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Comment Re:Tech Culture (Score 3, Informative) 349

I never understood why this patent was granted - back in 2006 the same gestures were demonstrated (and publicly) by Jeff Han with his FTIR multi-touch display. - take a look from about 2:29 onwards, pinch zoom, scoll etc.

It really doesn't appear that Apple should have been able to patent it, especially if their file date was in 2007 and it looks like the grant date was 2011 (seriously? wtf?).

Still, who knows why it was granted, and if I can find that prior art surely the other big companies who were sued because of it could too so I assume I'm missing something.

Comment Re:will never use it (Score 1) 800



Do you actually read what you're trolling?

You wrote "Then your issue is not with Siri, but with technology as a whole. You have no business being on this site and should leave now." in response to '"My phone doesn't work" because Siri is offline'.

And then you write "My phone, which has Siri as a feature, is not working to it's full advertised functionality. Therefore, saying my phone isn't working is no less valid than the options I provided." after of course bitching about "Ever said "hmm, the cell tower must be down?" or "Power's out". You are the same person you're complaining about. The power isn't out, one of the many transformers is having one of hundreds of problems or a line is severed, etc. etc. "

As a troll you only get about a 3 out of 10, you made me laugh at you so that's good, but you really didn't manage consistency - you're all over the place like a frog on a hotplate. I'd suggest in future before answering you at least remain consistent within the same thread!

You cannot be right because you took both sides in the argument - revisionist history only works if there isn't a record of what you said originally.

As for..

"People who get all high and mighty because they know a little bit about computers are assholes." - I don't quite understand why you said it, it's not like I professed great knowledge about computers (not saying I don't). I spoke about power and the mechanics of cell towers - must have missed the computers. But I agree (in your case at least), you profess to know a little about computers and you're acting an ass.

One thing I am happy about though, you said "You're as dumb as he was." which is at least not saying I'm as dumb as you - cause that definitely would be a bad thing ;)

Comment Re:will never use it (Score 1) 800

Ever said "hmm, the cell tower must be down?" or "Power's out". You are the same person you're complaining about. The power isn't out, one of the many transformers is having one of hundreds of problems or a line is severed, etc. etc. The cell tower isn't "down", the antenna is obscured, or the amplifier has one of hundreds of failures possible, maybe the problem isn't at the tower at all.

I've just got to jump in here... In reference to the "Power's out"... Because obviously the power is out, the power supply to the house isn't functioning (probably why they said the power was out) - there's this fun thing called context (something you should be aware of the way you promote Siri - which frankly is Siri's killer feature over other voice systems) and when someone says the power's out, well the power's out. To jump in and say that because the power's on elsewhere (like upstream of their local transformer or in another country) then the power isn't out still doesn't change the obvious fact that "the power's out" for the person saying "the power's out".

Remember, when dealing with anything other than http (or other stateless protocols) CONTEXT is king - as in humans, humans use context so when someone says the "power's out" you probably don't need to check on the opposite side of the world.

And of course actually the cell tower could be "down", down being a generic term covering non-functional (through falling over, no power, lightning strike etc etc) - granted the failure could be on the device - but personally when I've said the network or tower is down it's usually because I've spoken to the friends around and found the ones on the same network have no signal (I'd blame the device in my pocket that I can most easily affect). The cell tower might be fine, but the network connection from the tower might be broken, but that has different failure symptoms on the device so....

Why have you leapt on someone saying that people will complain if Siri goes down - it's happened already as this quick (google) search found this
From that article:
" According to Venture Beat, contacting Apple customer service resulted in the typical, "Have you tried restarting your device?"" so people contacted Apple customer service because Siri was down... And they guy you tried to tear a new hole said...

"Now imagine those people with an iPhone 4S during a data outage or in the middle of New York City (or another smartphone sinkhole)? "My phone doesn't work" because Siri is offline or unreachable is a pretty lame excuse, but perfectly valid for people who are going to be trained to rely on it."

So he was right, and you were wrong.

Of course I'm not entirely sure what his point was - people will complain? That's not a surprise, there have been complaints about the accent it reads back to you in..

I'm also surprised that you didn't leap on it as validation of Siri - it's made enough of an impact that people complain when it's missing, if it were just a toy most likely people wouldn't bother calling customer support, no?

Comment Re:Continental Drift (Score 1) 212


It's planned to be built at sea, so no continental drift to worry about.

Sea allows mobility (to an extent) to avoid the worst storms (and there are areas that get very few hurricanes) but just building big and strong enough would protect against things like hurricanes.

A quick search of oil rigs (and I'd assume these are smaller than the base station would be) shows that they get hit all the time (and damaged all the time) but the ones that leap out at me were those that had an oil tanker smacked into them. One major advantage of being at sea is that there is very little debris to be flinging at your base station and no continental shelf to raise up waves / tsunamis.

It's just an engineering problem there, nothing fundamentally unsolvable (except perhaps the ribbon, but it's looking good there too).


Comment Re:Again with the stupid space elevator .. (Score 1) 212

Ahh a troll!

Yes, it is fiction, for it is not (yet) reality - the very definition of fiction.

It doesn't appear to be impossible, just very difficult.

Physics required for a geo-stable space platform? Huh? Do you mean something in geosynchronous orbit? Like say satellite TV? All those satellites are in geosynch orbit so you don't need active dishes to track them - geosynchronous orbit isn't difficult and is done every day.

The materials sciences for the ribbon material? Yes that isn't available yet, but it's on the way. There is no theoretical reason why we cannot build one, only practical reasons as we've not developed the materials yet.

One of the fun things you can do is look at what we have now, look at our scientific understanding of the universe from gravitation to atoms and then keep plugging away and testing and seeing what you get.

The theory describes materials such as carbon nano-tubes or graphene with sufficient tensile strength vs their weight to be able to build a space elevator. We cannot manufacture them in long enough sections yet but they are improving all the time - there's a lot of money in working out how to make this stuff.

Storms are engineering challenges, after all we manage to stick large unsupported free-standing structures up into storms and have them stay up, obviously this means we've got no idea how to do it at all and have just been lucky. Sheesh.

The people who are thinking about this aren't delusional (any more than the average population is - and probably less), these are just problems (even though you find them scary and don't understand) and they can be solved one way or another.


Comment Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 212

Well if you think it through the most effective renewable energy is space based solar, it's much more dense, permanently on and doesn't annoy anyone.

This starts being really possible with a space elevator, both for getting the machinery into space in the first place and getting the power back down (there's been talk of conductive cores to the elevators).

Is it really better for everyone if another $18billion is spent on social care? Isn't that just stopgap spending, spend a little more to temporarily make people feel better without actually changing anything? No new resources, no new energy sources etc? According to a quick look at it seems that about $1.527 trillion was spent on welfare, how would $18 billion (1.1%) even be noticed in a budget of that size? Or add to it more than cheap and reliable access to space would? How about power costs dropping to fractions of what they are today? How about the reductions in pollution from shutting down fossil fuel power plants? How about dealing with nuclear waste once and for all? How about a reduction in wars and exploitation because the need for oil has just dropped massively?

The benefits of a space elevator out weigh pretty much anything you could possibly think of to do with $18 billion, spending it on anything else is short-sighted and really not going to change anything except probably make it worse.


Comment Re:Are they for real with those questions? (Score 1) 212

3. Can you pull the ribbon into space in case something serious is taking place near the planet's surface, like a huge storm?

Yes. Easy to do at the counterweight at the far end. Would take some hours for the wave to move down and the Earth end raise up, but it is the obvious "Plan B" for a dire emergency on the ground.

What? Seriously you think you can just detach the ribbon from the base station and then attach it again? If the ribbon breaks at the base (the same scenario as detaching it) then the ribbon is lost to space.

The ribbon has to be under tension at the base, as in attempting to lift the base off the ground in order for anything to be able to climb it, otherwise you're attempting to climb an unsupported ribbon, which means the ribbon wants to escape but the base station doesn't let it. If there wasn't any tension in the base of the ribbon, you'd be climbing the inertia of the ribbon only, which means after all that effort, you can launch one item (and even then you need to climb quickly).

This isn't something you can just pull in and out or have hover about, the entire edifice is in dynamic tension and losing one of those balanced forces will bring the entire thing down (or up, or off or whatever).

6. How do you make the ribbon stay in one place above the ground anyway?

It's in orbit once per day, so to "first order" it stays put. Now, it will want to move about, at the 100 meter to 1 km level, because of tides and the like. If you anchor the terrestrial end, that thus means you are imposing waves on the cable. That seems to be OK, but more work is definitely needed here IMO.

It's anchored to a floating platform in the sea (not seen any viable discussions of land based elevators), the ribbon isn't like a rope dangling in the sky that you climb, it's not a rope ladder. The terrestrial end HAS to be anchored to a counter-weight that can also be supported by the earth in order to have tension you can exploit to climb the cable.


Comment Re:Does a space rope have the same physics? (Score 1) 212

No need for ION engines (not sure why that's capitalised) to hold anything up - the forces on the cable beyond geosynch pull the entire cable tight, about the only use for the ion engines would be (and this is any type of reaction thruster) to help damp oscillations in the cable.

You are correct, the cable is much longer than it needs to be (more than twice I believe, geosynch is roughly 35k km up and the designs I've seen talk about a 100k km cable) mostly due to the requirement for lifting tension and the fact that the cable is incredibly light for it's length, in the order of grams per km.

An easier (for a given value of easy) would be to have a large mass (it's a measure of mass / distance past geosynch - no need for dark matter when a rock will do) a distance beyond the geosynch to counter-weight, either way it works - the forces on the cable past geosynch cause the cable to stick out straight, perpendicular to the surface of the planet and will always attempt to get that as straight as possible.

Don't worry about the cable snapping going too fast or too slow, as it happens as you have a weight travel down the cable the cable will travel ahead of the rotation of the planet, as something climbs the cable the cable will lean behind the rotation of the planet - effectively there's an east-west acceleration as the weight descends / ascends the cable. This has the effect of pulling the cable down fractionally but the excess tension also pulls the cable back up again, it won't be instant or 'snapping' as there's never any massive horizontal displacement / force - the speed of the climber dictates the rate of change of circumference/orbit and thus the horizontal force applied to the cable.

The tail won't really get ahead of behind of the 'station' (there won't actually be a station as far as I know) as the cable will attempt to remain straight from the point of horizontal deflection. There will be vibrations and other variations travelling up and down the cable but they should both damp in time and be damped dynamically.

One last thing to remember, most of the cable is outside of the atmosphere so there's no atmospheric drag (well, vanishingly small as it's not exactly a pure vacuum) on the tail to add to the problems.

It's a hard engineering challenge and we've not got the materials to do it yet but it'll change a lot when it (or something like it) does happen.


Comment Re:Does a space rope have the same physics? (Score 2) 212


The whole point of a space elevator is that the centre of mass of the cable is at geosynch orbit (well slightly past it). There is no need to continuously thrust to hold the cable up because the rotational speed of the planet will fling away the cable.

The reason that the cable stays up is the gravity drops off by the square of the distance but distance travelled by the cable per hour at any height increases. The period of rotation is always 24 hours (give or take some lean) but the circumference described is greater as the height increases.

What this means is that at geosynchronous orbit the force downward due to gravity (at that distance from earth) exactly matches the centripetal forces from orbiting the planet (or more accurately attempting to fly off in a straight line but the gravity of the planet curving that line).
Below geosynchronous orbit if you are orbiting the earth once a day you're doomed to crash into the planet without active energy input (the rate of curvature is higher than your speed thus you'll hit), above geosynchronous orbit if you're still orbiting the earth once a day you're doomed to escape the planets' gravity altogether and go flying off as you spiral out. This is why low orbit satellites orbit so quickly and high orbit satellites orbit so slowly, the relative strengths of gravity at the different orbits, plus the distance travelled to complete an orbit dictate the speeds.

The parts of the cable that are above geosynchronous orbit are attempting to escape earth, and the parts of the cable that are below geosynchronous orbit are trying to crash down to earth - the reason the cable stays up is that these are balanced. The entire weight of the cable (less the reduction due to centripetal forces) below geosynch (and adding the tension in the cable necessary to lift a weight) is indeed all passed through the portion of the cable in geosynch orbit (it's actually a huge section as 1 metre from geosynch either way isn't much difference). But the cable isn't a cable, at least not in current designs, it's a ribbon varying in width from thinnest at the ends to widest at geosynch as the loads vary - there are also thickness variations due to expected damage to the cable, ie at certain orbital levels micro-meteorite (and space junk more likely) impacts are very likely so the cable would be made wider to compensate.

Please note that this doesn't allow anything to be pulled up the cable, it is just supporting itself, what you need to do is stick a nice big weight on the end of the cable on earth, like say the base station weighing in at hundreds of tonnes (but not supported by the cable, supported by the earth's surface) and then extend the cable upwards until it has a tension high enough to do something useful. The tension in the base of the cable where it meets the base station will be at least the weight of anything you want to send up the cable (and have more because acceleration increases the force).

The real problem with understanding this is that humans live on such a small height variation and deal with speeds so slow that you cannot easily imagine what happens to gravity over those distances and how much energy is involved in those speeds - if you accept that orbital mechanics isn't the same as you running about on earth it becomes much easier to understand.

No revisions of any laws (other then potentially materials sciences as we don't yet have a material that has a strong enough tensile strength but low enough weight) are required for this to work, all you need to do is understand them.

The 'energy' you use to raise the payload is electrical converted to kinetic converted to gravitational potential. If there happened to be a mountain of a magical material that reached out into space then climbing that mountain would not violate any laws of thermodynamics.

Towers have problems, compressive strength vs weight, mechanical strength of the earths crust, and major issues with stability. Compression is a positive runaway scenario (the tower bends slightly and the weight causes the bend to accelerate), tension has a negative (or neutral I suppose) runaway scenario (the cable bends and the cable tries to straighten out).


Comment Re:Google is not the good guy here (Score 1) 204


I'm making the argument (as are Oracle in the courts) that it's the software patents that are the case, the copyright violations (the things that are behind the license) have been pretty much shot down - certainly all I'm hearing about is the patents and the big OMG Android copied Java appears to have been removed.

The license you (assuming you are the same person) linked to was a Sun/Oracle SDK End user agreement. There is no guarantee that this applies to Google engineers creating Android (or the company that Google bought that originally created Android).

You are making the stupid assumption that because you have found a license it is somehow magically applied to everyone. This particular license requires that the person to whom it applies have downloaded the SDK. I'm missing the point where you show that Google engineers in relation to Android have downloaded the SDK.

Unfortunately for you that isn't the only way to license the Java SDK, I know for a fact (having worked there on Java) that large companies, especially those that create their own VMs (completely legally under license, like Apple, HP, IBM etc) have different agreements. Your EULA that you linked has absolutely NOTHING to do with the licensing that they operate under - you are confusing individuals with large companies.

Harmony, the 'base libraries' that you are complaining about are owned by the Apache Foundation, they were pretty much written by IBM originally and IBM I believe has a completely different licensing agreement with Sun/Oracle as part of the fact they have multiple platforms and create their own VMs for them. Oracle hasn't sued or in any way protested the Harmony project other than the fact that due to the field of use restrictions Harmony is not TCK / JCK certified and as such can't be called Java - this by the way led to the rather public divorce of the Apache Foundation from the JCP.

If your assertion that the "license explicitly denies you the permission to create your own VM," applied to everyone then there is no way that IBM could create their own VM for AIX and zOS, there's no way that Apple could have created a VM to run on MacOS and there's no way that HP could have created a VM to run on HPUX. All these companies (and more) did this, and all of them entered into different agreements with Sun (and now Oracle).

You are not privy to the contents of these agreements, neither am I, but I can posit that they are different from the the EULA you quoted as according to you that license prevents them creating a VM.

Since you have no idea as to the legal agreements in force between Google and Sun/Oracle your assumption that the EULA for the SDK download applies is moronic - you might be correct, but you're more likely to be incorrect. Basing your entire argument on a document you have no evidence is even in force isn't the way to go about proving anything.

What I've tried to point out to you is that anyone could do the same thing - you never need to touch the license as you can access everything you need elsewhere.

Jikes( - a java compiler (originally written by IBM again) means you'd not need the JDK to convert java code into bytecode.
Kaffe( - a 'java' VM technically not Java but can execute java bytecode, open source cleanroom implemented legal... means you'd not need the JDK in order to execute your program.
Harmony( - java class libraries , means you'd not need the JDK to use similar base libraries.

You can develop Android without ever getting near that license you're so wedded to, so I ask you how is that license in force? You're assuming that the license has to be in force whereas I've demonstrated multiple ways that it may not be.

As a quick aside, your mention of "pay 6 billion dollars" was cut down to 100 million dollars by the Judge, the 6 billion was Oracles made up number to try and get as much as they can - part of the negotiating and media position but not based in reality.

To violate a contract there has to be a contract in place - I've missed the point where Oracle has argued breach of contract... They've argued copyright violation (your license you're talking about) but had that shot down, they've argued patent infringement (which is ongoing and may have a point) but there's been no mention of breech of contract. It's possible it's there but just hidden under the redacted sections, but it's more likely that hasn't occurred. Certainly I would be surprised if Oracle tried the copyright angle if it had them under breech of contract, it would have been so much more cut and dried whereas they wasted time, failed and resorted to patents.

Google claiming they got implicit endorsement? Hadn't heard that but I'm not following it too closely, the arguments in a legal case pretty much don't relate to the reality.

"Google did not write a java program. Google massively changed the VM, compiler, rewrote the jit, changed the base library and so on. None of that was allowed."

Google wrote a new VM, cleanroom. This means that they didn't change the VM (if they had changed it then they would have been nailed - quite rightly - on the copyright charges, you know the ones that have pretty much died) they wrote a new one. I hope you're aware of the differences between copyright IP and patent IP, because you can always reimplement to get around copyright (as in it protects you from copying but you don't own the idea) but patents don't matter who wrote it because the idea itself is 'protected'. The JIT is part of the VM, it seems odd to mention it again...

Google uses (or should I say Android Developers use) the Sun/Oracle J2SE compiler to compile their programs. Nothing in this violates the license. It is just like you've created any other Java program. The resulting class files are then modified again to a completely different format. This doesn't involve a compiler, just a translator and there is currently (that I'm aware of ) no way to compile from source code to Dalvik bytecode, so they really really didn't change or even write a new compiler.

Google didn't change the base library, these (as I'm getting tired of telling you) are the Harmony libraries, written originally by IBM now owned and open sourced under the Apache2 license by the Apache Foundation. So I'm missing where Google did this, they use Harmony yes, but that's legal.

When you get down to it, none of that was liked by Sun/Oracle but also (and importantly) it wasn't forbidden, you might like it if it was but the legal systems unfortunately for you do not support your contention.

"Your argument hinges on the entire android java system being nothing more than just another java program, running within the confines of the jdk licence (in other words, on a desktop machine in a sun-approved jvm without any special libraries). I find it hard to believe you can even claim this with a straight face."

For the time that the code is subject to the Java license in the case of a developer (Android's java like component is pretty much just apps running ontop of linux), yes that is the argument, and that's the argument because that is what happens. I'm not as clued up as to how the build process for an Android image works but I'd imagine it can be done in a similar fashion.

The code you write uses all Sun/Oracle libraries (all the java.* etc libraries are UNCHANGED on the desktop) and as such (other than not working, everything you link into in 'Android' is just a stub) you can run it, on the desktop on the Sun/Oracle VM and using the Sun/Oracle libraries. Please note that these 'base libraries' are not included in the application they are included in the VM, you merely call out to them. Then you translate the bytecode from Java to Dalvik and put it into a Dalvik VM with different libraries and you're good to go.

The important thing to remember (and I'm getting the impression you have issues with this) is that the license dictates terms for the JDK but nowhere in that license does it dictate terms for the programs you create on the JDK. Therefore, your program which you then take away from the JDK is not subject to the JDK's licensing restrictions. Android doesn't run Java, it runs Dalvik, which means that even your much vaunted clause
"D. Java Technology Restrictions. You may not create, modify, or change the behavior of, or authorize your licensees to create, modify, or change the behavior of, classes, interfaces, or subpackages that are in any way identified as "java", "javax", "sun" or similar convention as specified by Sun in any naming convention designation." does not apply as that is a Java Technology Restriction, not a Dalvik Technology restriction.

Android is Linux, a version that contains a Dalvik VM that executes Dalvik bytecode. Your assumption that Android is pure Java is wrong (it isn't any kind of Java), the apps that run on Android are Dalvik apps, and the way that you write the Dalvik app is to write a Java app and then translate it (this isn't the only way possible, a direct Java sourcecode to Dalvik bytecode compile would be plausible, any language to Dalvik bytecode would also be possible). The JDK license is precisely that, the license for the JDK, if you no longer use the JDK you're not subject to the license. For example, installing the JDK does not then mean you can't call a C++ library java.lang.String for example - the license relates to your usage of the JDK not you in everything you do.

The license (and please spend some time actually reading it) does not claim any ownership of the code you write, the sole restrictions are those to do with changes to the JDK. So if you leave the JDK alone (as Android apps do) then you've not run afoul of any of it. Once you have written the code and compiled it into bytecode you are free to do whatever you wish with it. You can run in on an Open Source VM, you can run it on an Apple VM, you can convert it to machine code and run without a VM, and quite importantly you can convert it to any other language or format you desire. There are no restrictions to what you can do with your code (bytecode or otherwise) because of using the JDK. What you cannot do is modify the JDK and the enclosed VM, which is fine because the Android Dalvik VM doesn't do that.

"And try to formulate an argument that doesn't involve the existence of another set of magical legal documents which are stated in the article not to exist. There was *no* agreement of any kind made with Google. Java is *not* English. Android is quite a bit more than a few classes, and Java is (still) very much non-free software, except in the GPL sense (with the viral clause in full force)."

And to respond, in your case try to formulate an argument that doesn't rely on Android being something completely different to what it is, and try not to base your argument on a license that need not apply.

Obviously Java is not English, English is English. In reference to your book analogy Java is like English in that it is the language that the book (or program) is written in. You made the incorrect analogy I merely corrected it.

The article does not state that no license agreement exists (merely that Google rejected a $100 million licensing agreement for Android). You are inferring that because licensing for Android does not exist that there is no licensing at Google for Java, the article doesn't state that isn't the case and it wouldn't have much in the way of bearing for Oracle's lawsuit - licensing internally is not the same as licensing to ship. Which means that your assumption that the only license agreement that could operate is the EULA is rubbish, it doesn't have to operate and there could be other internal licenses.

For crying out loud, Java is not software (the commands javac and java are software but the language itself isn't). You write software in Java, Java is a language. The tools that help you write software in Java (the compiler and in the case of Java the VM) are software and the license applies to them.

The Sun/Oracle supplied Java compiler and the Sun/Oracle supplied Java VM are non-free software, the Java programming language is a programming language - these are very different things.

At some point I would suggest that you sit down and actually write a program so that you begin to understand what you're talking about.

Programming languages != Software - Licenses cannot be in force as there is nothing to license.
Programming language tools == Software - Licenses can be in force, as you can license the tools.


Comment Re:Google is not the good guy here (Score 1) 204

Ok, google's choices as you see them.

a) The GPL? I don't really understand why this is even a discussion. On one hand you're saying you should be able to do anything with anything you create, and on the other hand google shouldn't be allowed to. Since Android is effectively an application executing on Linux there's no reason for it to be GPL'd. There is no reason for it to be GPL'd other than that. One of the main reasons for Android to be under the Apache2 license is project Harmony that provide the class libraries. I don't know if they could have converted the class libs to the GPL and I really don't care, I'd prefer the Apache2 license to the GPL because as you say " I would certainly reserve that right on any software I write." - if I write apps I want to own the apps, or at least have something of a mechanism to stop people ripping me off.

b) Seriously? Did you read any of the things I'd posted? That license is between you (as the Android developer or android OS compiler - and even that isn't guaranteed) and Oracle. Remember, and this is important, Android does not run Java, it CANNOT run Java it runs Dalvik byte-code. The license you linked to was for the Java Development Kit, effectively a desktop JVM and compiler. Ergo executing Android does not violate this license, Writing apps for Android does not violate this license and I'm fairly sure that even compiling Android doesn't violate this licence although not 100% confident.

From that license file
"D. Java Technology Restrictions. You may not create, modify, or change the behavior of, or authorize your licensees to create, modify, or change the behavior of, classes, interfaces, or subpackages that are in any way identified as "java", "javax", "sun" or similar convention as specified by Sun in any naming convention designation."
Which is I presume what you're discussing here since there's no mention of embedded versions in the entire license agreement, this is an EULA for the download of the JDK, this may or may not be binding on Google (or indeed any large company) as it is specifically an End User License Agreement - quite a number of companies have their own licensing agreements with Sun and now Oracle over Java as it is different in the enterprise.
But a major point here is that you can use the Java SDK to create programs that run elsewhere and therefore are not subject to this license, secondly there is more than one java compiler for example - which kinda means that if you also have a VM you're able to avoid the license completely.

On a moral level the authors of Java (which by the way isn't Oracle) do have the moral right to tell you what you can and can't create with their software but (and this is important) they've already done that in the license for the language spec and bytecode spec. You're suggesting that they should have absolute control forever - this isn't a good thing and cannot happen. Companies would create new languages rather than be controlled by a competitor.

If you had written a new programming language and you wanted it to be popular you'd have to have few restrictions as if those restrictions are too onerous then the majority of people will never use it. Please note that writing a program is not the same as writing a programming language, one is a program and the other a specification and syntax. If you had put in restrictions then nobody would use it and nobody would care, what you can't (legally, let alone morally) do is say yeah do what you want and then tomorrow say nope, you can only create kiddie games on it. Unless your license had that unilateral ability (and remember consideration is necessary for a license to be binding) that you could change it at any time then you're stuck - most companies read the licenses and as such refuse to do business with something that has the huge risk of randomly changing at no notice.

Finally your forced licensing, er firstly this isn't assignment of copyright from the author of the program to the author of the language and secondly from your linked article "At all times, Qt was available under a commercial license that allows the development of proprietary applications without restrictions on licensing. In addition, Qt has been gradually made available under a number of increasingly free licenses." Which means that Trolltech isn't trying to take your code, hence not supporting your point, you have always been able to release any program written to take advantage of the Qt library (and this is a library not a language) and release it under any license you want - but you have to pay them for that. Which is fine since they wrote a library that saves you time, if you want to release it under a GPL license for free it appears they now have a new free version that might support that. But if you want to make money off your code using their library you have to pay.

Please note that this is different from Android in that Android doesn't use Oracle's libraries, it uses the Harmony libraries which means that Android (and therefore Google) isn't restricted on the license in the same way as if they used Oracle's libraries.

I very much doubt I'm going to convince you towards my point, and barring actual evidence the other way I'm not gonna shift, so best of luck to you!


Comment Re:Google is not the good guy here (Score 1) 204

Actually what Google did was relatively smart but not in this case creating an entirely new language.

It's quite a hack really but what happens is that you actually create your android app against stubs, completely in Java and using the desktop, free licensed version of the Java compiler, nothing here violates any copyright or patents.

Then you take your compiled Java code and re-compile it for Dalvik, so it's no longer Java and isn't running on a JVM.

Java the language isn't a computer program, quite explicitly Java is something in which you can write a computer program but it is not a program itself. Yes there are support tools such as the compiler and the JVM which allow you to execute a program written in Java but you must understand that Java is not a program. I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding how a programming language works.

Please note however that "Because Java is a "managed" language it's also a design document for a very specific piece of software, the JVM. And it's also the API "interface" (to use a term from C++) for a very extensive library." is pretty much completely incorrect.

The JVM doesn't have a design document, multiple companies produce multiple JVMs in different ways for different platforms and different instruction sets. Primarily Java consists of the language syntax and the bytecode syntax.
The Java class libraries are not fixed, nor are they solely defined by Oracle, as should be pointed out by the Harmony class libraries.

Just to repeat it: Java is the language syntax and the bytecode specification!

"What google did is to take the specification, some "chapters" (like the language spec, compiler and base API) copied verbatim, and change a few chapters in the book (mostly packaging and extended the API) so that it would apply better to cell phones. Now this is all nice and great, but like for a real book, you can't do this without the permission of the original book owner." - I suppose it would look like that from the outside, but what you're really not understanding is that it's not what it is under the covers. Since everything was written in Java on the desktop for J2SE with additional libraries nothing has been violated - except for the Dalvik VM. So things like the language spec? Doesn't matter, the reason you can use the normal tools is that it's normal Java, under the normal license on the normal compiler and without hitting the Field of Use restrictions that required it in the first place. Compiler? It's not copied, you're using the one that Sun and now Oracle ship, all that happens afterwards is that the bytecode is converted to a different language to run on a different VM. Base API? I can only assume you mean the class libraries which have been clean-room implemented in Harmony and so Oracle's IP hasn't been touched.

"There are computer languages that do not allow you to base other languages off them (in fact most commercial are like this). The big exceptions is C/C++ (and another exception getting bigger is Javascript). But most languages do not in fact allow this, things like C#, F#, Object Pascal, PL/SQL, ... do not allow you to make a new computer language based on them (in fact several Google languages explicitly forbid this, they even forbid trying to understand how they work)" - I'm pretty sure that I could write a Pascal alike language, create my own compiler and stay within the law (can't be sure I won't get sued but that's what the courts are for). I couldn't call it Pascal and I'm sure there would be minor differences but for all practical intents it would be a very similar language - and when you get down to it most languages are very similar, they have to be.

"(and remember : just because you haven't read the law or a contract doesn't mean it doesn't apply. A license = a contract)" - A license != A contract they are very different things in the eyes of the law, not reading law (which most definitely != a license) means you were negligent, not reading a contract means you were stupid if you sign that contract.

Entering into any legal agreement without reading it first is stupid, but licenses are a different matter their enforceability can be suspect depending on the license.

"But the big, current, example of a programming language that reserves copyright on every program written in it's code is FBML (facebook's extension language)." - which is weird because searching facebook I can't find this. It's a little suspicious that the courts would enforce a license that the end user cannot read and wasn't notified about, although admittedly I've not signed up to have an app authenticated so there's the possibility it's there. One thing I did find is that Facebook has released some of their code under the BSD license ( ) which is completely incompatible with Facebook owning everything .

Personally I don't believe it until the evidence is there, you tell a developer I own everything you do and the developer won't work for you for free. Platforms tend to be valuable because of the developers, so it's pretty much a given that you don't steal from your developers - of course if you do have any evidence please let me know :)

What it all boils down to is that it's the patents that are a problem, and whilst Oracle may detest that they don't have absolute control over Java or anything anyone does that might be related to Java they can only really use patents to harm others who don't submit.

What Google did is annoying to Oracle yes, but is it morally reprehensible? I believe not. Yes it competes with J2ME, but that doesn't make it wrong. Competition is a good thing and promotes growth and innovation (you need to stay within the law - and other than patents Dalvik appears to have), sure it's harder for any one company to gouge customers but that's kinda good for the customers.


Comment Re:This cannot be good for Java... (Score 1) 204

You can't use J2SE on mobile devices (I'm pretty sure Google would have wanted to use J2SE) due to Field of Use restrictions and J2ME wasn't any good, so no choice if you wanted to use Java. Sun wouldn't open the Field of Use restrictions at all - possibly because they were making money from it but I don't know.

As far as I know Sun said it had to be J2ME on Android which wouldn't have worked, J2ME is incredibly restricted and frankly almost sufficiently different from J2SE to be a different language.

Sun could have sued - but Sun didn't want to be the bad guy. Oracle is happy to be the bad guy so there you go - which is weird, they happily piss off everyone they run across from open source developers to large companies.

Google have already opened their wallet, lawyers aren't free after all :) but barring getting rid of those patents (prior art, overly broad claims, or being found not to infringe etc) they'll probably have to pay. That said if the case goes against them I'm sure they'll appeal and if that fails or looks like it'll fail they'll settle - at least Oracle can't go for a scorched ground approach if the settlement is reasonable they've pretty much got to accept it (I think that's right).


Comment Re:Google is not the good guy here (Score 2) 204


Dalvik bytecodes are not sun bytecodes - they don't work, at all. And I suspect you're misunderstanding what verbatim means - because it certainly doesn't mean 'slightly different'.

Dalvik was written anew, not developed from a sun JVM. Although how clean-room this is as it was written is to be decided in the courts - and last I'd heard Oracle's contention that this was copied has been mostly shot down, hence the patent claims being the most talked about currently.

"Java is not public domain, and anything unique about java is protected just like the contents of a book." - Well except for the fact that writing a book does not mean you own the English language, you have some rights over expression of the language in that book and that format.

In programming the content of the book, the story is the program, the language the book is written in (say English) is the programming language ie Java. So a copyright for a particular program does NOT mean you own every program written in the same language.

You may be thinking of the class libraries because these provide 95% of the meat of Java, but of course Android uses the Harmony class libraries, something clean-room developed and currently owned by the Apache Foundation so it's not using the Sun class libraries.

Not a single programming language ever lays claim to the programs written within that language - if one ever did? then it would never be used. Why write a program in order to give it to someone else - seriously, TOS for all languages specifically state that the programs you create in that language are yours!

So to sum up, Google is only guilty of copyright infringement if (and only if) the Dalvik VM hasn't been clean-room developed correctly - it's not copyright infringement to convert from Java to another language (at any point of the compile process), nor is it copyright infringement to use the same development tools, the Dalvik bytecode is a different language to the Java bytecode.

What Android cannot (and if you'll notice - does not) do is claim that it runs Java, because field of use restrictions in the JCK and TCK prevent anything other than Java ME running on a mobile device and if a VM has not been JCK and TCK certified then it can't have the trademarked Java coffee cup or use the trademarked Java name and of course since Dalvik doesn't run Java bytecode.....

The largest part of this case is (as the previous posts mention - they are correct, you missed the point) the patents, as they are much more difficult to deal with. Copyright? Easy just develop it without ever seeing the original and you can't have copied.

Google didn't take something that didn't belong to them, yes they maimed it against the wishes of the original author (but if the author wanted to prevent this possibility all they had to do was not release it into the public), didn't use it's massive weight to outcompete the original author (seriously? If Sun had opened the Field of Use restrictions then clean-room re-implementing Java wouldn't have been necessary - Java ME was never fit for purpose).

As for the ends justifying the means? Well considering it appears about the only thing they may have done is violate some patents it's not exactly evil is it?

I could create a new language that looked the same as Java tomorrow (I'm a fast worker ;) ) and not violate any of Oracles copyrights... Patents on the other hand..


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