Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pleasing outcome in Oracle vs Google

I have to say I am delighted with the outcome of the case between Oracle and Google. I tended to share the view expressed by Google spokespersons that Oracle's suit should be seen as an attempt to grab money when they realised they would not be able to develop their own software for the exploding mobile computing market and, meanwhile, Google was making massive strides with Android.

For me, the most important consequence of the jury finding against Oracle is that it just might help to discourage extortion-like litigations in the future. The practice of buying patents in hopes of holding developers to ransom, while legal, is deeply parasitic. It also raises questions about when 'something' is the 'same thing'. This case was largely down to 9 lines of code out of millions of lines developed in Google's software and, moreover, that the code in question not only fell within the margins of fair use but were from the open source component of Java anyway. Creative appropriation of a tiny portion of something in order to create something entirely different does not in any way look like plagiarism or infringement of property rights to me.

It now remains to be seen whether Linus Torvalds' prediction plays out and Oracle does indeed "pay lawyers to take it to the next level of idiocy" rather than "admitting they were morons in their idiotic suit against Android".

For once, Linus, I hope you are wrong about something. Heaven knows, you were right about/with Linux, bless you.

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