08.16.10

Oracle’s Java Aggression Spills to Other Sun Projects

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, OpenOffice, Oracle, Patents, SUN, Ubuntu at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee bubbles

Summary: An accumulation of news about Oracle’s software patents offence

SOFTWARE PATENTS are a good thing for those who are already dominant in one area of computing or those who make a living suing/defending companies.

Vivek Wadhwa, a co-author of software patents who recently protested against software patents [1, 2], claims that startups — not mega-corporations which love patents for obvious reasons — should be considered a priority. Oracle and Microsoft too get a mention. From the opening paragraph:

The big companies’ executives argued that abolishing patents would hurt their ability to innovate and thus hamper the nation’s economic growth. (They believe that companies like theirs create the majority of jobs and innovations, and they claim that without patents they cannot defend their innovations.) I am not convinced that software patents give Google any advantage over Microsoft and Yahoo, or make IBM’s databases any better than Oracle’s. But I do know one thing for sure: it isn’t the big companies that create the jobs or the revolutionary technology innovations: it is startups. So if we need to pick sides, I vote for the startups.

This leads us to the main story (still) in the technology press, namely the Oracle lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Here is another cartoon about it; there’s nothing funny about the lawsuit. “In this case,” Asay told me, “it’s not what I’d like (I hate biz via lawyers), but I do think it’s Oracle’s purpose”

I have attempted to defend Asay’s position on this, but others disagree with me. Our participant FurnaceBoy was exceptionally dissatisfied with Matt Asay’s take on it, calling him rude names in the process. “This smells,” he wrote, “as expected from Asay. This article is FUD…”

“Well, cult of Mono has already overtaken Ubuntu Forums which is biggest meeting place, so prospects are bleak.”
      –gnufreex
Another reader wrestled with the question about Google’s relationship with Canonical (a relationship Asay did not know about until quite recently when I told him about it). “[A]pparently google isn’t as important to them (or to Asay) now,” said one of our readers. “He’s a lawyer,” I explained to him, to which the response was: “that explains so much… complete cluelessness on technical terms… the crApple cultism stemming from it… lack of morals and ethics… resulting hatred of free software”

“He even recommends .NET like de Icaza,” wrote gnufreex. “Well, Canonical is pushing .net/mono,” responded to him that previous person and gnufreex wrote that “Oracle should sue Novell over Mono. It is same as Dalvik. It is incompatible with Java and competes with it. Well, cult of Mono has already overtaken Ubuntu Forums which is biggest meeting place, so prospects are bleak. That’s why I hope Oracle destroys Mono.” The full IRC logs contain the rest of this discussion.

FurnaceBoy then asked, ‘is anybody going to let Asay state unchallenged that Oracle-v-Google “might actually give Microsoft a chance in mobile, not to mention make .Net an even better alternative for Java developers, as Novell developer Miguel de Icaza postulates.”‘

“[T]his is disgusting,” said FurnaceBoy in response to sentences like “No one would casually borrow SAP’s proprietary software and expect to get away with it. In similar manner, no one should cavalierly take open-source code without inquiring into its provenance, ownership, etc.”

Asay’s opinions are his own, but as Canonical’s COO these can be seen as somewhat troubling. Shuttleworth, who understands engineering a little better due to his background, is a lot harsher on Oracle:

“This will complicate the relationships Oracle has with a very important audience, which is the broader open source community,” Shuttleworth said. “It will significantly undermine their efforts to establish many of their major products like Java, Solaris and Oracle Unbreakable Linux, and in due course, I’ll imagine that they’ll quietly wish they hadn’t taken this approach.”

“I certainly respect their right to take whatever approach they want to take with what they consider to be their property, but I cannot see any way in which this ultimately ends in a constructive outcome for them,” he added.

Compare that to Asay’s original post:

Oracle’s Java Lawsuit: Free Markets, Not Free Software

In this particular case, Google almost certainly took care to protect itself against IP infringement, which makes the lawsuit no easy slam-dunk for Oracle. But even an open-source luminary like Bruce Perens is quick to point out that Google’s replacement of Java ME’s Swing widget toolkit and AWT graphical user interface class in favor of its own GUI may have violated its license. This wasn’t a big deal when Sun was the owner because, as Gosling noted, lawsuits weren’t in Sun’s genetic DNA.

But Oracle, not Sun, now owns Java, and it has a very different genetic makeup. Hence, this lawsuit, while not a sign of Armageddon for open source, serves as a clear warning to Google and everyone else to take the same level of care when using open source as when using proprietary software.

We first learned about this post via “agentsmith”, who wrote: “What does Matt Asay want to tell us with this post http://bit.ly/drE3JD ? I’m puzzled… what’s his point? At least Glyn Moody, in a recent article, suggests to FORK everything. Mr.Asay leaves in the air.”

Pogson calls Oracle “Software-Patent Troll”:

Now We Know. Oracle is a Software-Patent Troll

Here is one person who thinks that the threat is exaggerated although Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer disagrees with him:

Why Oracle vs Google won’t harm Android

So what will be the outcome of the case? Baseless or not, Google hasn’t really (yet) clarified its stance and has only released a rather meek statement, expressing its disappointment at Oracle for attacking the open source Java community.

There’s also talk of this lawsuit killing Android. That’s just plain rubbish. If anything, Oracle wants Android to flourish. It would just heart it more if Android uses Java under Sun’s commercial license. And that’s what this lawsuit is about. License fees.

Leave the technical details for the engineers of the companies to fight over, in court. That is if this case ever escalates to that level.

One of the negative side effects of this whole action is that other Oracle projects lose some credence or legitimacy. OpenSolaris is already being made independent:

The Hand May Be Forced

Illumos has garnered the support of some of the top minds in the industry; already the list of names of Solaris contributors and potential contributors that have already publicly committed to supporting this project is extensive. Many of the names are famous, people like Bryan Cantrill. Oracle’s actions and inaction have actually made this possible.

Brian writes about the Java situation and suggests making OpenOffice.org more independent too:

Time for an OpenOffice.org Foundation

OpenOffice.org’s problem involves some history: when Sun ran the project, non-Sun developers often complained that Sun’s insistence copyright assignment discouraged external contributions, and that Sun’s (and now Oracle’s) tight control of the project inhibits developer initiative. So third-party developers already have a problem with Oracle, as more than one developer involved in OpenOffice.org has privately indicated to me in just the past few weeks.

Now, along comes Oracle with lawsuits and lock-downs that could adversely effect existing open source projects. Even if you can make an argument that right now, the OpenOffice.org community and project is doing just fine, just exactly how long would you expect this to be the case?

If I were an OpenOffice.org contributor, especially one not employed by Oracle, I would start to be very worried about the future of the project, at least until I heard Oracle publicly state what their plans were.

Novell’s Meeks has been trying to take control of OpenOffice.org and now he writes about copyrights in Java only to be heckled by Wildeboer who quotes Meeks as saying: “try not to fall in love [with a technology], if a single company owns, and controls it.”

Wildeboer evokes thoughts about the situation with Mono.

Gosling carries on commenting about the situation (“Quite the firestorm”) while prior art is being sought/collected to weaken Oracle’s case and help Java/Android.

Surprisingly enough, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) has been doing a lot of scare-mongering about Java/Oracle/other, especially in Twitter. Dana Blankenhorn makes it more personal:

After pretending to kindness for many months, Larry Ellison has stepped up to be that villain. (I’m certain this costume would fit him nicely, just $799.95 from Buycostumes.com.)

Wayne Rash also makes it somewhat personal:

While Oracle’s love of domination hasn’t made the news so much lately, there is certainly a long history of the company’s activities in this area. James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, pointed out in his blog that Ellison is frequently referred to as, “Larry, the Prince of Darkness” or “LPOD”. Gosling also notes in his blog that the Oracle’s CEO’s approach to industry competition is best described by a saying attributed to Genghis Kahn that is a favorite of Ellison’s: “It’s not enough that we win, all others must lose.”

Ellison has had a long history of suing other companies, hostile takeovers, and harsh treatment of employees. Over the years he’s had a long line of respected senior executives quit because they simply can’t take his aggressive style and hostile culture.

Matthew Aslett from the 451 Group cites many items including Matt Asay’s and Susan Linton summarises too:

Oracle Delivers Friday the 13th Bad Luck to FOSS

No one is really surprised. Oracle has always been a proprietary company. But Oracle’s actions of Friday the 13th come only days after offering up a keynote at LinuxCon. This hits after last year’s promises of no major changes in Sun’s open source community assets. Those hoping for a new soft and fuzzy Oracle are no doubt sorely disappointed. Experts have already stated Oracle could turn out to be more of threat to Linux and Open Source than either Microsoft or SCO ever was.

We’ll continue to watch this and especially to report FUD.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

3 Comments

  1. Agent_Smith said,

    August 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Gravatar

    Hi there Mr. Schestowitz,
    Well, for me, the most troubling part of Mr. Asay’s article was this one:
    “And exploit it Oracle will. Not everyone will take as Machiavellian a line as Ellison, but the entire industry is now on alert, if it wasn’t already: Open source is not a free ride. No one would casually borrow SAP’s proprietary software and expect to get away with it. In similar manner, no one should cavalierly take open-source code without inquiring into its provenance, ownership, etc.”

    Open source is not a free ride mimics a statement Mr. Steven Ballmer did, regarding Red Hat, He said, more or less: People must be aware there’s IP involved with open source, and, it’s not free. Open source has a cost, and that cost is our IP.
    Well, I guess not exactly in these words, but he did mention something like this regarding Red Hat having to pay them royalties.
    The disturbing choice of words of Mr. Asay echoes as terrible FUD in my ears.
    That was caught my attention, and, made me think: Which side is Mr. Asay defending ? If he works for an open source company, he should stand for open source and back it.
    Well, these are my 2 cents.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Steve Ballmer’s words were: “People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”

    Regarding Asay, maybe you should just ask him.

  2. williami said,

    August 17, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Gravatar

    I’ve came up from this quote from Linus about the SCO attacks:

    We are not evacuating the planet because of the SCO lawsuit. Really. No need to panic.

    The same is true for the Oracle vs Google lawsuit. We are not evacuating the world because of it.

What Else is New


  1. Links 27/10/2020: FuguIta 6.8, Fedora 33, Red Hat Satellite 6.8, KDE Plasma 5.20.2 and GStreamer 1.18.1

    Links for the day



  2. Site Changes Ahead of Anniversary

    We’re making some changes to the presentation and function of the site — changes that will become more prominent over the coming days



  3. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  4. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day



  5. Links 26/10/2020: Debian "Bullseye" Artwork, Fwupd 1.5 Released

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] Satya Na-DL

    Microsoft has shown its real priorities (just before the weekend when many people might not notice)



  7. Jonathan Wiltshire and Debian, Falsified Harassment Claims, Tiger Computing and GCHQ

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  8. Links 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  9. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  11. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  13. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  14. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  15. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  16. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')



  17. In Spite of IBM's Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

    This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements



  18. Links 25/10/2020: GNU Taler's IETF Milestone, RISC OS 5.28 and New Ubuntu Community Council

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 24, 2020



  20. Links 24/10/2020: GDB 10.1, Kodachi 7.4, Wine 5.20

    Links for the day



  21. Celebrating Code of Conduct Violations

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  22. The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

    We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM's past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing



  23. Juve Patent's Love of Patent Trolls and Their Misinformation

    The press 'gutter' known as Juve (basically propaganda disguised as 'news' since years ago) has gotten to the point where the publisher is just an extension of lawyers and liars



  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 23, 2020



  25. Look How Many Tux I Give!

    "Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking."



  26. Embrace, Extend, and Extensions: Two New Reasons to Delete GitHub, Which Microsoft Ruined for Everyone (Except the Copyright Cartel and Other Censors)

    GitHub is being turned into a garbage dump with malicious masters (or monsters, or mobsters); many people are denied access for using the 'wrong' browser and developers/projects are being censored (not for doing anything wrong or illegal, either)



  27. [Meme] When EPO Staff Claims to be 'Ill' or 'Sick'... During a Pandemic's European Peak

    Gotta check and verify that those 'lazy' EPO examiners aren't just faking being ill (in order to not meet "production" targets)



  28. The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

    Today's EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it's nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States



  29. Links 23/10/2020: Turing Pi 2, GNU Parallel 20201022

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 22, 2020


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts