08.17.10

Oracle Action Could Cause Migration to GNU/Linux (at Expense of Solaris) and Help Vilify Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee book session

Summary: By spilling coffee Oracle scares Solaris users, upsets the GNU/Linux community, and helps show what a joke (literally) software patents are

THE ORACLE lawsuit is clearly bad news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], but let’s find some positive things that can happen as a result of this ludicrously suicidal action.

Oracle is in many ways shooting itself in the foot. First of all, Oracle is harming Java — not helping it — by intimidating existing Java users (while claiming to fight for Java’s integrity). Secondly, Oracle pisses off many of the world’s developers, namely Free software developers (article from Katherine Noyes is an accumulation and Dana Blankenhorn takes it too far). Thirdly, by pissing off Java users and developers, in addition to betraying OpenSolaris, Oracle may only be pushing Solaris users right into GNU/Linux. To give a potential new example:

My opinion on OpenSolaris, Oracle and all open source Sun software

[...]

I will admit that this is most likely where I will end my use of Solaris, unless Oracle surprises the world and continues to maintain the type of quality that Sun brought to the operating system.

Regarding the claim about Java, this is where experts agree. Oracle is shooting its own foot, having bought a company whose stock symbol is JAVA (for no less than billions of dollars).

Oracle is suing Google over the use of Java in Android and that may change everything about Java and open-source development.

That’s one heck of a claim. Unfortunately, the experts agree.

Earlier today we wrote about the revelation that patents were somewhat of a joke inside Sun and elsewhere. It’s a hot news item at the moment. TechDirt writes:

Why The Oracle Java Patents Were Literally A Joke Played By Sun Engineers

[...]

While that patent that Gosling names isn’t included in this particular lawsuit, but others have noticed that one of the patents (RE38104) is a Gosling patent.

Of course, it’s easy to point out that the folks named on the patents are claiming themselves that the patents were part of a joke to see how bad the patent office is. But, you can take it to another level altogether, and have folks who actually know quite a bit about the technology go through the patents one by one and explain why each of them is a total joke.

This is yet another in an exceptionally long line of examples of what a complete mess our patent system has become. I’m curious if the patent system supporters out there can come up with some sort of way to defend the patent system in this particular situation.

Jan Wildeboer has this to say:

Oracle’s next target? Power switches

[...]

Yes. Remote power switches. James Goslin filed for a patent on remote power switches. And he/SUN got it. What originally was a joke, as the “inventor” explains here:

There was even an unofficial competition to see who could get the goofiest patent through the system. My entry wasn’t nearly the goofiest.

is now potentially a fortune for Oracle! If the play their cards right, millions and millions of infringing power switches must be destroyed!

As Groklaw has already found out and Pogson points out, Oracle made the same mistake as SCO, lending support to Android whilst also attacking it.

It appears as though the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing at Oracle. This is not unique to Oracle. Any organization of size will have this happen. I cut my left hand with a saw held by my right hand once and I am one.

It appears that the left hand, say the bosses and their legal advisors, were figuring out what to do about Android vis a vis Java, software patents and all that. It appears that the right hand, say the geeks in charge of certifying stuff for Java, certified Berkeley DB, JE, to run on Android…. Berkeley DB is a good database for smartphones because it is small and efficient. It has less overhead than some SQL databases.

This ought to weaken Oracle’s case, at least in the eyes of outside observers.

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