08.17.10

Larry Ellison: “If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We’ll Simply Take It.”

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software, Java, Microsoft, SUN at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Simon Phipps in Stockholm (2007)
Photo by RightOnBrother

Summary: Leader of Sun’s open source programme is not at all positive about Oracle’s commitment to Free/libre software

THE ORACLE-GOOGLE case has gotten us increasingly distracted [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], but it’s an important issue. Simon Phippsinitial reaction was:

Hmm. Aren’t these both Linux Foundation members and OIN licensees? Fighting over open source technology in a Linux distro? Presumably this also indicates Oracle’s decision on Apache’s request for a TCK for Harmony.

Phipps was Sun’s key “Open Source” guy, so his opinion matters a great deal. He is calling for everyone to abolish software patents (again). “If you still think software patents are a spur to innovation, you’re not paying attention,” he wrote. More importantly, he goes on to show that Oracle is not serious about Free software, except as a control freak or a ‘consumer’ (exploiting without contributing much, pretty much like Apple). Oracle has grabbed MySQL and other such projects which relate to databases. In a 2006 interview Ellison made a revealing statement:

FT [Financial Times]: Is open source going to be disruptive to Oracle?

LE [Larry Ellison]: No. If an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it. Take [the web server software] Apache: once Apache got better than our own web server, we threw it away and took Apache. So the great thing about open source is nobody owns it – a company like Oracle is free to take it for nothing, include it in our products and charge for support, and that’s what we’ll do. So it is not disruptive at all – you have to find places to add value. Once open source gets good enough, competing with it would be insane. Keep in mind it’s not that good in most places yet. We’re a big supporter of Linux. At some point we may embed Linux in all of our products and provide support.

Phipps also links to Carlo Daffara’s second insightful post about the subject:

I believe that the first one is the most probable one; Larry Ellison should know that cornering Google would not be sufficient to make them capitulate – they have too much to lose. But this will not be sufficient to create an opportunity for Oracle; I believe that the lawsuit will actually bring nothing to Oracle, and lots of advantages to Google. But only time will tell; the only thing that I can predict for sure right now is that Solaris will quickly fade from sight (as it will be unable to grow at the same rate of Linux) exactly like AIX and HP-UX: a mature and backroom tech, but nothing that you can base a growth strategy upon.

The FSF-backed swpat.org is already stepping in and Google promises to fight Oracle to defend Android/Dalvik.

Leisure Suit Larry Ellison

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.

Groklaw Suspects Apple Might Relate to Oracle’s Attack on Android, Jonathan Schwartz’ Story About ‘Pulling a SCO’ Recalled

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, SCO, SUN at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jonathan Schwartz
Jonathan Schwartz: “Years back, Sun was under pressure in the market. [...] With business down and customers leaving, we had more than a few choices at our disposal. We were invited by one company to sue the beneficiaries of open source. We declined. We could join another and sue our customers. That seemed suicidal.” (photo by James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.)

Summary: Further analysis of possible motives in the “SCOracle” case; another look at Apple’s software patents lust

IN PREVIOUS POSTS about Oracle’s lawsuit against Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] we explained that it is more complex than it initially seems.

There are some more cartoons about it and plenty of opinions, including some from Carla Schroder (“Oracle on the Warpath”) and from IDG. What we found interesting is the reaction from the Microsoft camp though. We did not find a reaction from Microsoft Gavin, who is busy doing ‘damage control’ regarding Microsoft’s violation of privacy. We did, however, find that the ‘Microsoft press’ and Microsoft boosters like Mary Jo Foley (Gavin’s colleague) have begun advertising Microsoft’s database in the midst of disdain/fear of Oracle. How timely. Microsoft MVP de Icaza led Groklaw to writing (Groklaw has just published another new post: “In the “You Won’t Believe This” Department, Miguel’s suggestion to Google is: “…I can not help to think that Google could migrate Android from Java to the ECMA/ISO CIL and C#. Unlike the Java patent grant, the Microsoft Community Promise for both C#, the core class libraries and the VM only require that you have a full implementation. Supersetting is allowed….Google could settle current damages with Oracle, and switch to the better designed, more pleasant to use, and more open .NET platform.”

“I can’t help but think about what Jonathan Schwartz wrote about meeting with Bill Gates and Gates asking for royalties for patents he claimed were infringed by OpenOffice. Schwartz told him that .NET infringes JAVA patents, and so Gates went away. But why isn’t Oracle suing Microsoft, then?”
      –Pemela Jones
“Like *that* will ever happen. I think he’s completely missed the real lesson to be learned about patents and skating close to the edge. And now, because Miguel wrote this, I must begin to wonder about the purpose of this litigation. I can’t help but think about what Jonathan Schwartz wrote about meeting with Bill Gates and Gates asking for royalties for patents he claimed were infringed by OpenOffice. Schwartz told him that .NET infringes JAVA patents, and so Gates went away. But why isn’t Oracle suing Microsoft, then? Instead, here’s Boies Schiller again, after SCO, with another anti-Linux lawsuit, if we define Linux in the broadest terms. Things that make you go hmm.”

To further expand on that point, Groklaw cites “The Java Trap” and agues: “Just a reminder that Richard Stallman warned developers years ago to watch out for nonfree versions of Java and stick to what became the GPL code. Had they all listened, there’d be no Oracle v. Google, methinks. Money makes people do strange things, but you as individual programmers don’t have to. This is in the live and learn from the mistakes of others category. And may I remind you that rms is now warning about Mono and C#, not to depend on them? When you see others pooh pooh his warning, look at his track record. How often is he right? Extrapolate.”

Huge damage has potentially been done to Java’s reputation. As one writer puts it:

Personally, it’s Ruby on Rails and Hadoop for now. My application has a browser-based front so Ruby on Rails is great and as far as the server is concerned, I use the old fashioned C++. Given how I use the data I use in my stealth app, I will never want to use mySQL. It’s Hadoop for the moment. Now with this Java lawsuit, I will not even consider building a Java-based application. Given a choice, one should never pick uncertainty or maybe even a lawsuit.

James Gosling was right. Goodbye Oracle Java.

Oracle has made one rare and important clarification (Oracle is mostly quiet, Google says the claims are “baseless”):

An Oracle spokeswoman said: “This suit is specifically about Google and that’s it.”

[...]

Oracle’s suit also underscores the sharp difference in philosophies between Oracle and Sun, which became one of the most visible proponents of open-source software. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is a former senior Sun executive.

Bruce Perens explains this as follows:

Apparently, Android is missing AWT and Swing, as Google created its own user-interface toolkit. So, Android would not conform with Java Standard Edition nor Java Micro Edition, which both require AWT. Google loses Sun’s patent grant through non-compliance with its requirements to follow the Java standard.

Perens watched the SCO case very closely and whether one recalls it or not, a few years ago Jonathan Schwartz wrote publicly in his blog that Sun had been invited to sue a competitor, pretty much like SCO on the face of it. This may lead to all sorts of suspicions and theories about past and present. Sun did pay SCO at the end.

At a later stage Groklaw was made aware of the Apple connection, which was mentioned here before. Groklaw, which spends some time defending Apple for reasons we do not understand, quotes: “This unexpected move by Oracle sends a strong and threatening message to Google and the entire Android community—specifically that Oracle will use its intellectual property rights to get compensated for innovations around the exploding mobile marketplace. Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison is inserting himself in the middle of an ever-evolving battle between Google CEO (and former Apple Director) Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a long-time friend of Ellison’s.”

Pamela Jones writes: “Ah! Apple. HTC. Now the picture is getting clearer as to the why. So it will come down to facts of the case, and the stupid patent system.” For background about Apple vs HTC see our Wiki.

To say more about Apple and patents, the company “Wants Patent On Video Game-Based iBooks,” according to Slashdot:

theodp writes “Patently Apple reports that a new Apple patent application has surfaced describing an application that would record your personal journey through a video game and turn it into a custom comic or iBook when you’re done playing. Imagine how thrilled little Billy’s Mommy would have been if she only had the chance to read the story of her son’s foray into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or see how he dealt with BioShock’s Little Sisters.”

Also in the news:

Apple Patent Opens a New Frontier for Gaming–Documenting

Here Comes the iBike? Apple Files Patent for a Bicycle Accessory [Updated]

Apple Researching Methods to Turn iPhone Into Feature-Rich Bike Computer

Here comes the iBike? Apple files patent for a bicycle

Yes, you read that headline right. Apple has applied for a patent for a bicycle concept.

Apple’s love of software patents has already angered one Apple ‘partner’ (FutureTap), but Apple still denies the allegations which were made repeatedly .

There is no “PatentGate.” That’s the word from FutureTap, the company which The Reg reported last Friday was concerned about Apple’s lifting of the look-and-feel from its flagship app and including an illustration of it in a recently published patent application.

We have covered the FutureTap story in [1, 2, 3].

Apple’s hypePhone also allows people to look up patents (Apple would love this app):

I wrote last May about Apptorney IP, an app that facilitated patent and trademark searching on an iPhone by providing direct links to the appropriate sections of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Now comes an app that takes that to the next level, enabling more seamless searching of patents and trademarks.

Called Banner & Witcoff’s IP Lawyer, the free app from the IP firm Banner & Witcoff provides direct search access to patents and trademarks, as well as to corresponding assignments, without the necessity to connect through a web page.

The app lets you search for patents by keyword, patent number, assignee, inventor or classification, and by keywords or exact phrases. Once you find a patent, you can further search within its text or download a PDF (via Google Patents) of the actual patent images.

Apple is a major part of the problem with software patents. As we showed on Friday, it has a lot to gain from the lawsuit against Google.

08.13.10

FFII in More Disagreements With NoSoftwarePatents Founder, James Gosling Foresaw Java Lawsuit

Posted in Java, Oracle, SUN at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

James Gosling in 2008

Summary: As the Oracle vs. Google case is being analysed, the FFII further distances itself from Florian Müller; James Gosling speaks out

Florian Müller may have started a Web site called NoSoftwarePatents (and FFII took over his site/project/initiative later on), but this does not mean that Müller’s opinions in any way overlap or intersect with the FFII’s. In fact, as we noted in this previous post about Oracle vs. Google (case filing accessible here), the lawsuit is being used by ‘Team [Microsoft] Apologista’ to promote C# (Novell employees communicate the issue with anonymous agitators). Yes, the Microsoft boosters are celebrating this lawsuit and it seems like Novell/Ximian does this too, along with Müller in the sense that he defends Microsoft.

We have already shown several examples where the FFII publicly disagrees with Müller and his attitude. Estranged or ostracised? Either way, here is the latest argument involving those two (where “fosspatents” is the Microsoft apologist who uses Vista 7, not FOSS)

[ffii] @FOSSpatents FFII does not endorse your anti-corporate moralism but supports legal steps to reduce risks http://stopsoftwarepatents.eu/

“FFII does not endorse your [Müller's] anti-corporate moralism but supports legal steps to reduce risks”
      –FFII
[fosspatents [Müller]] @FFII We’re in sync that no software patents means no patent lawsuits, no patent royalties. Then why do you partner with patent aggressors?

[ffii] @fosspatents FFII defends your right to code without patent threats, promotes a less-risk ecosystem for small medium-sized innovators

[ffii] @fosspatents FFII promotes an inclusive Free Information Infrastructure. We oppose #FOSS discrimination, other orgs advocate #FOSS models.

[ffii] But #FFII provides a #foss discussions list http://lists.ffii.org/mailman/listinfo/floss/ #freesoftware

[ffii] …then why does he beat his wife? #ubertroll #oracle

[ffii] #Oracle’s #Android case quickly examined http://carlodaffara.conecta.it/?p=478 #scoracle

[fosspatents] I’m so with you on the question of patentable subject matter. But that’s not the issue. I meant your standards lobbying alongside OFE.

[schestowitz] @ffii he doesn’t seem to mind so much when Microsoft sues, just saying Microsoft does not exclude like “evil IBM”

[fosspatents] @schestowitz Please get real and recognize the fact that I distinguish between failed attempts to license that go to court, and others.

[ffii] #Gosling about #Scoracle http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/the_shit_finally_hits_the #google #java

[zoobab [FFII president]] Any idea where to download the source code of Dalvik VM? Time to ask national courts everywhere in Europe for non-infringement #fuckoracle

[zoobab] Florian Mueller promotes the usage of the undefined RAND term: http://ur1.ca/149dt

We are not defending Oracle by the way; in fact, it’s possible that Oracle will also attack Mono by suing Novell. Advogato.org is rightly concerned about Oracle’s attitude.

Seems Oracle bought Sun to become a java patent troll. Trying to destroy the alternative free java implementation that is part of android. Sun used to be agnostic towards Free Software in the past, then became a huge fan on java liberation day. Now that Oracle is in control and starts its quest to destroy the free java world, we are back to the dark ages. So, now what?

Watch what Java’s father has to say:

Oracle finally filed a patent lawsuit against Google. Not a big surprise. During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer’s eyes sparkle. Filing patent suits was never in Sun’s genetic code. Alas….

I hope to avoid getting dragged into the fray: they only picked one of my patents (RE38,104) to sue over.

In better news, the EFF is saying that it “Staffs Up in Patent, Copyright, and Trademark Law”

EFF is pleased to announce the hiring of our newest staff member: staff attorney Julie Samuels. Julie will be working on intellectual property issues, with a focus on stopping abuse of software patents.

Gene patents ought to be tackled too [1, 2] (although these are not electronic as in “Electronic Frontier Foundation”). “20% of the Genes in Your Body are Patented,” says this new blog post. [via Glyn Moody]

Here’s a disconcerting thought: for the past thirty years, genes have been patentable. And we’re not just talking genetically modified corn – your genes, pretty much as they exist in your body, can and have been patented. The US government reports over three million gene patent applications have been filed so far; over 40,000 patents are held on sections of the human genome, covering roughly 20% of our genes.

Upset? You’re not alone. Critics argue that the patents stifle potential research into disease, keep new treatments off the market, and bring in serious money to Big Pharma – all by exercising property claims that shouldn’t exist. After all, genes aren’t inventions, which are patentable – they’re discoveries, which aren’t. As Luigi Palombi noted recently at the Open Science Summit, “You can’t patent Mount Everest; why can you patent a gene?” Here, we review the history of genetic law, the current state of affairs, and interview David Koepsell, an attorney and author of a recent book on gene patenting, Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush To Patent Your Genes.

Humanity is just hurting itself using patents, which are about greed (for power), not documenting one’s inventions.

“I would much rather spend my time and money and energy finding ways to make the Internet safer and better than bickering over patents.”

Dean Drako, Barracuda’s CEO

Novell/Mono Could be Sued by Oracle; Taleo Puts Sun’s Former CEO and Former Novell Employee in the Board

Posted in Mono, Novell, Oracle, SUN at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Court gavel

Summary: Next target for Oracle could be Novell; Sun’s outgoing CEO gets a part-time job alongside a former Noveller

MAKER of Mono Novell Inc. is now at risk of lawsuits from Oracle, not just Microsoft (which was also sued by Salesforce for patent violations in .NET). Bruce Byfield mentions Novell’s Go-OO in his latest article, which is about OpenOffice.org 3.3. Novell has been trying to fork OpenOffice.org, which upset some people at Sun. Now that Oracle owns Sun and is also getting litigious against similar works, what is the probability of Novell being sued by Oracle (which uses RHEL and Solaris, not SLES)? Novell has been poaching Solaris customers recently, which would anger Oracle.

According to this, Jonathan Schwartz (who very much dislikes extortion with software patents) enters the board of Taleo along with Jim Tolonen, who used to work for Novell:

Tolonen was CFO for Business Objects, a software maker, until it was acquired by SAP AG in January 2008. Taleo said he has also worked at Novell Inc., IGN Entertainment Inc., and CyberMedia.

The new Sales VP of InsideSales.com turns out to have some Novell history as well.

‘Team Microsoft’ Uses Oracle Action Against Google to Promote C#

Posted in Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 4:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“As if you could kill a dolphin by swallowing the ocean…”

Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL (about Oracle)

Larry Ellison eats dolphin

Summary: ‘Team Microsoft’ or ‘Team Apologista’ — including Florian Müller — already touts Oracle’s lawsuit against Google as a reason for C# (implicit recommendation)

OH, how predictable. Mono boosters are already using Oracle’s action not to denounce Oracle but to promote C# at Java’s expense. To quote Carlo Daffara, “Miguel de Icaza claims that “The Java specification patent grant patent grant seems to be only valid as long as you have a fully conformant implementation”, but that applies only to the Standard Implementation of Java, not OpenJDK. Sorry Miguel – nice try. More luck next time.” Here are parts of Daffara’s analysis of this case:

On the first point: in the complaint, Oracle claims that “The Android operating system software “stack” consists of Java applications running on a Java-based object-oriented application framework, and core libraries running on a “Dalvik” virtual machine (VM) that features just-in-time (JIT) compilation”. On copyrights, Oracle claims that “Without consent, authorization, approval, or license, Google knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully copied, prepared, published, and distributed Oracle America’s copyrighted work, portions thereof, or derivative works and continues to do so. Google’s Android infringes Oracle America’s copyrights in Java and Google is not licensed to do so … users of Android, including device manufacturers, must obtain and use copyrightable portions of the Java platform or works derived therefrom to manufacture and use functioning Android devices. Such use is not licensed. Google has thus induced, caused, and materially contributed to the infringing acts of others by encouraging, inducing, allowing and assisting others to use, copy, and distribute Oracle America’s copyrightable works, and works derived therefrom.”

[...]

As for patents, a little reminder: patents cover ideas, not implementations (let’s skip for the moment the folly of giving monopoly protection on ideas. You already know how I think about it); so, if in any way Oracle had, now or in the past, given full access to those ideas through a licensing that is transferable, Google is somehow protected there as well. And – guess what? That really happened! Sun released the entire Java JDK under the GPLv2+classpath exception; granting with that release full rights of use and redistribution of the IPR assigned on what was released. This is different from the TCK specification, that Google wisely never licensed; because the TCK license requires for the patents to be transferred to limit the development to enhancements or modifications to the basic JDK as released by Sun.

This case is more complex than it may first seem. We’ll write about it later. Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat told me that “SUN tried to “sell” JDK to Google, didn’t like Dalvik, claims it hurts JAVA. Now Oracle sues.” [...] maybe @webmink [Simon Phipps] knows more. But I am not surprised. Will be painted as “defending” JAVA by Oracle.” Later he pointed out that “The patents in the ORCL v GOOG case are 6,125,447, 6,192,476, 5,966,702, 7,426,720, RE38,104, 6,910,205 and 6,061,520″

Wait for more and more Mono boosters to take advantage of this.

Microsoft apologist Florian Müller (see last week's post, titled “Florian Müller Unofficially Joins Microsoft’s ‘Team Apologista’”) is already promoting C# along with the trolls who harass this Web site “[a]nd the fud goes on” the FFII writes in relation to Müller’s latest bit of FUD (he asks, “is Java less open than C#?”). Well, Müller is bombarding Twitter with at least 3 links to his blog right now, using provocative statements like “Shame on Oracle”, “A lawyer affiliated with the FSF Europe supported #Oracle ‘s takeover of Sun”, and “FFII and FSFE should draw the appropriate conclusions from Oracle’s patent aggression against FOSS.”

He also uses this to attack OIN, saying: “One Open Invention Network licensee (Oracle) sues another (Google) over patents. Another #fail for the OIN.”

We’ll write about this later as more details continue to emerge.

07.27.10

Michael Widenius Lobby Against Oracle a Matter of Self Interest

Posted in Database, Oracle, OSI, SUN at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Widenius in Prague
Photo from Kolbe

Summary: How the emergence of SkySQL weakens Monty’s case against the company which bought (and continues to maintain) MySQL

“SugarCRM jumps the Open Source shark claiming closed is open and it’s the rest of us who are mistaken,” wrote Simon Phipps in Twitter. Phipps used to be the Open Source symbol of Sun Microsystems (now he is in OSI), whose employees that moved to Oracle might as well attempt to pass ‘open’ core as “Open Source” (hot subject at the moment [1, 2, 3]). Roberto Galoppini has published an opinion on ‘open’ core from Giuseppe Maxia (Oracle/MySQL), who calls it the “pragmatic freedom”. As Pamela Jones (Groklaw) put it earlier this month, “I don’t share his views, but I thought you’d like to hear from an open core defender, who also happens to work at Oracle on MySQL, as he presents what’s been jokingly called the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense (“I had to pay my mortgage, etc.”).”

“SugarCRM jumps the Open Source shark claiming closed is open and it’s the rest of us who are mistaken”
      –Simon Phipps
Jones also points out that Michael “Monty” Widenius from MySQL (and from Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation) had personal financial interests while lobbying against Oracle’s takeover of MySQL (he helped create SkySQL). “Another happy coincidence?”

That is what she asks anyway. “Consider the timing of the appeal of the Oracle-Sun deal by Monty before you answer,” she adds. This is an especially hard subject for us to address because Techrights uses a MySQL database. So does Groklaw for that matter. As for Phipps, his Web site uses MySQL and he refuses to talk about MySQL under Oracle (at least in FLOSS Weekly). We are grateful to Widenius for MySQL, but this project is no longer his. He sold it and made millions.

06.22.10

Oracle Doesn’t “Go Bananas Over EIF 2.0” Being Subverted by Microsoft and Friends

Posted in Database, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, Standard, SUN at 2:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yellow bananas

Summary: Oracle blog rant about EIF 2.0 said to have been removed; the role of the BSA in fighting software freedom is explained

THE PRESIDENT of the FFII points out that “Oracle´s blog post over EIFv2 open standards lobbying has disappeared” and that it can still be found here (titled “The EU goes bananas over EIF 2.0″). What’s the matter with all that? Is it possible that Oracle found it unacceptable to defend software freedom and standards (like Sun removed MySQL’s anti-software patents page following the acquisition [1, 2])? Here is a portion of what this newer Oracle post about the Digital Agenda says despite the fact that it too has been derailed.

The EU Digital Agenda (I gave it an 85/100 score), while laudable, stops short of using the term. The speech is a nice interpretation of her own document. I am told all other relevant Commissioners saw and accepted the speech in a brief interservice consultation. What that means is another thing. Are they blind? Have they changed their mind? Or, do they simply let her have her own opinions, but were not prepared to go as far as this in the Digital Agenda? Whatever lies behind what happened and what was said today, it is progress.

The next step for the European Commission is defining the term open standards. If they do that, and do it right, Vice President Kroes will go into history as having made a significant contribution towards global progress in e-government by possibly eradicating lock-in forever. Moreover, she will put Europe’s SMEs in a better position to succeed in a global IT market filled with barriers to entry from players not fully understanding, using, or unpacking standards.

For some background about the lobbying, see the following posts.

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  10. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?
  11. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  12. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  13. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  14. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  15. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  16. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  17. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  18. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  19. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  20. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  21. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  22. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  23. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  24. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  25. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  26. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source
  27. Patents Roundup: David Hammerstein on Microsoft Lobbying in Europe; Harrison Targets Lobbying on Software Patents in New Zealand, Justice Stevens Leaves SCOTUS

The BSA was among the lobbyists for Microsoft. In other news that covers the BSA’s actions regarding software patents and policies, we have this:

The largest growing part of the software sector, and which most threatens the legacy business models of BSA members, is the Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) movement. I joined this multi-sectoral movement, which includes but is not limited to commercial software companies, in the early 1990′s. Most of the policies promoted by the BSA since the mid 1990′s have been aimed at stopping or reducing the growth of this movement. The two most active policies are software patents and legal protection for technical measures.

[...]

Independent software authors have obvious allies with other independent software authors. There is the Open Source Initiative, the Free Software Foundation and the Linux Foundation in the US, and various software user/developer groups in Canada such as CLUE: Canada’s Association for Open Source.

If you look at the membership for the Linux Foundation and the BSA, you may notice there are overlapping companies between who I consider to be my most obvious opponents and allies. This is not only true within these associations, but within individual companies. I’ve observed informal policy debates between employees of IBM, with these different employees being as far as two individuals can be from each other on key areas of technology policy.

[...]

The BSA members are using the labels as their public face to the political process, just as the labels have always used specific famous musicians as their public face. Michael Geist has suggested that the major labels are behind the latest Astroturf campaign, and from what I have seen I suspect this is true.

Oracle is not listed as a BSA member. It could do a lot more to rectify EIF 2.0 and the Digital Agenda, especially now that it has important Free software projects in its portfolio.

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