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Java Oracle The Courts

Oracle Clings To Java API Copyrights 207

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about some of the ramifications of the Oracle-Google lawsuit. "You could hear a collective sigh of relief from the software developer world when Judge William Alsup issued his ruling in the Oracle-Google lawsuit. Oracle lost on pretty much every point, but the thing that must have stuck most firmly in Oracle’s throat was this: 'So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical. Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the implementation is different. When there is only one way to express an idea or function, then everyone is free to do so and no one can monopolize that expression. And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.'"
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Oracle Clings To Java API Copyrights

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  • Unix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @04:52PM (#43326513) Homepage

    Can you imagine if Bell Labs had sued for control of the Unix APIs? We'd never have GNU, Linux, or many other projects that rely on those.

    It would be a different world.

  • by SinisterRainbow ( 2572075 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:12PM (#43326603) Homepage
    I'm always surprised in these types of articles that the main point is not about the US justice system which allows such crap to happen in the first place and the lack of reprisals against those bringing frivolous lawsuits. When there's little risk and high possible reward, they are going to keep happening. Why not speak their language and punish their pocketbook when they fail. Make it risky to abuse things or be ignorant about things (tho doubtfully the later).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:20PM (#43326627)

    Because it's very difficult to legally distinguish between a troll and a tiny operation with genuine innovation that has gotten screwed over by a large corporation with lots of lawyers, especially for the non-expert patent officer whose job it is to grant the patent.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:40PM (#43326719) Journal

    Was it a mistake? Oracle has blown huge sums of cash in acquiring and then attempting to defend and monetize Sun's IP. And what have they got for all of it? Linux is still carving into Solaris and Sparc market share. Java was already leaving Sun's hands long before Oracle bought it.

    Oracle bought very little for a lot of money, and now they're left arguing a spec is the same as an implementation.

    I expect Ellison to join Ballmer in the stupid executive's retirement home. Both have fucked up hugely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:42PM (#43326727)

    1. You have to obey the rules to get the Java license, but your compiler, if it isn't being called java, doesn't have to obey them. dalvik.
    2. The license doesn't require you implement at least one java standard. You have to implement a minimal functionality and can place your own in a different namespace. But you don't have to implement at least one java standard. But see #1 as to why this doesn't apply
    3. dalvik was written because Google didn't want to implement java to their license, not because they couldn't.

    Your assertion of google's jerkness is predicated on incorrect assertions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:45PM (#43326739)

    Oracle kicks off its legal arguments with the tale of a mythical writer, Ann Droid who copies the titles and some sentences from a Harry Potter book and publishes her book. Oracle then argues that we would not accept that.
    BUT, API's should rather be compared with writing an anatomy book. We all would have chapters like 'Introduction, digestive tract, neural system etc.'. So if the argument of Oracle hold, no_one_can write another anatomy book (or most technical books).

  • Re:Unix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @06:49PM (#43327061)

    Google couldn't get JSE to work on a phone, but could have implemented JME with little effort.

    Not true. Google didn't implement JSE because many of the libraries in that standard don't make sense on a touch screen phone. They cut out a bunch of libraries and they changed the I/O library. JME has different rules than JSE. Oracle was protecting its mobile business and wanted a cut of app revenue.

  • Re:Unix (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:52PM (#43327357) Homepage Journal

    I am unwilling to use anything from their company ever again - no matter how indirectly derived or loosely controlled. It truly is despicable.

    - I came to that realisation probably in 2007-8, when I saw the proliferation of their drones disguised as 'contractor architects', whose only real mission was to push Oracle solutions into every single aspect of every business they managed to stick their tentacles into.

    It's too bad Oracle bought Sun, it should have been Google or IBM. The fact that Oracle is the owner of Java TM and the reference implementation of JVM is extremely unfortunate (and it's part of the reason there is so much misinformation on Java in general, which I think is a marketing problem []).

  • by FrangoAssado ( 561740 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:57PM (#43327651)

    Much as I dislike Oracle, I don't feel Google played fair on this, they took someone else's technology and effectively stole it.

    How exactly did any technology got stolen?

    1) Dalvik is completely different from the usual Java VMs (Dalvik is register-based, while Java VMs are stack-based). That's how they got away with a VM that interprets (modified) Java bytecode without infringing any patents related to Java (as was confirmed by the "Oracle vs Google" case).

    2) Android uses the exact same interfaces than Java, but that has been standard practice for decades (Unix, for example). No code between Android and Sun/Oracle's Java is the same, except for the stuff that must be the same to implement the same interfaces. The "Oracle vs Google" confirmed that's OK (as the summary says).

    In the end, what happened is that Google didn't want to pay Sun/Oracle for a license to use Java mobile, so they implemented their own Java-compatible system (or rather, bought it from other people). That's how technology evolves. As someone else said here a few posts back: imagine if anyone wanting to do a Unix-like OS had to pay a license to someone. Where would we be now?

  • Re:Unix (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:12PM (#43327717)

    According to Linus Torvalds, it is the whole reason Linux even exists.

  • by putaro ( 235078 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:49PM (#43327895) Journal

    Implementing your own system that meets your needs is not being a jerk. Asserting rights that you do not have is jerky behavior. Oracle is being the jerk in this instance.

  • Re:Unix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @11:16PM (#43328213) Homepage Journal

    There are too many lawyers that are too willing to say or do ANYthing for money. At least whores have limits.

    That's not to say all lawyers are that way (I know a few who I believe to be good people doing good things), but too many are. As officers of the court, it is their duty to keep crap out of the courtroom.

    As for the rest, nobody ever lost their house because someone hired a waiter but they couldn't afford one so they got their own sandwich.

    Lawyers are hardly the only problem, but they (collectively) have the power to stop it and don't. They are also the public face of the very troubles system.

  • Re:Unix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Monday April 01, 2013 @02:29AM (#43328805) Journal

    Its not the getting paid. Its the creating ways of getting paid by raping and pillaging society. Patent Trolls, Divorce Ninjas, Ambulance Chasers, Corporate Mercenaries, Political Lobbyists, and a whole zoo of lower life form crawling a full kilometer below the most disgusting social muck, all in the name of wealth and power. I'd take the dignity and straight up honesty of a hard working whore over such human toxic waste any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    I don't have a problem with the majority of lawyers who are honest, hard working people many who believe in what they do. I have a problem with people whose morality is tied to personal expedience, and whose personal interests transcend any and all moral value. We hung people at Nuremberg, for committing atrocities, but at least they were in fact following orders or following some ideology albeit abhorrent. These people commit atrocities, sell future generations down the stream, gut civil rights, sell their soul and intellect to the highest bidder and remake our system of jurisprudence into a perpetual fart joke (an endless stinking noise we can all share in.)

    I would gladly double all their wages if they would just grow a soul.

  • Lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexo ( 9335 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:53AM (#43331181) Journal

    Lawyers are proxies - they themselves don't do anything at all.

    But they do. They perpetuate a system where you *have* to use an *expensive* lawyer in order to get justice or to protect yourself from legal attacks (which are usually more harmful than physical ones).

    They are like paid soldiers on the legal battlefield.

    No. Lawyers are akin to mafiosi operating a protection racket.

    Lawyers don't have standing to sue anyone themselves, nor can they bring suits without a client. The client is the one who is suing, and the client is the one who has a claim.

    Many countries have socialized medicine. Most countries have a socialized education system. As long as you must pay, often a sum that will bankrupt the average person, to defend yourself in court, justice is only for the rich. (Preemptive note: the "public defender" option is a fig leaf, it does not work, on purpose).

    Lawyers can be paid hourly, or flat fee, or contingency percentage.

    Guido can break your kneecaps, burn your house or rape your sister. I guess it's OK, as long as you have a choice.

    The real question is: why are you so indignant that lawyers get paid to represent clients?

    As a Canadian, I know that my basic health-care does not depend on the thickness of my wallet, and yet, doctors here still get paid. Plus, I do have an option to use a private clinic if I want to. I trust you're intelligent enough to compare and contrast.

    Do you hate the adversarial court system? Then legislate to change it.

    Legislators are lawyers. Good luck making them legislate against their own interests.
    Campaign contributors and lobbyists are big businesses, who want to have an unfair legal advantage against those less wealthy. Good luck making legislators legislate against those who pay them.

    Do you hate lawsuits? Them legislate change to how lawsuits are brought.

    See above. Similarly: Do you hate the mob? Then change how it operates.

    The idea that lawyers get PAID (heaven forbid) to represent someone's interests should not be a shock to you. We pay for all kinds of services from waiters(1) to janitors(2) to tax accountants(3) to represent our interests

    1) I face no adverse consequences for choosing not to go to a restaurant. Everybody can cook a passable meal.
    2) I am not forced to use the services of a janitor. The janitor union does not try to make maintenance as difficult and incomprehensible as possible to lay people.
    3) I pay $20/year for a piece of software to do my taxes for me. I could use a free one which is no less good, but I find the paid version more convenient.

    I have family members in the legal profession

    So you are biased.

    and they are good people

    In your opinion. I am sure that many family members of the RIAA/MPAA/BSA feel the same (organizations chosen to avoid Godwining this thread).

    I get very tired of hearing about how evil lawyers are.

    The truth hurts.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"