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Gosling: Partnership with Microsoft Meaning Less and Less 145

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 03, 2005 @09:14PM (#11568583)
    Because along the way, there was some ruling or whatnot, I don't recall exactly, that said a protocol can inherently be reverse-engineered, despite any EULAs about it.

    I think the issue is allowing competition. By locking a protocol, the protocol's owner essentially controls the market around that protocol. But people have the right to interop with that service.

    This was a big point about the IBM antitrust suit, about the AT&T antitrust lawsuit, etc.

  • by fodZ ( 645669 ) on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:06PM (#11568895)
    My guess is some EULA(s) must have been violated.

    In Europe at least it is an explictly recognised right of a user to reverse engineer software to the extent necessary to make it interoperate with any other software you have. EULAs cannot exclude this right, and you often see it specifically mentioned that you are allowed to do this in European EULAs.

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Informative)

    by FuzzyBad-Mofo ( 184327 ) < minus painter> on Thursday February 03, 2005 @10:50PM (#11569124)

    Maybe after the FBI's Virtual Case File [] disaster, Microsoft Certified Partners [] will realize that you don't build a mission-critical application from the computer equivilant of Lincoln Logs.

  • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @04:25AM (#11570306) Homepage Journal
    Probably for the exact same reason you can't legally use a DirecTV decoder; even though you may have never agreed to their terms of service, and even though their signal is being broadcast onto your property.
    In his example, he was monitoring the traffic of friends with their consent. In your DirectTV example, you're monitoring the traffic without their consent (you only have consent to use the decoder, not look at the traffic directly). There's a big difference there legally. The DMCA was meant to curb sniffing, snooping or copying unauthorized content via electronic means. You're right that this is where the DMCA get's prickly (especially compared to the EULA example) because it theoretically prohibits "circumvention" regardless of who owns the content according to some folks.

    The truth of the matter is that someone with legal rights to the content must call you on your actions. DirectTV will get mad at you and friends won't. Regardless, the folks who made the transport/protocol that carries the traffic (if they are a third party) legally still don't have any means to attack you (unless they make you out to be a national threat, but that's a whole other political discussion). You can legally observe any network traffic as long as you have permission to view it's contents. In a controlled environment, that's not hard to do - but on public networks it's near impossible. The Samba folks used a controlled environment to avoid legal complications.

  • by aegilops ( 307943 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @07:58AM (#11570846) Homepage
    I was there, hugely underqualified amongst a room packed with full-on Java devs. There were about 600 attendees. Where I get this completely wrong, please be gentle and help out, don't skin me alive, please.

    My recollections:

    Eclipse and other Java IDEs

    I recall James commenting that the presence of other Java IDEs was healthy as it promotes competition and encourages the best dev tools. He used a sports analogy about needing more than one team to have a match. Two of the day's briefings were about the new Sun IDEs, hence the reporter's focus on this. I recall he had tried Eclipse and was being gracious but non-committal about it.

    DVD Technology

    James did say that it was a very sloppy bit of crypto, and wasn't intended as a rock solid algorithm but being sufficient to force companies to license the appropriate patents and other agreements.

    .NET Security

    Again, underqualified here, but he commented that the .NET support of C and C++ was ... oh, I wish I could remember the colourful phrase ... something like: "the most brain-dead design decision they could have made". I think it was to do with pointer manipulation and arithmetic, which Microsoft allows in the CLR and causes major problems, rather than in Java which keeps you away from all that.

    Embedded Software

    He was asked what still gets him really excited. He mentioned about the new tiny chips they're building with a micro OS on them, with integrated sensors - I think he called the micro-OS "squawk". He made reference to people using them to plaster all over the sides of bridges to monitor stress patterns. He said that right now they're about an inch square but hope to get them down to the size of your thumbnail. He said that it was a tragedy that you had to have a battery to power these things, as the chip is dwarfed by the battery itself. He mentioned the ubiquity of Java in mobile phones a few times. A few people ribbed him about toasters. One guy pressed him on nanotechnology - driving at an NBIC point of view - James didn't really take the bait which is a shame as I thought that was an interesting question.

    He mentioned on a couple of occasions about doing some work with real time applications of Java. And that this is an interesting area as people wouldn't normally think of Java as a good language for real-time, but he said that when you have conversations with these guys, that what they are doing in real-time applications is really scary and "out there", i.e. the current real-time software approaches are really complex, convoluted and much more fragile than you would either think or would like.

    James also talked about support for OS X (full production support for Java dev tools, just maybe not the daily builds), and the difficulties of working with Apple (no secret previews or insider knowledge).

    There was some talk about scripting languages for Java, with reference to (I'm struggling here) Jython or Ruby. He said people get really religious about it, and he likes the fact that there is not "a single one choice" - the variety is healthy and good.

    He spoke encouragingly over the Java Community Process - people ask him "where is Java going" and he observed that it was healthy that it is not down to one single individual. He talked about the Mustang development process and encouraged people to contribute feedback / ideas or participate in the development process.

    There were some questions about greatest regrets over the language but sadly I am too underqualified to answer. Whatever he said was really insightful (something about operator casting? I can't recall ... I remember him alluding to people accosting him over the left shift operator not being an I/O operator.. but I could have my wires crossed here) - he said "If I had taken out feature XXX of the language, 5% of the audience would say - Yes! that's exactly right, 40% would shrug, and the remainder would come after me with knives drawn".

    He was open, genial, down to Earth, and was a pleasure to go hear speak. I'd recommend it if you get the chance to see something similar near you.


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