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Other thoughts on Oracle

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 17:02 UTC (Tue) by rfunk (subscriber, #4054)
Parent article: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

Funny you mention Android switching to Ruby (which even as a Ruby fan I think is rather unlikely). The best (and longest) article I've seen yet about this, giving lots of context, comes from JRuby co-implementor (and former Sun employee) Charles Nutter.
http://blog.headius.com/2010/08/my-thoughts-on-oracle-v-g...

It's also notable that he's a *former* Sun employee. It looks to me (watching from a very long distance) that Oracle has been driving away a lot of Sun engineers one way or another. It could be that Sun's primary long-term value to Oracle is as a source of patents for trolling.


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Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 17:06 UTC (Tue) by rfunk (subscriber, #4054) [Link]

I also meant to add that Nutter has ported JRuby to Android (as Ruboto, check the Market). So he's pretty familiar with both Java and Android.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 18:03 UTC (Tue) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953) [Link]

It's a bit disingenuous to say Oracle bought Sun for Patents to Troll with. They have been pretty clear they bought Sun to give them a leg up in competition with IBM by eliminating IBM's hardware advantage. Everything else was secondary to the acquisition. Unless of course you want to argue that they are lieing about buying Sun for the Hardware division, but I see little reason for them to lie about it.

Google wouldn't be in this situation had they not tried to create essentially a closed platform they could control using free software. Personally I'd love to see them reverse themselves and switch to Python or Ruby or any of the truely FOSS languages. You have to wonder if Oracle considered whether it would be better to squeeze money from Google or risk that Google and much of the FOSS community abandons Java completely. That's what they have ultimately risked here, whether Google will throw Java under the bus, if they do so I predict Java growth will level off or halt completely at least in the FOSS community. Whether that risk is worth the benefit is yet to be seen.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 18:28 UTC (Tue) by rfunk (subscriber, #4054) [Link]

I thought Oracle was pretty clear that they bought Sun for Java.

But I didn't say patent trolling was the reason Oracle bought Sun. I said that could be the long-term value of the purchase.

And I certainly don't see how Android is "essentially a closed platform". It's closed to the extent that it needs to be in order for it to be acceptable to the carriers, but is much more open than the iPhone or any other widespread (at least in the US) smartphone OS. They keep some apps and drivers to themselves, and they aren't incredibly accepting of outside contributions, but the code is out there for people to modify and add to.

I doubt that Oracle cares whether the FOSS community abandons Java, since the FOSS community (unlike the enterprise world) never really embraced Java very much. Google itself is pretty tied to Java though.

If Google were to migrate Android to anything else, I'd bet that it would be either Javascript or Python, in that order. But I don't expect it to come to that.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 20:36 UTC (Tue) by jonabbey (guest, #2736) [Link]

"I doubt that Oracle cares whether the FOSS community abandons Java, since the FOSS community (unlike the enterprise world) never really embraced Java very much. Google itself is pretty tied to Java though."

Eh? You mean aside from most Apache Foundation projects (Abdera, ActiveMQ, Ant, Archiva, and Avro, just to list the ones that start with 'A'), JBoss, JRuby, Jython, Clojure, SWT, Eclipse, Spring, Scala, iText, ANTLR, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.?

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 2:10 UTC (Wed) by butlerm (guest, #13312) [Link]

How many of those are installed on an average Linux box? Approximately none of them - no disrespect intended.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 4:27 UTC (Wed) by jonabbey (guest, #2736) [Link]

That would depend on what you think the average Linux box is doing. If you think the average Linux box is acting as a desktop system, perhaps not.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 10:07 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

I think the mode for Linux boxes is "embedded/device"; probably the median as well. The mean probably can't be usefully defined in this context.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 6:23 UTC (Wed) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

It is not dangerous at at all for Oracle to anger the Apache community. One of its fundamental values is that business is a necessary evil, and we need to be nice with it (hence the permissiveness of Apache license: it does not require that stuff is kept open source, it hopes businesses will be so nice as to contribute to the open source version and not fork it in closed products).

SUN has been at odds with Apache for years (over Harmony and the TCK, over the dumping of Tomcat as reference J2EE implementation for Glassfish, etc) and apart from some sabre rattling from the Apache foundation every once in a while what did it ever cost them?

What *is* dangerous is to anger the copyleft crowd, because it does not care about corporations liking it or not, stuff which is copyleft must stay copyleft there are no choices in the matter.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 22:45 UTC (Tue) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953) [Link]

I may not have kept up on the news very well, but I do remember very well a news article after the acquisition was approved stating that the primary asset at Sun they wanted was Sparc so they could compete more effectively against IBM's full stack of software and hardware. Oracle's missing piece in enterprise sales was the ability to offer an integrated software and hardware stack. With Sun they not only gain Sparc and a Linux supported architecture, but they also gain Solaris which is competitive with AIX as a proprietary OS. It was stated in the article that they pursued the acquisition because IBM was able to steal some high profile enterprise clients from them using the fully integrated software and hardware offerings.

Could you point me to this statement that they went for Sun because of Java? As I stated I was always under the impression that Java and Mysql were just small bits compared to the hardware assets in the desire for the acquisition.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 19:09 UTC (Wed) by davecb (subscriber, #1574) [Link]

There was widespread speculation that Oracle was buying Sun for Java, IMHO primarily from people who don't have more than 4 CPUs in anything they use.

--dave (I only own < 4 socket systems, but use 32 to 64-socket systems in my work as a capacity planner) c-b

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 27, 2010 23:22 UTC (Fri) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

I may not have kept up on the news very well, but I do remember very well a news article after the acquisition was approved stating that the primary asset at Sun they wanted was Sparc so they could compete more effectively against IBM's full stack of software and hardware.

I don't doubt that Oracle wouldn't mind as tall a stack as they can deliver, but how desirable Sun's hardware was in such a stack for the likes of Oracle to actually pay for and own is open to question. Certainly, various reports in places like The Register claimed that no-one wanted to buy the hardware divisions of Sun in an acquisition, that Oracle already had a partnership with HP, and that Fujitsu was tipped to pick up the remainder of Sun after the software divisions had been retained by the highest bidder.

But really, all us outsiders have is the analysis, not the actual inside information about any particular company's strategy.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 1:31 UTC (Wed) by russell (guest, #10458) [Link]

I'd drool over a python based android. But that's probably very expensive to change now. Wouldn't it?

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 2:22 UTC (Wed) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

> truely FOSS languages

Errr...Java *is* truly FOSS, it's got a GPLed implementation and everything!

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 10:26 UTC (Wed) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

And, even more pertinently, a GPLed implementation by one of the main holders of patents over it.

One of the lessons of this story surely has to be the importance of building shared pools of Free Software licensed code, with the maximal possible corporate 'exposure' in terms of contributions (and thus patent grants) - thus innoculating all its users from lawsuits regarding that code, between themselves.

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 19, 2010 16:26 UTC (Thu) by cde (guest, #46554) [Link]

Does ruby have a JIT compiler like Dalvik? If not, it's a no-go from a performance point of view. A more likely alternative then would be Lua (LuaJIT doesn't support ARM, but there's no reason it couldn't).

Other thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 25, 2010 9:07 UTC (Wed) by Blaisorblade (guest, #25465) [Link]

Dalvik was born without a JIT, and Ruby is getting some performance work.
If you mean for a fast switch, these scripting languages (except Lua) have abysmal performance - I refer specifically to Python and Ruby - and I'm perfectly aware of PyPy, Unladen Swallow, JRuby.

However, Google has enough engineers to reimplement a VM for another language again, like done for Dalvik.

And people (up to Miguel de Icaza) suggested that .NET was safer: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2010/Aug-13.html

Oracle's reasons for buying Sun

Posted Aug 25, 2010 14:55 UTC (Wed) by Blaisorblade (guest, #25465) [Link]

> It looks to me (watching from a very long distance) that Oracle has been driving away a lot of Sun engineers one way or another. It could be that Sun's primary long-term value to Oracle is as a source of patents for trolling.

Notwithstanding with what most answers say, you're at least partially right.
Maybe this suit was not the primary reason for buying Sun, but it was in the deal[3]. That has been confirmed by at least one source. Miguel de Icaza made the same guess [1], and it was later confirmed by James Gosling, one of Java's creator [3], who said clearly that he couldn't explain, back then, why he left Sun; and it was for exactly this reason [2].

[1] http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2010/Aug-13.html - it quotes the following Gosling's blog posts.
[2] http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/time_to_move_on
[3] http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/the_shit_finally_h...


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