The deafening silence in the Oracle-Google lawsuit

Could this suit be a nonsense meant to rile people up, for the sake of riling them up, more for partisan advantage than anything else, for light rather than heat, because we can.

Amid all the Sturm-und-Drang over the Oracle-Google suit, there are some voices notably absent.

The Free Software Foundation has not issued a press release. Neither has the Linux Foundation. Nor the Open Invention Network. Linux Defenders 911 has not replaced its penguin "bat signal" with a Drudge-like police strobe.

It's the mystery of the dogs that don't bark. Why? (Aren't these things from Babykind in the UK cute?)

You might reply, elementary my dear Watson. This isn't really an open source issue. Google is using Java ME, not the GPL version of Java, in Android.

Most reporters, of course, have gone all Inspector Lestrade on this story. (I include myself in this condemnation.) We are buying the Google line. Or predicting the end of open source. Depending on our views and preconceptions.

Without taking a firm stand on the merits of the case, Groklaw is also stoking the fires, writing that the end result of all this needs to be the end of software patents, which are now proven to hamper innovation. "Groklaw will cover this litigation soup to nuts," they add.

Surprise.

Individual advocates are speaking up, of course. Florian Mueller, who agrees with Groklaw on the evil of software patents, is attacking the OIN. Bradley Kuhn says it's a black mark against both Java and Google, as well as software patents.

But as I paged through all the news analyses yesterday (including our own), each using the controversy to promote their own agenda (page views in my case), a very strange thought occurred to me.

Could this be the anchor baby of open source advocacy? (You were wondering when those slippers would come back into the story, weren't you?)

That is, could this suit be a nonsense meant to rile people up, for the sake of riling them up, more for partisan advantage than anything else, for light rather than heat, because we can.

Until I hear something official from people who really matter -- folks like Eben Moglen, Jim Zemlin, and Keith Bergelt -- my suspicion of that is going to grow.

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