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A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 20:42 UTC (Tue) by hingo (guest, #14792)
In reply to: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle by pj
Parent article: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

Yet again our Editor, despite being so Grumpy, has at least been able to collect his thoughts to use what little information is out there to write a coherent article without indulging in much speculation. But this one piece I too didn't get the logic of:

This is not an attack on free software in general, despite the fact that Google would like to see the community view it that way. It is an attack on a specific platform (much of which is free software) by a rapacious company which has just bought an expensive asset and wants to squeeze some revenue from it. It seems quite likely that this suit would have happened in the same way if Dalvik were proprietary.

It is not about Oracle or Google being good or bad, but how is this not an attack on free software??? Oracle is suing Google for Dalvik, which is 100% FOSS. They are not suing for any of the proprietary parts.

Especially the last sentence I don't get. For instance when Microsoft sued TomTom for using Linux (the vfat patents), would you have written that "...it seems quite likely Microsoft would have sued TomTom in the same way if Linux were proprietary?" Quite obviously they would have, but I don't see the relevance. Of course it was an attack on free software?


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A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 17, 2010 21:55 UTC (Tue) by mikov (subscriber, #33179) [Link]

I agree. Actually even if hypothetically Dalvik was proprietary software, this would still be an attack against Free Software - prohibiting new implementations goes against the very core of what Free Software stands for.

We now know for sure that all independent Java implementations (and there are quite a few of them, including GCJ) are at least as vulnerable as Dalvik. If Oracle wanted, they have the means to shut them down. They won't bother simply because none of the alternative implementations has become important. That is not very reassuring.

So how is this not an attack on free software? I would say it is the single biggest attacks since SCO. In a sense it is even bigger because while SCO was on shaky ground from the beginning, Oracle is _extremely_ likely to win this case in court.

A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

Posted Aug 18, 2010 0:36 UTC (Wed) by eou (guest, #69609) [Link]

Why would they be "extremely" likely to win?

It seems to me those patents are all trivial, and thus Google should have at least a decent chance of winning if they keep fighting indefinitely (hopefully, almost certainty, but IANAL).

Of course, if Google settles without buying the patents (or equivalently, an unlimited license for everyone), it would be a disaster.


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