2016-01-03 The Command Line Podcast

This is an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

This time, I chat about some recent news stories that caught my attention, including:

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Creative Commons License

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Following Up for the Week Ending 10/31/2010

Following Up for the Week Ending 10/17/2010

feeds | grep links > IBM-Oracle Java Pact, Interactive HTTP Tool, Future of the Cell Processor, and More

Following Up for the Week Ending 10/10/2010

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 10/10/2010

Following Up for the Week Ending 9/12/2010

feeds | grep links > Chrome Store Opens to Developers, Flash in Java, P2P Users as Innocent Infringers, and More

  • Google opens Chrome app store to developers
    The Register has more details on a move from Google that has been puzzling me. From their description, what “installing” a web app in Chrome will do is allow a traditional web application to customize Chrome’s, er, chrome with its own icon and such as well as getting some higher privileges to access the browser’s resources. I suppose the security implications aren’t very different from other kinds of add ons, many of which already integrate with web services. I do wonder if the lower barrier to entry than a proper extension might make auditing for securing harder just because of increased volume.
  • Java based Flash player
  • Legal analysis of Oracle v. Google
  • SCOTUS told P2P users can be “innocent infringers”

feeds | grep links > Still More on P and NP, Google Responds to Oracle’s Java Suit, Touch is Coming to Ubuntu, and More

  • Eight signs a claimed P != NP proof is wrong
  • P vs. NP for dummies
    I don’t always follow Scott Aaronson’s explanations of quantum computation and classical mathematics and computer science but not for want of clarity and accessibility in his posts. If you’ve been swimming in deep water following the proposed P != NP proof, his lay explanation of the underlying concepts and problem are required reading.
  • World’s first voice call with a free GSM stack
    The project in question, OsmocomBB, not surprisingly has been targeting the now defunct OpenMoko phone as well as a limited number of Motorola phones. Slashdot links to a mailing list message marking this critical milestone. The cellularl modems have been a pretty consistent holdout even for phones, like those under the OpenMoko project, designed to be as open as possible.
  • Google responds to Oracle’s Java lawsuit
    As the H describes it, there isn’t much to their comments other than accusing the claims of being baseless and promising to “strongly defend open-source standards”. The H quotes some of the other responses to the suit from around the web, including James Gosling, one of Java’s inventors, and outspoken software patent critic, Florian Mueller.
  • Google chief suggests future norms may include name change privilege on reach adulthood
  • Linux distribution Debian turns 17
  • Next Ubuntu to include software stack for touch, gesture interfaces
  • Tab Candy to become standard feature in Firefox
    I had already just assumed this would be the case, but Wired’s WebMonkey confirms it. Chris Blizzard tweeted just the other day that both Tab Candy and Sync, formerly an extension but already on the road map for conversion to a proper feature, had landed in the nightly builds. We may see both show up as soon as the next beta. I intentionally don’t use a lot of tabs in Firefox, I think having a lot open is a symptom of poor focus. I may have to re-think that view after some time with this new way to organize tabs, even saving groups of them for later work or switching between groups to pursue different tasks.

Oracle Sues Google for Infringing Java Patents with Android

As Eric Bangeman at Ars Technica explains, there isn’t much detail about Oracle’s complaints beyond a press release posted earlier today. Bangeman speculates that Sun’s hostility when it still owned the IP underlying Java towards an Apache attempt for an open re-implementation may be the earlier trajectory leading to this announced suit.

The questions that arise in my mind stem from Sun’s efforts before it was gobbled up by the database giant to free Java. Only seven patents are mentioned by Oracle which may be reasonable, that all others are off limits via patent grants or similar arrangement. Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet’s Open Source blog confirms this and more broadly argues that participation by both companies in patent defense pools should in theory forestall such a suit.

All the same, Java specifically has a touchy history with third party implementations, most notoriously when Microsoft released an altered version back in the nineties but still labeled it as “Java”. That same spirit may animate this instance as Oracle very clearly calls Google out for intentional infringement, using the words knowingly and willingly. I read that as a signal that they would have been receptive to a license deal bearing stipulations for appropriate brand marks or that they may yet be open to settlement for a piece of the lucrative Android pie.

It is understandable that Oracle would be protective of one of the highest profile elements of its acquisition but targeting Google seems downright foolish. They are no slouches in these sorts of actions, employing some wickedly smart lawerly and policy folks. If push comes to shove, Google could undoubtedly shift away from anything resembling Java to the detriment of Oracle and the wider community of developers who use Java.

Even if this threat goes nowhere, damage has already been done. Oracle is sending a clear signal that the engineering and curation of Java is nowhere near as important as the money making potential of its IP. That may not have been their intent but that is how many who would otherwise support Java are going to read this story. It is really quite hard to read it otherwise, especially considering the near simultaneous news that Oracle is effectively killing OpenSolaris.

Oracle sues Google over use of Java in Android, Ars Technica
Oracle-Google suit challenges open source establishment, Open Source at ZDNet
The Future of OpenSolaris Revealed, Slashdot