Summary: Almost two years since the launch of Oracle’s case over Java/Dalvik this whole argument carries on
THE CONFLICT over Dalvik meets conflict within Sun’s former management and one former head makes his views clear; Android is not infringing on patents/copyrights. The local press (California) further adds that this case shows the flaws of the patent system as a whole. To quote:
The big news out of the Oracle versus Google showdown on Monday was that one of Oracle’s patents was brought back from the dead, put back into play after the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office reversed its earlier rejection.
But let’s be clear: One zombie patent isn’t the remarkable thing in this case. The remarkable thing is that, when the dust settles, five of the seven patents Oracle claimed that Google violated will likely be overturned because Google forced the patent office to take a second look.
Developers of Android applications (of whom I will soon be one) suffer a great deal from software patents, but to giant corporations and their lawyers this is not a problem at all. All they want patents for is everything but innovation or competition. Throughout this coming month we’ll re-attempt to catch up with older patent news (personal life got in the way). There’s still a pileup of old news that’s important and relevant to us. █
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Summary: Recent steps from Oracle and the OIN indicate a weakening of the case against Dalvik
ORACLE has been trying to tax Android using software patents, but Groklaw thinks that “Oracle Must be Nervous” because the case sinks yet lower with the latest events taking place in the courtroom:
Oracle’s Case Against Google Sinks Lower
Ouch! Judge Alsup seems to be on his game. Neither the lawyers nor the judge could get the maths right on the potential damages in the case. Rather than $billions, they seem to be headed towards a few tens of millions, provided no more patents are thrown out and Google is found to violate copyright. Google is arguing that Java APIs are not copyright protectable and Oracle is holding that they are. Damages, if any could be very small in any case compared to the worth of the two companies.
Oracle is now asking for a fast trial (it began in 2010) and the OIN, which Oracle is a member of, is stepping up to defend some Java-like software (this was understated in the news, even our own coverage). If Oracle retreats from the patent case, will we see a lot of it ending like the SCO case, except for the bankruptcy? █
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Summary: Microsoft Linux (sometimes known as SUSE) still plays into the hands of Microsoft Corporation
OpenSUSE (the community/volunteer facet of SUSE) indirectly signed a deal with Microsoft and a sort of pact with Xamarin just over a month ago. Another release of OpenSUSE seems to be on its way (hardly any news from the project except for that) and despite the fact that Mono is a patent liability, OpenSUSE 12.1 removes Sun/Oracle Java but not Mono. This is consistent with everything we expect from a Microsoft-sponsored distribution and all the Novell videos in the world (here are some of the latest one [1, 2, 3] cannot hide the company’s close ties to Microsoft. In anything, those videos only validate Novell’s dependence on Windows and on Microsoft. █
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Summary: Amid growing pressure from Apple, Microsoft, and perhaps its drone Nokia, Google plans to buy companies for their patents, thus becoming part of the problem for the sake of “defending” Android
“Abducted by lawyers” is how we recently described Google, after it had clarified that it would not join the abolitionists*. Dennis Crouch meanwhile covers Apple’s and Microsoft’s latest cartel additions, i.e. patents accrued (Apple reported paid for about half for this assault on Android) and Professor Mark Webbink has this important update on the Oracle vs. Google case, showing of course the opposite of what pro-Microsoft lobbyists want the public to see. Oracle’s case is quickly falling apart. “Sorry for the movie analogies,” notes Webbink, “but these images keep popping to mind. The latest is Larry Ellison as Golum, grasping his “Java” patents and declaring, “My Precious.” This comes to mind because of the revelation yesterday that Jonathan Schwartz, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, praised Google and others for incorporating Java into Android back in 2007.
“But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.”
–Mark Webbink“Then the patents fell out of Sun’s hands and into Oracle’s (My Precious), and Schwartz’ statement became an embarrassment. What to do? Why remove it from the internet, of course. But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.
“Now the interesting question about this and other similar comments that were apparently made by Sun executives is whether the statements communicated an understanding to Google and others that they would not be threatened with Sun’s patents; statements upon which they relied. This is the legal doctrine of estoppel.”
Watch the screenshot too.
Some people are piecing together FUD pieces about Google, and not just lobbyists like Florian and those whom he mass-mails for placement in the press. Here is just one example and a reminder that Google’s plan is to buy patents as a response to this. This seems like more than a rumour now.
Search engine giant Google is looking to acquire mobile chip technology maker InterDigital, after failing to purchase Novell’s massive patent portfolio.
InterDigital, which has a market value of about $3.1 billion, saw its shares rise by 29 percent to $68.67 thanks to the takeover rumours.
It has been hinted even by Nokia itself — now that it is a Microsoft drone — that it might be next in its attempts to extort Google and raise the price of Android using patents. Just pay attention to this news report:
Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest phone maker by volume, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit thanks to a major royalty boost from settling a patent dispute with Apple.
Nokia reported a second-quarter underlying operating profit of 391 million euros, above all expectations in a Reuters poll, which ranged from a loss of 35 million to profit of 285 million.
Nokia is part of the same cartel as Microsoft’s, especially after the company got hijacked by Microsoft, with Microsoft’s big private shareholders appointed to become the company’s CEO. Symbian was taken proprietary by him and MeeGo, the Linux effort, virtually abandoned. █
* In software patents opposition — like in many other areas of activism — there are many factions and attitudes. Some classify certain software patents as “bad” and others as “good” (usually “theirs” versus “ours”), some want to get rid of patents altogether, some target only software patents, some target patent trolls, etc.
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Summary: Apple takes further baby steps towards inappropriate conduct by removing Java runtime
Apple keeps removing software that competes with Apple and can help advance Android at the expense of hypeOS (Objective-C). The Register explains why it’s reasonable to say that Apple removed Java after initial clues and the Java founder’s claims that Steve Jobs is a liar. To quote: “Apple has removed the Java runtime from its upcoming Mac OS X Lion, according to a report based on firsthand experience with a preview release of the OS.
“Appleinsider reports that the latest developer release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion removes both Java and Rosetta, the package used to run PowerPC code on Intel-based Macs. But according to the fanboi news site, Lion includes a mechanism for automatically downloading the latest version of Java for the Mac.”
“So I no longer hate Apple products,” says this other new article. “In fact I use them every day. But I never feel like I own them. More like I’m renting them from Skynet.”
Apple is not about user choice and user control. It merely turns customers into consumers and repeatedly it bans its competitors using platform control. █
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Summary: Google starts arguing against patenting of software having had its flagship operating system attacked by the Oracle and Apple patent portfolios
THE PREVIOUS post was yet another discussion about the harms of patents, especially when they get used offensively. Oracle and Apple are both large companies, so patents (monopolies) work well for them. Java’s founder recently said that Steve Jobs is a liar (not exact quote). It happened right after Java was harmed by Apple which had indicated no real commitment to it. Now, let us bear in mind the relationship between Jobs and Ellison [1, 2, 3]. Why would Apple want to harm an Oracle product? Well, the answer turns out to be that it’s not so simple because “Apple Joins Oracle For Java Development” and this means “Android Trouble” (and thus good news for Apple’s hypePhone). As one insightful blogger put it:
Bad news for Google Android. Oracle and Apple have announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X.
Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.
Oracle chief and Steve Jobs are close friends and Oracle recently sued Google over Java use in Android. Since then Oracle has intensified efforts to marginalise Google by taking IBM off the development of Harmony Project which Google’s Android relied on. Now, getting Apple involved with OpenJDK means added troubles for Google.
IBM was at one point accused by some for similar reasons (upon its recent announcement). We mostly cover Java news in our daily links, but this time we make the exception to also show the following aftermath:
Corporates have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests. IBM is standing with its rival Oracle to protect its Java interests.
After the attack by Oracle on Google, everyone should be finding ways to minimize dependency on Java. Libre Office will do that, too.
Suffice to say, adding to this we have Microsoft MVPs like de Icaza and some other longtime .NET boosters like Tim Anderson flinging FUD at Java (we choose not to add links here, especially so as not to feed their FUD). Groklaw, on the other hand and despite smears from Microsoft mobbyists (again, we choose to exclude links or name names), helps show that Google’s tactless stance on patents may be changing now that it’s a common litigation target (even Google's free/libre software gets sued for patent violations, which can complicate distribution and redistribution). Not only Groklaw pointed this out in an analysis we cited over the weekend; patent boosters too are starting to feel rather baffled by Google’s 180:
Google Says Oracle’s Patents Are Invalid Abstract Ideas, But Why?
Granted, its fairly common to “throw in the kitchen sink” when raising claims and defenses, and time will only tell whether this Bilski defense is just posturing, or whether Google will use this case as a platform to campaign against issued patents (recall the Bilski decision itself deals with a patent application).
Jonas from the FFII enthusiastically asks, “Google ready to kill software patents?”
Google on Oracle vs Google:
“Each of the Patents-in-Suit is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because one or more claims are directed to abstract ideas or other non-statutory subject matter.”
CUDOS Google! Refusing software patents like this the right thing to do for innovation!
An article written by the brilliant Mark Ballard may therefore require some updating; Google is said to be involved in reforming UK copyright/patent law. How so? We shall see. Based on the above, Ballard may be off target this time around when he states in the beginning (alongside a famous image):
British coders have awoken with a fright after a two-year sleep of reason to find the software patent threat looming.
The bells have been ringing in Blissville ever since the Guardian reported that David Willetts, the science and universities minister, was reopening the software patent question with a review of UK intellectual property laws. And that Google was behind it.
The mail list of the UK chapter of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure sprang into life on the news, and after displaying barely a hint of life for a year, and not much more than rapid eye movement for long before that.
The UK hasn’t looked so perky for two and a half years, having slept even through all the jitter in the US over the Supreme Court’s Bilski decision on business method patents.
Google’s priorities appear to have changed and all those lawsuits against Android have hopefully helped Google understand that it does not really need software patents. It’s the cost and complication (e.g. distribution and redistribution) which make it so. Java too gradually became Free software, so it’s time for its patents to go “poof!”
If one wants to really have patent trouble (with Microsoft even), there are some new instruction on how to install the Mono Trojan called Banshee:
Banshee team has announced the release of version 1.9.0, which is a development release. The new Banshee has a neat option called ‘Play After’, which inserts a track into the queue right after the track, album, or artist currently playing thus giving more control to the listener.
Mono is also required by an application which is being promoted in YouTube this month.
One must pay attention to the anti-Java FUD that comes from Mono boosters these days. Google on the other hand seems to be softening and hopefully it will decide to help abolish software patents altogether. The productive approach to take here is to give Google the benefit of the doubt because never before did Google use patents offensively (it did use them defensively). Google recently took a major shot at MPEG-LA — a move not quite foreseen by anyone (freeing videos from codec patents), so maybe there is genuine change brewing. █
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Summary: Mr. Java is the latest among many to criticise Apple for its behaviour this past week
YESTERDAY WE NAMED some of the latest people and groups who criticise Apple after it made some very tactless (and demonstrably incorrect) remarks, as well as selfish design decisions that may harm developers. There are exceptions, however, such as a Gentoo developer, “flameeyes”, who wrote: “I don’t understand… Apple is trying to get us rid of two techs we ranted on for years (Flash and Java) and yet they are doing it wrong?”
In the eyes of Java developers (of which there is a huge number), Apple is doing plenty of wrongs.
“Gosling calls Jobs a liar,” says Simon Phipps, Gosling’s former colleague. From the post in question:
Macrumors has an article on the fuss about Java on the Mac. They quote Jobs as saying:
Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms. They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it.
It simply isn’t true that “Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms”.
Our readers have talked about this in IRC, alleging that Mac fans attack Gosling like he insulted their religion (see the comments). “Well, Apple is rather rotten to it’s open core,” wrote David and gnufreex replied with: “I saw how Apple fanboys blasted Gosling on one of his posts earlier. He said something about Google trying to compete with Apple which is “borg-wannab-be”. Apple fanboys attacked him one after other. Sick zealots. Church of Apple.”
What’s truly rotten at Apple is not necessarily people who merely admire the company. Apple is not accountable for the behaviour of its customers. But Apple itself is killing computing and anyone who still cares about any morsel of openness should pay attention to posts which say:
Apple doesn’t want you use your computer to control an Arduino, write custom printer drivers, run a game server or control your house lights. They want you to shut up and consume. Us nerds? We’re fine with our Space Station Control computers. But everyone else? Apple wants them to have their iPad, bag of Cheetos and credit card handy. You want to watch 30 Rock on your iPad? Apple gets 30%. You want to buy the latest BedazzleMyAngryBirdGemLoop game? Apple get 30% and could not be happier.
Danny Pickle remarks:
Apple has announced it’s bringing the App Store to the Mac. How long until MacBooks need jailbreaking too?
Danny links to this latest call for action from the Defective by Design campaign:
Well, it’s official. Apple has now announced it’s bringing the App Store concept to the Mac and it looks like they’ll be restricting apps with FairPlay DRM too for good measure. When we first began talking about the problems with the App Store on the iPhone and iPod Touch, people wanted us to drop it and stop talking about the DRM tricks being pulled by Apple on the grounds that the iPhone wasn’t a general purpose computer (it is, and the iPad is too) but rather an appliance.
Presumably, Apple won’t (yet) be stopping the Mac from installing software from other sources as they have with the iPhone, at least not just yet. But consider this: just like the original iMac shipped without a floppy drive, the MacBook Air (recently updated) was the first Mac without an optical drive — will this have the effect, intentional or otherwise of making the App Store the only place to buy certain software, including its own iLife suite of ‘lifestyle’ applications?
For the sake of software freedom and for people to control their computers (unlike telephones, which tend to be very rigid) it is important to educate people and to discourage buying products from Apple. Do not allow one Microsoft to be replaced by another because Apple is no better, it’s just different. The company is clearly not interested in technology, it is obsessed with total control*. It even openly mocks those who do try to give customers more control. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” — that is a relevant quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Apple needs to lose because its goals are antisocial. █
* Microsoft too was used by Gates for world domination (to the extent he could attain it).
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Summary: FUD against Java is on the rise (Microsoft partly accountable), Miguel de Icaza receives another role from Microsoft, and more Microsoft projects which are complementary to .NET are now dead
SEVERAL weeks ago we wrote about signs that .NET is suffering, not Java. There are some new Microsoft hires that throw FUD at Java and Microsoft boosters who work as journalists lend their pen to this Slog, too (we prefer not to give examples as they would feed the FUD). Frankly, however, Oracle has supplied a lot of ammunition to those who are trying to injure Java. It’s not deliberate and it’s why Oracle is making a strategic mistake.
“IronPython and IronRuby get kicked out into the cold by MSFT.”
–Jan WildeboerAnyway, this post is not so much about Java. It’s actually about IronRuby dying. We saw the writings on the wall back in August [1, 2, 3, 4] (also see recent posts about IronPython, such as this one) and now there is almost a funeral. Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat writes: “#IronPython and #IronRuby get kicked out into the cold by MSFT. #RIP? http://is.gd/gcCON thinks so, http://is.gd/gcCQn doesn’t. We’ll see ..”
The nymshifting CodePlex Foundation (this Microsoft front is now called Outercurve [1, 2]) has been used as somewhat of a basket for Microsoft in which to put projects ‘externally’ (it’s about impression and appearance, not practice). Microsoft's MVP Miguel de Icaza has been part of it and at sight of the situation with Java at Apple he already throws FUD at Java using the news, as well as other recent Java news. According to this Microsoft employee, de Icaza et al. are supposed to try and rescue IronRuby and IronPython for the sake of greater .NET relevance. This is another Microsoft job for Miguel:
Today signifies a big step in Microsoft’s commitment to open-source: Jason Zander announced new leadership for IronRuby and IronPython, namely Miguel de Icaza, Michael Foord, Jeff Hardy, and myself. Since Microsoft has officially put the project in our hands, both languages will be open to contributions from the community, not just the core team members. Also, any previously unreleased work as been released, include the IronRuby tools for Visual Studio and groundwork towards IronPython 2.7 and 1.9. You can find the appropriate releases on both IronRuby and IronPython’s CodePlex sites.
Also, Miguel is a big-shot at Novell, but I’ll let him comment on how his company is supporting the projects. =)
He is a big-shot to Microsoft. They groomed him (e.g. with interviews and other publicity like this recent example) so that he can help Microsoft from outside Microsoft. His job at Novell (it’s a team effort) is to promote Mono/.NET and apparently demote Java in the process (also with FUD in his blog and in Twitter).
“In Twitter, de Icaza speaks quite a lot with the mobbyists; like them, he pretends to be pro-FOSS whilst actually doing a lot of harm to software freedom.”Who is this man kidding? Just watch him blogging about Microsoft folks this week (Ozzie in this case [1, 2]). If he loves Microsoft so much, maybe it’s time to reapply for that job he wanted.
It would be so much more appropriate if he just worked directly for Microsoft. In Twitter, de Icaza speaks quite a lot with the mobbyists; like them, he pretends to be pro-FOSS whilst actually doing a lot of harm to software freedom.
Anyway, based on this post from Microsoft MVP Jeff Hardy, we are adding IronPython to our list of dead projects from Microsoft (if someone continues it outside Microsoft, then that’s not a Microsoft product, still). It symbolises the continued collapse of .NET, which also relates to Moonlight and other cancelled/failing parts of Microsoft’s stack.
Well, the shoe has finally dropped: IronPython and IronRuby have been axed.
In weeks to come we’ll be covering a lot more stories about Apple. Microsoft is just growing irrelevant like Novell. The upsurge of FUD, the lobbyists, and the mobbyists are just a symptom. █
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