Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Opposition Mounts To Oracle's Attempt To Copyright Java APIs

timothy posted about a year ago | from the but-larry-wants-it dept.

The Courts 187

An anonymous reader writes with a bit from Groklaw: "The remarkable outpouring of support for Google in the Oracle v. Google appeal continues, with a group of well-known innovators, start-ups, and those who fund them — innovators like Ray Ozzie, Tim O'Reilly, Mitch Kapor, Dan Bricklin, and Esther Dyson — standing with [Thursday's] group of leading computer scientists in telling the court that Oracle's attempt to copyright its Java APIs would be damaging to innovation." As usual, Groklaw gives a cogent, readable introduction to the issue.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Link? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885223)

Where is the link?

Re:Link? (5, Funny)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year ago | (#43885245)

Slashdot readers needing a link so they can read the article? I see why you posted anonymous.

Re:Link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885337)

[Note: I'm not the grandparent AC.]

I've been a daily /. reader for more than 10 years. I often click on video links or pictures at Nasa, but I don't read articles. Period. So I probably wouldn't have noticed there was no link unless someone mentioned it in the comments here.

Basically I come here for the TL;DR version of the articles and the discussion. I realize that doesn't work as well if nobody reads the articles, but it still won't make me read them. Anyhow, my conspiracy theory is that maybe /. has reached a tippiong point where whatever corporation currently owns /. doesn't get enough click-referral revenue, so they've stopped bothering to link to the articles?

Re:Link? (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43885355)

Re: Anyhow, my conspiracy theory is that maybe /. has reached a tippiong point where whatever corporation currently owns /. doesn't get enough click-referral revenue, so they've stopped bothering to link to the articles?

aha!!! I am inclined to agree with you. Though Timothy's history of bizarre posting behavior may mean it's just the same old same old, you may have hit upon the real truth with your conspiracy theory! I breathe along with you. [look up the meaning of conspiracy...]

Re:Link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885423)

I've been a daily /. reader for more than 10 years.

That's great ... then you'll be familiar with this: Whoosh

Re:Link? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43885773)

But if we have no link, how are we to know which server we shall melt away?

Re: Link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885301)

What do the supposed "editors" here do? At first I thought people were being overly harsh when making fun of the quality of story headlines/summaries, but over the past few minths Ive realized its actually true.

Re:Link? (1)

Curupira (1899458) | about a year ago | (#43885327)

Where is the link?

Well, maybe no link is better than the typical Slashdot behavior, i.e., linking to the blog of that infamous paid Oracle shill... :)

Re:Link? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886191)

Here [justfuckinggoogleit.com] .

WTF?!? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885267)

So Oracle think they can just jump in and claim ownership of APIs that are in the Java specification -- most of which were added to the spec via the JSR process? They have no chance here.

Re:WTF?!? (4, Insightful)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#43885309)

On the contrary, they were really good at making people and distro maintainers move from their MySQL to MariaDB.

Re:WTF?!? (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#43885873)

A Java fork would be great.

Get control away from shitbags like Oracle over to some kind of foundation. Get rid of the fucking Ask toolbar spyware, improve the platform more quickly, etc.

Re:WTF?!? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43886713)

Wouldn't that basically be Dalvik? Just work on adding the missing libraries.

Re:WTF?!? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#43886837)

No, Dalvik is a totally different type of virtual machine. It's register-based and uses the Apache Harmony class library.

Forking java would be calling it something else but reusing the HotSpot VM along with the standard Java class library. Oh and giving Oracle the finger.

Re:WTF?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886037)

This won't happen until MariaDB picks a better name or earns another decade of reputation.

Hint: Forks do not immeidately gain the reputation of the original project -- especially if they pick a worse name (how was that even possible in this case? dunno, but it happened).

Re:WTF?!? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43885361)

This may be a move to if not monitize, maintian some kind of ownership over the java brand? I mean, perhaps its a misguided attempt to exert ownership over the technology in the face of offerings like OpenJDK? I'm just trying to understand what Oracle's motivation is.

Re:WTF?!? (4, Insightful)

Aryden (1872756) | about a year ago | (#43885387)

Their whole point was to monetize Java. They want money from the "4 billion devices that run Java" which they aren't getting. It's not the branding they are concerned with, that is taken care of via trademark, this is all about the use of Java apis.

both money and control, The Oracle Way (4, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43885403)

perhaps you haven't heard. Oracle grinds the last drop out of the turnip and takes the shoes for resale on the way out of the conference room. there is a reason that Larry Ellison can spend 3 months a year racing sailboats and flaunt FAA noise rules flying back home after quiet hours night after night. it's called money, honey, and they excel in it.

considering it takes Oracle longer to patch an exploit in Java than it does for Apple to patch an exploit, if indeed they acknowledge one, perhaps it would not be a bad thing to let ol Larry take 120 percent of nothing, and standardize on another universal API across the web.

Re:both money and control, The Oracle Way (4, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | about a year ago | (#43885505)

considering it takes Oracle longer to patch an exploit in Java than it does for Apple to patch an exploit, if indeed they acknowledge one, perhaps it would not be a bad thing to let ol Larry take 120 percent of nothing, and standardize on another universal API across the web.

This is the correct answer.

Re:both money and control, The Oracle Way (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886593)

Compared to Sun's patch rate? You never actually worked with the bugs, did you?

I'll give Oracle credit, they're working well with the "openjdk" development to get Java out from under the burdensome licensing that Sun screwed up their own market with. And they don't *want* MySQL to succeed: they want it *dead* in the industrial space, so people will use Oracle's much more prifitable databases. They bought Sun to get the commercial database customer list, to shoot that incompatible Sun architectural oddness through the head, and to shut MySQL down.

Getting Java license control was a burden, which they're getting out from under as fast as possible. The Google lawsuit is a legacy of old Sun staff that Oracle inherited and daren't just abandone.

Re:both money and control, The Oracle Way (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886709)

The Google lawsuit is a legacy of old Sun staff that Oracle inherited and daren't just abandone.

No, it isn't. Jonathan Schwartz has made it clear repeatedly, in court even, that Sun would never have brought this lawsuit. And he did welcome Android's use of the Java programming language when it was announced.

Re:both money and control, The Oracle Way (5, Funny)

tolkienfan (892463) | about a year ago | (#43886753)

There's a difference between Larry Ellison and God:
God doesn't think he's Larry Ellison.

Why did Google 'copy' Java? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886333)

I don't know much about this case but it seems to center around Google replicating many of the Java APIs and creating their own VM for Android. Why did Google need to be interoperable with Java? Why start with Java as a jumping off point but, then again, not really? This is a fundamentally different situation from interoperability needs of file formats or SAMBA. This is nearer a situation of cloning... an issue for something like ReactOS, WINE, et al. Google is trying to have its cake and eat it too.

Re:Why did Google 'copy' Java? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886463)

AFAIK, replicated APIs were in java.lang.* - classes like Array and Exception which are basically baked in the specification of language. Even if you aren't going to touch Java the platform, you will need those if you use Java the language (you're aware of distinction, right?)

PS: So, are you saying that something like Wine is infringing, or that Google is not infringing?

Hey Timothy, wake up! How about the link? (5, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43885279)

Hey Timothy, wake up! How about the link?

Here it is in case you can't find it:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20130531131600482 [groklaw.net]

"Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Funds File Amicus in Support of Google in Oracle v. Google Appeal ~pj"

The End (4, Insightful)

PCK (4192) | about a year ago | (#43885303)

However unlikely it is that Oracle wins this, if this were to pass it would be the end of the software industry as we know it.

I really hope that somehow there is some kind of backlash against Oracle when this ends. Well I can dream at least.

Re:The End (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43885405)

Ironic Oracle pushed and pushed Java into the mainstream so it would be in the mainstream. It's a little late for what they are doing now.

Re:The End (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43885425)

It was Sun that did that, then perhaps IBM. Certainly not Oracle.

Re:The End (0)

Outtascope (972222) | about a year ago | (#43885755)

Incorrect. Oracle IS Sun, as successor in interest. Therefor the prior acts are entirely germane. Just as Caldera == SCO, Oracle == Sun (more so in fact, as the lineage is direct acquisition vs. the convoluted path that SCO took).

Re:The End (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886433)

I'm sorry, but a "successor in interest" is not responsible for, nor the cause of the actions of, the succeeded.

Re:The End (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886723)

Tagline: "Semantic nitpicking solely to declare someone on the Internet wrong"...Slashdot!

Re:The End (4, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#43885583)

However unlikely it is that Oracle wins this, if this were to pass it would be the end of the software industry as we know it.

I really hope that somehow there is some kind of backlash against Oracle when this ends. Well I can dream at least.

Oracle has practically every corporation in the world by the balls (i.e. all their corporate data is locked up in Oracle databases and business logic in Oracle applications). They could start killing babies and it wouldn't affect their bottom line.

Re:The End (5, Informative)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#43885649)

I was there in the days when "you won't get fired for buying IBM", and IBM VPs would get flown in to talk to your boss' boss' boss' to tell them that their 14th level underling was considering buying a non-IBM peripheral, and that while IBM encouraged fair competition, the presence of a non-IBM peripheral 'might' delay support response until it was proved that the peripheral had nothing to do with the problem, and "your company might have to be shut down while the problem was worked out." It was extortion, pure and simple. And it worked until they lost the anti-trust suit (which started in 1969, lasted 13 years!)

See where IBM is now. It could happen to Oracle. Customers don't like any vendor having them by the balls, even when they are nice about it, and Oracle has never, in my experience, been nice. But those are cool boats! :D

"Where IBM is now???!?!" (2)

brunes69 (86786) | about a year ago | (#43886285)

What do you mean.. worth 230 billion dollars vs. Oracles 160? Having 10x the EPS of Oracle? 19th on the Forbes 100 (vs Oracles 89th) ?

I would think Oracle would LOVE to be where IBM is now.

Re:"Where IBM is now???!?!" (2)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#43886917)

But IBM did nearly go bankrupt, and it is not at all the same company that it was then, either economically or socially.

Re:The End (2)

Rudolf (43885) | about a year ago | (#43887009)

And it worked until they lost the anti-trust suit (which started in 1969, lasted 13 years!)

IBM didn't lose. The government dropped the case in 1982.

http://www.hagley.lib.de.us/library/collections/manuscripts/findingaids/ibmantitrustpart2.ACC1980.htm#bioghist [lib.de.us]

... the case was withdrawn by William F. Baxter, assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division, Department of Justice, on January 8, 1982. Baxter signed a Stipulation of Dismissal that stated the government's charges were "without merit."

Re:The End (5, Funny)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#43886485)

"They could start killing babies and it wouldn't affect their bottom line."

Of course it would affect the bottom line. Do you think they'd be killing babies for free?

Re:The End (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886771)

They use them for fuel, or for food.

Re:The End (5, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43885611)

However unlikely it is that Oracle wins this, if this were to pass it would be the end of the software industry as we know it.

I really hope that somehow there is some kind of backlash against Oracle when this ends. Well I can dream at least.

I do not agree with you. I think Oracle should win this. It's going to get far worse before it gets better. I'd much rather sooner than later. For instance: If there were ice everywhere and I were an Eskimo, would you try to sell me the ice? No? Then why do folks think it's OK to sell me, a PC owner, infinitely reproducible bits? It's because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of information and work. A mechanic is not granted a limited (70 year beyond their death) monopoly over the work they perform. They have an infinite monopoly to leverage before you do your work, after the work is done and paid for, then you have no monopoly. You don't get to charge each time I start up the car. You shouldn't get to charge for each copy of the bits, you can only do so because laws that support the economically untenable practice of Artificial Scarcity. The work has already been done. You want more money, do more work. Make an estimate / proposal, agree on a price, do the work. Do not seek rent for those who use the work afterwards, get assurance your work will be paid for up front... Like every other labor industry already does. Then you can put an end piracy, by abolishing patent and copyright laws.

Make no mistake. This will happen. It is starting to happen that those who "Publish" content are not necessary. We can all pay the workers directly now. Publishers add no value to the work. They will become publicists / advertizers / marketers of your ability to do work, instead of resellers of artificially scarce bits. This is the first Internet Generation generation -- growing up with fully connected in the Age of Information. The business models will have to adjust. You speak of the end of the software industry as you know it. Indeed. The way it works now is down right retarding, and ridiculously out of touch with reality. Oracle should win because it will point out how stupid Copyright and Patents actually are.

Further: No Scientist can condone the practice of operating under unproven hypotheses. There is no proof that Copyright, or "the software industry as we know it" is actually benefical for society as a whole. No one did any test. They all assumed it was so because the English had a patent and copyright law, so do we. That's bad science, and if you are a scientist, yes even a computer scientist, then you should feel it in the pit of your stomach: That dread that you are running your life and the entire economy of the world based on an unproven, untested, untenable hypothesis.

For Shame.

Re:The End (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43885945)

There is proof in Oracle's behavior. ... or if we want to be literal highly probably odds that the sole reason for this is to ban Android and extort money from people and raise the cost of apps and phones and kill free apps on all but IPhones. Why else would Oracle do this and wow would they have a tight squeeze on the new mobile markets balls by this!

Copyrights are by their nature monopolies. Similar to patents but covers expressions rather than actual devices.

It can also be reasonably argued that this will hurt other unrelated software cases as lawyers quote other court cases as real facts until they are overthrown. MS could claim they own wine, samba, reactOS, etc. SCO could now claim they own Linux all over again merely because it contains sed, awk, sh, and has the same commands. If you make a clean room implementation then SCO owns it even if you write it. Thats what a copyright is a monopoly and owner ship of work.

Yes publishers too own all their work and can sue your for copyright infringement too by reprinting.

Re:The End (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43886105)

Back in the real world, how much would you think the asking price of the first copy of Photoshop or Lord of the Rings should be? And if your answer to that is to put it on Kickstarter, I'm going to laugh. If you want custom development it's going to be $50+ a day at minimum wage, many hundred dollars a day if you want it to actually work (if that's not a requirement you can put it on rent-a-coder too) and nobody's going to "take one for the team". And you've got no guarantee you'll get what you wanted unless you have an iron-clad contract listing exact deliveries with no cure, no pay conditions - and you still have to fight the developer over it. Hell, if any of those methods worked open source would already have taken over since you could hire people to work on it for you today, without changing the law.

People in general don't want that risk, plain and simply. I don't want to fund an author that is looking to write a book or even pay chapter by chapter if I feel there's a risk he'll just leave me hanging in the middle. I'd like him to write it, then I can choose to buy it or not. That is your analogy fail, I want to walk the proverbial isles of the app store the same way I walk in the grocery store, I want to see the finished product on offer and either pay or pass it up. That's how "every other labor industry does" but in your world everything in the store should then be free, because all the work is already done. Real world goods have overhead too, it's not like the price of a pound of beef is literally all cost attached to that pound, there were probably lots of fixed cost that'd be paid if that cow was there or not. But that overhead was spread across all pounds of beef the way a developer spreads his overhead (that is, actually writing it) across all the copies.

Or the TL;DR version: I think $1 for Angry Birds was a bloody good deal and don't see it happening without copyright to organize the "pooling".

Re:The End (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43887119)

First, no link so that no one can say RTFA (hell, the editor/submitter didn't even RTFA). Now, Eskimo metaphors instead of car metaphors? And also, Inuit or Yupik is more PC. I think the Mayans predicted 2013 to be the gradual decline of /.

*sigh* (5, Interesting)

Atzanteol (99067) | about a year ago | (#43885367)

As a Java developer let me just say - God I hate Oracle... Can't we just turn Java over to the Apache project now? They would be far better stewards of the technology. Christ *anybody* would probably be a better steward of it than Oracle.

Re:*sigh* (2)

adrn01 (103810) | about a year ago | (#43885413)

As a Java developer let me just say - God I hate Oracle... Can't we just turn Java over to the Apache project now? They would be far better stewards of the technology. Christ *anybody* would probably be a better steward of it than Oracle.

Everyone keeps misspelling that. Correct spelling is now:

As a Java developer let me just say - God I hate Orcacle... Can't we just turn Java over to the Apache project now? They would be far better stewards of the technology. Christ *anybody* would probably be a better steward of it than Oracle.

Re:*sigh* (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885479)

Typical Java approach. 3 lines of code for a two letter patch that changes nothing useful and doesn't match the documentation,.

Re:*sigh* (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43885927)

It's Oracle - as is the all knowing god. Orcacle is the sound made by a laughing killer whale.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885419)

And deprive Larry of doing what Microsoft didn't?

Re:*sigh* (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43885443)

The best thing you can do is to start moving towards languages with truly open specs and APIs, like C has. Go may fit the bill, but I'm not sure. The other thing is to do absolutely everything you can at home and at work, to stop *any* money going to Oracle and companies like them. Move towards open-source, or products from companies that play more nicely with others. If these companies don't get punished in the profit department, they don't take notice. There are enough senior people here and on other forums that a *severe* dent could be made in Oracle.

Re:*sigh* (5, Insightful)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#43885657)

And end software patents. And a pony.

Re:*sigh* (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43885825)

And end software patents. And a pony.

Why should we end a pony?

Re:*sigh* (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885905)

Tasty sizzling ponyburgers, that's why.

Re:*sigh* (2)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year ago | (#43885999)

See? Nobody cares about the patents.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885741)

Since Java is so ingrained in the world at this point, i wish you luck. I honestly don't think 'moving away' is a viable answer. Burning Oracle to the ground tho, might be.

Re:*sigh* (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43885903)

The best thing you can do is to start moving towards languages with truly open specs and APIs, like C has. Go may fit the bill, but I'm not sure. The other thing is to do absolutely everything you can at home and at work, to stop *any* money going to Oracle and companies like them. Move towards open-source, or products from companies that play more nicely with others. If these companies don't get punished in the profit department, they don't take notice. There are enough senior people here and on other forums that a *severe* dent could be made in Oracle.

No that is not the best solution because lawyers quote other cases like the laws of God of correct interpretation.

This means you can't use wine, reactOS, and maybe Linux itself as SCO can now claim they own the exact string of characters that spell out cat, dir, ls, sed, awk, shell, sh, etc. I believe MS bought rights to either C or C++ some years ago so they could claim printf is an intellectual property of Microsoft and you need a license to run it.

Severe dent in Oracle?? In the real world your bosses bosses boss makes the decision after a round of golf with Oracle or some shitty IE 6 app that meets a need that has Oracle specific crap calls in the product. You either support or get another job!

Besides I am playing with the Android SDK and no I wont buy an expensive mac and switch to ios or downgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7 to make some windows phone app instead. Why should I?

We need to fight this and pay the EFF and FSF and donate. Maybe if they filed friends of the court with Google it can convince a non-technical judge?

Re:*sigh* (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43886205)

I'm not talking about punishing Oracle if they win. They should be punished regardless, even for just bringing the case to the courts. As I said, there are many senior people here. Douchebag marketing only goes so far.

Re:*sigh* (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43886229)

If you start purging vendors from the company every time you don't agree with a court decision then you are unlikely to hold that senior position for very long. Also if you want others to "play nice" then do so yourself and stop trying to preempt the court's decision.

Re:*sigh* (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43886251)

Personally, I don't care about the court decisions. There is often a difference between legal and ethical. If people start avoiding companies that only respect one of the two then perhaps things will be a little nicer.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886473)

Go may fit the bill, but I'm not sure.

Go is BSD. You can rest assured Rob Pike and co. learned the lesson from Plan 9's mistake. They will not waste time and talent on anything less than free open source specs and implementations. Even now, in this language's infancy, they are making damn sure there are multiple implementations from different vendors targeting multiple architectures under FOSS licensees*.
Mind you, this isn't just some random act of benevolence on the part of Google. They're just hedging their bets following their bitter experience with Java and the failure of the ISO standardization process of Javascript\Ecmascript to protect the language from Microsoft's corruption (e.g. Microsoft is still extorting money from android OEMs over FAT patents).

* Google's own compiler along with the GCC one and even an LLVM prototype exist under Windows and Linux for both the ARM and x86. There's even more compilers and such under different systems and architectures...

Re:*sigh* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885785)

I think if Oracle "succeeds", it will be the final nail to the coffin of Java.

I have to say, after so many years, I've grown to *vicously* loathe the Java subculture... With its FrameworkFrameworkFactoryFactoryFactoryObtainerSinglton.obtainer.obtainingAction.get().executor.run(). ;)

I recommend just switching to Haskell, and live a new exciting life! :D

Re:*sigh* (0)

devent (1627873) | about a year ago | (#43885787)

How about the community in an Open Source project? Like, I don't know, OpenJDK? Which is now (since Java 7) the reference implementation of Java, and is published under the GPL.

So can we please set aside the hatred to Oracle? I am by no means an advocate for Oracle, but see it from Oracle's point of view: they think that Android is getting a free ride on the Java train and try to use lawyers to get a share. Rather then to blame one company, you should blame the insane copyright laws in your country (the USA).

PS: I'm a Java developer and a full time Linux user.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885837)

is that is like Apache Harmony?

Java is WHY Oracle bought Sun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886091)

Oracle are looking to make the most amount of money it can from its purchase of Sun and finding ways to sue people and get them to pay it more money for using Java is a key part of that strategy.

And while Oracle databases may be in businesses everywhere, nowhere is there a business that wants to do more business with Oracle. Everyone wants to contain that tumor to the smallest region of its IT business possible.

Oracle's thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885411)

Let's croud-source the work then patent the results.

I'm just hoping against hope that they leave VirtualBox alone.

No innovators needed... (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43885473)

.. to object to this. These good people basically say "it would be godawful if Oracle managed to get a copyright on APIs". What they should say is "according to copyright laws, APIs are not material that can be protected by copyright". Because that is what matters to a court. _If_ APIs could be protected by copyright (which they can't) it would be absolutely wrong for a judge to listen to these people.

(Why do APIs not have copyright protection? Because copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation. If a file contains just the API itself, it is not protected. If it contains comments, preferably in poetic form, the file cannot be copied, but still the API can be extracted. And making use of the API description is most definitely not protected by copyright law).

Re:No innovators needed... (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43885591)

The code behind an API can be protected but the interface itself being protected would defeat the purpose of the API. I think APIs fall under scènes à faire [wikipedia.org] .

Re:No innovators needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885707)

What they should say is "according to copyright laws, APIs are not material that can be protected by copyright"

Isn't it the court's work to decide what is and what is not material protected by copyright law? Trying to tell a judge what he should decide is not very... clever.

Re:No innovators needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886159)

Lawyers are expected to present legal arguments in court proceedings....

Re:No innovators needed... (3, Informative)

DrJimbo (594231) | about a year ago | (#43885713)

If you were familiar with the case you would know that one of Oracle's main arguments in its appeal is that APIs are currently protected by copyright and Alsup's ruling (against making APIs copyrightable) has upset the status quo. Yes, IMO Oracle's lawyers should be severely sanctioned for tying up the courts with such utter rubbish, but they haven't been (yet) so this is what the fight is about.

Given this context, these Amici Curiae briefs make perfect sense. Oracle is lying through its teeth about what the current state of affairs is in order to swindle the court and make a quick buck. It was almost essential for people to refute Oracle's BS&F lies in order to keep the legal battle grounded in reality.

The law firm BS&F has been filing bogus lawsuits like this for ten years now. They started by getting paid $20 million for the Microsoft funded SCO attacks against FOSS. They will continue to clog the courts with their BS & FUD until it is no longer economically profitable for them to do so. I think they should be fined $20 million (or more) for their cumulative egregious behavior over the past 10 years and that money should be used to compensate those who have been injured by their shenanigans. You need to catch them in the act and punish them right away or they will never learn.

Re:No innovators needed... (2)

davecb (6526) | about a year ago | (#43886323)

The law is predicated on the results being desirable: monopolies are illegal unless they fit the terms of the (U.S.) copyright act, authorized by the constitution. If the result is a catastrophy, the law is unconstitutional.

That is what is important to the courts.

--dave

Be careful where you tread (3, Interesting)

sk999 (846068) | about a year ago | (#43885671)

If Java API's are copyrightable, does this mean that Oracle has a copyright interest in every program ever written that uses those APIs? Does every Java programmer need to add a comment "Copyright Oracle" to every file that uses a Java API?

The software industry as a whole has been very cavalier about APIs. It is not hard to find examples of big vendors like Microsoft, IBM, or DEC claiming copyright ownership of APIs taken from elsewhere. In return, rarely, if ever, do they become involved in litigation claiming ownership. Some vendors (e.g., The Open Group) consider use of APIs (including implementation) to be covered by "fair use".

Oracle wants to tread in waters that the industry as a whole has deliberately avoided in the past.

I am not a Java developer, and give the way that Oracle has turned the language into toxic waste, I doubt I will ever become one.

Re:Be careful where you tread (1)

drgould (24404) | about a year ago | (#43885853)

If Java API's are copyrightable, does this mean that Oracle has a copyright interest in every program ever written that uses those APIs?

Oracle's purpose in claiming the copyright on the Java API is not to claim derivative copyright interest on programs written in Java. Well, maybe later.

Oracle's purpose is to collect license fees from anyone who uses the Java APIs.

And since Android uses the Java APIs, that includes Google and all Android developers.

Re:Be careful where you tread (4, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43885867)

No it doesn't.

However, if you were Google or IceTea you couldn't make a clean room implementation as the words and phrases to make a program source compatible is owned by Oracle.

By extension you must now pay Oracle $999 for JavaSE or whatever the fuck Oracle wants to charge as no competition is allowed to exist.

Microsoft would also use this to end SAMBA (A.D compatibility for Linux and MacOSX), Wine, and ReactOS. After all MS would own the exact words and strings of characters of each API call and can quote this case as an example.

Sco can rise from the grave too and claim they own sh, sed, awk, ed, vi, cat, and all of unix because it looks the same and has the same characters as Unixware etc cleanroom implementation or not.

Re:Be careful where you tread (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43885917)

If Java API's are copyrightable, does this mean that Oracle has a copyright interest in every program ever written that uses those APIs? Does every Java programmer need to add a comment "Copyright Oracle" to every file that uses a Java API?

That's what Oracle claims, but even that conclusion is very dubious (if we ignore the premise, which is not dubious but plain wrong). I think Microsoft tried to create a Java-like language, or an incompatible Java implementation years ago. So if Microsoft wrote an API for that implementation, that could be a work derived from Oracle's API and might infringe Oracle's copyright. However, if Google purchased or legally downloaded the documentation with Java APIs from Oracle's website, didn't make any copies and gave them to their programmers, then no copyright infringement. Code that implements an API is not derived from the API. That's similar to a customer writing requirements for software that you should develop for them; the requirements document might be protected to some degree, but the software that you write to deliver these requirements is not derived from the requirements in the sense that copyright law defines "derived".

Re:Be careful where you tread (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43887187)

If Java API's are copyrightable, does this mean that Oracle has a copyright interest in every program ever written that uses those APIs?

They would be a derivative work, so arguably, yes. IMO, if Oracle somehow magically wins this case, Google's next move should be to buy Novell and counter-sue Oracle for violating their UNIX API copyright for the past 31 years, at which point, it's buh-bye, Oracle.

Still ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885725)

I thought this was already settled, in court?

Re:Still ? (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43885879)

Already decided in court? Yes. Settled? Far from it.

This is about Oracle trying to appeal the former decision.

Groklaw's Gas Pedal analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885757)

Sorry, that's spurious. The layout of controls in a passenger car cabin (and for that matter, the menu items in a GUI product) are usability factors for the consumer of the product. APIs are buried and are issues to developers (engineers) of products and services. End users don't interact with them directly. Let's not "dumb down" the issue by making analogies that don't really apply.

Re:Groklaw's Gas Pedal analogy (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43885855)

The users of Java are the developers of Java programs. The end users use Java in the same sense as someone taking a taxi uses a car. You don't care where the gas pedal is in the taxi you're taking, as long as the taxi driver is able to correctly use it. But the taxi driver certainly cares.

Re:Groklaw's Gas Pedal analogy (5, Funny)

drgould (24404) | about a year ago | (#43885871)

Let's not "dumb down" the issue by making analogies that don't really apply.

Analogies are like scabs. If you pick at them, they bleed.

Re:Groklaw's Gas Pedal analogy (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43885889)

Developers *ARE* the end users of an API.

Re:Groklaw's Gas Pedal analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885997)

Developers *ARE* the end users of an API.

They are the users, but they are professionals and aren't comparable to the masses of laymen/women driving passenger cars. A professional can easily figure out a different way of writing an API. *NOT* saying that this would be a productive or sensible thing to do, just saying that the layout of controls in the car cabin is a bad analogy.

Re:Groklaw's Gas Pedal analogy (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43886871)

A professional can easily figure out a different way of writing an API

Can you provide any proof of that statement?

Oracle is stupid... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885807)

So Oracle "wrote" Java and did not make a single call to strcpy(), fprintf(), et. al.
That's what they're claiming.
If strcpy isn't in the public domain, then calling it requires a license; likewise, re-inventing
the strcpy API is infringement. No kidding. I really hope the argument is made this way.

It's also good to know that Java implements its own kernel, because I got dibs on many of the kernel's APIs.
You see where Oracle is headed...

Re:Oracle is stupid... (4, Insightful)

fibonacci8 (260615) | about a year ago | (#43886051)

Where it's headed is Motorola, Intel, and the other processor manufacturers would have a field day asking Oracle for their API usage royalties.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885869)

Maybe they are just trying to have the GPL completely invalidated.

Perhaps it is for the best. (-1, Troll)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about a year ago | (#43886033)

Java is a god awful mess of a programming language to use. This just might kill it. I mean as much as a hate python ( it is a personal taste thing, not a reflection on the utility of the language ) I hate java even more.

If Gosling had spent as much time developing a great C libraries as he did the POS that is Java we would all be writing in the native language of Linux.

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886291)

If you hate Python, how do you feel about PHP?

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886545)

At what point, in your opinion, did you think Java became a god-awful mess of a programming language?

Those who claim "from the start" are either delusional idiots, and/or completely ignorant of the history of programming languages.

Personally, I believe Generics were where Java started going horribly wrong. Generics were a solution to a problem almost nobody was actually having, to the detriment of the language. Oracle taking over just accelerates the problem.

If Gosling had spent as much time developing C libraries as he did developing Java, we'd still be stuck with a shitty collection of C libraries; C is a great systems language, but the whole reason for Java is that the average developer does a really shitty job writing in languages like C. They don't write better code in Java, it's just that many of the the common mistakes in C _don't_ _happen_ in Java.

And that's what Gosling et al forget when they listened to the type-theory weenies foist Generics, annotations, etc. into Java. They forgot that they had created a language for the average undisciplined develper, not the self-disciplined cream of the crop.

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886599)

Type safety is supposed to make it harder for developers (including the average undisciplined ones) to shoot themselves in the foot. I find it a weird thing to criticize about the language so harshly.

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886619)

Type safety-type schmafety, who cares as long as it passes unit tests [twitter.com] ?

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886615)

The problem with Java is not so much the language itself, i.e. that part which is written up in "The Java Programming Language" by Gosling et al. It's that the libraries (really frameworks) are huge and seem to be provisioned from a central authority. OK for the *language* to be managed by a central committee - it's tough to see a way around that - but "all the worthwhile APIs" (for J2SE/J2EE/J2ME or whatever the correct acronyms are these days) is a different matter. Contrast that with the size of the C++ standard library - not small, but it has been covered reasonably well in a single volume book (Josuttis). With Java you'd need a bookshelf.

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886629)

I'll say "from the start". The whole excessively stratified "Objective Oriented" approach pays my salary because I have to *clean up* the crap from "object oriented" programmers who simply have no idea, and can't be bothered to learn, what a function actually does.

Man, don't get me *started* on garbage collection!!!!

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (0)

fcrick (465682) | about a year ago | (#43886797)

I can't tell if this comment is meant to be ironic or not.

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (1)

fcrick (465682) | about a year ago | (#43886783)

I completely agree with this sentiment. I'm in favor of anything that will make fewer people use Java. Oracle has proved time and again that they can't even the lowest of bars for security, and the language itself has simply fallen behind other similar languages developers should use instead.

Re:Perhaps it is for the best. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43887137)

But it would be precedent saying that APIs can by copyrighted, which they can't because they're technical methods, not creative works, and if the Oracle API becomes copyrighted, every API that isn't called public domain by its makers can be copyrighted and almost no matter what you use, you will have to pay several different entities for function calls, API calls, etc.

Missing the upside (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886281)

Maybe it's just me but Java has become a massive buzzword for the corporate rubes. Anything that makes them rethink the bottom line using this language simply because it's ubiquitous (and programmers are therefore cheaper) is a positive step.

Do they put money in the pockets of the judge? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886385)

In America, justice is for sale- always has been and always will be. Team Oracle is backed by Microsoft, Intel, IBM, and all the industry giants that feed off of corrupt government contracts. They demand the "Golden Rule" (he who has the gold makes the rules).

On the other hand, Google gives the power elite that rule America the one thing they have always craved- complete control of the masses. Google is really just an extension of the NSA, an operation designed to perfect intelligence gathering on the real-time opinions of ordinary people, to perfect a feed-back loop that allows the best possible manipulation of the mob via messages propagated by the mainstream media.

This is the reason Google is fireproof. This is the reason Google could push copyright infringement to insane levels via Youtube and book-scanning projects without fear of ANY repercussion. This is why Google was able to send cameras and electronic bugging equipment down the streets of almost every nation.

Google is the influence peddled by organised religion and old school newspapers (on behalf of the king, emperor, dictator, president or whatever) raised to the power of infinity. Except that Google rarely has to produce the propaganda- only report on how the current wave of propaganda is being received by the great unwashed, so the next round of mass media propaganda can be better refined and re targeted.

Against this, the best the rest of the IT giants can do is provide kick-backs to officials and politicians, and participate in government IT projects that almost always suffer from massive cost and time over-runs, while producing little of use at the end.

Of course, Google doesn't put any where near the full weight of its political clout behind every one of its projects, but where it matters Google has less than zero conscience or mercy. Going up against Google in such circumstances is like Al Capone going up against the US government.

I thought that scheme had been shot down. (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43887043)

Didn't this come up in court last year and didn't the court send Oracle packing?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?