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Judge to Oracle: A High Schooler Could Write rangeCheck 478

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the larry-ellison-sues-every-cs101-student dept.
mikejuk writes with an update on the Oracle vs Google Trial. From the article: "One month into the Oracle v Google trial, Judge William Alsup has revealed that he has, and still does, write code. Will this affect the outcome? I think so! After trying to establish that the nine lines in rangeCheck that were copied saved Google time in getting Android to market the lawyer making the case is interrupted by the judge which indicates he at least does understand how straightforward it would be to program rangeCheck from scratch: 'rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you're inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it — ' And the lawyer reveals he doesn't: 'I'm not an expert on Java — this is my second case on Java, but I'm not an expert, and I probably couldn't program that in six months.' Perhaps every judge should be a coding judge — it must make the law seem a lot simpler..." From yesterday; the Oracle lawyer was attempting to argue that Google profited by stealing rangeCheck since it allowed them to get to market faster than they would have had they wrote it from scratch. Groklaw, continuing its detailed coverage as always, has the motions filed today.
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Judge to Oracle: A High Schooler Could Write rangeCheck

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  • 5 Seconds (Score:5, Funny)

    by Githaron (2462596) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:33AM (#40018187)

    From yesterday; the Oracle lawyer was attempting to argue that Google profited by stealing rangeCheck since it allowed them to get to market faster than they would have had they wrote it from scratch.

    Because 5 seconds make all the difference.

  • Mistrial! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:36AM (#40018223) Journal

    Obviously this competent, experienced jurist should have recused himself because of this conflict of interest.

  • by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:36AM (#40018241)
    I think I'm beginning to understand why Oracle has chosen to sue, rather than innovate, they're idiots and lazy to boot! :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:41AM (#40018309)

    Reading that summary made me feel like I was taking crazy pills. So many mixed tenses. Could someone clean that shit up for readability?

    • If I can't parse a sentence after three tries I give up.

      I gave up trying to read the summary... I suppose there's no sense in lamenting the state of the editing that (doesn't) get done on submissions though.

  • In for loops, and anyone who uses it has to pay me lots of money. I'll let them use it and as soon as they start making money I'll show up at their door to collect their soul.

  • This is good news: Because obviously Oracle hired mentally challenged lawyers.

    Not only is what their lawyer said obvious hyperbole, but it is totally irrelevant. I don't care how much time it would take for a non-programmer to do it: how long does it take a real programmer to do it.

    The answer to that is of course on the order of seconds, since validating input is something every programmer has done thousands of times.

  • What does it matter (Score:4, Informative)

    by htnmmo (1454573) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:44AM (#40018355) Homepage

    What does it matter how easy the code was to write? And if it was so easy why did google need to copy it?

    I tried to submit this over the weekend but it wasn't selected. http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/google-oracle-decompile/ [wired.com]

    "Judge William Alsup ruled that evidence presented during the trial had shown that Google infringed on Oracle’s copyrights by decompiling eight Java files and copying them in their entirety for use with Android."

    As someone who really likes Java and Google I don't like this lawsuit one bit.

    Sun created Java and mostly gave it away for free except for the mobile part which they were licensing to create revenue. Sun and Google couldn't come to terms regarding licensing and Google decided to just make it themselves.

    Sun didn't seem to care, or didn't have the money/will to fight it. Then comes Oracle.

    Please resolve this amicably soon. I don't like it when mommy and daddy fight.

    • What does it matter how easy the code was to write?

      It matters in determining whether or not the copyright infringement in any way helped Google. Oracle is trying to claim that Google got to market faster because they copied the code; but if the code is so simple that it could be written as quickly as copied, that argument basically falls apart.

      And if it was so easy why did google need to copy it?

      I am not even convinced that Google copied those 9 lines. They do not do something particularly unique, and we are only talking about 9 lines -- 3 of which are generic things like braces. It would be pretty eas

    • What does it matter how easy the code was to write?

      Because it goes directly to the claims that it infringing it was the source of a substantial quantity of Google's profits.

      I tried to submit this over the weekend but it wasn't selected. http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/google-oracle-decompile/ [wired.com] [wired.com]

      "Judge William Alsup ruled that evidence presented during the trial had shown that Google infringed on Oracleâ(TM)s copyrights by decompiling eight Java files and copying them in their enti

  • Colossal waste... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by middlemen (765373) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:44AM (#40018365) Homepage
    What a colossal waste of money !

    Oracle and Google waste money on lawyers on such silly functions instead of spending the money on building more useful technology.

    We as users are the only losers in this non-sensical fight.
  • Contest (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chemisor (97276) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:51AM (#40018467)

    Ok, let's have a contest. Gather a bunch of high schoolers who have some idea how to program in Java, give them the spec for rangeCheck, and see how long it takes them to write it. The winner takes the prize equal to the damages Oracle is asking for. Bonus points if completed in less than 15 minutes.

  • by mattdm (1931) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:07PM (#40018661) Homepage
    Title says implies that the judge made the statement about the code being trivial. The judge makes no such claim -- instead, he says that a previous Google witness made that claim. This is a world of difference!
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:18PM (#40022435) Journal

      He didn't say the part about "a high schooler", but he did say something that pretty much amounts to the same thing:

      "I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I've written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. "

    • The judge makes no such claim

      The judge most certainly did make the statement that the rangeCheck code was trivial:

      Caleb Garling tweets: "Alsup says he's been writing code since this trial started. He's written rangeCheck code a "100 times". Incredulous Oracle claiming damages...."

      The judge didn't say that a high school student could do it (that was a witness, as the judge mentioned), but he did say it was trivial, and implied that he agrees with the witness:

      "Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you're inputting are w

  • Quite right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:09PM (#40018687)

    There is zero inventive value in that function. It is a completely standard approach that everybody writing containers has used hundreds of times.

    This Judge seems to get it.

  • by ibic00 (2534408) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:10PM (#40018689)

    A truly exceptional lawyer.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I know absolutely jack shit about programming, but I am fairly certain that if I went to school for six months to learn how to program that it would be trivial for me to write that function.

      The concept is just so simple that even I get it.

  • The juicy bits (Score:5, Informative)

    by RemyBR (1158435) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:11PM (#40018703) Homepage

    For those of you who don't want to read all the transcript, this is what the judge said:

    Oracle: I think the law with respect to infringer's profits, rather than damages, only requires us to show that there was a product that contained infringing material and that the product produced revenue, and then the burden shifts to the other side. If I'm wrong about that, I still think it's possible to demonstrate a nexus by showing that speed was very important to Google in getting Android out, and by copying they accelerated that.

    Judge: We heard the testimony of Mr. Bloch. I couldn't have told you the first thing about Java before this problem. I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I've written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. There's no way you could say that was speeding them along to the marketplace. You're one of the best lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind of argument?

    Oracle: I want to come back to rangeCheck.

    Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you're inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it--

  • by srussia (884021) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:16PM (#40018795)
    That "Oracle lawyer" is none other than David Boies [wikipedia.org].
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:18PM (#40018819)

    I've been following the Oracle vs Google trial on other websites. Not sure why /. hasn't been covering it routinely. It's a pretty big deal not just to Google , but there are some issues being judged which may affect the programming community in general, down the road.

    Alsup seemed to be a little perturbed with some of Oracle's ploys to captialize on the assumed "programming ignorance" of the jury. I haven't seen the RangeCheck code, but from Alsups statement it sounds like Oracle is trying to make a case from egregiously far-reaching evidence. One which basically means Oracle doesn't, and never had, much of a case to begin with.

    • private static void rangeCheck(int arrayLen, int fromIndex, int toIndex) {
      if (fromIndex > toIndex)
      throw new IllegalArgumentException("fromIndex(" + fromIndex +
      ") > toIndex(" + toIndex+")");
      if (fromIndex < 0)
      throw new ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException(fromIndex);
  • by sribe (304414) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @12:50PM (#40019217)

    It's well within the grasp of most middle schoolers, and it wouldn't take long to find an elementary school child who could write it ;-)

All the simple programs have been written.

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