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Gosling: Partnership with Microsoft Meaning Less and Less 145

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the breaking-up-is-hard-to-do dept.
Jeebus writes "At an event in Sydney this week James Gosling questioned the technical relationship between Sun Microsystems and Microsoft in light of the antitrust demands of the European Union. Gosling also talks about reverse engineering, DMCA and collaboration with Microsoft with on identity management. "
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Gosling: Partnership with Microsoft Meaning Less and Less

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  • I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rackhamh (217889) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:03PM (#11568493)
    Will Sun serve as an example for other companies to not pursue Microsoft, and wait for governments to do the dirty work instead?
  • I was there (Score:5, Interesting)

    by harikiri (211017) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:20PM (#11568621)
    I remember James talking about the whole Microsoft/Sun collaboration. Apparently there is some confusion over what the legal agreement between the two is.

    The main thing I remember him saying was that there are issues in working with MS, in that even if MS lets them have insider info on say their filesystem, they can't release this info to the Samba developers because of NDA's and IP licensing restrictions. So they have to be really careful and get signoff before they can open certain things up.

    Another interesting discussion was the whole SWT vs SWING debate. James remained an advocate of Swing, and accused SWT of falling into the same traps that AWT had back in the day. From what he said, it sounded like he was saying that Swing is flexible and powerful enough to do whatever you want, but that was also its downside. An example he used was back when they were auditing Netbeans 3.6 to figure out why it was so slow. Apparently the developers had gone overboard with monitoring events, and a single drag of a window resizer would trigger thousands of events (an "event storm" he called it), which would also in turn spawn a bunch of "stormlets", small event loops (events triggering other events which trigger other events ad nauseum). Apparently this was the cause of the slowness.

    One of the people who was asking a question of James asked the audience to raise their hands if they used Eclipse. I would guess that around 90% of the audience raised their hands.

    When asked his opinion on the IBM vs SCO court case, his response: "I want some of what they're smoking". He didn't get asked about Sun's IP stance however.

    I also have a picture that I took of the cake for the 10th anniversary of Java. It's sitting on my phone at the moment, but I saw some other attendees take snapshots too.

    Sorry this is a little haphazard. I didn't really take notes. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:31PM (#11568679)
    No because I never touch there computer, there computer access my network where I capture the packets and reverse engineer it.

    They only tell me if it works or not... they try and connect to my implementation and they tell me if it works or not.

    I never sign the agreement so I am clean, and they never reverse engineer.
  • More is Really Less (Score:5, Interesting)

    by value_added (719364) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:33PM (#11568693)

    Gosling offers a bit of insight when he says:

    Reverse-engineering in the United States is now "legal for stuff, except stuff doing digital rights management," or DRM, he said. "So what has been happening is folks like Microsoft have been putting DRM into everything. DRM has been put into places you wouldn't think would make a whole lot of sense, like the document format being wrapped in DRM stuff...Under the sheets, the major justification is to make reverse-engineering illegal."

    Bill Gates, on the other hand, offers a very different (albeit hardly suprising) point of view in a recent NY Times article [nytimes.com].

    ``Over the years, our industry has tried many approaches to come to grips with the heterogeneity of software,'' Gates said, ``But the solution that has proven consistently effective -- and the one that yields the greatest success for developers today -- is a strong commitment to interoperability.''

    Microsoft is also facing competition from Linux and other software that can be copied and modified freely. Proponents of such software say its flexible distribution makes it easier to design to work with other software.

    Gates argued, however, that open source software encourages the proliferation of different software systems, making it harder to integrate them with other proprietary systems.

    Many Microsoft products already work with other non-Microsoft products, and the company will build more interoperability into the design of its products, Gates said.

    So, there you have it. Things are fine, and getting better.

  • by nbert (785663) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:46PM (#11568760) Homepage Journal
    AFAIK SMB used to be an open protocol, so there wasn't any reverse-engineering involved. CIFS might be a different story.
  • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:48PM (#11568785)
    Yup, our VP of Engineering signed us up, much to IT's dismay -- as part of the contract we agreed to do a bunch of stuff we never had any intention of (like building a MS-certified product, though we're a Java shop) and agreed to let the BSA audit us at will... and in return we got a bunch of licenses (time-limited unless we renew), most of which have enough strings on them to be useful for nothing except building products that interoperate with the MS products in question. Bah!

    PS - This post is a work of fiction. It's quite certainly not intended to reflect the politics, actions, etc. of any employer of mine, past or present, and any such similarity is mere coincidence.
  • by sonamchauhan (587356) <sonamc AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:49PM (#11568792) Journal
    I was there at this event and asked James Gosling a couple of questions.

    "You spoke earlier about Jython and Ruby -- how Sun does not want to "choose" on the de-facto scripting language for Java.
    Will Sun follow the lead of .NET - and now Perl6 - in supporting multiple languages that compile and run within the same virtual machine?"


    I impression I got about his answer was: No, Sun won't publicly support multiple languages compiling to the JVM like Microsoft does in .NET (though he did not say this explicitly).

    He reiterated the JVM did support multiple languages (the examples he gave were Fortran and Lisp) compiling to Java bytecode and running in the JVM. He said that the JVM architecture has constraints due to which languages like C/C++ cannot run in the JVM efficiently or safely. He said Microsoft actually made a big deal about their support for 'Managed C++' in .NET. He poked fun at this - saying due their support for pointers, etc, their Managed C++ implementation had security security holes "big enough to drive several trucks through".

    "Follow up question: Will the JVM architecture ever change? The Parrot/Perl6 folks talk about how their new Register-Based VM architecture is inherently superior to stack based VMs. Any comments?" [Java uses a stack based VM ]
    His answer boiled down to: "The Perl guys are wrong". He mentioned a few other complex points to justify this. An interesting thing he mentioned was that an early development version of the JVM used a register based VM "that no one other than me saw", and that he changed Java over to a stack based VM since the register based one "sucked so badly".

    At the end of the event, the hosts (Sun Australia I think) brought out a big cake to celebrate the 10th birthday of Java. Gosling said that the day (Wednesday 2/2/05) was "uncomfortably close to the 10th anniversary of the first release of the JVM". The audience gave three hip-hip-hurrahs.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:50PM (#11568802)
    I'd really like to hear the whole of the talk as well. Anyone out there have anything else with more detail?
  • by cecom (698048) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:16PM (#11568944) Homepage Journal

    The friends didn't allow him to use their computers. They just all happened to be on the same network. Unix guy observed the wire while Windows guys used their own respective computers to share data. Is there a EULA violation there?

    I have no idea. But who knows what could happen in a court ? It could be argued that such reverse engineering can not happen without at least some level of cooperation with the Windows-using friends (the Unix guy must find out in some way what SMB operations they are trying to perform, or ask them to do something, etc).

    Realistically, you need extended time with full access to a Windows machine in order to do any useful reveres-engineering. However, does using somebody else's machine consitute an EULA violation, when you didn't agree to the EULA?

    My head hurts. I will shut up (and move to Europe) :-)

    I will shut up

  • Re:I beg to differ (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bondolo (14225) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:23PM (#11568981) Homepage
    I have to take exception to your definition of the teams. On what basis are you saying that Sun is on the "Microsoft team"?

    The Microsoft payout was for civil damages and a settlement in the long ongoing Java suit which it seems they were likely to lose in the long run. They lost, Sun won. Sun gets the money. It was not Microsoft "buying Sun loyalty" or a payoff for Sun to do their dirty work. To characterise it as otherwise would need a lot of evidence--beyond the conjectural crap which seems to dominate these discussions.

    The substance of the agreement was that Sun and Microsoft would no longer act like mortal enemies. It was not a pact of eternal friendship and devotion. It did nothing more than normalize relations. Prior to the agreement they wouldn't even agree that an agreement was possible. Going forward Sun will work with Microsoft on some iniatives and oppose them on others. Just like Sun does with Oracle, IBM, RedHat, HP, Novell, etc.

    Cmon, do you really think anyone would be stupid enough to repeat SGI's mistake and plan to succeed by being the best Microsoft lickspittle?

    Oh, and poor HP. Maybe the reason they are lost in the middle is because they can't decide what direction they're going. Support Itanium? Yep! Support Opteron? Yep! Support PA-RISC? Forever! Support HPUX? Yep! Support Linux? yep! Support Windows? Of course! Hurray for everything! (The same can be said of IBM, but they hide it better).
  • by droopycom (470921) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:45PM (#11569094)

    Windows guys tell Unix guy if it works or not...
    Unix guy ask Windows guys to do some operation...

    It seems to me that this is a conspiracy to Reverse Engineer...

    I mean, as soon as the Windows guy and the Unix guys start speaking about what they are doing in relation with the product it seems pretty clear to me that the
    1/ Windows guy is violating the Reverse engineering clause in the EULA he agreed to.
    2/ The Unix guy is using Windows by proxy so he has to agree with the EULA.

    This may seem far fetched (even to me) but from a lawyer POV....

  • by webhat (558203) <slashdot&specialbrands,net> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:46PM (#11569098) Homepage Journal
    In the Netherlands you can still reverse engineer, even if a EULA forbids it. Once you've paid for it it's yours to do with what you wish. If you want to stick it through a decompiler or examine the assembly you can.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember correctly the DMCA even provides for reverse engineering if it is for interoperability that the provider won't or can't provide. So if some provider of software doesn't and won't provide a feature it's in your right to create that feature. IANAL so don't take my word for it.

    I can't wait for a virus writer to sue Norton or McAfee for DMCA violations. That would be fun.

  • News to who? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnovos (447128) <.ten.deppihc. .ta. .sovong.> on Friday February 04, 2005 @12:25AM (#11569505) Homepage Journal
    I woked at a company a few years ago that was a newly minted "Microsoft Partner". Microsoft came in one day and we all had a big meeting. The rep told us, point blank, that they were developing the same software as us, but were a little behind. The deal was this: We'll liscense them all our software at a n unfathomably great rate, they'll promote our company for two years to thier other partners, and then they'll release thier own version of the software at that point, having built in all the improvements that they can from examining our software, and undercut us.

    If we don't agree to the terms, they'll release thier software now and compete with us directly withotu the two-year gap.

    So basically, that was life as a Microsoft Partner.
  • by Latent Heat (558884) on Friday February 04, 2005 @12:35AM (#11569533)
    From my perspective, Swing is not the real stumbling block.

    Sun has this whole take-it-or-leave it notion about Java, but I have been interested in migrating to Java by rewriting parts of my apps. The JNI allows Java to call C++, but it also allows C++ to call Java, and while parts of it are a little cumbersome, it is well-documented and you can wrap the plumbing in a set of C++ and Java classes. My notion is that I can start with the non-GUI parts of the program, and perhaps even some of the GUI parts by using the MVC and strategy design patterns to uncouple code from the Windows API code, and over time develop something that is easier to migrate away from Windows. Oh, don't worry Chairman Bill, I am probably not leaving Windows anytime soon, it is just that Java has good features and libraries and I am interested in using it.

    For mixed Windows API-managed code programming, I like C++/Java better than C++/C# because to access C# modules from Windows API C++, you have to go through a lot of Windows jive with the GAC and other bits of Klingon language. Connecting C++ and Java through the JNI seems easier to me than connecting unmanaged C++ to C#.

    The hassle is that I am really reluctant to make any program I distribute dependent on a Java install on a Windows computer because there is so much to go wrong -- not setting up the PATH, CLASSPATH considerations, and so on. It is not insurmountable to get Java going under Windows, but it is something for users of one's software to not get right.

    If MS and Sun were to truly make nice, I would like to see the Java runtime integrated with Windows so you could count on it being there if you distribute apps under Windows. Heck, I would settle for the .NET runtime being part of Windows, but even that you have to download and there is a futz factor setting it up.

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 04, 2005 @01:12AM (#11569671)

    Sun pursued Microsoft for years, and finally got a cool 2 billion for it. 2 billion is, what, 4% of Microsoft's cash? A 4% hit is actually pretty big, considering the size of these companies.

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