The US Supreme Court is due to hear Google’s appeal tomorrow
against the CAFC ruling that APIs are copyrightable and that Google
infringed Oracle’s copyright on the Java APIs. A few companies
(including GitHub) have filed “amicus curiae” briefs explaining why
allowing the verdict against Google to stand will have unfortunate
consequences for the entire software industry.
The CAFC (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) is a notoriously
“intellectual-property-friendly” court, shall we say. They wouldn’t
even have got the chance to rule on the original verdict by Judge
Alsup, except that the suit initially included a patent claim (that was
very quickly thrown out). Definite points to Oracle’s lawyers for doing
this: like a chess strategy where you advance a seemingly unimportant
pawn in the opening moves that is immediately sacrificed, but the
long-term consequences for your opponent’s position only become
apparent some time later in the game.
reports on the explosion in typical source code bases that seems to have
occurred over the past decade. I have a couple of concerns with this:
* The obvious quantity-versus-quality issue. How much of this is due to
things like node.js pulling in hundreds of dependencies for a
comparatively small class library? Clearly, “managing” does not
mean “writing” or even “maintaining”.
* The use of “technology” as some kind of synonym for “information
technology”. You mean it didn’t require “technology” to conduct
insurance, retail, food and beverage businesses before? After all,
pencil and paper are “technologies”, too. And if you think they are
easy things to make, well ... try making them yourself.
going into some details on the proprietary VxWorks (popular with NASA)
and the open-source RTEMS (originating from the US military, now
heavily used by ESA). Also mentions SpaceChain, which was developed in
order to implement a BitCoin network in space. This is based on Sylix,
which comes from the Chinese military, but is now open-source as well.
And there is some use of Linux, but only in situations where
hard-realtime constraints can be guaranteed by lower-level custom
Summary: VxWorks and RTEMS are pretty much identical in basic features
and maturity/reliability, but RTEMS does have an edge in
Cloud company Digital Ocean has started its seventh annual
promising free T-shirts to those who submit “quality” pull requests to
online open-source repositories.
Seems this year, the “quality” proviso is being roundly ignored. Many
project maintainers are being deluged with trivial and pointless
patches, many of whose submittors readily admit they are only doing it
for the T-shirt. Choice quote:
Imagine an arsonist declaring, "Only you can prevent forest fires,"
and you can get a sense of the frustration among open source
Actually, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened in previous years. But
then again, maybe it has:
"Hacktoberfest has never generated anything of value for open
source ... It’s a marketing stunt which sends a deluge of
low-effort contributions to maintainers, leaving them to clean up
There’s also a link to a rather pungently-named Twitter account which
is collecting examples of these useless patch submissions.