Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Java Google Oracle

Judge In Oracle-Google Case Given Crash Course in Java 181

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the learn-java-in-one-hour dept.
itwbennett writes "Lawyers for Oracle and Google gave Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco an overview of Java and why it was invented, and an explanation of terms such as bytecode, compiler, class library and machine-readable code. The tutorial was to prepare him for a claim construction conference in two weeks, where he'll have to sort out disputes between the two sides about how language in Oracle's Java patents should be interpreted. At one point an attorney for Google, Scott Weingaertner, described how a typical computer is made up of applications, an OS and the hardware underneath. 'I understand that much,' Alsup said, asking him to move on. But he had to ask several questions to grasp some aspects of Java, including the concept of Java class libraries. 'Coming into today's hearing, I couldn't understand what was meant by a class,' he admitted."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Judge In Oracle-Google Case Given Crash Course in Java

Comments Filter:
  • Why not ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Friday April 08, 2011 @06:15AM (#35755186)
    I won't go to a Baseball match and be the whatever is the equivalent of a referee is! Judges need to be informed about the subject they are going to judge(?) on.
    • by matt4077 (581118)
      Yes, it sounds like everything is the way it should be. Judges are pretty smart people, at least at that level, and most of them are quite capable to grasp technical concepts and the legally important aspects of it.
      • Re:Why not ? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GooberToo (74388) on Friday April 08, 2011 @08:27AM (#35755830)

        Please flip a coin. Many people who professionally deal with technology fail to grasp many important aspects.

        • by MouseR (3264)

          Yes, perhaps. But part of being a lawyer, and ultimately a judge, is to assimilate concepts and terminology and be able to make heads or tale with them so that they can balance out their judgement.

          Ultimately, he wont be able to program or fully appreciate the complexity of it all, but he will know what re
          refers to what and how it relates to the case at hand.

          I assume it's not the first time judges need such informal training. I recall a similar story back when Apple was suing MS for the QuickTime code theft

      • by sjames (1099)

        Even so, I know all the rules of baseball but that doesn't mean I have any business standing behind home plate at a major league game. MLB agrees with me. If I wanted to be an umpire, I would have to start by calling minor league games and work my way up.

        Tech is similar. Reading a few books and writing "hello world" doesn't really make you qualified to judge how novel or non-obvious a particular language feature might be. It's a tough place for a judge to be in.

        It's amusing that they lead him through the

    • There are so many IT-related claims and lawsuits that you might even consider having specially trained judges. Don't you also have special judges for traffic related incidents?

      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:32AM (#35755528)

        Don't you also have special judges for traffic related incidents?

        Yes, they have a special title: Punished

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        In England there is a separate Patent Court for patent and copyright issues. The judgement in the ACS:Law cases makes good reading, the judge in the Patent County Court hearing that case very clearly understands these things.

        • In the US they have a special court for patent appeals (the Federal Circuit) but the trials happen in regular federal district court.

          A lot of people actually think it's a problem because the people who get put on the court are generally former patent lawyers, which has caused them to have a reputation of being pretty biased in favor of patents.

          • > a reputation of being pretty biased in favor of patents

            Example? I mean, they are biased in favor of patents because that is what the law is--patents are entitled to a presumption of validity once they've gone through the whole USPTO approval process--but they also tend not to overturn the PTO when the burden is on a party to prove validity. But do you have statistics or anecdotes showing a general bias toward patents?

            Oh, do you mean the tendency to find everything PSM and many things non-obvious? Th

            • Oh, do you mean the tendency to find everything PSM and many things non-obvious? That would be fair.

              This, but also other things. Like compare Image Technical Services. v. Kodak (9th Cir. 1997) with In re Independent Service Organizations Antitrust Litigation v. Xerox (Fed. Cir. 2000) with regard to using a patent in one market to control a second.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Why specially trained judges? Why not simply pull from the existing expertise to make them judges? It works really well when various copyright lobbyists out there become members of government working and making decisions and rulings in the same fields.

        (Yeah I am sick of it too)

      • Re:Why not ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarkOx (621550) on Friday April 08, 2011 @08:42AM (#35755938) Journal

        Judges are not supposed to be specialists they should be generalists, because they need to understand the effects of the decisions they make in a broad societal context. What they need to be is REALLY SMART. We as a society need to do what we can to put some of the best and brightest on the bench.

        This judge is a great example of how to do it right! He is not technical expert he is a legal expert and he smart enough to:

        A) Know what he does not know
        B) Recognize that he needs to be educated about what he does not know to make a good ruling
        C) Learn and understand new possibly foreign concepts quickly enough to keep the legal system at least sort of efficient.

        I applaud this fully!

        • This judge is a great example of how to do it right!

          Agreed. Points A and B taken together describe wisdom as opposed to intelligence which is described by point C. Take away the wisdom and you have Judge Judy.

      • Re:Why not ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by OzPeter (195038) on Friday April 08, 2011 @08:53AM (#35756044)

        Don't you also have special judges for traffic related incidents?

        I got a speeding ticket a few years ago. I read up on all the relevant laws and knew that while I couldn't get off, I could get the fine reduced and also not get points if the judge allowed me to do a driver ed course (online even!). I also knew that what I was asking for was quite reasonable and done all the time. So I went to court and discovered that the normal traffic judge was out for the day and there was another judge in his place. As I was early for my case, I sat there and listened to all the people ahead of me asking for the same thing that I had planned for. Yet each time the stand-in judge kept saying "I can't do that". I felt like jumping up and yelling at the judge "damn well you can - you're the judge".

        The state I am in also says that there is no justification for speeding of any sort, yet this judge let off a guy who said he was speeding to get away from a truck - even though the cop who booked him said that he did not see any such truck

        So the answer to your question is that (from my 1 point datum) that not only don't you have special judges, judges don't have to know the law of what they are judging

        • by parliboy (233658)

          Judges in many jurisdictions are appointed to levels that reflect their competence. Good or well-connected judges get high-profile dockets, while bottom-feeders get traffic court.

          You got the substitute judge for traffic court. So, yeah, the rest of humanity is sorry about that.

    • Re:Why not ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:30AM (#35755524)

      I won't go to a Baseball match and be the whatever is the equivalent of a referee is! Judges need to be informed about the subject they are going to judge(?) on.

      Exactly. Shouldn't most of us - those of us who want to see some sort of software patent reform, limitations, or even outright abolishment - be lauding the public display of a judge who wants and needs to learn about technology in order to address the software patent debacle? Just because he's already experienced in patent law doesn't mean he knows enough about the subject matter before his court.

      Educating someone about the subject they are deciding, administering, governing, or even adjudicating over can't be a bad thing.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        which is why judges have law clerks.

        They already have this generally available for whatever happens to be needed.

      • Re:Why not ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        It depends on who's doing the educating. The patent industry has done a fine job in "educating" Judges in the utility and indeed necessity of modern patent law as it is practised. Do you really want the software industry to start indoctrinating judges as well.

        If the judge is unable to rule on the case, they should simply say so. If the government cannot find a judge to hear the case, then it is an overwhelmingly technical matter, not a legal one, and should be thrown out of the courts. If the government still needs to hear these cases, then they must either establish specialised courts or find some other method of dealing with them.

        Far too much faith is placed in the court system by far too many. It is not the effective, impartial font of justice that many fantasise it to be. It's a creaking, rusty relic of a medieval property arbitration for the wealthy and powerful, with a criminal punishment system tacked on to protect that same property. It is failing miserably to deal with modern society, and sooner or later we're going to end up paying for it. The rise of private arbitration and legal fraud by major corporations is a symptom of how discredited rule of law by the court has become.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Xest (935314)

          I'd say it's not even simply a question of who is doing the educating, but how much time is granted to it too.

          To anyone on Slashdot they could pick up the technical intricacies of the case in fairly short time but only because they have a few years or more experience in understanding computing in general. If this judge doesn't have that prerequisite knowledge and they're trying to teach him the technical details without having time to either teach him them fully, or to teach him the background, then we risk

        • by monoqlith (610041)

          The judge had lawyers from both sides doing the educating. This is a good use of the adversarial system - using people with polar-opposite biases to neutralize bias.

          It mostly works. It doesn't always work, but I think this is a case of "It's the worst system, except for all the other ones." You know, the ones where judges simply rule arbitrarily, by fiat...

          No one said our justice system is perfectly impartial - it can only ever be an approximation of impartiality. But since we have to settle disputes withou

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Friday April 08, 2011 @06:16AM (#35755194) Homepage

    in letting James "Father of Java" Gosling go to Google.

    In a case where the judge is learning about Java, and where testimony may be taken on the history of Java, it can't help to have its creator on the other side.

    • Why? Gosling isn't the one holding the patents, he has no standing in this.
      • by KenRH (265139)

        Why? Gosling isn't the one holding the patents, he has no standing in this.

        No, but he may have lots of good information about what was common knowledge (among experts in this field) at the time of the development of Java. Also what pre-existing knowledge and systems the inventors of Java had for inspiration when developing it.

        • In that case, if Gosling was in any way involved in the patents on Java, Oracle (through the Sun legacy) may have a case against Gosling personally for deceptive practices.
          • by mcvos (645701)

            I believe it was Gosling who said that Sun ordered them to invent as many patent applications as possible in order to have some defensive ammo next time IBM comes by, and that weird bogus patent applications became quite a sport at Sun at the time. I think it can be quite valuable for Google if Gosling's employer lets him be honest about that sort of thing.

          • Not if the problem is a management re-interpretation of the patents. Gosling may have written a patent to cover a specific new case while dancing around a known, similar case. Oracle may now want their patent to cover both the intended case and the other case, where the other case better blocks Google. Gosling can explain that the patent was never intended to cover that case (which he knew about at the time) and that Oracle is misreading it. That's only actionable if Gosling ever deceived Oracle managem

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        He is an expert witness, and Google are one of the parties in the case.

        • Again, so? Whats he going to testify to?
          • Gosling is in a rather unique position to testify to which parts of Java and its virtual machine implementation are obvious applications of existing methods in the industry and which parts are innovative, new, and worthy of being patented.

            As such, he would be helpful to have as a friendly witness.

            In that regards, it's kind of irrelevant that Gosling went to Google. Oracle's mistake was running Sun in a way that pissed Gosling off.

          • by jonbryce (703250)

            Like all witnesses, he testifies to the court.

  • It is always good to have a judge educated on these types of manners... I mean ignorant decisions help no-one.

    Being that the actual link was of no help I can only (Slashdot-style) speculate not much will happen.

    I appreciate the update, honestly I do, and I do believe that I still hate Oracle. (I refrained from trolling)

    (GO GOOGLE!)

    • How is the judge going to learn enough about Java, in a way that is unbiased by the lawyers for each side, in a few weeks, to make a sensible decision? Doesn't he need to know a fair bit about how Java code is used, who uses it, what for, etc?

      • by DarenN (411219)

        No, because that's not what the dispute is about.

      • by malkavian (9512) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:35AM (#35755544) Homepage

        How is a software engineer, in a few weeks, going to learn enough about a particular field to go and be able to obtain a spec document from a client? Answer, they don't, they just learn enough to be able to communicate with the experts, and translate their knowledge into relevance for the task at hand.

        Really, the Judge in question seems to be entirely on the ball. He doesn't need to know how to apply the relevant parts in a program of his own; he just needs to understand generally what the basic principle is. You know, the kind of thing that got explained in a couple of hours of a lecture at the beginning of a degree. A bit above layman, but nowhere near enough to be a full on practitioner. When you know enough of what the base principles are, you get the ability to make sensible questions on the deeper detail.
        All the judge needs to know is how this language detail translates into the field of law,

        • by mcvos (645701)

          How is a software engineer, in a few weeks, going to learn enough about a particular field to go and be able to obtain a spec document from a client? Answer, they don't, they just learn enough to be able to communicate with the experts, and translate their knowledge into relevance for the task at hand.

          And if it turns out to be wrong, they just try again and the project goes over budget. It happens quite often.

      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:40AM (#35755578)

        How is the judge going to learn enough about Java, in a way that is unbiased by the lawyers for each side, in a few weeks, to make a sensible decision? Doesn't he need to know a fair bit about how Java code is used, who uses it, what for, etc?

        He needs to understand the concepts of Java, not all the implementation details and not how to code/debug/code/scream/debug/sigh/debug/relief java. And he doesn't need to be able to read Java or its syntax.

        A quick overview of Java features that are not unique to Java will also help eliminate a lot of the clutter. He needs to understand using or extending classes (ie, the Java class libraries) but not have to worry about all the possibilities of public/private properties & methods, inheritance, polymorphism or other common OOP mechanisms.

        • A quick overview of Java features that are not unique to Java

          Understanding what exists across the board. This is a very good point sir.

      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        Well, assuming he doesn't have anything else going on during the run-up to that hearing, he could check out the open courseware for Stanford's into comp sci course [academicearth.org], which is taught in Java. not that he's likely to be reading this, or that lawyers are interested in turning the judge into a programmer.

    • by Jonner (189691)

      I'll be happy if Google wins this case, but I'll be a lot happier if Google and other companies with an interest in Free and Open Source software stand up against software patents in general rather than just the ones that threaten them. It'll be especially sad if Google goes on to use software patents as weapons as so many big technology corporations do.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Friday April 08, 2011 @06:27AM (#35755236) Homepage Journal
    But when you have no clue about what software development is, then how on earth would you be able to judge trials about it fairly? Are the lawmakers that arrogant that they think they can understand the basics of software development in about one sitting, when an engineer have to study the subject for several years? Why not turn the tables around. Let's take a prominent developer with a nice career. Have this judge and some of his fellows give him a a one day crasch course on business law, what to do when a lawyer says "objection" and so on. I'll bet my ass we would get much more reasonable and logical judgements that way.
    • All that he needs is to understand the underlying concepts, which can be explained to him in terms of other analogies he understands.

      For example, translation to byte code can be presented as a grocery list written in a foreign language; the person that is to go to the grocery and buy the stuff will have to translate the list to his native language, either one time (JIT compilation) or one item at a time (interpreter).

      • by brokeninside (34168) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:21AM (#35755488)

        That's got the beginnings of a great analogy, but the implentation fails.

        Traditional compilation: the grocery list is sent to a translater, who translates the whole list at once. This list is then given to a shopper who can read it.

        JIT: An interpreter goes with the shopper and translates one item at a time as the shopper reads the list, but the translation for each item is written on a new list so that once it's translated, the shopper doesn't have to ask for a translation for that item.

        Traditional interpreter: An interpreter goes with the shopper and every time the shopper looks at the list, the interpreter has to translate regardless of how many times a given item occurs on the list.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...Let's take a prominent developer with a nice career. Have this judge and some of his fellows give him a a one day crasch course on business law, what to do when a lawyer says "objection" and so on. I'll bet my ass we would get much more reasonable and logical judgements that way.

      this happens everyday, its called a jury.

    • by swell (195815)

      Yes, humility is great.

      Judges have to decide a wider variety of matters than a hardcore software developer can conceive of. Matters that can be technical or delicate or earth shaking. It's fantastic to see a judge go the extra mile in the interest of fairness.

      • Its a sad state of affairs when getting yourself educated on the subject matter at hand is described as going the extra mile.
    • by itsdapead (734413) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:08AM (#35755428)

      But when you have no clue about what software development is, then how on earth would you be able to judge trials about it fairly?

      That is the problem with IP laws on technology: there are very, very few people with the combination of legal knowledge and technical knowledge needed to enforce them sensibly (and, in the case of patents, a lack of Renaissance Men with the required level of omniscience to make the hair-thin but crucial judgements about obviousness etc.*). Solution: don't pass laws that are impossible to enforce fairly (don't hold your breath).

      (Does anybody know if Einstein was any good as a patent officer? "Sorry sir, what was that about claim 137b? I was daydreaming about riding on a beam of light...")

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordNacho (1909280)

      ...Are the lawmakers that arrogant that they think they can understand the basics of software development in about one sitting, when an engineer have to study the subject for several years?

      Well, yes. Lawmakers and judges always think then can decide on things they don't understand. Otherwise everything would be decided by guilds. Might be a good thing, btw.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      You know, I am also hit by amazement when people like that make important decisions based on partial knowledge and bad analogies about how software works, but I think it is making the exact same mistake to think that a one day crash course will tell you all the provisions that are necessary before making a judgement in business law. To understand how international companies are organized, what a claim is and is not, who can make that, what constitutes an infraction, and so on. Saying you can tell in one day
    • by hey! (33014) on Friday April 08, 2011 @08:19AM (#35755788) Homepage Journal

      Oh, c'mon. The issues to be decided here aren't any more abstruse than in any other kind of engineering case. Nor are the *vast* majority software developers any more competent to make technical judgments than the judge would be after a few days prep time. Sure, developers more apt to have some idea of what a virtual machine is beforehand, but that idea is to vague to be of much use. How many could explain the difference between a stack machine and a register machine? Or give any kind of explanation of how a compiler optimizer does what it is supposed to? Not many. If you narrowed the pool of "judges" down to people who understood the technology involved to make *technical* judgments in this case, the pool would be tiny and probably consist of people who had a stake in the outcome of the case.

      Fortunately, that's not what we need the judge to do. He doesn't have to make decisions about the applications of technology; he has to make decisions about the application of *law*. And it's way better this way. You get the software experts up to make their arguments, and see if they can convince somebody who doesn't have a pre-formed opinion. If one side doesn't have a leg to stand on, it'll show. If both sides have arguments that would sound reasonable to another expert, you want the judge to apply the law without ruling on which side of the dubious question is right. An expert in virtual machine technology couldn't do that impartially. If we followed *your* suggestion, we'd have courts making engineering decisions. What the court should do is rely upon engineering consensus where it exists, and not interfere with the development of that consensus where it doesn't yet.

      The drawback of this system is that it depends on having a judge who is good at grasping the essentials of what is at stake. But software developers are ordinary mortals, and a little humility would do us a lot of good. True, not everyone can *do* what we do, but unlike particle physicists or poets we make our living doing things that don't take uncommon intellectual talent to grasp.

      Of course, judges *do* often get things horribly wrong, but not more often than software developers get things horribly wrong. It's just the nature of the law that its failures have a wider impact. When you fail as a software developer, somebody who decided to rely upon you is disappointed. When you fail as a judge, people who had no involvement or choice at all are swept into that failure. I think where we've seen horribly misguided legal rulings on technical matters, its because the judge latched onto the kind of specious analogy that politicians often deal with when they talk technology. Even when a politician's intentions are good and the results of using the analogy positive ("information superhighway"), that's not a precise enough understanding to make legal rulings. This guy is doing the right thing and going to school, not exaggerating his prior understanding.

  • by doperative (1958782) on Friday April 08, 2011 @06:40AM (#35755290)

    "A method and apparatus for generating executable code and resolving data references in the generated code is disclosed"

    'The other patents discussed Wednesday are the '702 patent, which describes a method for stripping out redundant class files to make the final code run faster; and the '520 patent, a method for simulating how code will run before it actually runs, then producing more concise code to perform the actual operation'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2011 @06:42AM (#35755300)

    We brits have judges who had to ask what a website is (in 2007!)
    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/49376-judge-asks-what-is-a-website

    kinda reminds me of the classic 'Not The Nine O'Clock News Sketch'

    Counsel: This receipt is for the digital watch...
    Judge: ...a digital watch? What on earth is a "digital watch"?
    Counsel: Sorry m'lud. A digital watch is a watch worked by microelectronics.
    Judge: Oh! How fascinating. Proceed.
    Counsel: The next receipt is for an automatic video recorder...
    Judge: ..."automatic video recorder"?
    Counsel: Yes, I'm sorry m'lud. It's a machine that records television programmes on special tape.
    Judge: Oh, how fascinating. What will they think of next? Proceed.
    Counsel: Thank you m'lud. And finally, a receipt for a "deluxe model inflatable woman", whatever that is.
    Judge: The Deluxe is the one with the real hair...

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=not+the+nine+o%27clock+news&aq=0

    • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:20AM (#35756962)
      He is not allowed to use his personal knowledge as a matter of fact, and so when the trial may create case law he must ask these questions, so that the case record will explain something that may not be understood in future. Since "website" is not part of standard English, the question has to be asked. However, these apparently stupid questions only have to be asked when some facet of the case actually depends on the answer. Essentially, the judge has to elicit a citation.

      It's also very good (and it happens) when a judge asks an apparently stupid question and it turns out that nobody can answer it.

  • by SmilingBoy (686281) on Friday April 08, 2011 @06:44AM (#35755310)

    Lawyers for Oracle and Google gave Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco an overview of Java [...].

    Thinking about the tech knowledge of the lawyers I know, I am not sure that the Judge is a lot wiser now!

    • by tdc_vga (787793)

      I'm sure you were trying to be funny, but I'd hope that both Google and Oracle would have had enough brains to bring in qualified attorneys.

      I'm a full-time appellate attorney and co-founder of the Azureus Bit-Torrent client (written in Java, but don't blame me for Vuze -- I left the project long before then). I've taught classes on computer security and advanced programming at 4-year universities. I also speak around the country on both legal and security topics (DefCon, Shmoocon, ToorCamp, and various leg

      • I was not really being funny. I regularly work with lawyers, and even those that represent tech companies often have no clue about technology. Granted, they are typically good enough to pick up the most important points quickly enough. But sometimes the non-knowledge is quite shocking!
    • Re:Lawyers? (Score:4, Funny)

      by cerberusss (660701) on Friday April 08, 2011 @09:23AM (#35756324) Homepage Journal

      Lawyers for Oracle and Google gave Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco an overview of Java [...].

      Thinking about the tech knowledge of the lawyers I know, I am not sure that the Judge is a lot wiser now!

      They could do worse! My wife knows everything better!

  • This is setting a very dangerous precedent... surely the RIAA will lobby to make it illegal for judges to understand what they're ruling about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:03AM (#35755414)

    Judge Alsup is a very interesting Judge. He is a complete hardass who doesn't take any crappy and wants things done exactly his way. Often he does this beyond what is probably fair, but he will hold the parties feet to the fire on what they do. He has had software cases before him before, and he definitely has the intellect to be able to handle this one. People who make off the cuff commentator about how dumb lawyers and/or judges are have never work with or against them in the context of high stakes litigation. Tutorials such as this one are more the norm than the exception in most patent litigation.

  • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:07AM (#35755424)

    Some years ago I read the final judgement in a high-tech lawsuit involving detailed understanding of the internal function of disk drives (at that time - technology had moved on). I was impressed with the level of understanding achieved by the judge in the case. The explanation of the facts of the case in the judgment amounted to a fairly good tutorial in the internals of disk drives.

    In another case I knew about, the two parties jointly hired a third-part consultant to write a tutorial for the judge on the underlying technology - the parts that both parties agreed on.

    I cannot obviously speak for the case in question, but my experience is that judges and trial lawyers (barristers in the UK) are pretty savvy people. The are basically trained to go from 0-60 on a new technology within a few weeks. They may not be able to be creative in the technology, but they know enough to know when they do not know enough and ask further questions.

    • Should you recall the cases in question, a reference would make for interesting educational material. (Even if the tech is a bit outdated, now)

      • by AlecC (512609)

        The case I read the judgement on was Amstrad vs. Western Digital, and the reason I had the judgement was that one of the lawyers working for my company had worked for Amstrad, who won the case.

        As I recall WD sold discs to Amstrad, and also wanted to sell disc interfaces. But Amstrad decided that they could design and build their own interfaces cheaper. WD didn't bother (and the judge decided this was intentional) to tell Amstrad that the discs needed to do an end-to-end seek every few minutes to relieve the

        • Would this [findlaw.com] be the case in question re Amstrad v Western Digital? Also, the WP article on Amstrad [wikipedia.org] talks about them suing Seagate, which sounds like it might stand correction.

          • by AlecC (512609)

            This looks like a spin-off squabble between lawyers relating to the case. As far as I can see, his relates to lawyers and expert witnesses in a dropped US suit. The judgement I read was in a British court, which I can well imagine as being found to be the appropriate jurisdiction.

            I'll check Wikipedia.and fix if needed.

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:24AM (#35755498)

    ...he doesn't pretend to be a developer.

    Awesome Judge!

  • by realsilly (186931) on Friday April 08, 2011 @09:19AM (#35756286)

    With technology moving so fast, even developers have to read up on new technology to keep up with it; so it makes sense to me that we have judges who are facing these technological questions to be at least a little be knowledgeable about the subject matter before their court.

    I would much prefer a judge to be knowledgeable about a subject.

    This makes me wonder, should we now have judges who must have a background in the subject matter to be the only judge who would ever hear cases that pertain to that subject matter? How bad would this be?

  • Hopefully there are follow-up sessions where the judge can learn about other concepts relevant to the case, such as clean-room implementation, language bindings, and so on.
  • Java was invented to keep System Administrators employed.

  • How can it be just to have someone rule on an extremely important case when they know nothing about the specifics of what is being ruled on, and couldn't possibly gain even a rudimentary understanding of the technicalities within the timeframe of the case?
  • Why not buy the judge a copy of "Java in 24 Hours"?

  • by kid_wonder (21480) <public@NosPAm.kscottklein.com> on Friday April 08, 2011 @12:25PM (#35759226) Homepage

    'Coming into today's hearing, I couldn't understand what was meant by a class,' he admitted."

    That's OK your honor, most of the geniuses I work with don't understand it either.

  • > 'Coming into today's hearing, I couldn't understand what was meant by a class.'

    No shame in that Judge Alsop. I once had a CS professor describe the concepts of a 'class' and 'object' as something along the lines of "an amorphous cloud" in a lecture for a software engineering course. If the guys who get paid to do research on such things can't come up with a better definition better than that, we can't really expect a layman to understand it.

    Of course, I'd describe a class/object as "a collection of rel

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney

Working...