Rememberings of Pamela Jones
This whole court case brings me back to the SCO/IBM trial. SCO with grandiose claims, and no facts. It’s just like Oracle’s grandiose claims with no facts. I think that Oracle saw that parallel too, and saw the influence one person had over the SCO/IBM case. Pamela Jones, or pj for short. For those who are unaware, Pamela Jones was the founder of Groklaw. Groklaw covered legal news that was interesting to the free and open source software community. Of particular interest to the free and open source community at the time was the SCO/IBM trial, and Groklaw spent a great deal of time focused on it.
I shouldn’t say “focused”. I should say that Groklaw systematically destroyed any and all claims made by SCO. It really didn’t stand a chance.
History Repeating…. well Not Quite
Oracle must have remembered what happened to SCO at the hands of Groklaw. Rather than try to avoid that, they tried to turn it to their advantage. Oracle thought that if they had their very own Pamela Jones, they could easily take Google down. Enter Florian Mueller.
Mueller wrote some computer books in the 80s, and then did some publishing and distribution. He did some marketing, and founded a game company that went nowhere. After that, he campaigned against European software patents (failed at that too), and then had enough and focused on Soccer. His first post on his blog appeared on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010. Four months and change before Oracle sued Google for various copyright and patent infringement claims.
Mueller took notice of the Oracle/Google case right away, and wrote prolifically about it over the course of the case. Seldom was a positive thing said about Google. In April of 2012, Mueller decided that “transparency” was suddenly important and admitted to being on the payroll at Oracle.
Outcome of the Case
So how did things work out? Well, depends on if you’re a fan of Open Source, or if you’re Florian Mueller. Like almost every other venture Florian Mueller has been involved in, he failed. Oracle was decimated in the courts, and won only a tiny sum based on a Copyright that no one is even sure is going to be valid yet. It could be that Oracle walks away owing Google.
Why Didn’t It Work?
So, why did the this method work so well in the SCO/IBM trial, and work so poorly in the Oracle/Google trial? It’s all about the community.
Pamela Jones wasn’t interested in being known. She didn’t even tell people her name at first (she just went by pj), and there’s still only a handful of people that have met her. Florian Mueller has a big “ABOUT ME” page right on his blog with links to a brief but puffed up profile (“award-winning intellectual property activist-turned-analyst”). The profile even has a nice vanity picture where Florian looks like he’s got enough make-up on to walk the catwalk in Milan.
Pamela Jones was interested in facts. Florian Mueller was interested in lining his own pockets with Oracle’s money, and he was willing to do anything and say anything to do it.
Due to her honesty and integrity, Pamela Jones developed a loyal following in the FOSS community. Due to deep pockets Florian Mueller somehow managed to get an unexpected number of tech journalists and bloggers to believe he knew what he was talking about, at least some of the time. Despite that, he never got the community support that Pamela Jones did.
No, Florian Mueller turned out to just be another blow hard, and Pamela Jones knew he was on Oracle’s payroll long before he admitted as such.
In short (to paraphrase), I knew Pamela Jones Mr. Mueller. Pamela Jones was a friend of mine. Mr. Mueller, you’re no Pamela Jones. (I actually don’t know pj, but I wish I did.)
First, a brief little anecdote.
This morning my kids drug me out of bed just shy of 9 minutes before my alarm clock was suppose to ring. They were a little rambunctious, so we played a bit before I managed to divert them with breakfast so I could go take a shower. I was ready to go 15 minutes later. Showered, shaved, and dressed. Got the kids in the car was headed off to work. My kids unfortunate timing this morning led me to be a few minutes later than I usually am. I got my first call of the day while I was still in the car. Of course, I told them I’d take care of it as soon as I was in the office as I wasn’t able to take care of it from the car. Of course that’s not entirely true as I could have sshed to the server on my phone and taken care of it, but then I would have had to stop driving. I rolled into the office about a quarter to 8:00.
I planned lunch with my former boss (I’d been reassigned to another department due to some restructuring), but I ended up having to work on something that came up at the last minute, so I grabbed a frozen burrito out of the company fridge and ate at my desk. I finished up work tonight about 8:30 after resolving an issue with a stored proc.
After work, I went for a run. As an aside, I know that many people love to run. I hate it with a fire that burns brighter than a thousand suns. Literally. I do it because if I can force myself to run, there’s not much else in my life that I can’t force myself to do. Over the course of my run, I thought about an issue I’m having at work.
How stupid is this?
I make an OK salary, but it’s sure as heck not enough to warrant a 12 hour day. The thing is, this isn’t an unusual day for me. I’ve talked with other people who are in the same line of work as I am, and it’s not unusual for them either. I’m not the only one pulling this kind of stuff in my office. Not even close.
I was flipping through channels on my radio the other day, and I ran across (involuntarily) that old Dolly Parton song, “9 to 5″. That whole song is complaining about how rough that 9 to 5 job is, but the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Man, I wish I worked 9 to 5.”
What do you think? Are we working too hard, or am I just being a whiny loser? Let me know what you think down in the comments.
A bit of a rant here.
I ran across this graphic on CounterNotions (I only bother to link because this guy has Apple so far up his rectum he’d probably sue me for copyright violation if I didn’t link to him).
This graphic is a perfect example of the thought process of many iFanatics I’ve run across. Ever wonder why so many of them think that Android is a copy of iOS?
For some reason, Windows/Microsoft is now the source of inspiration for anything that has grass. Apple is the source of inspiration for anything that has icons. Google can only be Search.
Does this make any logical or technological sense? No, not even a little. Don’t even bother trying to tell them that.
Just wanted to make a quick note about the #boycottapple thing going on on Google+ and on Twitter. I’ve read several people saying that boycotting Apple is dumb, and that the real problem is with the patent system. To the people pointing out that the patent system is broken I have one thing to say.
We know this people. We’re not stupid. Here’s the issue though.
The patent system is broken for the entire software industry, so why isn’t anybody boycotting EA? Why isn’t anybody boycotting Adobe? Why isn’t anybody boycotting Attachmate?
The answer is easy. EA, Adobe, and Attachmate aren’t acting like assholes. Apple is. Apple is the one going “thermonuclear” on their competitors, and they’re the one using the broken patent system to do it.
Does the Software Patent system need to be fixed? I’d argue that it doesn’t need to be fixed so much as thrown out altogether, but I think we all agree that it’s broken. That’s not the point of the #boycottapple “movement” (if you will). The point is that Apple is being a bad player, and because of their behavior, they should be boycotted.
I doubt many people were not aware of Apple’s latest announcements concerning iOS. Of course Apple again held their little party and pomped and circumstanced all over. This is to be expected. Pretty much any company making an announcement will do virtually the same thing. What concerns me is the reaction to these announcements in the media.
I ran across a comparison over on PCWorld.
First of all, the comparison itself is bogus. The author took only the features that Apple announced that were new about iOS, and compared other platforms to that list. This automatically gives iOS the upper hand. If I were to list the new features of Android or even Win7Phone and compare those to another platform, it’s going to appear as if the OSs being compared are falling short. Unfortunately, this is pretty normal behavior for PCWorld. There are quite a number of Apple fans on staff and they conceal it rather poorly, if they make an effort at all.
Second of all is the small portion of the chart that I pulled out and posted down below (headers left intact for ease of understanding).
See how the Facebook and Twitter integration for Android is listed as “3rd party apps only”? To me, this is implied inferiority from the creator of this chart. It screams “iOS does this better because it’s integrated and in Android it’s not!” This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first. The chart is technically correct. Android doesn’t build Twitter or Facebook support directly into the Operating System. Instead it does something much better. Intents.
An intent in Android is a mechanism allowing for apps to communicate with each other. This includes the OS itself.
Using Intents, Android can create very similar functionality to what iOS users see when Apple integrates a service into the OS. Not being integrated is it’s greatest strength. This allows for Android to give integrated type functionality to any application installed on the device. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, you name it.
Because the service isn’t integrated, the OS is a lot more versatile.
Allow me to propose a hypothetical. In the not very distant future, Apple trots out iOS6 on it’s new iPhone, complete with it’s neat and spiffy Facebook integration. Shortly after that, there’s a social revolution. A new player appears on the scene. Let’s call it MyFace. Because of several new and really cool features MyFace offers that Facebook doesn’t, users leave Facebook in droves. Facebook becomes a ghost town. iOS users are now finding this new Facebook integration almost entirely useless. Android users simply delete the Facebook app from their device and install the new and really shiny MyFace app. Intents allow for MyFace to be instantly integrated with the device. A year passes, and Apple finally gets around to updating their OS to implement MyFace, removing the now defunct Facebook, only to find that MyFace is old hat. It’s been replaced with a new service, SpaceBook. Android users simply remove MyFace from their device, install SpaceBook, and go on with their social lives. iOS users are stuck waiting, again.
Now, is this analogy plausible? Well, two new and dominating social networks over the course of a two years is pretty far fetched, but that’s not the point. With Android, it doesn’t matter how fast the industry changes. Android changes just as fast. Intents allow for that to happen. iOS is not nearly as agile. It’s slow and dependent on Apple to move it forward.
To often today I’m seeing journalists holding up one of Apple’s greatest weaknesses as if it were one of it’s greatest strengths. Make no mistake, iOS is a dinosaur. It just doesn’t know that it’s extinct yet.
Keep in mind that the following statements actually came from a real message from an iFan.
Virtually all Android devices have 3 or 4 buttons on the bottom, yet Samsung made a single Home button in the middle and faded the 4 buttons so that the surface of the device closely resembles that of the iPhone.
No it doesn’t.
Almost all Android devices use USB, but Samsung made their connector to look virtually identical to that of Apple’s 30 pin cable.
No they didn’t.
To an extent devices are going to look similar. It’s the nature of the type of devices we have now. Perhaps separately these minor things wouldn’t be noticed. But combined they show a desire to tell potential customers that their devices are just the same.
These devices are not “just the same”. No amount of repeating Apple’s lies will make that true. Next time, try facts.
Several days ago, I was sitting at my desk minding my own business when a received a new email. This is a regular occurrence for me, as I’m sure it is with most people in today’s office workplace. With not even a thought, I open it.
It’s not what you think. I didn’t get a virus or get fired or anything weird. It was a message from our corporate IT department informing me that my computer was due for a “refresh”.
What is a “refresh” you ask? Well, that’s when they take your computer and replace it with a new one. To top it off, I’d been selected to be a part of our Windows 7 pilot program. Our company is finally moving away from Windows XP and upgrading to Windows 7.
My reaction? “Oh $#!+.”
There’s no getting out of this, so I dutifully copy all my files that I hadn’t already stored on the network drive to a location where they will be safe. The IT department wants my computer “First thing in the morning”, so I drop my computer off at 8:00. They inform me that it will be at least 3 hours before my new one is ready.
My choices are now simple. I can either do without a computer for 3+ hours, or I can find a different system to use.
Casting my eye around my department, there is only one computer currently unused. One of our test systems. A Mac.
How bad can it be I ask myself? I used Macs quite a lot back in the 90s, and for a while was the “Mac guy” at the computer shop, fixing people’s broken Macs. Apple has always been renown for it’s ease of use and beauty. It was only for a couple hours. I could handle this!
So, I’m sure anybody reading this is more than aware that my system of preference is Linux. I use Windows at work, but my home system is Linux Mint 12. I’ve made some changes to the default interface, and only use the top bar. I have no bottom bar. Most everything else is fairly stock.
My Thoughts on OSX
First, the dock.
OSX, like Windows, has this stupid bar at the bottom. In the bar are your favorite apps, and running applications. Why should this be on your screen all the time? I know that you can have the stupid thing hide, but every time your mouse approaches that part of your screen, it pops up like some hyperactive chiwawa. It’s as bad as Windows. This is not something that needs to be on the screen all the time. The only time you need to see it is when you’re launching something new, or looking for something that’s already running.
Exposé is actually the perfect solution for switching between applications, it’s it’s limitations in OSX make that impractical. Only applications not minimized show up in Exposé? Not smart. This is a much better way to pick between your windows rather than some nondescript icons where you can’t tell the difference between one terminal window or another. It effectively makes half of the dock completely useless. Why have that half of the dock when the functionality is better represented elsewhere?
What kind of a half-assed hack is this? The functionality has been around in various forms of Unix since the 80s. It’s been improved upon and made very useful, but Apple’s version looks like something straight out of 1988.
Fourth, Exposé and Spaces?
Why the heck have both of them? In Linux Mint, hitting the super key on the keyboard brings up Mint’s Exposé type feature, with the virtual desktops along the right hand side of the monitor. They’re not seperate screens, and Windows can literally be moved from the existing Exposé type view to a completely different virtual space without leaving that screen. One screen, two functions. Apple’s method is straight out of the 90s, if that. It’s ancient, limited, and impractical.
Fifth, Macintosh HD.
On the system that I used, the only icon on the desktop was the Macintosh HD icon. This icon opened up to show your standard file browser type appliation, but what is all this junk inside of it? It takes you to a location that looks like / on a Linux box. Why the heck would you want to go there by default? You need access to your files! When I open Nautilus on my Linux box, it goes to my home directory! MINE. /home/mike. Not some random location with crap that I’m rarely if ever going to want to go to. I mean, “lost+found” and “Library”? What the hell?
Sixth, the Clock.
You’re probably wondering, what could possibly be bad about the clock? It’s a clock for pity’s sake. True, and as a time piece, OSX does very well. What I’m missing is functionality that I use every day in Linux but find sorely missing in OSX. Heck, even Windows does this. When you click on the clock on a Windows 7 box, you get a bigger clock and a calendar, as well as the ability to change your preferences. OSX is missing the calendar completely. On my Linux box, not only do I get a calendar, but on the right, I have a list of all my meetings. Below the meetings, I can open up my actual calendar application! Great functionality in the perfect place. Functionality sorely missing from OSX.
On the left, we see OSX, 10.0. Pristine the day it was launched. On the right, we have OSX, 10.7.3. 10.0 from 2001, 10.7.3 from 2011. A full 10 years difference. What’s changed? There’s a new, cool 3d effect on the dock. Color scheme has changed a bit. Yea, that’s pretty much it. This is the “innovative” OS? Are you shitting me?? Seriously?
Don’t even get me started on this iPad type launcher turd.
So, how does the story end? When all was said and done, I was able to work in OSX. Corporate IT ended up taking 7 hours instead of 3 like I was hoping, so I ended up getting my new Windows 7 computer close to the end of the day. I can say it was with real glee that I ditched OSX to run (RUN I tell you) back to Windows (and that’s saying something). After starting some file transfers to get my personal files back on my hard drive, I gratefully went home, sat down in front of my “ugly”, “hard to use” Linux box and sighed with relief. I hope I don’t have to do that again for many, many years.