's project can be a jerky thing to do.

Your final point about not being able to see the difference between Oak and Dalvik is so wrong that I can only conclude you are either an idiot, or a blinded fanboy. Get those blinders off so you can become your logical self again, please.

Also, learn how to write.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (3, Informative)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327741)

Differences. MS took Java, changed it, kept calling it Java. Google took the Java API's, changed it (where needed), didn't call it Java (Dalvik).

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327771)

I try to be polite, but in this case you deserve to be called an idiot. If you'd done any research at all, you'd find that Google refers to it as Java all over the place. Look at pretty near any API doc. Dalvik is the VM, not the language.

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (5, Informative)

LarryWest42 (220323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328269)

You're getting your facts wrong. Sun *approved* of Google's efforts, publicly and officially, in the forum of their CEO's blog.

Search (e.g., Groklaw [groklaw.net] ) for Jonathan Schwartz's blog from November 5, 2007:

  • "I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform, Android, Congratulations!"

And it continues in that vein, referring to Android as a Java-based platform.

This is after much discussion between the companies. The context matters. Google weren't being jerks.

Read up on the Oracle's lawsuit at groklaw [groklaw.net] for more factual background and generally reasoned commentary on the Oracle suit.

Larry

Re:Wrong in quite a few ways. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328295)

Hey, congratulations. You're the first person who replied to me in this entire thread who could write a coherent paragraph.

I'll check out the info, thanks.

Re:Unix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326759)

They didn't want control of Android, just billions in royalties from some one else's work. Oracle are in deep shit, their hardware (from Sun) is dying, and their database products are being replaced on generic intel boxen by good-enough FOSS DBs at a very alarming rate. They are absolutely shitting bricks, because at within ten years time or so, they're going to be in the gutter with many other bust tech outfits, relying on legacy banking applications for their bread and butter.

Re:Unix (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326967)

They wanted control of what Android has become. They would have had it: Google tried to negotiate terms that would have given them that. But they wouldn't grant the licence necessary to let Android become what it has become. So Google had to do something else. It worked out for us. Android would not have been accepted as fast, nor progressed as fast, nor been as lightweight, if Sun had taken that deal. We wouldn't have as many of these amazing new things.

Personally after having followed the case and read through what Oracle has claimed here I am unwilling to use anything from their company ever again - no matter how indirectly derived or loosely controlled. It truly is despicable.

Re:Unix (2)

Klaxton (609696) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327223)

Totally agree with you there, Oracle did not have anyone's interests in mind but their own and reached far beyond what they deserved.

Re:Unix (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327357)

I am unwilling to use anything from their company ever again - no matter how indirectly derived or loosely controlled. It truly is despicable.

- I came to that realisation probably in 2007-8, when I saw the proliferation of their drones disguised as 'contractor architects', whose only real mission was to push Oracle solutions into every single aspect of every business they managed to stick their tentacles into.

It's too bad Oracle bought Sun, it should have been Google or IBM. The fact that Oracle is the owner of Java TM and the reference implementation of JVM is extremely unfortunate (and it's part of the reason there is so much misinformation on Java in general, which I think is a marketing problem [slashdot.org] ).

Re:Unix (3, Informative)

devent (1627873) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327747)

Apropos misinformation. The reference implementation of Java 7 is now OpenJDK:
https://blogs.oracle.com/henrik/entry/moving_to_openjdk_as_the [oracle.com]
OpenJDK is under the GPLv2. So I don't know how Orcale "own[s]" the reference implementation of the JVM.

Re:Unix (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327061)

Google couldn't get JSE to work on a phone, but could have implemented JME with little effort.

Not true. Google didn't implement JSE because many of the libraries in that standard don't make sense on a touch screen phone. They cut out a bunch of libraries and they changed the I/O library. JME has different rules than JSE. Oracle was protecting its mobile business and wanted a cut of app revenue.

Re:Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326753)

Only if they'd won. Ownership law of decades past wasn't much different, so more probably we'd have an altered world where the precedent legal climate would be shifted but little dev difference I can think of. Oracle could and would manage to be headline-size dicks over something else, so I yeah I'd imagine about the same.

Re:Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326813)

Psychopaths clinging to greed. What else is new?

Captcha: rebels

Re:Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326859)

You mean, can you imagine of Bell Lab's hadn't sued for controll of UNIX. Bell did (well, it's parent, AT&T did). Otherwise we'd all be using BSD varients that were started, but then held in limbo due to the lawsuit. That's when Linux got it's start, and momentum over what the BSDs were doing.

Re:Unix (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327261)

You mean, can you imagine of Bell Lab's hadn't sued for controll of UNIX. Bell did (well, it's parent, AT&T did).

No, Bell Labs didn't sue for control of UNIX.

BSD was sued by USL (UNIX Systems Laboratory, which at that time was a spinoff from AT&T) because there was UNIX code in BSD UNIX.

It turned out there was more BSD code in USL UNIX so BSD countersued and the matter was settled out of court.

Although that was a setback to BSD UNIX, it's questionable if that was Linux's most significant advantage.

Re:Unix (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327717)

According to Linus Torvalds, it is the whole reason Linux even exists.

Re:Unix (3, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327713)

That's a myth from the BSD community. Absolutely the LAMP stack wasn't the BAMP stack. Possibly you can argue that Linux was ahead in 1994 because of the lawsuit but what about the 18 years since then?

There were niches like embedded where BSD was well established that they lost to Linux. BSD lost to Linux because:

a) They didn't care much about appealing to Windows power users who became the base of Linux. They focused on recruiting from the smaller Unix community.
b) They didn't have the GPL so they never got the industrial cooperation from hardware players that Linux got, contrary to their theories about licensing.
c) Their product is too damn hard to use, even today twenty years later.

Re:Unix (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327117)

But just to play Devil's Advocate here I'd say there is a downside in that no corp that doesn't expressly make their living using the GPL "Blessed Three" which is 1.-Selling Services/Support, 2.- Selling Hardware or 3.- The tin cup will touch a GPLed company with a 50 foot pole because this ruling as far as the corps will be concerned makes any and all code of that company public domain and thus worthless if you don't use the blessed three.

Now some may consider that a good thing, after all Red hat has been doing just fine for itself using the blessed three, but I think a lot of the asking price of companies like Sun was tied into the idea of taking a very popular but unprofitable company and finding a way to monetize it. Kinda similar to how many of the MMOs went from subscriptions to microtransactions and I think this ruling has made it quite clear that this approach simply won't work with a GPL company, like it or lump it you HAVE to use the blessed three with the GPL if you want to make any profits thanks to the redistribution clause.

Now I bet if one were to ask RMS about this he'd probably be in agreement and happy with this as its well known he is pretty anti-corporation but I think in the future when a company that is primarily GPL gets in trouble they are gonna find few bidders and the bids they do get VERY low for the size of the project. After all if there is no clear and obvious way to make a ROI why buy it in the first place?

Re:Unix (1)

willoughby (1367773) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327323)

WTF does public domain have to do with the GPL?

Re:Unix (4, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327745)

We just had a test of this on a major GPL company. Trolltech was sold to Nokia for $153m. Their product was GPL / commercial and profitable, though $150m was grossly overpaying. Nokia LGPLed it which killed the 2 distribution model and thus Trolltech's way to make money on software. When Nokia sold Trolltech to Digia I think it was about $5m total.

Re:Unix (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327849)

They effectively did, by suing BSDI at the time and by their descendants suing Linux. They even claimed certain things in K&R's book on C programming were "AT&T Trade Secrets" and "encumbered". Indeed, that was a major thing with AT&T at the time. If you knew how to program in C, you were "encumbered" by AT&T trade secrets and they (sometimes) would try to claim anything you did or developed as a result really belonged to them.

That was a common attitude at the time, which is why compilers of that era often carried encumbrance licences which claimed rights over anything you developed using the compiler and accompanying runtime.

Re:Unix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43328111)

They also lost decisively on pretty much the same grounds that Oracle lost.

Doh (-1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326515)

So much time, so much money and so many brains wasted with this. It's a pity, really. Asking a 5-year old would have yielded pretty much the same answer in 30 seconds, albeit a bit simpler than what's in TFS.

Re:Doh (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326587)

Don't despair. All the lawyers got paid a few metric assloads of loot. That's trickle-down economics in action. Working for the people.

Re:Doh (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326847)

Perhaps to the standards of ordinary people. However the real metric assloads of loot come from settlements in class action suits.

Reading between the lines (5, Insightful)

SinisterRainbow (2572075) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326603)

I'm always surprised in these types of articles that the main point is not about the US justice system which allows such crap to happen in the first place and the lack of reprisals against those bringing frivolous lawsuits. When there's little risk and high possible reward, they are going to keep happening. Why not speak their language and punish their pocketbook when they fail. Make it risky to abuse things or be ignorant about things (tho doubtfully the later).

Re:Reading between the lines (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326627)

Because it's very difficult to legally distinguish between a troll and a tiny operation with genuine innovation that has gotten screwed over by a large corporation with lots of lawyers, especially for the non-expert patent officer whose job it is to grant the patent.

Does it have a product? (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326731)

it's very difficult to legally distinguish between a troll and a tiny operation with genuine innovation

Does it develop and license significant know-how related to its patent portfolio? If so, it's genuine innovation (cf. ARM).

Re:Does it have a product? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327285)

Does it develop and license significant know-how related to its patent portfolio? If so, it's genuine innovation (cf. ARM).

That's a fairly good negative proof, but the absence is hardly a good positive proof. After all, most companies are in the business of using their own innovations not licensing them to third parties. Nor do small companies have a patent portfolio, they may have patented one or a few key innovations that their business model revolves around that would be their unique selling point. And demanding it be in actual use it is a lot harder for small innovators that are looking for funding/production/partners/customers than for a huge corporation that can afford to make 100 units in a "production run" even though they're never going to launch it to their millions of customers. The patent system already favors the big incumbents way too much.

Re:Reading between the lines (2)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327757)

Their are penalties for frivolous lawsuits. The problem is there is a huge range between bad lawsuits and frivolous. The bar is high for frivolous.

As an American I'd like to see more suits have to pass a quick summary judgement on viability. And much stronger restrictions on changing the initial fillings.

Google should have bought Sun (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326617)

Google worst decision was to let Oracle buy and cannibalize Sun. It would have saved us and them from all these nonsense. Also Google's philosophy is so much closer to Sun's: great engineering and giving back to open source. The only thing Google is different than Sun is that they know how to profit from their products.

Heck, if they didn't want to spend all the money on their own they could lead a group of companies to buy out the IP of Sun.

It's really a pity that Oracle got a chance to buy Sun. I couldn't have imagined a worst end for such a great company.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326697)

Google is careful not to get into a monopoly position in any market.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326719)

Was it a mistake? Oracle has blown huge sums of cash in acquiring and then attempting to defend and monetize Sun's IP. And what have they got for all of it? Linux is still carving into Solaris and Sparc market share. Java was already leaving Sun's hands long before Oracle bought it.

Oracle bought very little for a lot of money, and now they're left arguing a spec is the same as an implementation.

I expect Ellison to join Ballmer in the stupid executive's retirement home. Both have fucked up hugely.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326941)

Sure wish I could fuck up as rich^H^H^H^Hbadly as them.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327197)

Sure wish I could fuck up as rich^H^H^H^Hbadly as them.

Royalties from legacy products. Innovation? Oracle & Microsoft are in the same boat, scrambling for a life preserver. People aren't going to keep paying for Oracle and Windows if they're replaced by something that everyone else adopts (like they did Oracle and Windows...)

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327779)

What is competitive with Oracle for large relational databases other than DB2? Oracle financials, Peoplesoft, Siebel, JD Edwards...

I think they are fine for now.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327991)

PostgresSQL. If you're using the non-standard PL/SQL stuff in Oracle you're never getting out though.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327003)

Was it a mistake? Oracle has blown huge sums of cash in acquiring and then attempting to defend and monetize Sun's IP. And what have they got for all of it? Linux is still carving into Solaris and Sparc market share. Java was already leaving Sun's hands long before Oracle bought it. Oracle bought very little for a lot of money, and now they're left arguing a spec is the same as an implementation.

Not to mention with this case they pretty much settled it if Google starts going after desktop java with an enhanced Dalvik for laptop/desktop replacements. What would be nice though is if the Linux devs could get their hands on a GPL-compatible version of Solaris so they could integrate ZFS and some various other goodies, but I suspect you'd have to pay dearly for that.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327803)

ZFS is open source. Turns out it sucks on inexpensive (x86 quality) hardware, in ways that are unfixable even by smart people. Apple lost years proving that.

But http://zfsonlinux.org/ [zfsonlinux.org]

But Oracle's BTRFS plays the same role and is even better.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328009)

The suposed problem you are referring to (ZFS reliability on cheap USB hardware which ignores cache flushes) was in fact well known, and easily fixed. It just took a long time, as no one sane would run ZFS on USB hardware to start with. All Apple proved was that their engineers had a very shallow understanding of ZFS.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328257)

All Apple proved was that their engineers had a very shallow understanding of ZFS.

I wouldn't say that - they have an independent company now continuing the project and many people like it.

Steve Jobs killed the project because Jonathan Schwartz blabbed to the press that Apple was going to embrace it, and nobody punks Steve Jobs, or ELSE!

Eh? (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328361)

It just took a long time, as no one sane would run ZFS on USB hardware to start with.

Are you attempting to troll? ZFS on FreeBSD has performed superbly on my home NAS using USB hardware. But why take my word for it...

OpenSolaris Home Server: ZFS and USB Disks [oracle.com] :
"Together, USB disks and ZFS make a great team. Not enterprise class, but certainly an interesting option for a home server."

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43328247)

But Oracle's BTRFS plays the same role and is even better.

Wow, you haven't deployed either of them at scale, have you?

There's still frequent data corruption going in btrfs land and you'll be in for major pain if you try to host a VM storage file on it. They did recently fix the abysmal fsync performance, which is good, and a cursory fsck is available now. The kernel folks are still figuring out how to do cache devices in the dm stack and send/receive are still experimental.

The benefits to btrfs being what we want it to be are huge, so folks like Fedora keep wishing it were ready (default on F16... now maybe F20) but real experience shows it's not really out of alpha yet. Since Oracle is still selling ZFS, it would be hard to see why they would put significant resources into creating a free alternative at this point.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327755)

Oracle literally would collapse tomorrow if Java were to go away overnight. Oracle absolutely had to acquire Sun for the Java IP, no matter the cost. Had it gotten into the hands of IBM and had IBM pulled the shit Oracle just tried to do to HP + Itanium, Oracle would be fucked. The *ONLY* reason that Oracle is so screwed right now is because of Larry Ellison and his personal relationships. The original plan was for HP to acquire all of the hardware business, and Oracle to take the software. Then Mark Hurd got caught banging an assistant, and the rest is history. Ellison hired Hurd, they both tried to screw HP by ending Oracle support on Itanium (and subsequently had that decision overturned in court as well), and now Larry is stuck bleeding cash because he doesn't know how to sell a product that you can't lock a customer into. It turns out if your servers suck, people just walk away. They aren't tied into it by the balls like they are with his database. His solution is "engineered systems" - read proprietary software that they won't sell you to run on just any old x86 hardware (for those saying you can run it on any hardware, let me know how you manage to get hybrid columnar compression working on something other than exadata). Fortunately most of the industry is bright enough to see through the lock-in and continue to run Oracle software on standard hardware.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326747)

You've got that backwards. Sun needed Google. Google did not need Sun.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326755)

I read this as "Google should have bought the sun," which seems a fine idea for taking "the cloud" to the next obvious level.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

asshole felcher (2655639) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326843)

Google hasn't figured out how to profit off Motorola yet. The IP lawsuits are ineffective and the phone business is still reporting quarterly losses. Maybe they need to fire some more people?

Google's ad business brings in piles of cash and subsidizes everything else. Sun used to be profitable, too. Profitable enough to subsidize all kinds of things that didn't generate any income.

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327059)

Maybe if Sun and Motorola had merged, and made a good Solaris/Java-based phone/tablet platform?

Re:Google should have bought Sun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327887)

This. Larry and Sergei could have bought Sun for the change in their couch cushions. Google would currently own a shitload of Sun patents and they could have gotten most of their money back by spinning off the hardware business (to Fujitsu, IBM, or even Oracle).

There's a typo in this headline. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326625)

I know it's hard to believe that in 2013 there could be an obvious lack of editing in the Slashdot summary, but if you dig deep, you're going to find it, just like I did.

Touch down for common sense! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326649)

And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.

That's it. Who disagrees?

Re:Touch down for common sense! (-1, Redundant)

luke923 (778953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326933)

I'm sure LucasFilm does, which is why Motorola has to pay a license fee to use the term "Droid" for their Android phones. Also, I'm sure Cisco disagrees as well, since Apple pays a license fee for iOS. Granted, the latter is more an issue of trademark, but I'm sure a five-letter work classifies as a name or short phrase that was contained in a publicly-accessible work.

Re:Touch down for common sense! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327017)

The word "droid" is a trademarked word not a copyrighted word.

Re:Touch down for common sense! (4, Informative)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327065)

"Droid" is a valid Trademark vs. "GetCurrentTime()" being an invalid Copyright.

Re:Touch down for common sense! (1, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327249)

Trademark's not the same as copyright derp.

Try again.

Ann Droid vs technical documentation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326739)

Oracle kicks off its legal arguments with the tale of a mythical writer, Ann Droid who copies the titles and some sentences from a Harry Potter book and publishes her book. Oracle then argues that we would not accept that.
BUT, API's should rather be compared with writing an anatomy book. We all would have chapters like 'Introduction, digestive tract, neural system etc.'. So if the argument of Oracle hold, no_one_can write another anatomy book (or most technical books).

Dictionary (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327013)

The Java API is a dictionary of the words, punctuation marks, and grammar of the Java language. The only thing possibly covered by copyright is the layout and descriptions. Google didn't copy either.

Re:Ann Droid vs technical documentation (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327333)

The BBC [wikia.com] should sue Oracle.

Looks like a win for progress (1)

detain (687995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326795)

I hope this isnt an april fools joke (a judge making an intelligent decision) but assuming its not, this is a pretty significant win for developers in general.

Re:Looks like a win for progress (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327025)

No this is really old news. It happened last year. Basically nothing new has occurred. Oracle has just finished some of their paperwork on their appeal.

Does this mean... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327091)

Does this mean that mono is protected from Microsoft's .net in the same way? Not trolling, just seriously asking.

Re:Does this mean... (-1, Troll)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327209)

You wont get any serious replies. Remember this is /. and the vast majority of the people here are haters on anything they can't just take, no matter how much work was put into it, by whom. And they especially hate Oracle for having the nerve to try and make money.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43328121)

You've obviously never been closely involved in purchasing anything from Oracle or you'd likely have a different attitude.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327247)

doubt it, Microsoft never asserted copyright claims to the .NET API words, they do however claim to have a shed-load of patents that they won't use against mono should be become successful, honest.

Patent law being a lot more screwed than copyright law is, I wouldn't count on it.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327379)

Same as in not protected? Yeah languages of all types are not protected by copyright. Spanish, Klingon, Java, and new words like "lol" are not covered by copyright.

Oracle is based on copyright violations then... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327155)

They stole, and copied the entire IBM DB2 application as their baseline Oracle Database.

Code, language, API, everything - 100% copied...

WTF - sure wish IBM would sue for 100% of Oracle's Profits due to 100% copyright violation then...

Re:Oracle is based on copyright violations then... (3, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327813)

Just in case anyone believes this:

Oracle founded 1977
DB2 first version 1983

Re:Oracle is based on copyright violations then... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327911)

IBM System R database - lead from IBM co-founded SDL which became RSI, which became Oracle - sorry - grabbed wrong database name...

Still came from IBM Database code...

Re:Oracle is based on copyright violations then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43328139)

Oracle didn't steal IBM code, they took the SQL language, and algorithms and design work described in papers published by IBM, just as Hadoop is based on papers published by Google on MapReduce.

I don't think Oracle would dispute that IBM could've rattled some lawyers at them a long time ago, but they didn't. And it's too late now.

Hypocrite Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43327515)

Yet those at Red Hat/Fedora still continue to use Java. Yet, at the same time whine about Mono and C# and pantents. What a bunch of hyprocrites.

Trademark (1)

sproketboy (608031) | about a year and a half ago | (#43327845)

Why didn't Oracle sue over the Trademark instead? It worked for Sun against Microsoft.

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