back to article Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

Oracle is massively ramping up audits of Java customers it claims are in breach of its licences – six years after it bought Sun Microsystems. A growing number of Oracle customers and partners have been approached by Larry Ellison’s firm, which claims they are out of compliance on Java. Oracle bought Java with Sun Microsystems …

That time of year again

Larry Ellison wants to buy a new yacht.

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Re: That time of year again

And a moob job.

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TVU
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Re: That time of year again

"Larry Ellison wants to buy a new yacht."

Yep, Litigious Larry is at it again. I regard it as a complete failure when companies resort to de facto patent trolling to gain income instead of coming up with innovative new products and delivering good service.

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Re: That time of year again

Also the time of year I start spec'ing out software projects for next year. Looks like we'll be prioritizing the re-write on anything written in Java (mostly CGIs with a few middle-ware bits hanging about). Planned on re-writing these next financial year, but moving it up if Oracle is trying to extort money out of its users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That time of year again

Who would let that malware vector called Java on any machine under their control? Just not having that rubbish around eliminates half, if not more, of the threats out there.

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Devil

Sounds like a good way to alienate people you should be develping a good relationship with.

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Come now! Oracle's strategy has always been to make sure your balls are in one of its vices and then to turn the screw every so often to extract more money.

It worked so well for large databases when there was limited competition of any sort, so why would Larry think it wont work again?

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>>Sounds like a good way to alienate people you should be develping a good relationship with.

You do realize that this is Oracle we're talking about, right?

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Pirate

Re: Paul Crawford

".....Oracle's strategy has always been to make sure your balls are in one of its vices and then to turn the screw every so often to extract more money....." Which is exactly why this is good news! Larry also had adopted Sun's crazy plan to try and flog the hardware he got with the Sun corpse, so this is more evidence that Larry is finally beginning to realise his hardware toys are simply not an efficient use of resources, and he should go back to concentrating on the core products that us customers actually want, namely the database.

As to why it has taken so long to happen, it was because Oracle needed to embed bits into the SE suite that he could claim were proprietary, such as the unwanted Desktop "product". Hey, do you remember all the pro-Oracle, ex-Sun fanbois insisting that would never happen? Those fanbois should be sheepishly hanging their naive heads in shame. The best thing they could do now is help the open source community devise some free and clear instructions for users on how to not install or remove the added crud that Larry has inserted into the Java suite so users can tell Larry's vultures where to insert their license demands.

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@Paul Crawford - Leisure Suit Larry has forgotten that companies probably do not need the Java SE only the JDK and RE for internal purposes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Paul Crawford

And a big ol' fucking HAHA! from me to everyone who's foolish enough to keep offering their balls to the One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellison; AKA ORACLE.

I used to be a Solaris Admin. Then Oracle purchased Sun Micro. That same day I switched my resume to read Linux Admin. Never looked back. And my rate for Solaris shops went up by 50%. Natch.

Java? Never heard of it. I've heard of JavaScript, rather ECMAscript. Java? Do not want.

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@James

"Sounds like a good way to alienate people you should be develping a good relationship with."

Ayups, and this is one of the main reasons I seriously dislike (wh)Oracle. Their approach is the sole reason why my company completely stopped using Solaris and migrated to FreeBSD (a move which we never regretted): right after the takeover we were told that we could renew our support license for Solaris, but it would "only" cost us 3 times more. Of course with getting less service back in return.

Well, it worked: we dropped Solaris and in the mean time (between then and now) also advised many of our customers to do the same. Many did. Some decided to migrate to Windows Server, others started using Linux and some also followed our example of using FreeBSD.

But at this time none of our clients is using Solaris anymore to my knowledge.

I guess this is Oracle's way of ensuring that less people continue to use their products.

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Re: Paul Crawford

> Java? Never heard of it. I've heard of JavaScript, rather ECMAscript. Java? Do not want.

Normal. You are a sysadmin.

Stay in your Corner!

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Re: @James & Shell User

(Wh)Oracle most valuable product is their relational database. As far as dbs go there is nothing spectacular about it. There are competitors with solid relational databases and there are other db systems which may be a better fit for one's specific situation.

Solaris has always struck as Unix clone/derivative with nothing special about it except the availability of paid technical support from Sun. Much like Red Hat Linux but without the clones (Centos) and close relatives (Fedora) being available.

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Re: @James & Shell User

"Solaris has always struck as Unix clone/derivative with nothing special about it except the availability of paid technical support from Sun."

In fairness to Solaris it did bring LDoms & ZFS to the table - which were fairly special at the time of their introduction.

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Re: @James & Shell User

Solaris was built on System V which itself traces its heritage back through to the 1960s. Solaris brought proper shared memory, multiprocessor support, dynamic libraries, some cool thread jumping processors and X windows to mainstream workstation computing. Because they were open and friendly, they were the hackers platform of choice through the 80s and early 90s. We liked Alpha, but Solaris was where you went to build ideas.

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It seems like Oracle is on a mission to make everyone on the planet hate them for one reason or another...

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I think they succeeded in their goal quite some time ago.

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Pint

I reckon Oracle is run by hostile alien entities that feed off negative emotions. If we all have a few beers and relax over Christmas, perhaps by the time we sober up they will all have died off.

It's a longshot, I know. Worth giving it a go though, I reckon.

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"...perhaps by the time we sober up they will all have died off."

They are already dead! Ever seen the Oracle bio-pic called "Goonies"?

Ellison is One-Eyed Larry, and just when you think you've made it, BOOM!...a bunch of traps spring and Larry sales off into the sunset with all the loot.

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>I reckon Oracle is run by hostile alien entities that feed off negative emotions

Larry is nicknamed Ming the Merciless for a good reason.

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But Larry isn't even nominally in charge of Oracle anymore?

Since September 2014 actually.

He's just Grand Moff now.

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I know this is a long shot, but can we apply this to the US election also?

One way or the other we wake up the next day feeling like we've been totally reamed.

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"I think they succeeded in their goal quite some time ago."

Indeed ...

For example, ask all those who purchased Ultra 24s and a year later needed a BIOS update to fix the original one full of bugs.

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Anonymous Coward

Java is dead

or will be when Oracle starts hitting users with Lawsuits.

Don't Oracle realise that this could be commercial suicide?

I guess Larry has 'New Island' on his Christmas list.

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Re: Java is dead

Schools will keep java alive. I would love to purge my sisters computer of flash and Java and install no script but that would break the website my nieces use.

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Re: Java is dead

Java applets make up a really, really small part of what Java is used for.

A looot of banking systems and various big enterprise stuff run serverside Java, in case you didn't know... Basically it's commonly used where you would have used COBOL way back.

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Trollface

Re: Java is dead

Schools will keep java alive. I would love to purge my sisters computer of flash and Java and install no script but that would break the website my nieces use.

People who can't distinguish between Java, Java Applets and JavaScript are like imperial stormtroopers.

You fire blasters at 10 of them then 20 more come running through the next comment gate.

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Re: Java is dead

Just to be charitable... Did you earn your Sliver Reg token by actually paying for indulgences?

I'm really surprised you didn't throw the Island (of Java) or the coffee bean into your roaster at the same time.

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Re: Java is dead

@ Destroy All Monsters: couldn't agree more! The ignorance surrounding the term 'Java' is astonishing.

Java is a good language, particularly for server apps. That said, the browser plugin (and entire Oracle desktop JRE for that matter) should die in a fire.

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Re: Java is dead

The best way to monetize Java for Oracle and the best for everybody would be to sell it. If not, it is perhaps time for a fork of OpenJDK after JDK9.

Companies that do aggressive license enforcements should be avoided like the plaque and Oracle is one of the worst.

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It sounds as if the boat is taking on water and Larry thinks his shares will do a deep six.

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All very dubious

Seems like a deliberate ploy to intermingle the free & non free components, so the non free components are inadvertently used without the user being aware of licencing issues.

Thats why the timescale was long.

A bit of time to stop the fully free Java stuff being possible to easily obtain as a separate entity.

A bit of time to create a "contaminated" Java with free & non free stuff inter mingled & make that the only Java download available.

A bit of time for use of the contaminated Java stuff to rise as people patched / upgraded.

Fast forward to now, lots of users will by now have inadvertently used a non free component, send in the sharks to fleece them of cash.

I'm sure some half competent lawyers could mount a robust counter attack based on the inability to easily get an uncontaminated wholly free version.

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Re: All very dubious

"I'm sure some half competent lawyers could mount a robust counter attack based on the inability to easily get an uncontaminated wholly free version."

My thoughts exactly, but if we are both wrong then the logical consequence still isn't a new yacht for Larry. The first logical consequence is that businesses start asking themselves whether they have any Java-based apps on their systems. The second is that, having developed the tools to answer that question, it starts to be really difficult for third-parties to *sell* such products so they stop making (or even supporting) them. The third is that fairly soon no-one is using Java and it becomes just one of the things that your AV product quarantines on sight.

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JLV
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Re: All very dubious

May "the COBOL of the 21st century" become "the COBOL of the first 20 years of the 21st century".

Gives clever people 3 years to leave.

Seriously, using non-free parts intermingled in a free download to gouge? With no way for a good-faith user to tell? Heck, the good faith user wouldn't even know to look. A new low, I couldn't find a slimebag to compare that approach to. Even a pusher's "the first hit is free" is more honest in comparison.

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Re: All very dubious

"Gives clever people 3 years to leave."

And the very clever ones to smile quietly knowing that their rates are going to rise and rise.

I mean, COBOL is still around and those that know how to maintain it are making gold money. You all move to your fun languages, and I'll fatten my pension account with the Java left-overs.

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Stop

Re: Gwaptiva Re: All very dubious

".... You all move to your fun languages, and I'll fatten my pension account with the Java left-overs." er, unlikely. You'll find yourself competing against the Chinese and Indian offshorers, all willing to create reams of (bad) Java code at a fraction of what you'll want to charge for your time. During the Y2K fun I spent a lot of time steering banks away from using such offshorers in preference for actual experienced COBOL coders, not always with success.

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Re: Gwaptiva All very dubious

Ah no. I can guarantee you that Java on the server side of things is going to stay.

The times, where your so called offshorers threatened my lifelyhood are over. They are all into all the new things like node.js and whatever.

So you are wrong....

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JLV
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Re: All very dubious

>their rates are going to rise

Maybe or maybe not.

If folks abandoned Java (which I rather doubt in practice, so much inertia), because of the implications of this article, this would mostly happen on the company/demand side.

On the programmer/supply side, there is no direct effect from a sudden cost increase on the language. So, demand might fall faster than supply.

Certainly, an aggressive enforcement of fees on Java itself would not do much for Java use on new projects. Actually, I can't think of any pay-for mainstream language, though there are plenty of pay-for stacks and programming environments. Barring an aggressive enforcement of these licenses, will the extra revenue justify the FUD that's likely to come out of it? So I am unsure why Oracle is pursuing this.

This muddleness is not entirely Oracle's fault either. Most of the licensing doubts around Java date from Sun. And an incapacity to make $ out of Java is part of what drove Sun into the ground.

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Always read the license that software comes with.

Back in the early days - 1998ish - we were considering Java. I had a quick scan of the license it came with and ran away.

As the article mentions, we had a problem with the meaning of “general purpose computing”'.

Our software does not run on a general purpose computer. It runs on a dedicated platform. Sure, under the covers it was an x86 PC. But not a 'general purpose computer'

My interpretation (IANAL) was any closed, turnkey system is not a 'general purpose computer'

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"read the license"

Ermmm... yeeeeessss.......

You do realise that those things are, quite deliberately, stated in the most obscure lawyerese so that no normal user can even begin to comprehend the implications of what they actually have bought, and how much they open themselves up to the sharks who have written the document to begin with. And even to the sharks themselves there's "a lot of room for interpretation", so that even specialists can get the odd surprise ot two.

So "Read the License" isn't going to cut it.

Unless, of course, you've retained a Lawyer..... oh wait...... /facepalm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "read the license"

Even lawyers will be wary -- there is damn little case-law on these vague things.

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Re: "read the license"

You make it sound likes its something obvious. Trust me, even in companies, most people do not read the license. They see stuff being avilable for download to free and think the free continues.

As far as not being a layer - Im not. But Im a lot better at reading a contract than the corp lawyers are understanding technology terms and licenses - trust me, Ive spent many hours sat with legal dummies.

But I can scan a contract and anything that jumps out is an immediate red flag. The term 'general purpose computer' is not legal boiler plate. It was put in there for a purpose/trap.

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VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

"Always read the license that software comes with."

The Oracle VirtualBox Extensions licence changed on 17 November 2016

One wonders if the VirtualBox Extensions licence will be next in line for auditing.

The previous licence hadn't changed since 2010. Notes on its usage from a 2012 blog post

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Re: VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

The page at your last link greets me with a cookie acceptance dialog. Sorry, but I'm no longer clicking any "Agree and proceed" button at Oracle's site...

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Re: VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

I thought the whole idea of the "Extensions Pack" was that multiple/alternative packs could be developed. In theory we should be seeing OS/2, BSD, and other alternatives (custom hardware emulation or advanced passthrough support for example). Or is Oracle going to claim ownership of the API?

Were it not for portability (and availability under MSWindows, although that has become much less important) I'd just run KVM or Xen instead.

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Re: VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

I dropped Virtualbox in favor of qemu-kvm shortly after Oracle acquired Sun and changed the license for that. I did not return, even though the kvm management tools were less attractive and even after they apparently backed off on the license.

This only reinforces my decision.

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Re: VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

Exactly the reason I've recently skipped the install for one of my users. At least Oracle was honest here and the restriction was in plain view (next to download link instead of buried in EULA). Not sure what to think about VirtualBox now. On the other hand days of java on PC are numbered, it's installed mostly by inertia and false perception of the need (and Oracle may just help change this).

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Re: VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

Maybe the days of Golang are coming.

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