Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Google, Oracle and JUGs

One might think that developing software (web-applications in my case) is a pretty involved endeavor. It is a constant learning experience: from understanding the business domain of your customers for each and every project, to figuring out which frameworks to choose (How many web-frameworks to we have?), all the way to understanding the broader IT landscape.

Thus, in a nutshell life as a developer is busy...and then Oracle sues Google, adding just a tad more complexity to the mix (Things were also much easier back when it was all about Microsoft versus he rest of the world :-). Additionally, as the leader of the Atlanta Java Users Group, I wonder what kind of implication this development will have for our community of Java developers.

Following the various information sources, there is certainly no black-and-white battle going one, albeit Google seems to be certainly in a more favorable position among developers. A good source for gauging the mood within the Java community is to follow the mailing list of the global JUG community. Sentiments there have been ranging from surprise to shock.

Bruno Souza, THE Java advocate in Brazil (he also spoke at AJUG in Atlanta in May 2007) made probably the most balanced statements regarding the just started litigation process between Oracle and Google. Thus, from a technical/legal perspective you may very well argue in either direction, in favor of Google or in favor of Oracle.

However, I am concerned about the impact this may have in regards to our community and the leading edge open-source developers, that may again increasingly look elsewhere (Remember the wave of developers that left for Ruby on Rails a few years back?). 

I will cautiously follow the developments over the next couple of months and I hope that the negative impact to our community can be minimized. I mean, there is certainly the hope that Oracle and Google come to a quick agreement and maybe make Android an official part of the Java platform (too overly optimistic?)

Here are some pointers for further information:

InfoQ had a short article summarizing the latest developments: http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/08/oracle_sues_google

Javalobby has an insightful article regarding Oracle's open-source activities, e.g. essentially shutting down OpenSolaris: http://java.dzone.com/articles/oracle-and-open-source-list

JavaWorld takes it even a step further and ask whether SpringSource should be worried as well: http://www.javaworld.com/community/?q=node/4919

Many high-ranking Java advocates left Oracle in recent months, and Java inventor James Gosling is becoming increasingly outspoken. His blog provides some interesting insights:

http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/the_shit_finally_hits_the
http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/quite_the_firestorm
http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/cynical_chuckles

(Interestingly, looks like too many people were trying to read read James Gosling's blog on 2010-08-16 because his blog was not accessible for a good portion of the day)

The following link points to an official statement by Oracle regarding its patent policy in 1994. Things seemed to have changed since then, unfortunately:

http://www.bustpatents.com/articles/oracle.htm

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Function based indexes in Oracle

If you ever have to query tables in Oracle containing million of records using "is null" in the where clause, then you will notice that your normal indexes won't kick in. They work as prescribed for "is not null", though.

Using a function-based index you can work around that issue. Take a look at the following article which might be quite helpful if you run into the issue: http://www.dba-oracle.com/oracle_tips_null_idx.htm

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