Common sense, it seems, has prevailed. Oracle have won on one of the key points in the trial over Java with Google.
The media and some developers have over-hyped this. They see it as all doom and gloom. They've really missed the point though.
Basically it boils down to this, in a technical sense. It is fine to download the Java Development Kit, to write software using the Java Development Kit, to distribute that software, to sell that software. It is not fine to write something that claims - even in part - to be the Java Development Kit. So I can use java.lang.String in my software, but I cannot write my own java.lang.String with the same name. At the very least, I can't write my own java.lang.String for profit ; if it is truly a profit-free exercise intended to bring Java to new hardware, then I can't see the issue with that providing it remains completely compatible with Java and gets the blessing of Sun/Oracle themselves.
Google defied that. They had no agreement with Sun, and they were definitely in it for profit. They did a clean room implementation of Java based on the Apache Harmony project and the Dalvik Virtual Machine. In doing so, they broke the core premise of Java - Write Once, Run Anywhere - which made compiled Java - binary Java work without recompiling. Under Dalvik, class files were merged into a single DEX file, using different byte codes as far as I am aware, that no other JVM could run.
As I said before, what Google should have done was work with Sun to deploy J2ME as the Android basic platform. And if they had, we wouldn't be where we are today. J2ME was lacking, but Android could have been effectively J2ME/MIDP v3.0 rather than its own thing. J2ME could have been improved by Google to make it comparable to, or better than Android is today, just as RIM took J2ME and added the net.rim.* libraries to extend its capabilities. And yes, I know that the Blackberry extensions to J2ME are not particularly great, but the point still stands, and Blackberries are J2ME compliant even so even with the different tool chain. You can take a MIDP JAD/JAR file and run it on a Blackberry as is. Or, you can take the Blackberry COD route. Both work.
And what of the precedent for other things, like Mono and so forth? Same rule applies. You can use .NET on a platform in the same way you can use Java. However, to code .NET itself for profit is a no-no. I can't see Microsoft having an issue with a non-profit compatible .NET however - it serves to popularise their platform. But if someone took the bits of .NET they liked, dump the bits they didn't, and stuck it on a mobile phone platform from which they derived profit, do you honestly think that Microsoft would not now be suing like Oracle have just done?
Common Sense Prevails. Monday, May 07, 2012
Common sense, it seems, has prevailed. Oracle have won on one of the key points in the trial over Java with Google.
Posted by Andy Brick at 6:03 PM
Am I the only person rooting for Oracle? Monday, April 16, 2012
Unless you've been living in a bubble you will probably have heard by now that Oracle's lawsuit against Google over patent infringements in Android relating to the Java APIs is going to court today I believe.
Most people seem to think that Oracle should lose, that Oracle are only doing it to get their "piggy snout in the Android trough", that Oracle are the big bad.
I don't see it that way.
Once upon a time, Sun had an admittedly smaller vision called J2ME. Nowadays J2ME is only seriously present on Nokia and Blackberry handsets, but nonetheless it was Java.
What Google should have done, in my opinion, is license J2ME. They should have contributed to that platform, built it up, done Android in that, to create something wholly Java compatible.
Even though some people at Sun loved Android when it came out, Android today is frankly a mess of multiple OS versions, device/OEM fragmentation, phone vs. tablet differences, and a whole host of other stuff. It's a seething cauldron of incompatibility. And that's not allowing for the somewhat messy Marketplace, Android malware (yep, it exists) and a whole range of other issues.
J2ME offered a better future than Android. Yes it was limited in capability, yes it had some basic issues with the user interface - but LWUIT, MIDP 3.0 and the JSR process were improving that situation dramatically. On the plus side, I've never heard of J2ME malware.
If Google had embraced J2ME, then perhaps we would have been a lot better off now. Certainly developers could have coded for Nokia, Blackberry and any Google device with one set of source code. Right now, you can emulate J2ME in Android, but that's another level of emulation/abstraction.
Write Once, Run Anywhere was the Java mantra. Google broke that.
Mind you Google seems to love re-inventing the wheel. Look at Chrome. Did we *really* need another browser? Having used it on both a PC and a Mac, I fail to see where is superior to Safari or Firefox. Or Google mail - web based mail had been around a while. Google Chat … Google+ … none of these things are actually that innovative if you think about it. Search and Maps are Google's core business. Maybe it should have stayed there.
Google I think needs to learn to work with people, not against them.
Posted by Andy Brick at 8:22 AM
I am the Dr. Chinnery of DIY repairs Tuesday, October 11, 2011
You may recall Dr. Chinnery, the hapless Vet from the League of Gentlemen. The guy who blew up poodles, electrocuted koi carp, and generally did his best to execute the animals in his care.
This is him.
Well, it seems I am the Dr. Chinnery of DIY repairs.
A few weeks back I cracked the screen on my iPhone. I had also damaged the OLED screen underneath but didn't realise that at the time. No matter thought I, the new iPhone is coming out soon, and I shall upgrade for free anyhow, I'll just use the iPhone with the broken screen until then - it was perfectly usable you see, just cracked.
This week, I ordered an iPhone 3GS screen repair kit from the USA, with the intention of fixing the cracked screen, and selling the phone when my shiny new 4S turns up on the 14th.
Alas! the Curse of the Monkey's nuts!
To cut a long story short what should have been a five minute repair turned into two hours with associated cursing and swearing.
Seems I got the wrong iPhone screen as the connectors would not line up. And I broke the incredibly small film connector for the home button. And did I mention that the OLED screen was broken anyhow, and now has a colour distortion anyway?
A pox on fixing things myself. Next time I'll just send the phone away to be fixed.
Posted by Andy Brick at 2:38 PM
The Decline And Fall Of Azeroth. Thursday, August 18, 2011
I've noticed that recently a lot of people have left World of Warcraft, which I've played for nearly four years now. Then I had it officially confirmed - Take a look at this link - here - 900,000 subscribers gone?
This isn't just the usual decline a few months after a new expansion is released. It's more fundamental than that.
The first warning signs were there a while back. Our guild found it harder and harder to schedule a raid, because we couldn't guarantee that 10 people of the right mix would be online at the same time. In a guild with 177 members (ok, a lot of alts there), and a peak online mix of 18-25 people a night, that was odd. We used to field two 10 man raid teams practically every night. And when we did have 10 people on, there were arguments about what they should do - some people were not as geared up as others, so it became a bit frustrating, either with well-geared players doing trivial content and then attempting to get achievements while they were there, or with poor-geared players doing challenging content and the group as a whole wiping as a result.
Next, we saw the "last online" for some people increment. Days turned into weeks, weeks to months, months to years (yes I mean you, Sahand!) … while some people announced their intention to retire from WoW, others just never came back.
It started elsewhere as well. Other guilds, larger guilds, reported similar problems. A lot of new guilds were set up, mopping up the bones of dead guilds in an attempt to get enough people together.
And then the final nail in the coffin came with Patch 4.2. The Firelands, the new endgame raid, should have only really been the province of the best guilds with the best geared players. Instead, it has become the domain of PuGs looking for easy rep - and hence easy gear from vendors - from trash mobs. They clear the entrance, reset the raid, and do it again until they get a cheap epic iLvl 378 cloak.
Imagine if that had happened with the Black Temple. Or the Sunwell. Or Icecrown (though it did happen with Icecrown a bit towards the end of WotLK).
Of course it couldn't happen with the Black Temple due to the requirements to get access to the place - the long and somewhat arduous quest chain restricted access to all but the best anyhow.
I don't have a single Cataclysm raid achievement. Not one.
I don't know if it is due to rival MMORPGs like Rift and Conan, or if WoW is just becoming more of the same, or if it is the changes to the WoW mechanics and UI, or if WoW has just run its course - it is, after all, nearly seven years old.
But I do know that unless something happens soon, WoW will no longer be the biggest MMORPG in the World.
Posted by Andy Brick at 12:27 PM
Good Evening, London. Sunday, August 14, 2011
(with apologies to V For Vendetta).
Good evening, London.
Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine - the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke.
But given recent events, I thought we could take some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.
You see, the truth is there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?
Our children, the next generation, roam the streets in feral packs, setting fires and looting stores.
Our police cannot act, fearful of litigation against their own, taking the path of least bureaucratic resistance.
Our leaders squander our taxes, burden the country with debt, conspire with media organisations, and fiddle their expenses while London burns.
How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will hopefully be held accountable one day, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
I know why you did it.
There had been a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Not just poverty, not just injustice, not just criminality, not just envy, not just the wanton wish to destroy, but all and none of these things, and more.
You were caught up with the mob mentality, doing things you would never normally do, carried along in the safety of numbers.
If you were motivated to vote at all, you voted for what you believed would solve those issues. Who wouldn't do that? But no matter who is in charge, the issues remain.
You lost your way.
You forgot that hurting your community hurts you. You forgot that in this age, a simple act can be seen world wide. But most of all, you forgot who you are.
It's time to wake up. It's time to remember who you are. It's time to change things not by violence and vandalism, not by theft and destruction, but by responsibility, consideration and reasoned action. It's time to change things through your mandate, through your own endeavour.
Before you are lost to the rest of us, too.
Posted by Andy Brick at 4:07 AM
The Devil And Idle Hands Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I feel moved to comment about the current disturbances in London.
I'll call them disturbances, because that's what they are. These are not noble protests for Justice. There's no common cause, no message, no political wrong to be righted here. Those involved are not seeking to overthrow a dictatorship, or free innocent people who disagree with a regime.
What they are is "youths" aged 14 to 20 having a go at the police, setting a few fires, and looting whatever they can lay their hands on. The devil has found work for idle hands. They're on their summer holidays. They're bored. It's something to do.
Most of those involved don't even know who the guy who was shot in Tottenham was. They don't even know his name.
A thousand MPs, police, social workers, psychologists, urban commentators of all sorts will no doubt crawl from under their respective stones in the next few days, taking advantage of these disturbances to blame it on austerity, or social deprivation, or one hundred and one other things. The Government will blame the aggro on the social policies of the previous government. The opposition will blame the Government for the state of the economy or something. It will go round in circles, and nothing will change.
Yes, there is poverty in the UK. Yes, there is an economic recession. Yes, a man was shot in Tottenham - though the jury is still out on what exactly happened there.
But we do not have a lost generation. Our "youth" (God I hate that word) live in one of the largest economies in the world. They do not want for clean water, or a place to sleep, or health care. They do not want for food, or education. They do not live under a harsh regime, or in a Police State. They claim to be socially deprived and yet most of them seem to be able to run a mobile phone bill and BBM their mates. Those that can claim benefits - yet they always seem to have cash for booze, fags, partying, whatever.
Compared to the protestors of the Arab Spring, or the peoples of the developing world, or the refugees of countless natural disasters and war zones worldwide, these kids live in nothing less than paradise.
Thing is, that opportunity exists. If you can't find a job, create one. Get an idea together, and do something. Plenty of people have started with nothing and made something of themselves. Richard Branson and Lord Sugar to name just two. Go out and offer to clean windows. Sell gardening services. Start a business collecting shopping for old people. I don't know, there is always some niche to make good.
Apparently - according to Wired magazine this month, anyhow - The UK and Europe are full of successful start up companies.
The problem though is that these kids expect everything on a plate. That's why we have so many immigrant workers in menial jobs. This generation sees itself too good to do the crap roles. It's somehow beneath them.
It's not so much a lack of hope, or investment, or whatever. It's a culture of laziness in a way. Even looting is lazy. Why earn the money to buy something you want? Just steal it.
It's this whole "something for nothing" culture that lies underneath this. Whether it expresses itself as the media pumping out a reality TV and/or talent show where celebrity is a destination in itself, or a crazy injury compensation culture, or kids running amok at night on city streets, it's the same thing.
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, between self-empowerment and self-importance, between boredom and anarchy.
It seems some people have now crossed that line, and we're reaping a bitter harvest.
Posted by Andy Brick at 6:35 AM
A few wise words of advice. Monday, August 08, 2011
A long time ago my father said to me, "neither a lender nor a borrower be".
Sadly I didn't live up to that advice, and I have plenty of debt.
I now live within my means insofar as possible. I don't borrow money, don't use credit, don't take out payment plans or hire purchase agreements. If I don't have the money, I don't spend it. It's as simple as that.
Thing is, I know I am crap with money.
What I do not understand is how an entire country - take your pick, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, the USA, whatever - cannot follow the same advice. They have whole teams of people - the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of XXX, - basically tame accountants, whatever they call themselves, to handle all of this.
So, how can the USA be in so much debt that this year its debt will exceed its GDP?
That's 15 TRILLION dollars. 15,000,000,000,000 dollars.
Ok, people live longer, welfare costs are soaring, manufacturing jobs have gone to the Far East, so we have less tax revenues and import more than we export. And that's just the UK.
But honestly, people must have seen this coming.
Surely the time for austerity measures was a LONG time ago, not when the crash hit in 2008, not with sovereign debt crises in 2011.
Did no one have their head above the parapet?
Did no one think that borrowing was a bad plan?
Did no one think to tighten their belts just a little?
Did no one think?
Posted by Andy Brick at 3:32 PM
First of all, some numbers. Because we all enjoy maths, right?
Let's assume that I have smoked since I was 23. I know that is wrong, because I had first cigarette way before 23, but I didn't smoke every day until a few months after 23, so it probably averages out to my 23rd birthday.
So 19th January, 1993. At the time of writing, I make that 6,776 days ago.
Now, let's assume that I have smoked an average of 35 cigarettes a day - that's 20 or so a day to start with, right up to 40-60 a day at the end, kind of "guestimate"-averaged out across the entire time.
So 35 cigarettes a day, for 6776 days. 237,160 cigarettes in total.
Every 20 cigarettes is about 54mg of tar. So, that's (237160 / 20) * 0.054g of tar, or 640.332g of tar - say 640g - over that time. That is nearly two third of a kilogram of tar inside my lungs.
And at today's prices, those 237,160 cigarettes have cost me about £66,400 over those 18.5 years. In terms of spending power, it is 66 grand in today's money … ouch.
So why all the mind numbing statistics?
On Friday, I went to see some friends in Hertford, have a meal, and generally chill out. I hadn't seen Mark for years, he lives in the USA now - and Sally and I hadn't been out of the house as a couple for a long time either, thanks to health issues, work, money, you name it.
But by 9pm or so, I was fighting to breathe in the back of an ambulance, thanks to a combination of evils resulting in an asthma attack.
Let's examine those evils.
- I'm asthmatic, with a reduced lung capacity anyhow.
- I suffer from hay fever. Have done since I was a kid. The principal symptom is I generate loads - and I do mean loads - of nasal and sinal mucus. Lovely, eh? I used to sneeze a lot. Now it just bungs me up.
- I had a possible lung infection a week or two ago. I went to the nurse at the local GPs for an asthma review and had a very low peak flow rate.
- I had just eaten - not very much, but enough to distend my stomach and compress my already overworked lungs.
- I had emptied a hoover dust chamber earlier that afternoon and got a face full of dust and other niceties - which probably didn't help. And I know that household dust, cat hair, and everything else in that hoover doesn't help with my asthma at all.
But all of those are just the chorus line. The star of the show is that despite all of the above, I was smoking 40 to 60 cigarettes a day.
I'm not stupid, I have a high IQ, work in a technical job - and yet smoking with all of the above was rather like pricking your finger on a needle then using a chainsaw to apply the elastoplast.
But there I was, having collapsed a hundred yards or so from the restaurant, coughed my guts out on the pavement, unable to breathe despite my mouth being wide open, excruciating pain in both lungs, and oh yeah, just to add to the mix, I managed to evacuate my bowels too because when I was coughing apparently my brain couldn't cope with managing my sphincter at the same time.
What a great way to end an evening that comes around once every three or four years.
Imagine the Olympic equivalent. Well, ok, London 2012 will probably be the Olympic equivalent of my Friday night experience. So let's not go there with that analogy.
The long and short of it is that I've had enough.
I'm quitting fags.
I'm using an electronic cigarette to stave off the cravings a bit. I'm still having the odd real cigarette, admittedly, so I am not off them yet. But I am getting there, and already my lungs feel way better.
Because I am never going to be leaning against a lamp-post again, fighting for breath, when I should be having a good night out.
Posted by Andy Brick at 2:29 PM