Re: Turkeys voting for Christmas
The original ruling against Google was, IIRC from El Regs post at the time, based on a precedent re an API case, Johnson controller, 20 odd years. IMHO, the core flaw was that ruling 20 yrs ago.
I have a problem with companies creating an API and publishing the specs for it (if they didn't publish it, it would lose the 'P'). And then claiming that API is protected. But that's all a pretext to regain control.
At the heart of the matter is that Java was licensed for small devices as J2ME only. If you've ever seen J2ME you'll understand how much having a regular Java implementation is superior. Basically, Oracle dropped the ball and Google ran with it. Now Oracle feels very bad the other kids ignore it on mobile. Sad, no one wants to play with its toys.
Keep in mind too, while it is customary to rag on Oracle for all and sundry, most of the groundwork for this shabby behavior was laid by Sun, not Oracle. The Java J2ME licensing, the J2ME feature gaps, the open sourcing but proprietary test suites, this is all Sun's originally. It sucked then and it still sucks now that Oracle's taken over.
This shenanigan about the legal meaning of APIs has zilch to do with the ANSI SQL standard. Just because they are trying to abuse the system has nothing to do with a published standard. Upholding the legal doctrine of API control, while a fundamentally horrible idea, should not impact the legal standing of standards.
Oracle also didn't just "clone a standard". When SQL first came out with Codd & all, IBM didn't do all that much with except a lackluster DB2 or something (just like Sun's reference implementations of J2EE & all have tended to suck). Proof of concept, half-heartedly sold because it probably infringed on their existing product lines. Codd is a genius, but his employment by IBM does not mean IBM grokked SQL immediately.
Oracle was one of the first companies to make a viable tool of what was then a new database paradigm, very much a theoretical approach and an underdog compared to hierarchicals and networks. Yes, and that includes Larry Ellison doing good work - like him or not, he is a clever guy. DB2 eventually became a solid product with heavy backing from IBM, but Oracle, Informix, Ingres, these are the folks who moved the standard along at first.
So, by all means I hope the Supremes take on this case, I hope the API precedent is nuked from orbit, I hope Oracle loses its case.
But let's not rewrite history or appeal to emotions by tying this whole shabby process to the SQL standard and Oracle's work on databases.
Last, whoever said Oracle's worst scenario would probably be to win the case and have Java sidelined on mobiles is spot on. Oracle, just like Sun, needs to open up on Java, follow through their original open source commitment and make money off what is one of the most popular languages around (I don't like Java much myself, but that is irrelevant). Having Java shunned in the mobile space would be a disaster when marketing buzzwords are all mobile, cloud and pink unicorns.
If Oracle wins and overdoes it on licensing fees they'll kill the goose in the Android space and what other mobile platforms give as much weight to Java? If they enforce J2ME, twice as bad. Pressed hard, I wonder if Google couldn't shift its efforts to Go over time.