Motherboard: ‘In Oracle v. Google, a Nerd Subculture Is on Trial’

Great write-up by Sarah Jeong on the ongoing Oracle v. Google case. This bit from the end caught my eye, though:

But Oracle v. Google does nothing to disabuse the nerd of the conviction that they are right, and that the copyright law forged by the normals is an unrigorous wishy-washy piece of nonsense. Because in this case, the law really is completely out of touch with what the technology actually is, with reality itself. Just look at the Federal Circuit opinion that ruled that APIs are copyrightable, where they say, “Google was free to develop its own API packages and to ‘lobby’ programmers to adopt them.” A federal appeals court actually proposed that in some alternate universe, Android launched and told developers to write apps in a language they’d never encountered before.

Isn’t that almost exactly what Apple did with iOS and Objective-C?

Java was incredibly popular before Android shipped — it’s been ranked first in the TIOBE index for almost two decades. So without question, basing Android on Java made it far more likely that it would gain third-party developer traction than if it had been based on a new language. But iOS shows that it’s not preposterous. Otherwise there would never be any new programming languages. (And yes, Objective-C has been around since the late ’80s — but it languished in relative obscurity as the primary language for the NeXTStep and Mac OS X AppKit APIs.)

Update: Jeong’s live-tweet coverage of the trial has been a fantastic read. An example of Twitter at its very best for “what’s happening right now”.

Friday, 13 May 2016

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