Oracle Deletes Jonathan Schwartz's Old Blog; Which Excitedly Celebrated Google's Use Of Java In Android

from the rewriting-history dept

There was a bit of an embarrassment in the ongoing patent dispute between Oracle and Google. Oracle, of course, is claiming that Google's Android violates some of the patents it acquired from Sun concerning Java. Google pointed out that if its use was so problematic, why did Sun celebrate Google's Java usage in Android? They pointed to a blog post from then-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz (who was the first Fortune 500 CEO to blog -- and who, unlike many corporate bloggers, actually spoke his mind on the blog), which happily celebrated Google basing Android on Java/Linux:
Of course, that looks bad for Oracle... so it's response was to delete Schwartz's entire blog. Poof. That moment of history gone. Except if you have access to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. No wonder the Internet Archive has been declared a rogue site dedicated to infringing activities.

I imagine that Oracle also wanted to erase other former Schwartz blog posts, like the one we spoke about years ago, in which he pointed out that suing over patents is a sign of desperation and that real companies innovate, rather than litigate.

Now, many of you who will be quick to point out that none of that matters. Oracle holds the patents now and so it gets to decide. And that's true -- though I do wonder if such promises not to litigate over patents and to celebrate such usages might be seen as a form of a license... But, the larger point I wanted to raise is that this shows the dangers even of defensive patents. Sun held a ton of patents, almost all of which were for defensive reasons (or to just show what a joke the patent system is). And yet... now that Oracle has them, it can and is using them to try to shake down other companies.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 7:19pm

    Oracle acquiring Sun is probably the worst thing to have happened to the open source (and maybe even the technology) community in recent date. Suddenly, things we took for granted, like languages that we considered were open and software that we decided was safe to use, are now being held hostage by CEOs and lawyers who think of these important tools as little more than financial assets and legal weapons.

    I'm not even sure what happened to the people who were working at Sun. They likely have all of their really good, really innovative ideas patented now, so they can't start anew (assuming they're not retired or working under contract with Oracle).

    It seems the numbers of companies on the side of consumer freedom are dwindling. I'm not even sure what I'm going to do if someone like Red Hat gets acquired.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Krish (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 7:44pm

    what about other JVM languages?

    Where does this leave Scala or Clojure and other languages that target the JVM? Are they "safe" to use?

     

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  3.  
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    Atul Arora, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 7:51pm

    Blog articles still available on wordpress

    I believe Jonathan Schwartz articles are available on http://jonathanischwartz.wordpress.com/. One caveat - the images point to Sun.com and associated properties URL. So until Oracle acquires Wordpress, these are save.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 8:11pm

    Re: what about other JVM languages?

    They're probably "safe" to use, I don't think Oracle is going to hold a grudge against people trying to develop software on a platform that it owns.

    But I do think that if Oracle starts trying to squash the presence of the JVM or Java on other physical platforms unless they're paid exorbitant licensing fees, then it's pointless even trying to work with them anymore.

     

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  5.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    Oracle acquiring Sun is probably the worst thing to have happened to the open source (and maybe even the technology) community in recent date

    Yep, even the Unix guys at work say just that. And most of the web developers I know now groan loudly if they have to use java. Most seem to prefer Ruby, .NET or whatever.

    By and large, the company I works for avoids Oracle because of the costs involved, although it's in use for some software specifically designed for it, most of the core databases are MSSQL.

     

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  6.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Oh and..

    No wonder the Internet Archive has been declared a rogue site dedicated to infringing activities.

    The only persons who 'declare' such are likely these 'revisionists' who like to try and keep the masses ignorant of things.

     

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  7.  
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    Shane C (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 9:34pm

    History

    As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs Ė to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.
    --George Orwell, "1984"


    That reminds me. I should donate some money to the Internet Archive. (http://www.archive.org/donate/)

     

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  8.  
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    jd2112 (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 9:46pm

    Re: what about other JVM languages?

    Where does this leave Scala or Clojure and other languages that target the JVM? Are they "safe" to use?
    They are safe to use until real money is involved. Unlike the [MP|RI]AA, Oracle isn't interested in suing anyone and everyone who they think are 'infringing'. They will only sue you if you are making a non-trivial amount of money or if your project causes embarrassment or inconvenience to Oracle in some way.

     

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  9.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Oracle acquiring Sun is probably the worst thing to have happened to the open source (and maybe even the technology) community in recent date.

    I donít think so. Just about every one of those Open Source projects is still alive and thriving, while Sun is no more, and Oracle looks like itís trying very hard to follow.

     

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  10.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 10:15pm

    Now, many of you who will be quick to point out that none of that matters. Oracle holds the patents now and so it gets to decide.

    Right, but isn't it still some kind of destruction of evidence? Lawyers like to twist things, right?

     

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  11.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 10:58pm

    Re:

    I haven't really been following this dispute, too many patent lawsuit snafu's to follow for any one person I suspect.

    If there has been legal action of any kind and that includes legal nastygrams between companies using attorneys and then google have countered these nastygrams or any other legal correspondence with this blog there is foreknowledge of exculpatory evidence, no matter how slight or weak that evidence/claim may be.

    If Oracle have unwittingly (as they would claim) deleted this they are still liable for destruction of evidence under Discovery laws.

    If it can be proven they did this knowingly, then they are even more liable and specific individuals could be criminally liable. Oracle's lawyers are probably not impressed at their clients at the moment.

    Thankfully the Blog post has not been fully lost, though legally what is elsewhere as copies could be denied. I am not aware of any cases using the Wayback Machine to prove providence of source so it could be up to rules of Evidence in the jurisdiction and what the court, if it goes to court, allows.

     

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  12.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Follow On:
    It seems that Groklaw has more on this and also states that "Google has already included it as an exhibit to its defenses."

    So it is destruction of evidence in fact it's destruction of source evidence of something that is an exhibit in a case before the courts. eek!

    Also interesting that Google are using the blog post as a means to show estoppel (equitable estoppel I think the USA calls it, we call it promissory estoppel). Not sure how that will pan out, estoppel is a really weird and highly factually reliant beast.

     

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  13.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 2:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think someone did a doo-doo on a don't-don't.

     

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  14.  
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    NotMyRealName (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 3:23am

    Re: History

    Even before I could really comprehend the magnitude of that line it made me vaguely uneasy. Now it scares the shit out of me.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Indiaman, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 3:45am

    Patent Troll - i want my money if you breathe or not

    Guys, please listen to the latest program from This American Life. This is the reference: Broadcast:
    Jul-22-11
    When Patents Attack!
    Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries



    ...and, this is where you go to get it:http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 3:53am

    Re:

    Absolutely correct. As someone who was using Sun products from the very beginning (sometimes including beta and even alpha versions) I did not always agree with Sun's choices, but I certainly appreciated their ability to innovate and in later years, their recognition that only open-source software is legitimate. (Closed-source software is an obsolete relic, intellectually dishonest, and snake oil -- i.e., it's crap. No one worthy of the title "professional" ever uses it.)

    Oracle has neatly undone all that. They've lost or forced out some very talented people. They've forced the OpenOffice project to fork. They've irresponsibly removed access to OS security patches. And of course they're now resorted to litigation over software patents, the hallmark of lesser people equipped with lesser minds.

    So in a little over a year, they've turned me from a three-decade fan into someone who wishes them early corporate death: the world will be better off when Oracle fails completely and evaporates into nothingness. It can't possibly happen soon enough.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 6:13am

    I am a database expert and I will tell you bluntly! ORACLE SUCKS! Their software sucks. All they did was copy and steal from SQL. Then they bought Sun and frakked up everything Sun stood for. ORACLE SUCKS and they will never get a penny from me or my clients. Frak that asshole! Open Office lost their crew to become Libre because ORACLE is a big Corporate creep and no one has fun working there. All Ellison is interested in is power and control. Ask the 8,000 employees who lost their job over the hostile takeover of PeopleSoft, all because one of Ellison Executives took over the top spot at PeopleSoft. Ellison is the only CEO and anyone else from his company is not allowed to advance and compete. He will crush you. But karma's a bitch, I tell him to be careful of that boat racing, karma's rushing to meet him.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Coreigh, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: "...the world will be better off when Oracle fails completely..."

    It would, except how will we feel about the larger corporate conglomerate that buys up Oracle's remnants. Oracle will not fade away. As they hemorrhage resources they will sell off assets to which ever companies will pay, and the ones that will pay are the ones who can leverage those assets. Unless it is a (seemingly) benevolent giant like Google that leverage will be patent trolling.

    --Coreigh

     

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  19.  
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    steve davidson (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    Oracle in the Mist

    There was a time that Oracle commanded and deserved a serious position in the marketplace and interest from the tech community and was in fact the 900 lb gorilla that displaced the old mainframe codes etc; and they acted like it with their fees and pricing. But they got fat and fell asleep, and are now paying the price. They thought the answer was buy the competition, strafe their assets and lay off 9K+ employees (Peoplesoft) vs. mergers that made sense, and they are still a gorilla because they have so many incredibly expensive contracts out there with big government that keep the coffers filled, but there are alternatives today....and they are slowly eating up Oracle market share. My guess is, when they wake up, it may be too late....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    crade (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Oracle acquiring Sun is probably the worst thing to have happened to the open source (and maybe even the technology) community in recent date.

    Nah, it just takes them a bit of time for them to maneuver the projects into a way that mimmicks closed source stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Oracle acquiring Sun is probably the worst thing to have happened to the open source (and maybe even the technology) community in recent date.

    Well there was the exodus of OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, Hudson. And I'm sure there were more examples of projects that left the confines of Sun-Oracle.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    Remember when Sun was almost sold to IBM? Sure, we'd now be complaining about IBM gutting what was left of Sun... but IBM has the open source track record, not to mention their commitment to research... Does Oracle even have a research division?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Java

    As an IP attorney, I am increasingly dependent on the web, and on the USPTO's EFS-WEB portal.
    I find that EFS-WEB does not recognize Java on linux, and seems to require Windows.
    So, in mucking around, I found that it appears to be something Microsoft or Oracle added, and whatever the flag is, it can be reset by merely having Windows available, even if using linux.
    Interestingly, on one computer, I set it up to access Windows, then used linux (successfully).
    I then decided to try Windows - and now WINDOWS is blocked!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Nah, it just takes them a bit of time for them to maneuver the projects into a way that mimmicks closed source stuff.

    Too late. The projects have already left the confines of Oracleís ability to manipulate them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re: Nah, it just takes them a bit of time for them to maneuver the projects into a way that mimmicks closed source stuff.

    libre office

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 11:28pm

    Re:

    I can't possibly agree any harder with this.

    Things also went tits-up with many of the wonderful projects that Sun hosted and supported. Many of them stagnate now under Oracle except for the one or two that have lots of users. With the only remaining remnants of them being forks and old revisions that people keep updating with patches.

    Oracle is truly a prime evil.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm not even sure Oracle does any hardcore research anymore. All they do is rest on their laurels of their databases and patent troll everyone else out of existence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 11:33pm

    I don't even know what it would mean if it turns out that the very implementation of APIs can be copyrighted. Could someone extend it out even further and say that I have to get copyright permission from the person who owns the copyright to the API to write code for that language?

    It just feels like all bets are off at this point. You could extend this insane thread of logic in almost any direction if you tried hard enough.

    Hopefully languages like Ruby and Python never succumb to this rampant stupidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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