Monthly Archives: August 2010

Free copies of my iPhone Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet App

I have an app in the App Store, Simple Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet. It is a simple cheat sheet for fantasy football drafts.

Since draft season is upon us, I’m giving away a handful of copies of the app for free (it is usually $0.99). Check it out, and shoot me an email ([email protected]) if you want a free copy. I’ll send you a promo code ASAP, no string attached (although leaving an honest review and/or telling your friends about it is appreciated!).

I only have 15 or so promo codes left, so act quickly if you want one!

More updates about the Oracle vs Google lawsuit

The text of Oracle’s complaint is available online, here (courtesy of Rick Ross of JavaLobby and dzone). It appears as though the complaint centers around 7 patents and a claim of copyright infringement.

Patents

There are 7 patent claims, all of which seem to center around virtual machine related concepts:

6,125,447 – Protection domains to provide security in a computer system
6,192,476 – Controlling access to a resource
5,966,702 – Method and apparatus for pre-processing and packaging class files
7,426,720 – System and method for dynamic preloading of classes through memory space cloning of a master runtime system process
RE38,104 – Method and apparatus for resolving data references in generated code
6,910,205 – Interpreting functions utilizing a hybrid of virtual and native machine
6,061,520 – Method and system for performing static initialization

Copyright

The complaint also references the copyrights around code, documentation, and other artifacts surrounding the Java platform, and claims Google infringes on some of these as well. It isn’t immediately clear what they are referring to, however.

What this means

It is pretty clear that this complaint is centered around the Dalvik VM. Lots of people (including me) have already been speculating about whether or not GWT could also find itself a target of Oracle lawsuits. It is probably safe from the patents listed above, but there is still a potential of it having the same copyright violations as Android – or perhaps Oracle has more patents up its sleeve.

Further, people have been suggesting that Google change Android to use one of the alternate JVM languages (such as Scala or Clojure) instead of Java, but it is unlikely that would make a difference, since the complaint centers around the VM.

The reaction from the Java community has been swift and negative towards Oracle. Google is doing some cool and innovative stuff with Java, why is Oracle going after them like this? Google has been hugely involved with Java, will this lawsuit push them towards another language/platform?

Oracle sues Google over Android

I recall a few years back when rumors were swirling about potential buyers of Sun Microsystems. There seemed to be a consensus within the Java community that it would be better for the future of Java for Sun to be acquired by Oracle rather than IBM. Oracle had been a good participant in the JCP and didn’t have as much direct reliance on Java for their business, and thus would have less incentive to muck around with Java.

Today, however, I think much of that goodwill evaporated. According to MSNBC, Oracle is suing Google, claiming that Android violates numerous Java-related patents. I think this doesn’t bode well for the long-term outlook for Java.

Android

Android is one of the most exciting areas in Java development today – it is standing toe-to-toe with Apple’s iOS in the hottest technology space (mobile). JavaME has been reasonably successful – more so than people often give it credit for – but it can’t compete with iOS or any of the other smartphone platforms. Without Android, Java has limited representation in the mobile market.

Frankly, I’m confused as to why Oracle is going after Google here – a consumer phone OS seems pretty far out the realm of Oracle’s normal business.

GWT

I hadn’t even thought of this until one of my co-workers pointed it out – GWT has some of the same legal issues in this case as Android and could fall into Oracle’s crosshairs as well. Oracle has been incredibly excited about JavaFX and GWT is a direct competitor in that area. Will Oracle go after GWT next?

What else?

Java is an excellent language, but it has been showing its age for some time now. Many other languages offer more advanced features and are arguably better in some areas (C# comes to mind), but the main strengths that have kept Java relevant for so long have been the JVM and the community around the platform. If Oracle goes around suing everyone in the Java community with their new IP assets, what does that mean for the community?

Ultimately, we’ll have to see how this develops and what happens – perhaps they will settle quickly, with Google paying some licensing fees and Oracle leaving everyone else alone. Or, perhaps this is just the beginning of Oracle milking every dollar they can out of the Java platform.

With this development, plus all of the high-profile departures of ex-Sun employees, I’m a little worried about the long-term future of the Java platform under the stewardship of Oracle.