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By scottbale
via blog.headius.com
Published: Aug 16 2010 / 10:06

As you've probably heard by now, Oracle has decided to file suit against Google, claiming multiple counts of infringement against Java or JVM patents and copyrights they acquired when they assimilated Sun Microsystems this past year. Since I'm unlikely to keep my mouth shut about even trivial matters, something this big obviously requires at least a couple thousand words.
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User 274133 avatar

scottbale replied ago:

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LOL: "At first, they seemed to be on a gravy train with biscuit wheels."

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Miloskov replied ago:

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I think we should start to support Scala cause right now Scala I think its the only way to go to replace Java as language of choice on the JVM(ORacle VM) and we need Scala also support CLR/.Net, Parrot and LLVM. Imagine Scala running on all those VM's we can have an universal programming language, If JVM(Oracle VM) go out of business cause patents and copyright bullshit dont worry move Your Scala to the next VM as CLR.Net,Parrot or LLVM. I think this is a good time for Scala get the push to become mainstream and I always comment that Scala is complex but right now it have everything to become mainstream with closures and much more, yes still a complex language but C# and C++ and Haskell are also complex anyway. I think we should help to port Scala to LLVM and Parrot and improve the CLR/.Net port. And help to rewrite Eclipse in Scala with better support for Scala development ,Intellij have a good plugin for Scala development I think this could work out pretty good.

The good I see about Scala in this Oracle/Google isue is that is not bound to one particular VM, it can run on many VM's. Plus Scala is true Open Source as Python or Ruby or PHP etc.

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andrewm replied ago:

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> I think we should start to support Scala cause right now Scala I think its the only way to go to
> replace Java as language of choice on the JVM(ORacle VM) and we need Scala also support CLR/.Net, Parrot and LLVM.

calm down a fraction, Otengi. remember the Spring tag hiding and how you screamed histrionically over that? that worked out ok, this will find a way of working out also. google has the cash and attitude to defend itself, they also knew they were taking a calculated risk by doing what they did: they were explicitly trying to wiggle out of the JavaME licensing fees and restrictions. all of the conforming java implementations (openjdk, apache harmony) are covered by the patent protection in the license, it's just that Dalvik sits outside of that.

let's consider the options you discuss:
moving to a different language on the JVM won't help: the patents are for the implementation and class packaging techology surrounding the VM, not specifically the java language. so, moving to scala will not help. moving to a different VM won't help either: LLVM could be in violation in the same way as Dalvik, as could mono as that is not covered by the licensing that MS bought from Sun before. Mono is protected from patents by MS, but Oracle could easily claim against it. Moving to C# on another VM won't help because that VM won't be covered by either Sun or MS's patent pledge.

and scala is certainly open source, but "open source" per se is not the issue -- patents are. openjdk is fully open source, but is safe only from patents from Oracle because of the Sun patent pledge.

And let's put this thing in perspective: it's 2 big companies suing each other over IP and they do this all the time. IBM sued Sun over the RISC patents in the '90s and Sun had to pay a fortune. Kodak sued Sun over a silly patent for OO help functions, and got £600m. Sun previously sued MS for violating the WORA pledge of Java and got lots of money. These things happen all the time.

So, while it's unfortunate, it's not the end of the world. Not even the end of Java, not by a long shot.

It does, however, point out how bad the software patent situation really is though. If some good could come out of this, it would be a mutually assured destruction leading to a software patent detente. That would truly be a much better outcome, and make some of this pain worth it.

and let me finish my little rant by quoting from Oracle itself, which shows the duplicity of the system and the double talk:

"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."

This was from testimony at the MS trial in 1994. Bizarre, yet true. Software patents are the enemy here, and the sooner we can remove them or reduce them to something reasonble, the better for all of us.

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andrewm replied ago:

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as an aside, the article at http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2010/08/14/oracle-v-google/ outlines what myself and others believe to be the real reason for the lawsuit -- oracle want a cross licensing deal with google that covers this: http://www.google.com/patents?id=RhrSAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4&source=gbs_overview_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

and they are prepared to risk some reputational risk and damage to java adoption to get it. the key that it's not just about financial return is possibly that it is filed in one of the district circuits likely to award huge damages, such as east texas. http://blogs.forbes.com/taylorbuley/2010/08/13/android-lawsuit-is-really-just-oracle-flirting-with-google/

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Miloskov replied ago:

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(Someone commented on this blog) Larry Ellison does not give a sh*t about Java developers and the Java community.He just cash cow Java in the short term and control competition, what a bizarre world, I dont want to live anymore with that. If apple was getting super Villain, Oracle and Larry are worst than Apple or Microsoft. Im so pissed to see how Java is falling and the sun already set off.

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Miloskov replied ago:

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Also The true is Oracle and Larry give a sh*t about Java and the community, Larry Ellison is a brilliant business man and he is only interested in what he knows to do is MONEY, Show me the Money that his mantra

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Miloskov replied ago:

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last comment in here sorry Im pissed.

Accept that Open Standard or what we thought Open Source Java is dead in the hands of Oracle.

We love Java the language and it could be great to port it to Parrot or LLVM thats a good idea but as someone told me also who will port all the class libraries are huge.

I think for OSS, FOSS, and Java people disappointed about this move our only choices now are native development with C++ and Scripting languages as Python, Ruby and PHP.

Right now we need really the next big thing but we need something in the form of REAL open standard and open source not owned by a company with economic interests.

Mono have the same problem as Java is not 100% open, anytime M$ can go after Mono, .Net is Microsoft so forget it.

But humans always know to get out of trouble, we will get our open standard platform and programming language of choice out of this huge mess of dinosaurs of the past as Sun, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM and Apple did many years.

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andrewm replied ago:

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i agree that this lawsuit is a big poke in the eye for java developers, leaving us longing for the kind benevolence of the Sun of old rather than the ruthless money machine of oracle. then again, if sun had been a bit more ruthless about money, we wouldn't be in this situation.

however, from an objective viewpoint, the case is fascinating. the outcome of it will take years, but it will also define much of the future landscape of the mobile space. we have a number of very interesting elements at play here:

1. oracle strangely starting the lawsuit with what look to be a fairly weak-ish set of patents. why didn't they pick stronger ones? they certainly have them in their sun portfolio...

2. google have the money and attitude to fight this for years. plus, google are playing the "oracle are against open source" card. we can already see that google have won the developer mindset over this one, but we should be careful we are not getting gamed. google are pushing open source in the mobile space because it suits their business model. they have many patents also. plus, they made a calculated decision when the avoided licensing JavaME. they have no doubt prepared well for this lawsuit before it even came about.

3. oracle and apple are somewhat aligned through larry ellison, and android was google's hand to stop the dominance of apple's mobile platform which locks google out of advertising in the mobile space. is oracle helping out apple due to other alliances?

4. google own some very valuable cloud patents (map-reduce etc) which orace would dearly love to cross-license

5. apple is suing htc over patents, which is effectively saying to android OEMs that they are not safe. meanwhile nokia are suing apple over smartphone IP. how will all this fall out?

6. the patent landscape has changed post-bilski, which may limit the applicability of software patents. we should remember that patents are not supposed to apply to abstract ideas, and that's what many software patents effectively are.

so, the outcome of the case will be fascinating and will to a large extent decide the mobile space. it won't really affect desktop java or server side java IMHO, and as developers we need to look deeply into what the underlying motivations are. i'm sure money forms a large part of this, but it's not all the factors by a long shot.

and one very +ve outcome could be that the court rule that the software patents in question don't apply in the post-bilski world. that has yet to be tested. here's hoping...

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andrewm replied ago:

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> But humans always know to get out of trouble, we will get our open standard platform and programming language of choice out of this huge mess of dinosaurs

we need a new platform, but replacing the JVM ecosystem or the .net ecosystem will take years. the only possibility is an open source model where an entire community contributes.

however, the trouble is that it is simply not possible for another new platform to avoid stepping on existing patents. i've spent a bit of time looking, and there are just too many of them. as someone who has suffered under patents myself, i firmly believe that software patents are holding back the industry in profound ways.

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Miloskov replied ago:

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I dont know much about .Net but really Java is stagnated, The only projects I see value are in the Apache/Jakarta fundation as Tomcat, Pivot et al, Eclipse and Spring Source with Spring and of course also Hibernate but the language does not improve since almost 5 years ago, J2EE was a disaster, J2ME is a disater, Swing does not have improvements since 2007, JavaFX is a mess and proprietary. I dont see real value now to still using Java for new projects but as I said if I leave Java I will miss Spring, Apache/Jakarta and Eclipse projects.

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andrewm replied ago:

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I used .net daily and it's quite good, but they have their own problems. MS controls the space with an iron hand, and this severely constrains the open source communities. don't get me started on their entity framework or their MVVM gui implementations -- they are the MS equivalent in many ways of J2EE. on the + side, the c# language has moved ahead a lot though in the last few years though... java has really stagnated on the language front...

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andrewm replied ago:

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> I think for OSS, FOSS, and Java people disappointed about this move our only choices now are native development
> with C++ and Scripting languages as Python, Ruby and PHP

unfortunately, the long reach of software patents touches on these also. for example, there are many patents on vtables in C++. here's one: http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20100180266
i'll bet there are many other patents affecting python and ruby and php also.

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Miloskov replied ago:

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The real value of Java is in the Open Source side. In the proprietary or closed side Java is dead since the 90's.

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andrewm replied ago:

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yes, the open source ecosystem around the JVM is astonishing. this is not nearly as strong in .net.

by the way, you stated in a previous posting something like "if only scala supported .net". it has for ages but is slightly different. i believe it never really took off: http://www.scala-lang.org/node/168

another language to support both is Fantom.

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Miloskov replied ago:

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Yeah I thought about Scala but you are right never took off, Fantom looks good but as some people told me the language is not the problem are the VM's that are covered full of patents as the JVM and CLR. As I stated if I leave Java I will go with native coding and scripting I think is the only option right now.

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danpfe replied ago:

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Native coding will probably not come back on the server side (unless something radical happens). Most business people want their software investments to last as long as possible and this is only possible if you write code which is not bound to any architecture or operating system. This is where Java is king of the hill. I work for a bank that still has prehistoric Java-apps running without problems, despite changing server architecture and operating systems since the code's inception.

Native coding on small devices works is more of an unwisely enforced necessity, IPhone being the most prominent example. Why do we developers bother? Well, because it's "cool" and because the investment is comparatively small compared to ESBs, clearing and trading systems for banks etc.

That being said, I don't dislike native coding ( in case that's what you got out of my post ;) )

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