Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Sunday, March 25, 2012

  • Mar 25 / 2012
  • 0

Google Sunk Oracle’s Battleship

Oracle v Google has become a game of words. It started out as an ominous war-cloud with Oracle claiming $billions but now Oracle will be lucky to recover its costs of the litigation.

Google’s latest salvo about whether or not the Java APIs are protected copyrighted works:
“the API specifications are analogous to a dictionary, not a history. The specifications provide an alphabetical list of the methods, fields and interfaces in the API packages — the “vocabulary” to which Steele refers — just as a dictionary has an alphabetical list of words. The specifications also include explanations for the methods, fields and interfaces, just as a dictionary has a definition for each word. And just as copyright law does not prevent Webster from publishing a dictionary that defines the same words, in the same alphabetical order, that Oxford does, copyright law does not prevent Google from implementing the same APIs, in the same alphabetical order, that Sun did. Oxford’s copyright in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary covers its definitions, not its “selection” of words, or the “arrangement” or “structure” of its dictionary.”

Oops! What was Oracle’s puff of smoke?
“Google concedes that “[t]here is no dispute that the Android specifications for the 37 API packages at issue have substantially the same selection, arrangement and structure of API elements as the J2SE specifications.” (Google Br. at 3.) It follows that Android’s selection, arrangement and structure of the names of the elements is similar as well. As a result, Google would be liable for infringement even if it could prove these individual API elements and names are unprotectable”

Oh no! Oracle, that’s not how mathematics works! Adding a bunch of zeroes does not give a positive result.

A further hiccough:
“Google does not dispute that it copied from the 11 Oracle source code files. Google argues that the infringement claim is moot because it removed the copied code after it was caught.”

11 ! Count them! 11 files accidentally included and not even needed for the purposes of Android out of many thousands of files. Oracle! Is that all you’ve got?

I can see the judge politely suggesting Oracle not take those claims to court. Have you ever seen a respected person stand up in public and make it known how foolish they are? How it makes you squirm in your seat wishing you were somewhere else. This will be one of those moments unless the judge gets the claims dropped. If not the moment will last for weeks and be much more humiliating. The jury will be squirming in their seats and wishing the trial would end suddenly.

The issue of patents is similarly embarrasing as the abundance of patents in suit and claims of violation has withered to a couple of items of tiny value if anything. Is it worth 8 weeks of trial to calculate whether zero times a bunch of factors amounts to anything? The Court is thinking ~$100 million tops, with all factors being 1. The result will almost certainly be much less if greater than zero. Oracle might save money by dropping all claims and firing the people who got them into this mess.

see GROKLAW – Magistrate Judge Orders Oracle and Google to Attend Settlement Talks By April 9 ~pj – Updated 2Xs

  • Mar 25 / 2012
  • 3

Watching Distrowatch

The number of distros over 1000 hits per day keeps rising. Only a little while ago it was ten. Now there are 13. I have no doubt this means more people are coming to use GNU/Linux and shopping for their personal distro. That’s what I did when I was ready to explore GNU/Linux. Distrowatch is number 626 on Netcraft’s list of popular sites, right in the neighbourhood of (601) and (650).

Distribution H.P.D
Mint 3813
Ubuntu 2069
openSUSE 1978
Fedora 1484
Debian 1429
Pear 1395
Mageaia 1393
Ultimate 1365
Bodhi 1290
Zorin 1266
Legacy 1243
Vector 1163
Arch 1155
CentOS 951
  • Mar 25 / 2012
  • 12

Chrome OS Makes it Mainstream

Chrome OS was a great idea from Google but besides a few small issues, it has not been mainstream. That may be about to change. An FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) registration for “something” from Sony has been in the works for several months. It lacks a key for M$’s stuff, so it may be a Chromebook.

The specs include a 31 WH battery and a T25 processor (label on the underside) which is an ARM processor. If so, this could be the first Chromebook on ARM, from SONY and made by FoxConn, so it’s mainstream stuff.

2012 is shaping up to be a great year. One of my predictions is that ARM and */Linux will intrude into the areas of the Wintel monopoly and this product is just one example of several we have seen.

  • Mar 25 / 2012
  • 45

Evolution of IT at a Global Business

Years ago Sabre Holdings, a big player in the travel business, used UNIX operating systems on SPARC servers. A few years ago they started phasing out older UNIX servers for GNU/Linux on Intel for huge savings and better performance:
“The move to Linux and Intel has saved Sabre substantial amounts of money, Wiseman says, but it was only possible because he was convinced that it would prove reliable enough to replace the NonStop and Solaris systems. As things turned out, Red Hat’s Linux has proved rock solid, vindicating his position. “In fact we haven’t had a single outage because of Linux,” says Wiseman. “The only outages we have had are from hardware failures, but because the hardware is so cheap we can have redundancy to overcome that, he says.””

Sabre did look at that other OS but decided they did not want the lock-in. Having decided to move to Intel processors, they did not want to have to change software again if they moved to another CPU and GNU/Linux runs on everything…

Recently HP has been their “goto” organization to manage their empire of IT and HP has committed to supporting RedHat on their servers for “mission-critical” applications as more of their customers move to GNU/Linux. Sabre has made a deal for support from HP for six years and $800 million.

Sabre has a lot of good things to say about RedHat GNU/Linux for their global network with 24×7 uptime, three times faster and 90% cheaper than UNIX on SPARC on thousands of servers:

While the use of FLOSS and GNU/Linux on servers for big businesses is easy to understand on price/performance, the same advantages come to businesses who use GNU/Linux on the desktop. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it works for me and schools where I have worked but RedHat seems to be the preference of many businesses because of the support and business-oriented attitude of RedHat.