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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @05:17PM (#43326617)

    Google worst decision was to let Oracle buy and cannibalize Sun. It would have saved us and them from all these nonsense. Also Google's philosophy is so much closer to Sun's: great engineering and giving back to open source. The only thing Google is different than Sun is that they know how to profit from their products.

    Heck, if they didn't want to spend all the money on their own they could lead a group of companies to buy out the IP of Sun.

    It's really a pity that Oracle got a chance to buy Sun. I couldn't have imagined a worst end for such a great company.

  • Re:Unix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday March 31, 2013 @06:28PM (#43326967) Journal

    They wanted control of what Android has become. They would have had it: Google tried to negotiate terms that would have given them that. But they wouldn't grant the licence necessary to let Android become what it has become. So Google had to do something else. It worked out for us. Android would not have been accepted as fast, nor progressed as fast, nor been as lightweight, if Sun had taken that deal. We wouldn't have as many of these amazing new things.

    Personally after having followed the case and read through what Oracle has claimed here I am unwilling to use anything from their company ever again - no matter how indirectly derived or loosely controlled. It truly is despicable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:11PM (#43327155)

    They stole, and copied the entire IBM DB2 application as their baseline Oracle Database.

    Code, language, API, everything - 100% copied...

    WTF - sure wish IBM would sue for 100% of Oracle's Profits due to 100% copyright violation then...

  • Re:Unix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:11PM (#43327713) Homepage

    That's a myth from the BSD community. Absolutely the LAMP stack wasn't the BAMP stack. Possibly you can argue that Linux was ahead in 1994 because of the lawsuit but what about the 18 years since then?

    There were niches like embedded where BSD was well established that they lost to Linux. BSD lost to Linux because:

    a) They didn't care much about appealing to Windows power users who became the base of Linux. They focused on recruiting from the smaller Unix community.
    b) They didn't have the GPL so they never got the industrial cooperation from hardware players that Linux got, contrary to their theories about licensing.
    c) Their product is too damn hard to use, even today twenty years later.

  • Re:Unix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:17PM (#43327745) Homepage

    We just had a test of this on a major GPL company. Trolltech was sold to Nokia for $153m. Their product was GPL / commercial and profitable, though $150m was grossly overpaying. Nokia LGPLed it which killed the 2 distribution model and thus Trolltech's way to make money on software. When Nokia sold Trolltech to Digia I think it was about $5m total.

  • Re:Unix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:39PM (#43327849)

    They effectively did, by suing BSDI at the time and by their descendants suing Linux. They even claimed certain things in K&R's book on C programming were "AT&T Trade Secrets" and "encumbered". Indeed, that was a major thing with AT&T at the time. If you knew how to program in C, you were "encumbered" by AT&T trade secrets and they (sometimes) would try to claim anything you did or developed as a result really belonged to them.

    That was a common attitude at the time, which is why compilers of that era often carried encumbrance licences which claimed rights over anything you developed using the compiler and accompanying runtime.

  • Re:Unix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:50PM (#43327899)

    One note on this idea that lawyers are about taking everyone's money - it is akin to saying that software developers are out to take money from anyone who is a client of their development skills. Lawyers are proxies - they themselves don't do anything at all.

    They are like paid soldiers on the legal battlefield. 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. Lawyers can be paid hourly, or flat fee, or contingency percentage. In other words, if the client is asking the lawyer to bring suit, and will pay 10% of the damages in fees, then the client has agreed to that.

    The real question is: why are you so indignant that lawyers get paid to represent clients? Do you hate the adversarial court system? Then legislate to change it. Do you hate lawsuits? Them legislate change to how lawsuits are brought. 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 to janitors to tax accountants to represent our interests, but if it is a legal representative, OH NOES!

    I have family members in the legal profession, and they are good people - I get very tired of hearing about how evil lawyers are. If anyone is evil it is the CLIENTS.

  • Re:Unix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 01, 2013 @12:16AM (#43328431) Journal

    Even though we rarely agree i have to give you credit is that is a GREAT example of what happens when a company that doesn't make their living using the GPL model tries to buy a GPL company, it ends up in a mess.

    And I have taken shit over the years for pointing out that the GPL works best (and I would argue ONLY) with what I call the blessed three...what is wrong with that? Red Hat has made a billion dollar business out of the blessed three so it obviously works, it simply doesn't work with all kinds of software. for example I'd have a hard time seeing how you could make a profitable business out of desktops or video games using the blessed three model, which is probably why we have seen no serious competition from GPL software on those fronts. It simply doesn't fit into the methods of making money with GPLed software.

    Personally i think in the long run this may turn out to be a good thing, companies that get bought for insane amounts of money usually end up getting turned into a mess by the buyer if they can't see a quick enough ROI and as companies like Red Hat have shown you have to be in it for the long haul with the GPL, you can't just flip companies for quick cash it just doesn't work that way. So maybe this will bring some sanity into the market and the only ones that will buy GPL companies will be those already making money using the GPL that will know how to treat the purchases right, not bring a mess of uncertainty like Oracle did with Sun.

  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @09:23AM (#43330135) Homepage Journal

    If you'd done any research at all, you'd find that Google refers to it as Java all over the place.

    The word "java" is all over the place in the name of the methods (e.g. java.lang.Number). Thus the "Java all over the place" doesn't play any role.

    Dalvik is the VM, not the language.

    I haven't followed the suit very closely, but in previous legal cases, Sun/Oracle not once tried to blur the line between "Java as implementation" (aka JVM and Java runtime library) and "Java as API or language."

    Do not buy into it: there are two different things commonly referred to as Java: Java as language and APIs and Java as implementation of the language and APIs.

    Implementation is copyrightable - language and APIs are not.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.