Posts Tagged ‘android’

Free-software hippies frothing at Oracle

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Oracle recently sued Google over alleged infringement of Java-related software patents as implemented in the Java-ish userland operating environment of Google’s Android OS.  I haven’t read a good breakdown of the actual alleged violations, so I can’t speak to their merit.  However, it’s not as though Oracle is some patent troll — they legitimately own the intellectual property associated with Java patents by virtue of their acquisition of Sun Microsystems, and they continue to develop Java technology.  Shortly after this announcement, Oracle also announced that they will no longer develop Solaris (the commercial software) through Open Solaris (the open-source development project that has, heretofore, “run ahead” of Solaris).  Instead, Solaris will be developed in-house by Oracle and its source will be released after, not before, a commercial release.

Since then, there’s been a steady stream of free-software enthusiast outrage.  Over at zdnet, there has been (and I’m not joking) nearly one article or blog post per day, all decrying the evil that is Oracle.  The crux of their complaining stems from their underlying assumption that software patents should not exist, and that a company cannot be “a friend of open source” and also defend its intellectual property via software patents.  This is utterly ridiculous.  Oracle’s lawsuit may be meritless (I don’t have the expertise on the exact allegations to say one way or the other), but they’re not evil for killing off a money-losing endeavor (Open Solaris — which was already almost exclusively developed by Sun/Oracle engineers or those working for them through partnership agreements) or claiming a stake in the multibillion dollar mobile OS market that is Android, and which may in fact be based on Oracle-patented technology.  Being “open source” doesn’t necessarily mean “here, take everything for free, I disavow any claim to this.”  That’s what the GPL hippies want “open source” to mean, but that’s not what it meant long before the GPL ever came around.  And, I’ve got no problem with people wanting to develop “Free” (as the GPL hippies define it) software – cool beans for them.  But, they’re crazy to demand that businesses license their software and their intellectual property according to their nutjob demands.  (The GPL hippies aren’t exactly completely altruistic, either.  Though they are bemoaning what they perceive as Oracle “changing the deal” with Java by coming back now and asserting intellectual property rights on something they believed was “Free”, they do the exact same thing if a company improperly appropriates GPL code in to a closed-source product:  they “come back later” and demand that the terms of their intellectual property agreement — the GPL — be enforced).  This latest bout of batshit insane demands from the corners of Free Software enthusiasts only reinforces my underlying belief that Free Software is mostly about one thing for its proponents:  gimme gimme gimme.

Google Voice Transcript Fail – Yay, tenacity!

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I’m a big fan of Google Voice.  Combined with Verizon Friends & Family, I get tons of free calling on my HTC Incredible.  Also, the free SMS service (via my google voice number) using the google voice app is awesome.

That said, the voicemail-transcription service could use a little work… I found this one highly comical.  My buddy Darren called me up to share what he’d heard on local sports-talk radio in Austin regarding UT moving to the Pac 10 (this was under consideration a few months ago – it wound up not happening).  Apparently google voice seems to think people with a slightly Texan accent are talking about Japanese names.  Similarly, google voice butchers the transcripts when my dad calls me, who also has a bit of a Texas accent.  For whatever reason, though, my plumber with a Southie accent gets transcribed perfectly…

Anyone thinking Google is harvesting your voice calls for anything useful is insane.  That, or Google is about to rat out Darren for having important information about Yukiko infecting Yuki.

Anyway, this is Darren’s voicemail:

This is what the transcript thought he said:

This is what Darren actually said:

Just heard on the radio, it’s mostly official.  UT’s going to the Pac-10.  UT, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech.  A&M has 72 hours to decide, but apparently the SEC is also courting A&M, and why they would want to go to either one of those, I have no idea.  So, what the fuck.  Anyway, I’ll talk to you later.  I’m on my way to soccer.  I won’t be done until 8:30 local.  Talk to you later, bye

droid does?

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Verizon has been pitching their upcoming new consumer smartphone (the Droid) pretty aggressively (bonus points for using hipster douche background music in the spot). I’m currently out of contract on my verizon phone and am looking to upgrade, but verizon’s offerings are notoriously lacking. I have no interest in either a Windows mobile device nor a blackberry. I want something whose interface and usability is on par with my iPod touch, but AT&T is a non-starter for me (bad reception near my house on the South Shore) so I won’t be getting an iPhone.

Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll have to keep waiting. After carefully following the reviews for Verizon’s new Android phones (including the Motorola Droid and the HTC Eris), there are some fatal flaws (for me) in the lineup. The Droid has one of the ugliest, unusually shaped qwerty keyboards I’ve ever seen, and it’s got that curious directional pad off to the side. Well, it turns out that there’s a good reason the Droid has that screwball d-pad: the Droid doesn’t do multitouch input (pinch to precisely zoom out, expand to zoom in, etc). Apparently both the phone and the Android 2.0 software claim to support it, but it’s not enabled on the Droid. So either the support is bad/buggy/incomplete for the Droid’s higher resolution display, or Motorola fears Apple’s patent wrath (in a way that Palm doesn’t because of either cross-licensing or Mutually Assured Destruction from Palm’s own smartphone patent portfolio). With regard to the Eris, this is the hardware for the HTC Hero, which was universally received as underpowered. It also doesn’t run Android 2.0, which I’d want for integrated Exchange support.

Anyway, it looks like I’ll be waiting for another Android 2.0 device, the Palm Pre on Verizon, or a Verizon iPhone. Weak.