08.13.10

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Apple Benefits From Oracle’s Patent Attack on Android

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 2:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs with patent
Original photo by Matt Buchanan; edited by Techrights

Summary: Among those who benefit from an attack on Android there’s Apple, whose CEO is a good friend of Oracle’s CEO; more coverage about this development which dominates the news

THIS will hopefully be one of our last posts about Oracle vs. Google. We have already covered it in the following three posts:

Since those previous posts it has occurred to me that the party most likely to benefit is actually Apple, not Microsoft. Oracle only sues Google over Android, just like Apple sued HTC over Android. One must remember that Oracle’s CEO and Apple’s CEO are very close friends. Wikipedia reminds us that Ellison’s “friend Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple, Inc) was [Ellison's] official wedding photographer.” Anyway, it gives room only to theories.

“That’s why Apple’s iPhone is so much better than Microsoft phones.”
      –Larry Ellison, Oracle
A number of months ago Larry Ellison also said: “While most hardware businesses are low-margin, companies like Apple and Cisco enjoy very high-margins because they do a good job of designing their hardware and software to work together. If a company designs both hardware and software, it can build much better systems than if they only design the software. That’s why Apple’s iPhone is so much better than Microsoft phones.”

Could the relationship with Apple play some role here? Maybe even a small role? “Actually, It’s crApple attacking Google by proxy,” one reader of ours opines. “But, a weak lawsuit this one,” he argued, “I’m reading the points now…”

Google’s Tim Bray from the Android team says “F**k Oracle” (he doesn’t use asterisks though). This was brought up by Groklaw actually, having just addressed the spin-doctoring from Microsoft’s MVP de Icaza:

Miguel De Icaza still wants everyone to hitch their wagons to Microsoft’s star. He suggests that Google pay off Oracle and then switch to Microsoft .NET:

Google could settle current damages with Oracle, and switch to the better designed, more pleasant to use, and more open .NET platform.

Hahahahahahaha. That’s the last life lesson to to be learned from this event, I’d suggest. How about instead what the community has been warning Miguel about for years: don’t hitch your code to anybody’s patented wagon. Watch out for patents. Watch out for Mono. Watch out for C#. Stallman is warning you:

It is dangerous to depend on C#, so we need to discourage its use.

The problem is not unique to Mono; any free implementation of C# would raise the same issue. The danger is that Microsoft is probably planning to force all free C# implementations underground some day using software patents. (See http://swpat.org and http://progfree.org.) This is a serious danger, and only fools would ignore it until the day it actually happens. We need to take precautions now to protect ourselves from this future danger.

And was he not right about the Java Trap? How many times must he be right before developers listen? I’m talking to you, Gnome. I’m talking to you, Canonical. Care what version of OpenOffice you use. I’m talking to everyone trying to pooh pooh patents as a toxic danger. It is real. And remember, CodePlex was set up to push Mono. That’s what they said. Forewarned is forearmed.

Brian Proffitt goes ahead with the “SCOracle” meme:

I’ll say this for Oracle, at least they’re consistently contradictory. They’ll extol the virtues of their partners, then turn right around and kick them in the–well, you know–and deploy an “innovative” copy of their partner’s free software.

Or they’ll claim to love open source, then let a prominent open source project suffer death by ignoring.

Or they’ll tout open standards, then turn around and use patents on a standard programming language, then sue one of the biggest users of that technology.

Yes, consistent indeed.

Last night, when Oracle announced it was suing Google for alleged infringement of Oracle’s Java patents, my initial reaction was one of resigned realization: when Oracle bought Sun Microsystems last year, I always wondered if it was just to get control of MySQL, arguably Oracle’s once-biggest potential threat. They weren’t doing anything with OpenSolaris, after all, and just this week at LinuxCon, praised Linux to the heavens.

Oracle’s action shocked many in the Free software world, but Dennis Howlett was not surprised (neither was James Gosling).

Oracle’s patent suit against Google seems to have taken many by surprise. I’m neither surprised nor stunned. If anything, I am surprised it has taken Oracle this long to saddle up its lawyers.

Florian Müller carries on pushing his point of view into some online journals, pretending to be a FOSS representative and mass-mailing many journalists, still. His spin is still actively being challenged by the FFII.

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7 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    August 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Florian has really lost it in that ZDNet article. The more he carries on, the more obvious his place in the Fauxpen Source community is:

    “If companies only go to court because someone doesn’t accept a reasonable licence deal, then even I as an opponent of software patents can see the commercial logic and can’t condemn such action in moral terms because it allows companies to stay in business.”

    Let’s rephrase that so that the depravity is clear:

    “If companies only shoot you because you don’t give them your money, then even I as an opponent of armed robbery can see the commercial logic and can’t condemn such action in moral terms because it allows companies to stay in business.”

    Florian’s advocacy of uniform fee only licensing is basically advocacy of patents. His justification that companies can make money with them can be applied to any crime. Judicial extortion is actually worse than ordinary, brute force crime because it makes a mockery of the institutions that should protect us. Civilized people protect themselves from predation by their neighbors.

  2. vexorian said,

    August 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Gravatar

    If google used Mono on android instead of the FOSS Java implementation, there is no reason at all MS would hesitate to do the same lawsuit. I can already picture MS twisting their community promise “How is google’s android bussiness covered by a community promise? *sue* *sue*” It would just be too much a juicy change to take android out of the road while they keep developing their windows mobile seven or whatever they call it now.

    I am not sure anymore if just stopping using patented stuff is going to be enough. The problem with software patents and corrupt corporations is that they will always be able to sue, with grounds or not. What is really needed is to somehow cast a miracle and get rid of software patents.

    Meanwhile, avoiding stuff whose imaginary property is held by Oracle or MS is a good temporary fix , but nothing permanent.

    The attempts to portray Mono as safer to this sort of thing than Java are laughable at best. If Oracle can do it with Java so can MS with Mono. That’s probably the reason boosters so far are completely ignoring the issue on why they think it is safer, they just manage to state they think it is…

  3. gnufreex said,

    August 14, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Gravatar

    Florian Muller is full of crap.

    He actually said that Microsoft patent extortion and shakedown is acceptable! And he calls himself “free software advocate”?

    When company is obliged to pay someone to use free software, there is no freedom anymore. It doesn’t matter if company sues you into paying or scares you into paying without using courts, effect is the same. REMOVAL OF SOFTWARE FREEDOM.

    Particular piece of software becomes liability and nobody perceives it as free software anymore. And then they see other free software in same way: as a liability. Damage is big. Only fauxpen source advocates like Muller can be blind to this.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    And he calls himself “free software advocate”?

    He doesn’t claim it. But his account name in Twitter is “fosspatents”.

    Here is some of the latest exchange (this morning, times in GMT):

    [06:20] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] @ffii WRT “non-domestic” players influencing EU open standards policy, how *European* are OpenForumEurope and ECIS, except for the names?

    [06:22] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] @ffii WRT “non-domestic” players influencing EU open standards policy, how *European* are OpenForum Europe and ECIS, except for the names?

    [13:55] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [ffii] @FOSSpatents “Non-domestic” implies an obligation to restrain your lobbying and respect the decision process.

    [14:00] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] @ffii Restraining lobbying and respecting decision-making processes should be expected from every entity everywhere, at home and abroad.

    [14:03] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] The protesters who march on Google’s building over net neutrality mean well but should thereafter go up the 101 to Oracle’s HQ over patents.

    [14:03] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [ffii] Groklaw takes #Scoracle for Bilski teach-in http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20100813112425821

    [14:10] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [ffii] @FOSSpatents Your call for anti-corporate protests turns potential regulatory deficits into a moralist case, quite naive. #scoracle #swpat

    [14:18] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [ffii] @fosspatents Of course, we are part of the domestic constituency, they are not. We repected that principle with our #Bilski ACL submission.

    [14:20] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] @ffii I don’t suggest protests as a substitute for patent reform, let alone antitrust where applicable. Different types of measures, sure.

    [14:21] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [ffii] #FFII Bilski amicus letter to the US Supreme Court http://bit.ly/Xfjfv #swpat

    When company is obliged to pay someone to use free software, there is no freedom anymore.

    I’ve just been told that the same talking point (as Müller’s) has landed in an Arabic discussion forum, defending Microsoft’s practices with patents. It may be contagious.

    gnufreex Reply:

    I’ve been seen that (MUller’s) argument on Linux forums for more than a year now.

    It is definitely contagious.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some minutes ago I found:

    Oracle Google Suit Could Kill Android and Threaten Open Source

    “I wrote free and open software activist Florian Mueller”

    But he is *NOT* a “open software activist”!

    And again it’s that whole “IBM|Oracle|other is trying to ‘kill’, Microsoft is cooperative” nonesense.

    See for contrast:

    Android Lawsuit Is Really Just Oracle Flirting With Google

    twitter Reply:

    Contagious or just another Microsoft talking point being pushed by all the usual suspects? Florian looks like a big pusher but he’s got plenty of other paid help.

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