James Gosling on Oracle - Google - Java lawsuit

If you want a little insight into the Oracle lawsuit against Google, take a look at James Gosling's blog, where you'll find all sorts of great tidbits.

Oracle puts their name on Java, and apps quit running

He starts with this humorous post of the funniest thing he's read all week, which includes this note, which originally came from Slashdot:

In Java 1.6.0_21, the company field was changed from 'Sun Microsystems, Inc' to 'Oracle.' Apparently not the best idea, because some applications depend on that field to identify the virtual machine. All Eclipse versions since 3.3 (released 2007) until and including the recent Helios release (2010) have been reported to crash with an OutOfMemoryError due to this change. This is particularly funny since the update is deployed through automatic update and suddenly applications cease to work.

The Oracle - Google lawsuit about Java

Getting to the Oracle - Google lawsuit, here's a tidbit from his the poop hits the fan post:

Oracle finally filed a patent lawsuit against Google. Not a big surprise. During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer's eyes sparkle. Filing patent suits was never in Sun's genetic code.

Here's part of a note where Mr. Gosling shares some comments he received in an email:

I actually got an email recently that started "When Oracle starts the Java foundation...". Ethics and consistency aren't exactly the LPOD's reputation: he's famously a fan of a quote attributed to Genghis Khan: "It's not enough that we win; all others must lose".

(String LPOD="Larry, Prince Of Darkness";)

This second quote from that same page also says a lot about Oracle and the future of Java in Oracle's hands:

Oracle's universe is defined by the enterprise datacenter. Stuff outside of the datacenter makes as much sense to the core of Oracle as bicycles make sense to fish. But when they got Sun and Java, they got a lot of stuff outside of the datacenter. It does not compute.

Sun, IBM, and technology patents

As a nice insight to the company formerly known as Sun, Mr. Gosling shares several notes about Sun and patents, specifically how IBM forced Sun to get into the patent business:

In Sun's early history, we didn't think much of patents. While there's a kernel of good sense in the reasoning for patents, the system itself has gotten goofy. Sun didn't file many patents initially. But then we got sued by IBM for violating the "RISC patent" - a patent that essentially said "if you make something simpler, it'll go faster". Seemed like a blindingly obvious notion that shouldn't have been patentable, but we got sued, and lost. The penalty was huge. Nearly put us out of business. We survived, but to help protect us from future suits we went on a patenting binge.

Mr. Gosling resigns from Sun/Oracle

And finally, Mr. Gosling writes about his experience with Oracle immediately after resigning from the company:

The couple of weeks that have passed since I resigned have been amazing. All the touching comments on my blog, emails, facebook and linkedin messages have been wonderful. It was an incredible community of people that together did great things and had a lot of fun. I've spent an awful lot of time reading these messages and answering as many as I could. Between all this and spending quality time with my lawyer, resigning has been a full time job (before I quit, several friends said I'd need a lawyer because "this is Oracle we're talking about"... sadly, they were right).

As a person interested in business, and having been familiar with Sun and Oracle since the 1980s (I briefly spoke with Oracle about a job in 1989, and was very turned off by them; and I worked hard to get a job with Sun in Kentucky in 1992), this is fascinating stuff to me. I knew Oracle had a certain reputation, and they are certainly living up to it.