* Posts by Robert Halloran

47 posts • joined 12 Aug 2008

Oracle splats 300 vulns in MySQL, Database, Fusion, etc, pours fresh brew of Java SE terms

Robert Halloran

It's pretty well known that Ellison originally only wanted the software side of Sun Micro and have the hardware fall to the wayside. McNealy properly insisted on an all-or-none deal. The presumption has always been that Larry wanted to monetize Java, but the availability of Too Many Other Options sank that, especially after Google took the almost-compatible Apache Harmony project and built Android on it. The Oracle v. Google legal battle is Ellison's attempt to get money for it anyway, despite it flying in the face of decades of reverse-engineering practice.

This latest spin on Java licensing is to get enterprises to cough up for support to avoid turning over Java versions twice yearly; Red Hat is undercutting that by offering LTS on OpenJDK running on RHEL or their JBoss middleware, and starting to offer support gigs for same on Wintel. Amazon is doing likewise on AWS with their 'Coretto' offering. Oracle appears to be successfully shooting themselves in the foot, and their Java offering may become irrelevant before long.

Oracle asks Supremes to snub Google's Java API copyright protest – and have a nice cuppa tea, instead

Robert Halloran

basis of reverse engineering

Google used the clean-room-developed Apache Harmony project for Android, which yes, used the same API call structure. They re-wrote all the content of those APIs to match up, but not using any of the actual Sun code. This is how reverse-engineering works (see BIOS, Linux, ... for examples).

If I took, say, one of the Harry Potter books, grabbed up the chapter titles BUT wrote new material under each, and put it out under a new title, would Rowling have any grounds for infringement? Doubtful.

Oracle is widely believed to have bought up Sun specifically to monetize Java (initially they'd only wanted the software side of the business and not SPARC; McNealy insisted on the whole bundle). Then Android went and took over the mobile world and Larry got peeved no one wanted to pony up for Java ME, so he unleashed the lawyers. Until Oracle threw in the patent issue, which sent it to the patent-friendly appeals court, they'd been losing consistently. Now Google is trying to hold onto that by begging the Supremes to ignore common engineering practice and make Google pay out.

There was yet another net neutrality hearing today in America, and it was all straightened out amicably and smoothly

Robert Halloran

Re: "Congress is a joke."

Another Twain quote on the matter:

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason..."

US Supremes urged by pretty much everyone in software dev to probe Oracle's 'disastrous' Java API copyright win

Robert Halloran

The problem is that this jeopardizes most cases of reverse engineering, etc. Seattle Computing re-implementing the CP/M interface for 86-DOS (look where *that* went...), Compaq/AMI/Phoenix/... re-implementing the original BIOS for All Those Clones, hell Torvalds re-implementing from the AT&T docs to get Linux (good God, nobody tell SCOX or they'll wake up again).

The previous poster talking about taking an album and writing new music to the song titles and releasing it as new content is probably best; Oracle's claim that API design is Hard Work and should be subject to copyright is so much rubbish. The potential impact to the software industry in general if reverse engineering is effectively banned would be tremendous.

Billionaire Buffett's Berkshire liquidates $2.1bn stake in Oracle – months after buying the shares

Robert Halloran

It's pretty much a given that Larry bought out Sun intending to monetize Java; the scuttlebutt at the time was that Oracle had come in only wanting the software side of Sun, but McNealy & co insisted on them buying the whole package.

Given the spectacular failure Oracle's had re: squeezing cash out of dog+world for Java, and the apparent failure to squeeze the Googleplex for the Java API copying in Android (thankfully for the sake of future reverse engineering...), you see last quarter how they've basically pushed most folks over to OpenJDK vs. their own release. My Current Employer, while having Oracle support, is wrangling how best to deal with all the third-party kit coming in built to OpenJDK vs. Oracle and whether to go with the flow and jump over themselves.

With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

Robert Halloran

Re: No worries

or at worst case, the current ISS crew can camp out on Thunderbird 5 until the next supply run from Tracy Island... FAB

Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6

Robert Halloran

Re: Mapping plan

"And why is UN involved of all entities?"

The ITU is basically All The Legacy Telcos, who are still miffed that the ever-so-elegant OSI protocol stack [/sarcasm] lost out to a bunch of neckbeards who actually did *engineering*, and have been trying to claw back some validity ever since. "rough consensus & running code" >>>> kilopage specs with zero interoperability.

[ I was *at* AT&T late 80s, they had an OSI package for their nascent 3B midrange line, and a third-party TCP stack for 'transitional purposes'. Shocked the feces out of them when World+Dog ignored the former, even/especially inhouse... ]

Good news: It's still legal for Apple to keep its MacBook, iPhone batteries from melting

Robert Halloran

Alsup competency

This is the judge who actually invested some time during the Oracle v. Google case to learn basic C coding, and told the Oracle people how far off base they were during the trial. One Of The Good Ones...

Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

Robert Halloran

If API declarations are in fact copyrightable...

Consider this, folks: if the API declarations can be copyrighted, even if you create new code underneath to implement the actual functionality, then

a) all those developers creating clean-room BIOS' for the IBM PC market back in the early 80s would be subject to penalties and the compatibles market would have been stillborn

b) a certain Finnish grad student would have been in trouble for creating an O/S kernel mimicking the UNIX docs (Ghod, don't let the SCOX zombies hear about this...)

c) Hell, *ANY* reverse-engineering effort where you take spec XYZ and create a call-compatible version is doomed.

The potential hit to the engineering & software industries here is tremendous; trying to replicate *ANY* existing functionality with new code is a potential legal minefield for the developers. Do these feckwit judges understand the impact of their ruling, or are they too busy slipping on their kneepads as they step into Ellison's secret island lair?

South China waters are red, Brit warships are blue, HMS Sutherland's sailing there

Robert Halloran

The point of these FONOPs is exactly to state that the waters around these artificial islands *ARE* international waters and not territorial waters of the PRC. The Hague confirmed the Philippines' contention that piling sand on a rock doesn't make it an island or give it territorial rights. The various naval pass-throughs in the area are meant to pointedly ignore the squatters' claims China seems to be making for large swaths of the SCS.

Icahn't get right Xerox Fuji merger spoils, cries activist investor Carl

Robert Halloran

That Xerox took an alternate route to Icahn's typical vulture-capitalist tactic of sell-off-the-good-stuff for a quick stock bump then turn out the lights, ignoring His Learned Advice (ptui), has tarnished his street cred as a great investor. Couldn't happen to a better person. He's burned enough companies to the ground for a quick buck, about time someone told him to p* off & figured out a long-term solution without him.

Oracle users meet behind closed doors: Psst – any licensing tips?

Robert Halloran

Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

Extend that now to the world of Linux containers: as soon as you fire up a containerized instance of Some Oracle Product on your Measurable-Gravity-Field Kubernetes cluster, the red-clad ninjas of Oracle Legal descend upon you wanting license fees for all the cores therein...

Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

Robert Halloran

Re: The very high price of loyalty

That idiot Elop, who no doubt got a pretty signing bonus going into Nokia from MS and an equally sharp golden chute as it was assimilated by the Borg. In the meantime a major handset mfr was driven into the ground at warp speed thanks to WP.

Zombie SCO rises from the grave again

Robert Halloran

Let's see:

Bandolier of rosewood stakes and a circus mallet, check.

100 shotgun rounds of silver flake & garlic powder, check.

Super Soaker filled with holy water, check.

Sterling silver daggers, er, letter-openers, yes that's it, tucked into the boots, check.

Five kilos of aged garlic in a zipper baggie, check.

Homing beacon for orbital nuke (it *is* the only way to be sure, after all), check.

to riff on the immortal Elmer Fudd, "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting SCOndwels, he he he he"....

Confirmed: IBM slurps up Bruce Schneier with Resilient purchase

Robert Halloran

Bruce says in his own blog ( https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/02/resilient_syste_2.html) that he's optimistic about them leaving his existing work alone.

SCO's last arguments in 'Who owns Linux?' case vs. IBM knocked out

Robert Halloran

They made a deal with Boies Schiller for a flat-fee payment to take this zombie case through final appeals, with a cut of whatever payout they made from IBM. Then they lost the IBM & Novell suits and filed bankruptcy before the countersuits could empty the bank accounts. I'm sure the law firm saw the writing on the wall at the time; at this point I'm guessing what little work they're doing is being handled by interns.

Robert Halloran

Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

STREAMS were introduced as an abstraction layer for networking in the later SysV versions back when AT&T was sure the ISO protocol stack would end up on top and this cobbled-together TCP/IP thing was just a stopgap [ remember, telco, of *course* ISO standards trump others, right? ]. And yes, I was *at* AT&T Labs mid-80s and remember the damfool thing coming in.

As of the Unix System Labs venture, Novell had access to the full SysV codebase and whatever they licensed to then-Santa Cruz Operation would have been based on it and not the older V7-based Xenix. Recall your history, there were any number of companies offering pure-play UNIX on Intel in the late 80s.

SCO slapped in latest round of eternal 'Who owns UNIX?' lawsuit

Robert Halloran

Re: WANTED - URGENT : Vampire hunter with gatling holy-water crossbow to end useless sucking

Let's do this properly; stake through the heart, beheading with a silver dagger, stuff the mouth with garlic and sew shut, boil in holy water before cremation at a crossroads and scattering the ashes in running water. None of this halfway shite.

(Sorry, too many Hammer horror flicks in my misspent youth...)

Hollywood given two months to get real about the price of piracy

Robert Halloran

physical vs. online

If I stroll into the local Big Box Store and try shoplifting the boxset for the original Star Wars movies (not that later whaledrek with Jar Jar and emo-teen Anakin) and get caught, I'm up for a misdemeanor crime that the store will probably not pursue if I go ahead and pay up.

If I torrent the same content and get caught in the US, I'm theoretically liable for $150K per film, my network connection cancelled, etc etc.

Proportionality ? Heard of it...

Congress strips out privacy protections from CISA 'security' bill

Robert Halloran

Re: Great Idea

There's an apocryphal comment attributed to John Adams: "One useless man is called a disgrace, two a law firm, and three or more a Congress"...

Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

Robert Halloran

Re: A few corrections.

And after IBM gets done with them, Red Hat has their own case against SCOX The Undead for false advertising and deceptive trade practices, and asking for a declaration of non-infringement by Linux.

Of course once the Nazgul (aka IBM Legal) gets through with them Red Hat will be litigating against a greasestain on the Utah sands...

Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

Robert Halloran

Reverse engineering in tech goes back decades; as others have said, Linux implements the legacy AT&T UNIX APIs but does it with fresh code underneath, BIOS vendors vs. IBM, etc etc etc. In a previous life I worked at a vendor reverse-engineering IBM 3270 terminals & controllers, and we did it damn well thankyouverymuch.

In this case Android does many of the Java APIs with their own code, which means Larry E can't collect royalties, so one more place he's failed to monetize Java after paying for Sun. Instead they've unleashed the lawyers trying to overturn said decades of existing practice, where *an* implementation can be copyrighted but can't stop a reverse-engineered counterpart.

This would be an unmitigated disaster for the industry, and cause many projects to grind to a halt in fear of similar suits for infringement.

Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Robert Halloran

Re: smplayer

FWIW, smplayer is also supported on Windows, which makes it a very useful replacement for WMP that doesn't need a shedload of "codec packs" to handle the various media types.

Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

Robert Halloran

Part of the reasoning for voting down the recent bill, as noted in your associated article, was its having been severely watered down in committee to the point of status quo, with the addition of continuing the sanction of metadata collection for an additional two years past the current mid-2015 expiration.

Amazon loads Docker app containerization into its cloud

Robert Halloran

Docker lets you run an application image on top of a basic Linux kernel; think of it as a 'chroot jail' on steroids. The kernel can be running in a VM or against bare metal.

typical use might be something like a webserver, or a JVM with the associated app code; this gives you isolation from other instances on the same OS with minimum overhead, and reduced resources since they're all sharing the same OS. Should let you get better density on servers.

TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Robert Halloran

Echoing earlier comments: the first wave of folks replacing analog, tube TVs for digital LCD/LED screens has certainly run its course. The second wave of upgrades to bigger/shinier/smarter screens is pretty well through as well.

Given the longer life of these units and the utter failure of 3D or 4K to gain any serious foothold, there's no realistic "third wave" of purchases happening to drive production. There will be the incremental traffic for the last-adopters, the added-screen-for-the-kids-room, and the occasional replacement. This isn't going to justify the past production levels that went into replacing all those CRT units.

Red-soaked Systemax kills Euro jobs and US PC factory

Robert Halloran

Re: CompUSA storefronts?

Going to the compusa.com site, they have "Powered by TigerDirect" beneath the logo.

Before the CompUSA acquisition, they had had a couple of TigerDirect-branded storefronts; I suppose they're just going to order up a pallet of new signage. Glad to hear they're not closing.

Robert Halloran

CompUSA storefronts?

They'd taken over a bunch of the old CompUSA storefronts here in the US and restocked them from their TigerDirect inventory. Does this mean they're to be shuttered as well?

Disney buys Lucasfilm, new Star Wars trilogy planned

Robert Halloran

Disney's already doing Mickey Warz figures

Given the Star Tours rides at the US theme parks, they've had the classic Disney toons as Star Wars characters for some time: http://www.figures.com/forums/attachments/news/8786d1278951492-disney-star-wars-series-4-1alldisneywars.jpg

Why I love Microsoft’s vapourware tablet

Robert Halloran

Pre-emptive strike

The announcement was THIS week because Google I/O is NEXT week, where they're expected to announce their own Android tablet ("Google Nexus 7"?) which obviously couldn't go unanswered by The Beast of Redmond, even if the answer was "We'll get back to you on that".

Larry Ellison buys island 1000x bigger than Branson's

Robert Halloran

Re: Thunderbirds Are Go!

I think it's more likely we'll see a run on Nehru jackets, monocles and fluffy white cats.....

Ten... two-bay Nas boxes

Robert Halloran

Re: Why, a box with a webinterface, how nice.

Lessee, the Synology DS212 (btw, the 212-non-plus has all the same features less the eSATA port for a good bit less) has hardware AES 256-bit, the two drive cages I mounted to had shock bumpers on the screwdowns, it's running Linux already with a fairly broad ecosystem of add-on apps and the toolchains to roll-your-own whatever, so what again were you whinging about?

Red Hat juices speed freak MRG Linux

Robert Halloran

API vs. protocol

AMQP is a wire-level *protocol* vs. Websphere, JMS, etc which are primarily messaging APIs.

AMQP is implemented in MRG, but also in packages like Apache's Qpid and VMWare's RabbitMQ, vs the vendor-locked packages like Websphere, Tibco, etc.

MPAA threat sparks White House petition for bribery probe

Robert Halloran

Tipped over

As of 1250 GMT Tuesday, count stands at 26443; now to see how the Obama White House deals with it. Bets are given Dodd was a fellow Democrat in the Senate while the current Prez, not much.

B&N mulls spinning off Nook biz

Robert Halloran

Expansion needed

The dead-tree publishing business is rapidly imploding. The local B&N here has remodeled to give the Nook section a MUCH larger piece of the floorspace. I think they need this as the last chance to viably compete with Amazon. Being able to get hardcopy when I want it *OR* drop it into the tablet on-premise makes for a much better experience than waiting for the Amazon box to get dropped at the door.

For my part, it's very nice to have hundreds of books stashed away in something about the size/weight of a trade paperback. And the fact that B&N is one of the few Android vendors to push back on the Vole's demand for patent Danegeld makes it all the more desirable in my view.

Microsoft takes fight to Google over cloud apps defections

Robert Halloran

Obviously at Gandhi stage 3

", then they fight you, then you win..."

Gay-bashing cult plans picket of Steve Jobs funeral

Robert Halloran

Taunt then sue

They're figuring on the mourners being upset enough to get physical, then they sue for assault, etc.

I particularly liked hearing about the counter-protest at the San Diego Comic-Con completely pwning them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jml1_EfCyTA

Microsoft milks Casio for using Linux

Robert Halloran

MS v. Barnes & Noble

When B&N told the Monopolist they'd see them in court over patents supposedly violated by their Nook Color e-reader (an Android tablet underneath it all), *AND* called out the triviality of some of them in the response, MS promptly moved the dispute to the Court of International Trade, likely so they wouldn't have to expose them for the trash they likely are...

Has Google wasted $12bn on a dud patent poker-chip?

Robert Halloran

pass-along cost

The handset makers that have agreed to pay Apple/M$/etc their Danegeld are simply passing along that cost to us in pricier kit. It's worth noting that Barnes & Noble, who's being sued by the Monopolist for their Nook Color e-reader, told Ballmer's lawyers a) we're not signing your NDA to see the patents b) your patents are obvious and shouldn't have been granted to begin with c) see you in court. For them, the hardware is simply an enabler to market e-books to the masses, so they want to hold the costs down to the bare minimum. The patents they've exposed so far in their initial filings are as obvious as you'd expect, and if this prompts some review by the USPTO, are likely to be overturned.

Google taking on the Moto patent portfolio (remember they were one of the first into the mobile market, they probably have some VERY basic patents on cellular technology) gives them the chance to flip any number of the mobile patent-troll lawsuits back on their attackers.

So, what's the best sci-fi film never made?

Robert Halloran


This anime was made to trade on the Star Wars frenzy of the 80s, had *nothing* to do with the original storyline other than borrowing the characters' names, and so p*ssed off Smith's family they took back the book rights for years to prevent any other such travesties.

Finding a VHS copy at a convention, I promptly dropped the $20, and broke the cassette over my knee in front of the huckster.

SCO: 'Someone wants to buy our software biz!'

Robert Halloran

Not much to sell

The courts have ruled, TWICE, that the SCOundrels don't own the UNIX copyrights they claimed. So all they have rights to are the added bits that make generic AT&T UNIX into OpenSewer, er, OpenServer. Given their vast customer base out there, that they can't support 64-bit CPUs or most current peripherals, the value of this add-on is pretty thin.

Then add in the countersuits from IBM, Red Hat, etc, and you have an actively toxic asset here. Best bet is that the Phantom Buyer is just trying to keep the under-the-table dealings with the Vole from seeing daylight.


Microsoft's fear of an OpenOffice

Robert Halloran
Jobs Horns

Concerned about Oracle?

With Ellison now owning OpenOffice, and given his long-standing regard for the 'Softies, I expect the Vole is worried about actual *COMPETITION* (horrors!) in the office-suite market.

The Monopolist doesn't make much off all those OEM copies of 'Doze to the box-builders, but Office doesn't get discounted much, and drags the businesses into the whole Exchange/Sharepoint/etc infrastructure, where they can rake in the real money. Impact that and you truly start to cut into the bottom line.

Linux wins the SCO vs Novell case

Robert Halloran

you forgot some things....


Bushel of garlic

Tank-sprayer of holy water

Two cords of hardwood and kerosene for use at the crossroads after use of all of the above


Early adopters bloodied by Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

Robert Halloran

99% Just Worked

After using the online upgrade the last two times around, I bit the bullet and moved up to the 64-bit 9.10 build on my Asus AMD 939 mobo with NVidia integrated GPU. Overlaid the existing root and /boot slices, kept my existing home partition. Loaded the NVidia proprietary drivers after the initial install.

Only issue I ran into was sound on MPlayer. Bypassing the PulseAudio server for direct HW access fixed that. Other than that, Just Frakkin' Worked.

Ralph Lauren stick insect sacked for being 'too fat'

Robert Halloran

not the only case

The "inability to meet" probably works out to her complaining about being turned into a stick puppet and all the bad press the company's taken for it.

And as for their comment about this being an isolated incident, google for "ralph lauren photoshopdisasters" and see that even with the bad press, they're still at it...

Microsoft loses $200m in Texas Hold 'em up patent suit

Robert Halloran
Gates Horns

East Texas

The problem is that as long as a company has "business presence" in a particular state, they can choose to try a Federal case there. The Eastern District Court of Texas has become notorious for providing a "plaintiff-friendly" venue for patent & copyright cases, purportedly from an aging jury pool obsessed with property rights, and a set of local procedures that expedite such cases. Many "patent troll" operations look to have their cases heard there for this reason.

Filesharing teen gets damages reduced in ignorance claim

Robert Halloran

Not about damages really....

This is about squeezing "settlements" out of enough hapless users to deter others. The RIAA in the US has filed against the deceased, against people who don't own a computer, against 12-year olds, etc. The judges are beginning to get a clue as to the tactics in use; the "forensic experts" used to prove downloading are now being sued in multiple states for failure to register as private investigators, the damages in one case have been thrown out and the judge is suggesting he may reverse his ruling to favor the downloader based on new information, etc.

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