Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Oracle v Google Judge Is A Programmer!
I-Programmer.info ^ | Wednesday, 16 May 2012 09:20 | Sue Gee

Posted on 05/16/2012 5:08:14 PM PDT by DarthFuzball

One month into the Oracle v Google trial, Judge William Alsup has revealed that he has, and still does, write code. Will this affect the outcome?

So far all that Oracle has managed to prove is that Google copied nine lines of Java code, that are incorporated into Android operating system and eight test files that are not part of the production code. And yesterday, in a hearing about "infringer profits" Judge Alsup challenged Oracle's lawyer David Boies for trying to pin so much on the rangeCheck infringement.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup, Northern District of California (Image: Hillary Jones-Mixon/The Recorder)

Boies had been trying to claim that Google's use of rangeCheck was "no accident" and that they had used it in order to save time:

They wanted it faster, faster, faster. This copying allowed them to use fewer resources and accelerate that. Suppose they accelerated it two days. They're making $3 million a day now, activating 700k or 800k phones. [something about how Google estimates they make $8 to $10 per activation] If you just get one or two days' acceleration, that's $6 million or $7 million, and it's not something that's untethered from the value that's created.

Judge Alsup then reminded Boies that, in order to claim infringer damages, Oracle will have to prove a "causal nexus", i.e a connection, between the infringement and the body of profits being sought. To this Boies replied:

I still think it's possible to demonstrate a nexus by showing that speed was very important to Google in getting Android out, and by copying they accelerated that.

It was at this point that the Judge made the revelation that caused a flurry of excitement:

I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I've written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. There's no way you could say that was speeding them along to the marketplace. You're one of the best lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind of argument?

Boies obviously misunderstands and responds:

I want to come back to rangeCheck.

To which Judge Alsup deliver's a body blow which indicates he at least does understand how straightforward it would be to program rangeCheck from scratch:

Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you're inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it--

And the lawyer reveals he doesn't:

I'm not an expert on Java -- this is my second case on Java, but I'm not an expert, and I probably couldn't program that in six months.

andor

Perhaps the moral of this is that Oracle should have included a programmer as part of its legal team.

However more important is the fact that Judge Alsup. who has a mathematics degree, really does understands the technical issues at the heart of this case. He has written code and over the period of his involvement of this case has extended his knowledge of programming languages to include Java. While he instructed the jury to make their deliberations on the basis that the 37 APIs were copyrightable this is a decision he has yet to make and at the start of yesterday's proceedings her stated:

I have been working hard on the order dealing with copyrightability, and I don't think I'll have that in the next week for sure.

Another thing is for sure, he'll be taking an informed look at the question and won't be swayed by vacuous arguments.

Perhaps every judge should be a coding judge - it must make the law seem a lot simpler...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: android; google; java; oracle

1 posted on 05/16/2012 5:08:22 PM PDT by DarthFuzball
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball
I don't post many articles. (someone usually beats me to it)

Hope I got it right.

2 posted on 05/16/2012 5:15:38 PM PDT by DarthFuzball ("Life is full of little surprises." - Pandora)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

Oracle is the greatest nest of swindlers in all of computerdom. And their corruption is everywhere.


3 posted on 05/16/2012 5:25:00 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (nobody gives me warheads anyway))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

whoa! a judge that actually has a clue about development and doesn’t think it pfm

there could be a small chance for a sane ruling

I’m stunned


4 posted on 05/16/2012 5:27:55 PM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball
This. It's going to be good. A judge that has a clue about the matter before him. Is that even allowed in the USSA?

And he's right. I don't know how many rangecheck() functions that I've cobbled together quickly to stop a program from doing stupid stuff with garbage data.

/johnny

5 posted on 05/16/2012 5:28:26 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sten
I sat jaw-dropped for a while myself. It is stunning. Is that allowed in the USSA?

/johnny

6 posted on 05/16/2012 5:30:08 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper
Exactly. Here is an example that takes less than a minute:

private int rangeCheck(int x, int y)
{
return (x-y);
}

This simplistic example just tweaks data, something most programmers can do in their sleep. To suggest that a bounds check algorithm takes six months is laughable. That said, why would Google need to rip a limiter from oracle anyway? I have found that plugging in someone else's code can sometimes make a project take longer than if you just hack it together yourself anyway.

7 posted on 05/16/2012 5:50:41 PM PDT by gcraig (Freedom isn't free)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

David Boies - the same attorney who fought so hard for Al Gore and Michael Moore is now in bed with Oracle. I hold for the Defendant


8 posted on 05/16/2012 6:53:58 PM PDT by Smedley (It's a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over Central Park)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

A competent judge is a rare and much appreciated part of this litigation


9 posted on 05/16/2012 6:58:09 PM PDT by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gcraig

“To suggest that a bounds check algorithm takes six months is laughable.”

Well, now, if you put a million monkeys in a room full of PCs for six months you still wouldn’t likely have a viable rangeCheck algorithm. I believe, however, that those monkeys do constitute Oracle’s programming staff.


10 posted on 05/16/2012 7:08:29 PM PDT by Smedley (It's a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over Central Park)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

This is a positive development. The idiot judge during the Microsoft Anti-Trust case (Bill Clinton’s most successful wag the dog maneuver) thought that deleting the internet explorer icon from the desktop was the same as removing it from the windows installation.


11 posted on 05/16/2012 8:14:18 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gcraig

Its all BS. The judge is full of it.

Using this judge’s logic, a person should be able to go to college and download all their papers, project assignments, and homework submissions from a copyrighted source, turn them in and get full credit for them.

When the student gets found out for cheating and for copyright infringement, this judge thinks they can justifiably claim “it was only an accident.” They should be given the benefit of the doubt, and get chance to recreate their submissions on their own.

Someone at Google made a decision to do what was done. They planned to copy Intellectual Property from Oracle, and they carried out their plan.

I hope Larry Ellison extracts $Billions out of Google!


12 posted on 05/16/2012 8:26:30 PM PDT by o2bfree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

Since when can you copyright an API? That was hashed out in Atari vs Accolade about 30 years ago. Copyright covers the expression of an algorithm (the code that implements the interface), not the interface itself.

Otherwise Linus Torvalds could have never published Linux, which was based on published AT&T System V and BSD APIs for Unix.


13 posted on 05/16/2012 8:27:54 PM PDT by Gideon7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: o2bfree

No the judge is right and there is good case law to back him up.


14 posted on 05/16/2012 8:33:39 PM PDT by Gideon7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Gideon7
I wonder why Google didn't have a programmer on staff who is worth a damn who could write the code in question. Why did they break ethical boundaries and steal from Oracle?

I'll tell you why:

Google is filled with Indian and Chinese programmers who will copy other peoples code and claim it as their own.


15 posted on 05/16/2012 8:49:41 PM PDT by o2bfree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: o2bfree
hmmmmm....

You said Using this judge’s logic, a person should be able to go to college and download all their papers, project assignments, and homework submissions from a copyrighted source, turn them in and get full credit for them.

To make your example actually work according to the scale used here, we would have to make some changes to your parameters.

If you have 2 students who sit at opposite ends of the class room each writing a 2 page essay as part of an exam and each used an exact copy of the same sentence at some point in the essay.

Then the instructor decided that it was "similar but reasonable", and passed both students.

That's a comparison using students/papers/cheating in a scale that matches the case here.

16 posted on 05/16/2012 8:58:15 PM PDT by DarthFuzball ("Life is full of little surprises." - Pandora)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: o2bfree
Someone at Google made a decision to do what was done. They planned to copy Intellectual Property from Oracle, and they carried out their plan.

I hope Larry Ellison extracts $Billions out of Google!

Really???!!! Someone inadvertently or on accidently on purpose produced 9 lines of code to implement brain dead pseudo-code like "if ((x < 1) OR (x > 10)) then throw an exception" when they literally (as the judge says) could have written this in their sleep, or in little more than a minute, and suddenly its a "plan" to steal IP from Oracle? Really???!!! As a long time hardware/software/systems engineer & more recently DRE software architect, this is laughable beyond comprehension.

Look, I understand the sentiment to hate the libs at Google and want to see them taken to the cleaners & punished financially - for whatever reason. But this nonsense isn't it. Despite all recent evidence to the contrary, I really want to believe that the rule of law and common sense still count for something in this Godforsaken socialist run country. But this is like charging someone a billion dollars for looking at you the wrong way.

Morever, I might add that in the pantheon of despicable high tech software companies - including Google, Oracle, IBM, Apple & Microsoft, I'd unfortunately put those greedy, open source killing/looting b@astards at Oracle at the top of the list - although the others are close behind.

17 posted on 05/16/2012 9:05:54 PM PDT by MCH
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: MCH

Very well said.

This is starting to remind me of the old SCO v Linux flamewars.

I missed those. They were so entertaining.


18 posted on 05/16/2012 9:14:57 PM PDT by DarthFuzball ("Life is full of little surprises." - Pandora)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: sten

Sane ruling?

Both companies are as shifty and crooked as can be; they should both be shut down on general principles.


19 posted on 05/16/2012 9:26:50 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they were.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: sten
I’m stunned

Me too. I haven't been following this case close enough to tell who the good guys and bad guys are, but I'm really glad that the judge, for once, actually understands what he is being asked to rule on.

From the article, it sounds like Oracle is pinning a lot to this 'rangeCheck' function (though I wouldn't be surprised if the reporter got that wrong). If so, the judge rightly shut them down. Hell I can set up a function to validate input in a line or two of shell code in bash, and I'm not even a programmer.

Disclosure: Over the past few years, I've really come to hate Oracle with a passion, so I'm tempted to root for them to lose regardless of the facts.

20 posted on 05/16/2012 11:21:29 PM PDT by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: DarthFuzball

Google downloaded java class files from Sun/Oracle, then they decompiled the files in order to get hold of the original source. Then they knowingly stole the source code and copied it. Next they compiled it and knowingly released it as their own while it was unlicensed.

That’s what happened. But this is probably minor in the grand scheme of things compared to the other things that Google does. For instance they knowingly promote pornography through their images.google.com image search, and they present that pornography to innocent children.

It was no accident that Google showed a huge disregard for professional ethics in dealing with the Oracle/Java licensing issue. The fact is we all know that Google shows a lack of ethics and common decency ever single day.


21 posted on 05/17/2012 2:42:46 PM PDT by o2bfree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson