decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 4Xs: Google Speaks
Friday, August 13 2010 @ 12:32 PM EDT

On the Oracle v. Google litigation announcement, here's something that I don't see anyone else mentioning yet.

On the Oracle patents, in a post-Bilski world, the right question would seem to be:

Are *any* of the asserted Oracle patents tied to a specific machine?
That test wasn't tossed overboard. The Supreme Court said [PDF] it's a helpful test, just not the only one.

Carlo Daffara has the patents Oracle is relying on listed with helpful links here. Groklaw member Celtic_hackr went through them and sees none that are tied to any specific machine. Only look if you are free to do so, but this is a shout out to the lawyers out there to at least investigate this possibility. If it's true, this might turn into one of the most interesting litigations we've ever covered. Yes, Groklaw will cover this litigation soup to nuts.

And may software patents crash into the ocean as an unintended consequence of this patent attack.

I've collected some links to give you context. I put them in News Picks already, but unless I put them in an article, they're hard to find down the road, and now that I've decided Groklaw will cover this litigation, we'll probably want to refer to these resources.

First, the complaint. [ Update 2: I have a local copy now as PDF.] We'll have to wait for the answer to know specifically what Google's defenses are, but I know some of you are asking why the GPL isn't blocking Oracle's copyright claims, at a minimum, let alone the patents. Because Google apparently didn't use the GPL'd version. We'll see if Google's clean room workaround stands up. I'm sure they considered their steps super carefully, but as we saw in the SCO saga, you can still get sued even if a plaintiff is pretty sure he'll lose in the end. I am puzzled why corporations that understand so much about openness still struggle with the GPL. It would protect you, you know. Oracle distributes Linux, after all. Think about it.

As to the why of it, I gather the consensus is that Android is threatening Apple's iPhone. Note in the complaint that Oracle is asking that any software found to be in violation of Oracle's copyrights "be impounded and destroyed." So this is a lot like SCO. Mean as the law allows. I'm restraining myself from saying more. The Boies Schiller hallmark. I'm very sorry to see MOFO's Michael A. Jacobs on board with Boies Schiller on this. He's formidable in patent law. And I like and admire him. But I don't see any way we can be on the same side on this one, although I'll surely be fair to both parties in my coverage. I'm a little appalled that Morrison & Foerster would team up with Boies Schiller on anything after what they've seen in the SCO saga, but it is what it is.

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.

And there may be an HTC angle, SiliconANGLE suggests in an article titled, How Google Tried to End Run Java and Why Oracle’s Lawsuit Has Merit:

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.
There may be an HTC connection, then, pushing this thing. And the money, of course. With these old-fashioned proprietary guys, it's always about using the law as an anticompetitive weapon. (Remember Jonathan Schwartz telling his war stories about Microsoft trying to shake Sun down?) Which is just one reason why they will all eventually fail, just like Microsoft is now experiencing. Software patents are a drag on innovation and on the economy. Of all times to be a drag on the economy!

On the facts and the law of this particular case, we do still need to hear more details before you can really say whose side has legal merit. We already know that FOSS folks hate patents being used for aggression, but we have to keep an open mind still about who is right and wrong legally. Patent law is such a mess in the US, there are plenty of ways to be bad, so who knows yet who is right or wrong legally, as opposed to ethically. I have no idea yet. I know this: Oracle is doing something that is not done in the FOSS community. We do not admire such behavior. And if it looks like Google tries to sincerely fight against software patents, and if you read Google's amicus brief [PDF] in Bilski it certainly might, using this case as a vehicle, it will surely get community support. I don't know if Google will go that far.

I don't believe Oracle submitted an amicus brief in Bilski, judging by the list on the ABA website. But they took a stand against them in 1994, End Software Patents points out. They provide a helpful link to Oracle's 1994 patent policy, presented in testimony at USPTO hearings that year. Here's an ironic snip:

Oracle Corporation opposes the patentability of software. The Company believes that existing copyright law and available trade secret protections, as opposed to patent law, are better suited to protecting computer software developments.

Patent law provides to inventors an exclusive right to new technology in return for publication of the technology. This is not appropriate for industries such as software development in which innovations occur rapidly, can be made without a substantial capital investment, and tend to be creative combinations of previously-known techniques.

Even if patent law were appropriate for protection of software, due to the large volume of recently-granted software patents and the rising number of new applications, the current patent process would continue to be troublesome for the software industry. Software patent examinations are hindered by the limited capability of searching prior art, by the turnover rate among examiners in the Patent and Trademark Office, and by the confusion surrounding novelty and innovation in the software arena. The problem is exacerbated by varying international patent laws, which both raise the cost and confuse the issue of patent protection.

Unfortunately, as a defensive strategy, Oracle has been forced to protect itself by selectively applying for patents which will present the best opportunities for cross-licensing between Oracle and other companies who may allege patent infringement.

That was then. This is now. Situational ethics. As Brian Proffitt writes, Oracle is consistently contradictory. Just this week, Oracle declared its love for Linux. Then it told the kernel guys the changes it wants from them. They want it to be more like Unix. heh heh. That's a time-tested way to get what you want from the Linux kernel guys. Make demands. Not. If Oracle wants to be loved back by Linux, they need to learn what conduct is acceptable to the FOSS community, so it doesn't blunder the way it has been. We don't care about your money any more than we cared about Microsoft's. Or your power. Neither power or money motivates FOSS. It's about something bigger than that. And you get to make buckets of money from Linux, I must say. Google built their world on it. And as I said, Oracle distributes it too. Which is why Google would have been smart to use the GPL'd version of Java, in my opinion.

Exhibit A, an interview from 2006 with Ellison, showing he still thinks in old-fashioned ways. At least in 2006, when he imagined that he could be successful with FOSS by grabbing the "intellectual property" and running with it. But brand, which he barely acknowledges at the end of the interview, means reputation. And if the community doesn't like you, they won't help you, which is why his Linux competing with Red Hat was a big failure. Red Hat lives. You know why? Because thus far at least, they try to treat the community and their customers and the license they benefit from well. It's foolish to spit on your upstream suppliers.

Here's a very interesting article about Sun's long history of being what the author, Joel West, calls "semi open" -- a combination of "partly open" and "opening parts". He calls his article on the Oracle announcement of litigation, The Last Gasp of Sun's Semi-Openness. And now the chickens come home to roost. To those pushing open core as a solution, live and learn from the mistakes of others.

Joe Cheng gets credit for coining the litigation SCOracle.

And I would be remiss, comments policy or no, not to quote Tim Bray's memorable tweet on the subject, which I will have to put a period in to get around my software moderation system:

Speaking only for myself as an individual of course: F.uck Oracle.
Update: Google emailed a statement to David Goldman at CNNMoney:
"We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit," Google spokesman Aaron Zamost said in an e-mailed statement. "The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the Web a better place."
Baseless. I translate that to mean, Fight.

And now we see a longer statement given to TechCrunch, which tells me I understood correctly:

“We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit. The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.”
And here's what Juan Carlos Perez and Chris Kanaracus at ComputerWorld UK found describing what Google's Dalvik does:
As described in official Android documentation, Dalvik is a virtual machine optimized for mobile devices, and all Android applications run in their own process with their own Dalvik instance.

"Dalvik has been written so that a device can run multiple VMs efficiently. The Dalvik VM executes files in the Dalvik Executable (.dex) format which is optimized for minimal memory footprint. The VM is register-based, and runs classes compiled by a Java language compiler that have been transformed into the .dex format by the included "dx" tool," reads an official document about Android for developers. "The Dalvik VM relies on the Linux kernel for underlying functionality such as threading and low-level memory management."

Andy Updegrove thinks it's all about money, not ideology. And Stephen Shankland, as is his wont, has by far the most thorough and I must say interesting coverage (although Andy wins the prize for best headline: "Oracle Sues Google Over Android: What's Up With That?) with background information, including this tidbit:
But my, what a difference a corporate acquisition makes to corporate politics.

"Filing patent suits was never in Sun's genetic code," said James Gosling, a key Java creator, on his blog. But Gosling, who earlier referred to Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison as Larry, Prince of Darkness and who became independent after quitting Oracle shortly after the Sun acquisition, also got a good look at Oracle's DNA: "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."

Update 3: Now that the shock has worn off a bit, here comes the disgust and the anger, with folks swearing never to use Java again as long as they live, or MySQL either. For example, in the SF Chronicle's Oracle's Java Google lawsuit: The beginning of Java's epitaph, Yobie Benjamin writes:
Oracle's move to sue Google for the use of Java just tells the programming and development world, "whatever you do, do not develop on this platform because if you do, we'll come and get you." Maybe Oracle does not mean to but it sure feels like 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.

And Sam Dean on Gogaom's Ostatic calls Oracle's law suit "the anti-open move of the year." And not in a good way:
This is a shame, and exactly the kind of anti-innovation Silicon Valley behavior that isn't needed as the economic downturn continues to pelt technology companies and everyone else....It is a classic case of a proprieteary software player running roughshod over free, open principles.

Without a doubt, this suit will result in truckloads of bad PR for Oracle. More worrisome, though, is the effect this and further actions will have on Java development going forward. How many tolls is Oracle likely to want to collect now that it got its crown jewel from Sun?

Simon Phipps on ComputerWorld UK:
The right response: Stop Software Patents Petition - If you still think software patents are a spur to innovation, you're not paying attention.
Update 4: A reader comment should be noted:
You seem to be missing the point of why Google didn't just use the GPL'd JavaME. Sun deliberately removed the Classpath exception on JavaME specifically because they saw that most of their licensing opportunities were on mobile platforms. This meant that any *application* developers targeting a GPL'd JavaME platform would be forced to GPL their applications. Not surprisingly Google saw this would be undesirable when trying to attract developers to the platform.
It's true. I did miss that. I was, truth be told, never particularly enamoured of Java, due to Sun's semi-openness issues, so I'm still getting up to speed on those specifics. I'll get there, thanks to all of you. Say, can someone start a thread on prior art so it's all in one place? Also, here are the Oracle Technology Network Developer License Terms . This page describes how it works, linking to the license:
Developers:

All software downloads are free, and most come with a Developer License that allows you to use full versions of the products at no charge while developing and prototyping your applications, or for strictly self-educational purposes. You can buy products with full-use licenses at any time from the online Store or from your sales representative.

And here's an analysis by Stephen Grady at Redmonk with a lot of background on the why of all this. That is the question, after all, why would Oracle do this? Updegrove says money, and of course that is in Oracle's DNA, but what does Oracle want that is big enough to annoy pretty much everyone?
Purely financial justifications for this suit are less than satisfying, however.

To begin with, Oracle would effectively be trading long term ecosystem health for a short term cash windfall. Unless the settlement is historically immense – a difficult outcome to rely on from a planning perspective – it’s not clear that this would be a net win. For all of its sustained success in the application and database markets, Oracle remains as fundamentally dependent on the Java ecosystem as Sun was before it. Even for a company that’s sought and found growth through stack ownership and category dominance, the health of the ecosystem is and must remain a concern.

He suspects the goal is more than royalties. But what? That's not clear to him, though he considers several, but here's what is:
As for predictions, I’ll make only one: whoever wins will also lose. Because this suit is going to negatively impact – probably substantially – Java adoption. The enterprise technology landscape is more fragmented by the day, as it transitions from .NET or Java othodoxy to multi-language heterogeneity. Oracle’s suit will accelerate this process as it introduces for the first time legal uncertainty around the Java platform. Apple and Microsoft will be thrilled by this development, and scores of competitive languages and platforms are likely to see improved traction as a result of Java defections.

Add up these costs, and the only supportable conclusion is that Oracle’s ambitions here are big.

No one seems to be considering one final possibility, that this is just a blunder from a guy who doesn't often make blunders. But hey, we're all human. It's the nature of humans to make mistakes from time and time, and there are no exceptions to that burden we all have to live with. And as Greek mythology points out, it's often our character that leads us to our doom, our qualities as people, our bent, our flaws and many times even our strengths. Is it not conceivable that this is exactly that?

  


The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 4Xs: Google Speaks | 500 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections thread
Authored by: nsomos on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 12:52 PM EDT
Please place any corrections here.
It may be helpful to summarize in the title the correction ...
e.g. miss take -> mistake

Thanks

[ Reply to This | # ]

"crash into the ocean" too lenient?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 12:53 PM EDT
Suggest - 'fall into an active crater'. It could be the trigger for a 'terminal'
ruling in due course. Stirring times ahead?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Linux Weekly News has some coverage
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 12:55 PM EDT
I wouldn't mention it except that groklaw's good name is in the first comment; http://lwn.net/Articles/399840/# Comments

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Thread
Authored by: artp on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 12:57 PM EDT
Divergent thinking welcomed.

Convergent thinking elsewhere, please.


---
Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Thread
Authored by: artp on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 12:59 PM EDT
URLs appreciated, as the news items seem to be accelerating in scrolling off the
right hand side of the page.

---
Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Florian Mueller Weighs In
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:00 PM EDT

LWN has posted a short article titled Oracle sues Google over use of Java in Android". The first comment was by Florian Mueller who by the second paragraph was attacking Pj, Groklaw, Carlo Piana, and Eben Moglen. I won't quote what he said, but he was being his usual charming self, accusing someone of lying (repeatedly), always favouring IBM, etc.

He posted numerous responses, centred mainly around the MySQL and TurboHercules cases (he seems only marginally interested in the Oracle/Google case).

The LWN editor had to weigh in at one point to tell subscribers that they have kill file settings to filter out any posts from certain people.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes transcript Goes Here
Authored by: artp on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:01 PM EDT
See "Comes v MS" link above for work that needs to be done.


---
Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

oracle patent discussion
Authored by: designerfx on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:09 PM EDT
I'm thinking we could try to keep that all under it's own
parent thread as there might be much discussion.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:18 PM EDT
Glad to see you have taken this case PJ. I hope this one doesn't consume 10 years of your life like the current one.
Are *any* of the asserted Oracle patents tied to a specific machine?
Can you imagine the evil that would be unleashed upon the world if some one could get a judge to buy the idea that a virtual machine was a specific machine? Yikes. Instant virtualized every thing just to get a patent. It is a very interesting question.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Google wrongs Java and Sun - and now the birds are coming to roost.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:21 PM EDT
<blockquote>I'm very sorry to see MOFO's Michael A. Jacobs on board with
Boies Schiller on this. He's formidable in patent law. And I like and admire
him. But I don't see any way we can be on the same side on this one, although
I'll surely be fair to both parties in my coverage. I'm a little appalled that
Morrison & Foerster would team up with Boies Schiller on
anything...<blockquote>

Seeing foes (lawyers for both Novell and SCO) joining Oracle in this lawsuit
means one thing: they see Google as being completely in the wrong.

Google should have licensed Java ME from Sun rather than developing a
work-around that also tramples on Sun's IP rights. If it did not want to do
this, then Google should have used the free development tools from Linux.
Simple.

Oracle is NOT SCO. Oracle is the second largest software company in the
world. It does big big business. It makes tons of money. It owns Java -
copyrights and patents. It can see this lawsuit to the end.

I think Google will fold. It will end up paying lots of money as royalties to
Oracle.

With the Apache license to Google's Android Development tools, Oracle can
also sue HTC, Motorola, etc. for royalties on Android as well. Such is the
danger of using Apache over the GPL. But for now, Google is the only one
with deep pockets - such as over $30 billion in cash.

[ Reply to This | # ]

After all, it is your blog...
Authored by: YurtGuppy on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:26 PM EDT

but I would get in trouble if I wrote that word
with the big F and the '.' in it.



---

just swimming round and round

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:31 PM EDT
I don't recall CodePlex being set up to push Mono. Maybe you're confusing
CodePlex with the CodePlex Foundation again.

HTC made a patent agreement with Microsft. Maybe HTC saw the writing on the
wall with Oracle suing Google over Android.

Will Oracle start suing other open source projects out there, such as, IcedTea
and Eclipse?

Who is Oracle going to sue next - IBM? Apple?

This is definitely a warm up for suing other companies.

Makes you wonder if Oracle will buy SCO's assets when SCO goes into chapter 7
liquidation to continue the SCO-Linux litigation.

And people think Microsoft is bad - Oracle is going to be worse.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Byte Code
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:35 PM EDT
ByteCode stuff is fairly common and more than 30 years old in LISP. (Possibly as
much as 50 years old now).

Wikipedia has a fair list of a lot of things that use byte code. Including other
patents by Mathworks.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bytecode

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:47 PM EDT
    • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 03:42 PM EDT
    • Byte Code - Authored by: Vic on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 04:11 PM EDT
      • Byte Code - Authored by: Wol on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 12:01 PM EDT
        • Byte Code - Authored by: Vic on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 09:05 PM EDT
  • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 02:28 PM EDT
    • Byte Code - Authored by: jesse on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 02:41 PM EDT
    • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 04:18 PM EDT
  • Byte Code - Authored by: rsmith on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 03:07 PM EDT
    • Byte Code - Authored by: symbolset on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 01:55 AM EDT
    • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 02:58 AM EDT
  • Smalltalk-80 - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 06:19 PM EDT
    • Smalltalk-80 - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 06:20 PM EDT
    • Smalltalk-80 - Authored by: proceng on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 12:49 AM EDT
  • The SPECTRE computer - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 04:09 PM EDT
  • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 04:09 PM EDT
  • Byte Code - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 08:27 PM EDT
The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:40 PM EDT
Oracle's primary revenue streams don't depend on selling sw patents to others.
However, their primary revenue streams could be tapped by patent sharks. Hence,
Oracle's old stance against them.

Ditto for Google.

I suppose it's just barely possible for there to be a conspiracy between the
two. Lobbying congress to change the patent law is probably infeasible. Setting
up a litigation which results in fundamental constitutional conflict, resolved
by tossing software patents overboard ... hard, but perhaps more tractable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Estoppel?
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:46 PM EDT
Can Oracles prior public statements be seen as waiving their rights?

I would be interested in see something more about the actual patents. I am not
versed enough in software development or patent reading to figure out what they
actually cover.

---
Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Estoppel? - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 09:05 PM EDT
Google did not use a clean room workaround
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:58 PM EDT
QUOTE: Because Google apparently didn't use the GPL'd version. We'll see if
Google's clean room workaround stands up.

Unfortunately for Google, Google did not use a clean room workaround. They
specifically hired former Sun employees who worked on Java to create its
workaround.

This will get them into trouble, particularly since they did not use the GPL'd
version of Java.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 01:58 PM EDT

Equating SCO and Oracle, at first blush, doesn't seem supportable. Caldera, at some point, decided they were getting nowhere with products and sales channels and went into the litigation business. Oracle is a relational database provider and will remain so.

But Oracle did acquire Sun in its entirety (unlike SCO-Caldera-Santa Cruz which did not acquire Unix copyrights and patents) and it has sued Google. Phones? Doesn't that theory posit that Oracle cares whose phones are selling in what amount?

No, I think the simplest explanation is that someone in Oracle's management team looked at what Google did with dalvik and saw that, post- Billski or not, Sun has what are currently valid patents, and figured this as a way to get some more return on the Sun investment. Suing wasn't the reason to acquire Sun, but an additional benefit. Oracle sees somebody making a bunch of money on something that looks like java but isn't and it looks to Oracle that the money to be gained from licensing justifies the costs in initiating and possibly pursuing litigation. I have a complex opinion about this. On one hand, I am opposed to people getting money for others' work, and on the other, I am leaning towards thinking this is similar to Sun's complaint about Microsoft's J++, a litigation pursuit I agreed with, and one which was resolved on a basis of trademarks and which influenced the findings in the anti-trust trial.

Oracle risks the invalidation of their patents, but that outcome is only possible after a long legal battle and large expenditures.

As to doubts about java, we had Google doing its own virtual machine underneath the java api and specification. Are those of us who use java as Sun, and now Oracle, have licensed us at any more risk than we were before the week began? I think not and I think Stallman would agree, though we'd disagree on the magnitude of risk I had undertaken before August 10, 2010.

Did Google rely on Sun's implicit or explicit approval? I don't know. We'll find out and this will be an interesting case to watch. I hope it does further the US legal system towards the non-patentability of software. But, I suspect Google will cut a check rather than fight and down the road Android development will be on top of the Go language.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Looks like a SCO part II to me
Authored by: rsmith on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 02:14 PM EDT

Because of the hoops you had to jump through to get it I never installed Java on my FreeBSD machines, nor did I bother to learn it. Why should I go to all that trouble when you can download the likes of Lua, Perl, Python or Ruby without trouble and free?

And seeing this I'm glad I didn't! (Of course C# and .NET are at least as tainted as Java, if not more, and I'm staying clear of them as well.)

As to the consensus that Oracle is doing this for Apple's benefit, that doesn't make sense to me. Lawsuits are expensive. Why would Oracle do this for Apple? And even if it was Ellison doing Jobs a favor, surely the board or the shareholders would object if that ever came out?

Another angle in one of the linked articles sounds much more likely; Oracle wants to get paid for all the innovation being done in mobile computing, without actually having to do any innovating. In that respect a worthy successor to the SCO charade! Maybe they'll take over the crown as the "most hated company in tech" as well?

As has been mentioned, Android has been out for a couple of years, and nobody at Sun cared enough to start a lawsuit. That doesn't bode well for the as yet unknown merits of the case, IMO. So this looks more and more politically/strategically motivated. I think Google's legal team will be interviewing a lot of ex SUN engineers.

Google employs a lot of smart people. I bet that they can code around everything Oracle mentions in its complaint before this goes to trial. And I wonder what steps Oracle has taken to give Google the opportinity to cure any copyright infringements?

As an aside, I doubt if Oracle is ready for the amount of scrutiny that can be applied via Groklaw! Happy hunting everyone. :-)

---
Intellectual Property is an oxymoron.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It is also a copyright suit
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 02:16 PM EDT

In case it gets lost in all the patent brouhaha, it should be noted that there is also an allegation of copyright infringement in the complaint.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine?
Authored by: ciaran on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 03:21 PM EDT
I'm documenting it and collecting analyses here:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Oracle_v._Google_(2010,_USA)

Here's a question: If Android ditched Dalvik and migrated to a OpenJDK-based VM,
then they could have their modified Java implementation without any risk of
patents from Oratroll. Is that right?

[ Reply to This | # ]

About Google, Java and Oracle
Authored by: dcs on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 03:30 PM EDT
Here are my own thoughts:

1) Google wasn't wrong to create Dalvik. Simply put, Java SE was unsuited to mobile devices, and Java ME is unsuited to anything, period. If you are not a Java ME developer, please, don't waste everyone's time with assertions to the contrary.

2) These are plain patent claims. If Google hadn't used Java at all, and created something all of its own, incompatible with Java, it would still be a target for these claims. They do not rely at all on Java -- and can't, really, because Google is not using any part of Java on Android.

3) Oracle wants royalties, just that. And while it would be great if Google toppled those patents, I think it will settle, once enough litigation has gone to assert a reasonable value.

---
Daniel C. Sobral

[ Reply to This | # ]

The end of opensolaris
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 03:31 PM EDT
The end of opensolaris. I guess ooo might be next.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle telling the kernel guys the changes it wants from them
Authored by: Gringo on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 03:39 PM EDT

I didn't see anything wrong here. Oracle seems to have made a very constructive suggestion to kernel developers that they should have checkin test suites in the kernel tree itself, so tests will be part of the build system.

Seems like a very good idea to me. Somebody didn't like that suggestion?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 04:01 PM EDT
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Goosling

[ Reply to This | # ]

Java and Mono machine nonspecificity
Authored by: mcinsand on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 04:22 PM EDT
If machine specificity is required, then how can cross-platform software,
specificially software written to be as environment-independent as Java or Mono,
be patent encumberable? If the software is not tied to any particular OS, and
the OS's that can run it might run on whatever hardware, then the patents fail
the machine link test, right? Otherwise, they lose their utility.

Am I missing something here? This just seems very, very oxymoronic here. These
are great examples of why software patents need to be unequivocably junked.

mc

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two words
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 04:44 PM EDT
"I'm a little appalled that Morrison & Foerster would team up with
Boies Schiller on anything after what they've seen in the SCO saga, but it is
what it is. "


Cha Ching
(or is that one word cha-ching?)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle and Linux
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:03 PM EDT
Just this week, Oracle declared its love for Linux. Then it told the kernel guys the changes it wants from them. They want it to be more like Unix.

That's not what I read from the article. It was simply Oracle tooting their own horn about how great they are. It was phrased as "Linux needs to be more like Oracle" because you aren't allowed to just get up on the stage at a conference and congratulate yourself.

The other part of what he said was ironically a suggestion that unit tests (tests for correctness) should be part of the kernel tree. Right now, those tests belong to the individual distros, so Oracle starts out at a disadvantage since they would need to create their own tests if they want to be equal with Red Hat and Novell in the "enterprise Linux distro" business.

[ Reply to This | # ]

De Icaza has worn out that punch line
Authored by: Imaginos1892 on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:03 PM EDT
So, Google has got their pinky caught in a mouse trap.
De Icaza's "solution" is to stick their foot in a bear trap.
"But look! Other people have stuck their feet in the bear
trap and it hasn't snapped yet!"
I don't find that reassuring, with MS holding the chain.

You don't spring your trap on the first pigeon. You wait
until it's full.
---------------
Who's in the RABBIT?!??!?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Google can afford to...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:10 PM EDT
spend Oracle into the dirt.

Every business that Oracle is in competes with F&OSS.

Imagine GOOG deciding: 'OK, if you want a fight we will throw $$ at OpenSolaris,
MySQL, and ooo. Then we will back that up with a HUGE multi faceted marketing
drive and give it ALL away for FREE.'

bye-bye Oracle, and if MSFT falls too... well, good riddance.

[ Reply to This | # ]

LAWYERS are "a drag on innovation and on the economy"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:15 PM EDT
Let's be clear here. Bad laws don't sue people - bad lawyers do it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

De Icaza on the lawsuit.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:18 PM EDT
CodePlex was set up to push Mono. That's what they said. Forewarned is forearmed.

I don't see how you could say that. So far as I can see it's intended to promote open source on Microsoft's platform. It's part of their plan that if they can't stamp out open source, they can at least try to channel it in a direction that benefits Microsoft. De Icaza was tapped as a board member simply because the talent pool for open source DotNet related people is pretty shallow. There simply aren't a lot of other people that they could have asked.

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

I would say that he's whistling in the dark. Oracle could probably use those exact same patents to go after Mono. Microsoft has a cross licensing deal with Oracle (via Sun), but that wouldn't extend to Mono. If Google used Mono, Oracle could simply sue them again.

For that matter, it's a pretty good example of how Microsoft could sue Mono users. They could simply throw a bunch of vague patents at someone, and tie them up in court for the next 10 years.

De Icaza is probably feeling pretty smug right now because his defence has always been "you could get sued anyway". However, He's looking at this the wrong way. Oracle is suing Google over Google's Java clone using Java patents. Microsoft could sue Mono users over DotNet related patents. The symmetry between the two situations is very close.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What if?
Authored by: UncleVom on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:37 PM EDT
We are all used to seeing behind the scenes corporate dealing driving legal
actions.

What if what we are missing here is a coordinated attempt to put a sword deep in
the heart of software patents?

This isn't the usual backdoor "pick off the stragglers" patent attack,
but a head to head battle of giants in the middle of the plain for everyone to
see.

Deep pockets, lots of firepower, large audience, gonna be quite a show. Good to
see it being covered by Groklaw.



[ Reply to This | # ]

  • What if? - Authored by: jvillain on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 06:08 PM EDT
  • What if? - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 06:41 PM EDT
    • What if? - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 07:19 PM EDT
  • What if? - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 07:54 AM EDT
Time for a GNOME boycott?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 05:43 PM EDT
Better, yet, is it *past* time for a GNOME boycott? As one other poster pointed
out, This could be MS/Mono just as easily as Oracle/Java. GNOME needs to be
cleaned up before we are facing another threat. As for functionality, I liked
GNOME well enough until KDE 4.x came out (yeah, I know, those of us that liked
KDE4 quickly were in the minority, to say the least). Even though GNOME can be
deloused easily enough, Mono still needs to be stamped out.

Regards,
mc

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 08:02 PM EDT
All this may well be for the money: Oracle claims willful infringement (=triple
damages).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle not a good open source partner
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 08:07 PM EDT
I remember saying that Oracle wasn't a good open source partner when they bought
Sun and Sun's IP (Java, MySQL, etc.). I remember even saying that Sun had been
a bad open source partner, and Oracle's behavior with open source up to that
point suggested it would be worse.

And I remember many, including PJ, disagreeing with me. Have you changed your
mind yet, PJ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: What is the real point here?
Authored by: drh on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 08:39 PM EDT
PJ, I am glad you have decided to cover this case as well.

But what do we really care about here? Google? Oracle? Microsoft? Do we really
care that one nasty company is fighting another over their locked down
implementation? Do we really care that another company, Microsoft, is going to
do the same thing in the near future wrt MONO?

Not really, no.

It would perhaps be better to focus on the software patent issues, how
Oracle/Google patents can be invalidated, and how we can convince some lawmakers
that this kind of litigation is nothing but harmful to the economy and the
future. Keep cheerleading that using proprietary platforms, regardless of the
corporate promises, will only lead to disaster. Keep making the point of how
broken the patent system is.

Oracle is every bit as vicious a company as Microsoft and now Apple, sometimes
even worse. The are not, never have been, and never will be a friend to open
source or free software. OpenSolaris is now pretty much dead, I expect
OpenOffice to go soon, and MySQL shortly after that.

I believe this case will drag on for 5-10 years, cost both companies a few
hundred million dollars (in legal fees alone!), set up a smear campaign against
all implementations of Java, allow Microsoft to drag people to .NET, and nothing
will be resolved for the general good, like the abolition of software patents.


---
Have you seen this person?

[ Reply to This | # ]

open-source Java community to be fooled?
Authored by: Stefan Wagner on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 09:53 PM EDT

As far as I understand from here, (Stefano Linotype) it is Dalvik which - probably - infringes on oracles patents.

And Dalvik is not Open Source, is it?

There are some nice guys at google, and oracle too - not to mention the girls. But I don't really see Open-Source-Problems involved. Patents: yes.

So the google-cite: “We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit. The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.” looks like an attempt to fool us to me.

---
don't visit my homepage

[ Reply to This | # ]

Boies -vs- Groklaw/PJ
Authored by: BigBadBob on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 11:30 PM EDT
So, maybe I'm wrong seeing it this way, but with the bloody
nose the "Boies Boyz" got the last time they went up against
Groklaw, PJ, and the FOSS community, I'm very surprised they
came back for more.

They are sort of like the black knight, telling us: "it's
merely a flesh wound!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

No one to root for
Authored by: MDT on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 11:35 PM EDT
I really have no one to root for in this mess. I would have rooted for Google,
up until last week with that piece of utter garbage they put out about 'network
neutrality'. Sheesh. I felt like I got gut punched when I read about that.

What's going to happen is...

a) Google will file a countersuit against Oracle using some of their patents
(MAD).
b) Both companies will have lots of press releases villifying the other.
c) Sometime in the future, six months or so probably, they'll announce they are
all friends again, and neither company is the devil, and isn't it nice we have a
nice cross-licensing deal now?
d) Lawyers will make several million off it.
e) Neither company will push software patents to be toasted and roasted and the
current mess continues unabated.

Yeah, I know, cynical.

---
MDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 3Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: wvhillbilly on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 11:38 PM EDT
Software patents: It's all about GREED. Plain and simple.

---
"It is written." always trumps, "Um, ah, well, I thought..."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Better than Bilski?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 11:49 PM EDT
Well, I can dream. I hope Google challenges the legality of software patents
itself, not just the patents at hand. This was kind of like the opportunity I
was hoping for in my fantasy case of Red Hat v. Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 3Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 12:30 AM EDT
Ive been fighting a corporate move away from Oracle in my company - both
Database and applications. As of today - I will be supporting and doing all i
can to speed the move off any oracle software and to ensure we don't go back.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 3Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: KAKMAN on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 01:19 AM EDT
Now would be a good time for developers and users dump JAVA and other former Sun
products now acquired by Oracle if this is going to be their behavior.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess
Authored by: symbolset on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 01:29 AM EDT

I've figured this out. This is not about Google. It's not about Oracle or Sun. It's not about protecting Java, as Sun would do. This truly is SCO V2. Microsoft is about to come out with Windows Phone 7. It's a product that would have been exciting four years ago, but iOS and Android surpassed its features long ago and won the precious developers who develop the applications that make the devices actually useful.

Microsoft is hosed here. They have a muddled Windows CE/Windows Phone message. They're fighting against diminishing share. Their product isn't sexy. They see themselves as Enterprise products, thinking what's in the enterprise will push down to the consumer.

What they need is IP lawsuits that muddle the propriety of Android and iOS, particularly in the Enterprise space. They need to sow some credible doubt in order to give their puppet enterprise buyers some excuse to buy their mobile product and keep their "Windows shop", no matter how feeble the excuse is. These lawsuits are the feeble excuse. This is literally their "in" for Windows Phone 7. It's the wedge they'll drive that product through.

The Virtnet suit is involved in this also - for the same purpose, with a different motivation. If they can prevent Android and iOS from using VPN by default then they are not enterprise ready. They're hoping for an injuction here. They paid for it in their settlement. No doubt there will be more angles worked here. Mobile is a critical path and I would be surprised if Microsoft isn't pulling out all the stops. We've not counted all the participants yet.

Why is Oracle doing this? Because Larry Ellison and Bill Gates are co-billionaires in the "legacy for charity" scheme. Bill Gates has outdone himself in his capacity for evil. By convincing his fellow billionaires that they should donate their legacy to charity he has created a common cause among participants that defies reason. They may commit almost any evil in the cause of benefiting their charitable legacy and it's "for a good cause".

We still don't know what evil that charity may do, but frankly it scares me knowing its provenance.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Time to kill Open Office
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 03:02 AM EDT
Maybe this lawsuit will give the open source community the push it needs for a
full fork of Open Office. This has been needed for a long time since Sun never
treated it like an open source (i.e. community) project to begin with.
Certainly Google could be a top contributor to a foundation to fork it, and I'd
love to see Larry Ellison's response to that. All the Linux distros are already
using Novell's "not quite a fork" remix.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle depends on open source but is not its friend
Authored by: TiddlyPom on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 05:49 AM EDT
Holy Macaroni!

I go on holiday for a few days and Oracle (tries to) start a civil war! What are they thinking of!

Oracle does its primary database development on Linux then ports to other platforms. The last thing they need is to upset the open source community or to hurt acceptance of Linux (which Android has been doing pretty well thank you). I assume that this is about CONTROL of anything to do with Java or being Java-like. As others have said here, it is a real shame that Google did not pick some other language (e.g. Python) which is safe rather than Java which obviously isn't - even the GPL released version (OpenJDK). This is REALLY STUPID - they obviously are not interested in anything other than Java and the control of it. This does not bode well for OpenOffice either as presumably they will try and assert patents over that as well.

Their biggest competitor is Microsoft so why don't they work WITH the open source community rather than against them. After this, nobody in the Linux community will ever fully trust them again - although we will have to work with them at least for a while. Perhaps this is a good thing and a wake-up call. I just hope that Android is not hurt by this.

I did also have a thought (of the conspiracy theory type) which is that Oracle now own an operating system (aka (Open)Solaris) and perhaps want to push this at the expense of Linux - but perhaps this is being too paranoid. It just goes to show that the open source software community cannot trust any company whose primary business is based around proprietary software.

Perhaps now we are seeing their true colours :(

---
Microsoft Software is expensive, bloated, bug-ridden and unnecessary.
Use Open Source Software instead.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A word on Java
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 07:47 AM EDT
I did some work in Java more than a decade ago. But the deeper I delved into
Open Source the more I was concerned about Java and I stopped using it
eventually. Watching Java developers being stuck in the Java universe I am
always happy about my decision, but even more so after this Oracle debacle.

cb

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: An Open Letter to Larry
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 07:57 AM EDT

Regardless of whether Oracle have any merit in their claims, or whether Google did something silly, when they clearly had better alternatives, the real issue here is Larry repeating the mistakes of Sun, in the early days.
As has been noted, a lot of people put their faith and their reputations on the line, for Larry and Oracle, when they first proposed buying Sun out.

Given Oracle's then previous history, this seemed an appropriate thing to do.
If Larry is right, and Brin & Page did indeed decide to reverse engineer Java, instead of using Iced Tea, then Sadly, they deserve everything they get.
As for hiring ex. Sun folks for this project, that's just asking for trouble.

However, having said that, Larry really needs to GROK the community that feeds and cares for him.
A public shot across the bows, as IBM did with the Hercules nonsense, would have endeared Larry far more than this unfolding fiasco.
While Larry may well have some merit in his claims, so far, for want of a "heads up", all he has managed to achieve, is to shove his Face, his Name and Oracles Corporation reputation, into the 'Wood Chipper of Public Opinion'.

Larry should also be aware of the fact that their are few 'Wood Chipper's of Public Opinion' more powerful than Groklaw.

That his immediate affected Public are also most his valuable stakeholders, one would think twice before offending the community that can make or break you.

Microsoft are a classic example that he should of learnt from.

No FOSS advocate would seriously recommended Redmond as any choice to any business, unless given no other choice.

Furthermore, given no other choice, Redmond product recommendations would generally be limited in life, as well as function, until a FOSS solution could be found.

This problem for Microsoft comes about, simply because Microsoft went to war with FOSS, by giving their clients no choice or Liberty in their IT solutions.

Burning off their Stakeholders and partners also failed to help.
So, if Larry wants to restore grace and faith, with the community, then he had best make a public and truthful statement of why he thinks smacking Google is worth the trouble.
Failing that, he might want to consider what happened to the last Public Company that offended the FOSS Community.
So Larry, rightly or wrongly, I would suggest, on behalf of the entire FOSS community, that you make a public statement, as to why you think this is a good idea, as well as what motived you, before Brin and Page do it for you?
I would also suggest you clarify your intended and future relationship with all of the little people and the not so little people, that make up the FOSS Community.
Failing that, good luck to you, mate, your going to need it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

more from Jonathan Schwartz
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 08:47 AM EDT
His article, linked by PJ, contains this little nugget:
I understand the value of patents – offensively and, more importantly, for defensive purposes. Sun had a treasure trove of some of the internet’s most valuable patents – ranging from search to microelectronics – so no one in the technology industry could come after us without fearing an expensive counter assault. And there’s no defense like an obvious offense.

But for a technology company, going on offense with software patents seems like an act of desperation, relying on the courts instead of the marketplace.

(Emphasis added.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Are *any* of the asserted Oracle patents tied to a specific machine?
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 10:55 AM EDT

The impression that I've gotten from a couple of lawyers is that they believe
they can talk their way around this test, and that the software doesn't need to
be tied to a particular machine. IANAL so I can't evaluate it myself.

It looks like it is going to come down to seeing how it gets ruled in court. In
the mean time Oracle is going to start loosing business, and wonder what hit
them.


---
Wayne

http://madhatter.ca/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Google starts by lying
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 11:12 AM EDT

I don't know who is right in this mess. Maybe neither side is.

Google has kicked off its side of the publicity war by lying: "We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit. The open-source Java community..."

Google doesn't use either of the common Java VMs (both of which are available under Free Software licenses). It built its own workalike - Dalvik. Dalvik may or may not be compatible with the other JVMs, but it is not Free Software, in fact it is not even open source. Oracle is attacking a closed, proprietary product.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Classpath Exception not included in the mobile edition
Authored by: SilverWave on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 12:55 PM EDT
"Here’s the rub – Sun only included the Classpath Exception for the core
Java platform – it’s not included in the mobile edition. So Sun brilliantly
appeared to be playing open source benefactor while at the same time keeping
control of the mobile side of the equation (i.e. the rights to the gold
mine).|"

hmm

---
RMS: The 4 Freedoms
0 run the program for any purpose
1 study the source code and change it
2 make copies and distribute them
3 publish modified versions

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 3Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 02:06 PM EDT
I think M$ is behind this as well as the suits against iphone.
It's the only way M$ can try to beat the competition and get
into the computer-phone business.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Following rules - The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 02:35 PM EDT
"Speaking only for myself as an individual..."

Tsk, tsk,

PJ,

Your bias is showing.

This will surely give food for thought to the team working on a fork of
Open Solaris.


I always admired Sun for all the work that was contributed. Java, Open
Office, Netbeans.

Oh, about following the litigation to the bitter end.

I predict a settlement and sealed documents.

So, after the long and the short of it, should we have sided with Microsoft
against the Oracle buyout of Sun?

Sign me gustdusted.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 3Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 02:43 PM EDT
Looks like Larry really wanted to give Microsoft a big present!!!!!!

And here I thought Larry did not particularly like Microsoft. Silly me.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle support for Android elsewhere
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 04:25 PM EDT
In March, 2 months after the Sun acquisition closed, Oracle touted:

Oracle Berkeley DB 11g Release 2 introduces support for the Android platform, offering developers the ability to develop and deploy a wide range of applications.

BerkeleyDB's license allows it to be included at no charge in any product which is itself open source. If the Android Java-based system violates Oracle's patents, using BerkeleyDB on Android would also seem to require exercise of those patents.

Might there be an implied grant here?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 4Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 04:52 PM EDT
PJ,

Sun forced Microsoft to pull their version of Java with their windows only
extensions out of their product.

As much as I hate Oracle suing Google over the use of Java, I begin to
wonder if Google was trying to pull a Microsoft.

Just because Android is based on Linux, perhaps it would not be a good idea
to assume this is an attack on a Linux based product.

I'm in favor of withholding judgement until I find out more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't be so quick to diss Java
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 05:19 PM EDT

The main alternative to Java is C# and .Net. In fact, in my opinion, one reason Microsoft chose to develop C# and .Net was to kill Java on the Windows platform.

I think we need a more measured response than the knee-jerk "dump Java". The patents might turn out not to be valid, or not to be enforceable, and then we can all go back to using Java in preference to C#/.Net. Or Google and Oracle might come to some settlement that removes the patent threat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Apple Involvement? No, IP $$$
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 05:51 PM EDT
“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.”

I don't suppose the friendship would've made it any harder for Oracle. But
corporations exist to produce profits for their shareholders, not burn
hundreds of million of expense and aggravate the customer base for
the products.

Schmidt has said Android is worth maybe $10 billion to Google, so paying
anything up to $9 billion is still economically feasible. I imagine that Oracle

could split the difference between nothing and $9 billion and feel it was
worth the aggravation and business issues. Oracle didn't pay $7 billion for
Sun just to have some last-gen servers. It's all about the IP.

Remember also that Oracle can reiterate “Google is aggressively,
expressly, intentionally using the non-GPL (duh!) part of our IP.”
Their white hat status is hardly their biggest selling point today, and if
their PR types are half as good as their hired guns, they stand a
chance at marginalizing Google pretty quickly— especially thanks to
Google's neutrality _volte_face_, which now says, “all mobile
internet is free—but some mobile internets are more free than others.”
(h/t B Hall).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Yobie Benjamin: "It's Hadoop for the moment."
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 07:54 PM EDT
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.
Trivial little detail here, Hadoop is written in Java....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oratroll
Authored by: ciaran on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 08:10 PM EDT

> Joe Cheng gets credit for coining the litigation SCOracle.

There mightn't be much credit left over, but I'd like to stake my claim to the name "Oratroll" :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Oratroll - Authored by: PJ on Saturday, August 14 2010 @ 08:25 PM EDT
Should Google fork Java now?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 02:12 AM EDT
A possibility for Google is to fork Java and thus become
not dependent on Oracle for their needs anymore.
If Google can put more software engineers on the project,
speed up development, adding features faster and make it a
truly open source, then all those software developers now
working on the Oracles supported open source version will
probably switch over to the Google development tree. In
time this may result in this tree becoming the major one
supported and used worldwide.I don't think Oracle will be
pleased with such a move, so maybe it can be used as a
defense to force Oracle to stop it's attack on Google.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What are Oracle trying to do - perhaps control the FOSS ecosystem?
Authored by: TiddlyPom on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 04:52 AM EDT
Years ago Oracle claimed they were going to 'control' open source and we all laughed. Now it doesn't seem so funny anymore.

Glyn Moody has written an interesting article here about what if Oracle bought all of the major Open Source companies. Yes I know they would not be allowed to do this because of monopoly laws but they already own Java so what if (say) they bought Zend (PHP) and one of the big Linux distributors (say Novell)? They would have a commanding position in the FOSS world.

On the other hand, it could just be about trying to get money out of Google over Dalvik. I just hope that Oracle are defeated over this as otherwise it would hurt the Java community (and toolsets such as Eclipse which are based on Java).

Don't forget that Oracle now control NetBeans as well :(

---
Microsoft Software is expensive, bloated, bug-ridden and unnecessary.
Use Open Source Software instead.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The outcome of this lawsuit will have a bearing on Linux's future.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 05:10 AM EDT
The position of Dalvik vs Java is exactly analogous to that
of Linux vs Unix.

Like Linux vs Unix, Android/Dalvik is not Java/JVM.

Like Linux vs Unix, Dalvik is a clean implementation of a VM
similar in broad concept to the JVM.

Like Linux vs Unix, Dalvik uses no Java code, and is not
binary compatible with any version of JVM.

Like Linux vs Unix, Dalvik does not license Java, does not
use Java trademarks, does not claim to be Java compatible,
and does not have to comply with Java compliance
testing, or the terms of Java licensing. This is very
different from Microsoft and J++ in
which Microsoft broke Java licensing terms by licensing
Java, and then trying to embrace and extend Java into a non-
compatible form (which broke the terms of licensing).

Basically Oracle's lawsuit looks like a straight son of SCO
lawsuit against Linux based on broad "concepts and methods"
claims. If Oracle succeeds, then the route will be open for
a similar lawsuit against Linux by anyone who buys Novell.

The basis of the claim is exactly the same as SCO's
concepts and methods claims against Linux, except in this
case Oracle can at least claim to own Java code copyrights
and some Java patents.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Monkey Economics
Authored by: Stumbles on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 06:33 AM EDT
Well PJ you might be right that it is just another example of humans ability to make blundering decisions. From everything I have read so far I'm not really convinced of that... yet. It does appear to have all the trademarks of what happens when a company is bought out by another; little regard to anything but to immediately recoup the money spent.

If it does turn out to be as you suggest, I seriously doubt Oracle would ever admit that at least publicly. At this point it does seem rational in that Oracle is going after Google because of their use on non-GPLed Java. But in the end to me its just an example of, Laurie Santos: A monkey economy as irrational as ours.

---
You can tuna piano but you can't tune a fish.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A separate written description requirement
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 08:33 AM EDT
I think that the debate concerning software patents is entirely too focused on the claims of a patent where the real problem is a lack of a written description. I can't remember where I found it, probably here, but someone pointed out the recent case of Ariad v. Lilly, a drug patent case. To sum up the court's ruling, here are the main points:

1. A patent is not a hunting license, nor is it a reward for the search, it is a reward for the conclusion of a search.
2. A patent cannot claim any and all molecules that could reduce genetic expression as claimed in this patent.
3. A patent must contain a written description of the invention.
4. The description must describe an invention so that the invention can be recreated without undue experimentation.

The problem as I see it, is that patentees are claiming any and all methods used to reach a claim when they really only should be allowed protection on just one method of reaching that claim. I had a chance to read some of the patents in this case and I see that in the patents, there is a set of claims, but no specific method of reaching the claims is identified. Only a functional description of the claims for the invention are provided. Seems like a patent on an idea to me.

I think we need to start requiring software patentees to show original code that describes the invention in their applications. The point is that they only get to claim one method, and only one method, for reaching a claim in a patent. A separate description of the invention enables others to recreate the invention and allows the government and the public to know what they are creating a monopoly for.

A written description requirement places clear and unmistakable limits on the reach of patents, particularly for software patents. I think that with determined and focused litigation strategies, such limits could be placed on software patents without changing the laws, and could reduce the limits of protection to copyrights.

A patent with only a list of claims and no description for how to create the invention in the patent is really only a patent on an idea and nothing more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Go Groklaw
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 03:38 PM EDT
Glad you'll cover this. I've done a bit of java programming and find it very
nice in
ways that C and cousins are not. I really don't know what to think of this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM nearly bought this litigation
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 03:56 PM EDT
There's been some talk about this litigation being one of
the strong selling points of Sun. For a long time IBM was
going to be the one buying all of this.

Do you think this lawsuit would still have appeared if IBM
had bought Sun instead?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tragic Hero
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 08:32 PM EDT
Isn't the tragic hero here Steve Jobs?

One could say that this is unrelated to Apple, and it's just between Oracle and

Google, or -- one could say (as some have said) that Microsoft comes out
winning here and that Android smartphones will become Windows 7
smartphones just like Linux netbooks became Windows 7 netbooks, but, in
terms of tragic heros, in terms of a story, Steve Jobs would fit in perfectly
here.

First they lost it, then the antenna problems, now proximity sensor problems,
then they fired Papermaster, now this -- Steve Jobs' close personal friend
comes in to try to save the day.

Funny, because recently I've been feeling more positive, more calm, more
accepting about certain aspects of Apple and its OS and so on. I'm aware of
the EFF criticisms of the ipad and so on, but it seems like perhaps maybe
some of the hype is thinning out a little, and maybe now Apple can just a
another choice, another product to consider, amongst many others --
whether that's PC, smartphone, or otherwise. Perhaps the reality distortion
field is the tragic flaw?

It's an interesting tale, though. Could probably make a great movie.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle is protecting Java by suing Google.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 15 2010 @ 09:50 PM EDT
QUOTE: As for predictions, I’ll make only one: whoever wins will also lose.
Because this suit is going to negatively impact – probably substantially – Java

adoption. The enterprise technology landscape is more fragmented by the
day, as it transitions from .NET or Java othodoxy to multi-language
heterogeneity. Oracle’s suit will accelerate this process as it introduces for
the
first time legal uncertainty around the Java platform. Apple and Microsoft will

be thrilled by this development, and scores of competitive languages and
platforms are likely to see improved traction as a result of Java defections.

Actually, what Google did is to create its own version of Java and NOT CALL IT
JAVA. Google was also skirting the Java standards process. Essentially,
Google was KILLING JAVA by creating its own non-named version that was
not totally compatible with standard Java.

Oracle is simply protecting its own interest in Java.

[ Reply to This | # ]

all i have to say is NOW you know why Linus said he liked KDE
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 16 2010 @ 01:08 AM EDT
hrmmmmmm

[ Reply to This | # ]

Alas poor Yorick
Authored by: dodger on Monday, August 16 2010 @ 01:19 AM EDT
"Run it up the flagpole. See if anybody salutes."

-- Stan Freeberg's "United States of America". Betsy Ross
has just designed the flag and George Washington is critical
of the colors and design. "Look at the colors you chose. The
best you could do, I suppose. A peppermint strip with royal
blue, the same as the British colors too, now how will we
know whose side is whose? Look at the colors you chose!"

As a Java developer, working on an Oracle project, I see
this move, not so much as short term money, but preparing
for the future. I was shocked when Oracle bought Sun and I
was concerned about the future of Java.

Oracle's "test balloon" is a horrific event, unless Google
can come through it and pierce the dragon's heart. It
wouldn't surprise me if Google purchases Novell and "all"
the unix assets, and return the favor to Oracle. If this
were to happen, I would recommend that the way be
permanently blocked for any one to try to hold open source
communities hostage again. (Yea GPL).

Android was the answer to a dream come true. An open
platform that developers could easily build applications.
Also, as an operating system, it was making inroads in the
area of inexpensive systems to run small appliances.
Oracle's move, like SCO's move, illustrates that
unimaginative big companies try to make money by destroying
good ideas, rather than come up with good ideas themselves.
Ask yourself, what has Oracle come up with in the last few
years?

Machiavelli was right.

So was Stallman and PJ.

Alas poor Yorick.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How about the OpenJDK JVM with Apache Harmony class libraries?
Authored by: TiddlyPom on Monday, August 16 2010 @ 06:59 AM EDT
I must be naive/stupid but I didn't realize until today that this is all about Google using Java-SE rather than Java-ME on a phone.

What a stupid artificial restriction!

I can understand someone WANTING to use Java-ME on a tiny system (not a smart-phone) BUT if the phone is capable of running the full Java-SE then why not! That is the whole point of Linux - it is a flexible and portable operating system so why should the target platform conform to current norms. That is the whole point of innovation (like Apple's iPad). What if (say) I want to run Java-SE on my ARM based router (probably not - lack of memory) or my Linksys NSLU2 (which is certainly capable of doing that) - that is not a desktop.

Presumably this is a full out-and-out attack on Apache Harmony (not just Google) as being non-standard Java. What Oracle is doing (and what Sun started of course) is to force all development on the OpenJDK to be GPL licensed to prevent any commercial development to be done on systems that use the OpenJDK rather than Java-SE or Java-ME.

What if all the OpenJDK Java libraries were replaced by the Apache Harmony ones (which don't have the Classpath exception)?
If there is no way around this then it is truly a death knell for Java as nobody will want to be held to ransom like this.

---
Microsoft Software is expensive, bloated, bug-ridden and unnecessary.
Use Open Source Software instead.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dilger: How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 16 2010 @ 10:06 AM EDT

Not sure where this should go, but I found this to have a semi-different spin on things: How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once

In reality, Oracle is a major proponent of open software, pushing Linux and taking a stand against the notion of software patents themselves. ... Oracle likes Linux so much that it funds Btrfs, a GPL licensed, futuristic and advanced new file system that supports pooling, snapshots, checksums, and other features that sound a lot like Sun’s ZFS, which Oracle now also owns. The difference is that Oracle didn’t mire Btrfs in legal quandary the way Sun did with ZFS before Oracle bought them. That fact not only highlights that Oracle is just as “open source friendly” as Google, but that it’s also more responsible in developing open source software in such a way that it doesn’t recklessly expose itself to being sued the way Sun did, or the way Google did.
It's kind of important that we don't assume Google is the good guy here. Yes, they're the ones being sued for patent infringement, but there may actually be merit to the claim in this case. We should all hope that the ultimate outcome is the death of software patents (as I believe Oracle still thinks they're stupid... but you have to do what you have to do when everyone else is waving patents around).

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS: Java is NOT a "Trap".
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 16 2010 @ 02:38 PM EDT
From the first paragraph in the link provided in PJ's post: "Since this article was first published, Sun has relicensed most of its Java platform reference implementation under the GNU General Public License, and there is now a free development environment for Java. Thus, the Java language as such is no longer a trap."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle is dumb...
Authored by: BitOBear on Tuesday, August 17 2010 @ 02:33 AM EDT
...and thy always have been.

Dumb has been remarkably lucrative for them.

They make one good product, the database engine, and a lot of passable products
have been placed in orbits around that core in a profitable way.

That said, they have always had impenetrable licensing terms where they try to
slice every pie on multiple axis. They didn't go "per cpu" and they
didn't go "per user/session" they went half of each.

They are also under the gun from the GAO for violating federal law because they
are required to give their best deal to the government...

e.g. "Justice announced Thursday that it believes the Oracle Corporation
defrauded the government by charging agencies more for products and services on
their General Services Administration's schedule than what it charged its
commercial customers from 1998 to 2006." --
http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=35&sid=2015999

The company is put to shame by the upstanding techniques of used car salesmen.
That is, there is unrelenting pressure to make sales at large margins is
horrific and fostered by their "it could mean anything"
"standard" terms offered in their various schedules.

"The complaint largely tracks the allegations in the complaint filed by the
whistleblower, who is a former Oracle employee. For example, DOJ’s complaint
alleges that Oracle provided false, incomplete, and inaccurate information to
the government during its negotiation of the Schedule contract. Not only does
this allegation assert that Oracle’s actual discounting practices to its
commercial customers were not fully or accurately reflected in its disclosures
to the government, but also DOJ asserts that Oracle’s actual commercial pricing
practices did not distinguish between different classes of commercial customers,
even though the company’s disclosures to the government had included one set of
discounts for “national accounts” customers and a different set for “commercial
end users.” -- http://www.governmentcontractslegalforum.com/

The fact of the matter is that if the database wasn't really, really good nobody
would deal with a company that questionable for any purpose. And I have
suspected that many of the secondary products like "Oracle Forms" are
awful just to justify the sales force coming back and saying "if you want
your reports to run in non-glacial time just have to get more CPU licenses on a
second computer. That is, everything at Oracle seems to be completely marginal
to force upscaling of the cash cow database licenses.

As a consequence Oracle is stuck as a niche player. It is a huge niche. But
every time they try to escape their niche they fail.

My suspicion is that they bought Sun in an attempt to buy themselves out of
their niche outright. That there was nothing particularly sinister in the
acquisition at all.

But since they left the same old Larry in charge, he got out his
only-got-a-hammer Larry mentality and is treating every part of Sun as a nail.

In order for Oracle to escape its niche they will need to forcibly retire Larry.
They should have done this before acquiring Sun. Since (I suspect) Larry has too
much stock to be retired Oracle will be behind the Larry Limit till he dies. He
really is the best "used car salesman" in the computer technology
arena. And when you want a used car you go to a used car salesman. But not so
much for a heart monitor, or an aircraft control system, or a missile delivery
system, or a good OS on which to run those things.

I am not surprised by any of this. I am not even disappointed. I was intimately
involved with Oracle as a lowly customer for several years, several years ago.

Ever since then "Oracle" has been a giant "do not touch"
sign for me personally. When they put their name on something I immediately
reclassify it as "irrelevant, going forward" unless it is an existing
database that I am already stuck with.

Oracle is a self-limiting proposition, and they have been for years. If that
weren't the case, their _huge_ financial strength would have amounted to
something other than dramatic pathos and pathetic irony.

We may all know that Gates and Balmer are evil, but we pay attention to them.
When Larry speaks nobody listens.

Lessons Learned.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Big winner: C++.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 17 2010 @ 03:47 AM EDT
Despite being a massive pile of hacks, it's coming out the winner, because it is
not weighed down by *any* of this nonsense.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What I Don't Like about Java
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Tuesday, August 17 2010 @ 10:03 AM EDT
I've done some minor development work with Java in the past, but ignore that;
I'm speaking merely as a Java run-time user in a corporate Windows XP
environment:

Java automatic updates are quite large and frequent. They take up a lot of
space on my PC and the old, unneeded updates are not cleaned up or removed
automatically. Even the temporary installation files seem to clutter up my
disk. I've taken to uninstalling the old, redundant Java updates, or better
still, rejecting the proposed new ones. Most users in the orgainsation I work
for don't do this, so their disks rapidly fill up.

In my book, installing Java adds up to one big waste of space.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 4Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 18 2010 @ 04:41 PM EDT
Hey guys, when Larry Ellison spoke at the JavaOne in which they announced the
Oracle acquisition of Sun, he kept saying that as Android runs Java then JavaFX
will run on every Android devices. I was like "no, he's wrong, Android
doesn't run Java, it runs on a different VM. It only uses the Java language, not
the bytecode", but now I realize it was not a mistake, Larry Ellison plans
to settle this suit making Google run a JVM and to include JavaFX in Android.
This way Oracle is taking JavaFX on Android to every Google TV set. Think about
it. In the same JavaOne Schwarz showed JavaFX applications running on TV sets or
Bluray players too. It's all in the details. ;D

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oracle-Google Mess: A Question - Are Any of the Patents Tied to a Specific Machine? - Updated 4Xs: Google Speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 18 2010 @ 07:24 PM EDT
http://blog.headius.com/2010/08/my-thoughts-on-oracle-v-google.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )