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Programming

Programming Language Gurus Converge on 'Curry On' Conference (curry-on.org) 81

Videos are now online from this week's Curry On conference, which incuded talks by programming pioneers Larry Wall and Matthias Felleisen, as well as speakers from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Oracle. Dave Herman from Mozilla Research also talked about building an open source research lab, while Larry Wall's keynote was titled "It's the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine."

Billing itself as a non-profit conference about programming languages and emerging computer-industry challenges, this year's installment included talks about Java, Rust, Scala, Perl, Racket, Clojure, Rascal, Go and Oden. Held in a different European city each year, the annual conference hopes to provoke an open conversation between academia and the larger technology industry.
Security

'High-Risk Vulnerabilities' In Oracle File-Processing SDKs Affect Major Third-Party Products (csoonline.com) 11

itwbennett writes: "Seventeen high-risk vulnerabilities out of the 276 flaws fixed by Oracle Tuesday affect products from third-party software vendors," writes Lucian Constantin on CSOonline. The vulnerabilities, which were found by researchers from Cisco's Talos team, are in the Oracle Outside In Technology (OIT), a collection of SDKs that are used in third-party products, including Microsoft Exchange, Novell Groupwise, IBM WebSphere Portal, Google Search Appliance, Avira AntiVir for Exchange, Raytheon SureView, Guidance Encase and Veritas Enterprise Vault.

"It's not clear how many of those products are also affected by the newly patched seventeen flaws, because some of them might not use all of the vulnerable SDKs or might include other limiting factors," writes Constantin. But the Cisco researchers confirmed that Microsoft Exchange servers (version 2013 and earlier) are affected if they have WebReady Document Viewing enabled. In a blog post the researchers describe how an attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities.

TL;DR version: "Attackers can exploit the flaws to execute rogue code on systems by sending specifically crafted content to applications using the vulnerable OIT SDKs."
Facebook

Google, Tesla, and Facebook Attract 'Hordes of Tech Tourists' To Their Headquarters (siliconvalley.com) 80

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "We just came from Oracle, then we go to HP, Google; we're going to do Tesla, Intel, eBay and Yahoo. And Apple, I forgot Apple..." says one San Francisco resident, describing a tour he's providing for his friend from Tokyo. In fact, Silicon Valley's iconic tech companies have discovered tourists are now dropping in on their headquarters. "It was nice to walk between the buildings, take some pictures and see the employees enjoy their lunch break," wrote one visitor to Google's campus, before complaining that Google hadn't also provided them with bathroom access. "We got told not to use the Google bikes as they are for employees only, which was a bit of a shame," another visitor complained.

"Hundreds of people a day visit the Facebook sign and Google's Android sculpture garden in Mountain View," reports the Bay Area Newsgroup, "with many stopping at other tech giants as well, snapping photos and shooting video..." In fact, Tesla, Apple, Facebook, and Google have all now installed stores where tourists can purchase branded merchandise. (Google sells figurines of their Android mascot for $15). "What you're seeing are people on a pilgrimage..." said Stanford communications professor Fred Turner. "Folks are looking for a physical place behind the kind of dematerialized experience that they have online."

Intel has its own museum, and the Los Altos garage where Steve Jobs started Apple has even been designated a historic site. Are there any other historic tech sites that should be preserved to inspire future generations of tourists?
Databases

First Open Source-Based Database Completes U.S. Security Review 49

RaDag writes: The U.S. government has published a DoD-validated implementation guide, known as a STIG, for EDB Postgres Advanced Server from EnterpriseDB (EDB). This is a first. No other open source database, or open source-based database, has been through the US government's security review process and gotten a STIG published. Having this guide will help agencies seeking an open source-based alternative to costly traditional vendors like Oracle [and] will speed and ease deployment of EDB Postgres, which has database compatibility for Oracle.
They're now working with the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, according to a company statement. It also says that the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies "seek open source alternatives to traditional proprietary software," and see their database solution as "an opportunity to quickly reduce costs and shift away from expensive proprietary vendors, particularly as public policy initiatives around the world mandate adoption of more open source."
Oracle

Oracle Asks Judge To Throw Out Java/Google Verdict...Again (siliconvalley.com) 122

Just when you thought the six-year, $9 billion lawsuit was over, an anonymous reader quotes this report from the Bay Area Newsgroup: Oracle has asked a judge -- again -- to throw out the verdict that found Google rightfully helped itself to Oracle programming code to create the Android operating system... A judge already rejected a bid in May by Oracle to get the verdict thrown out. But the software and cloud company hasn't given up. On July 6, Oracle filed a motion in San Francisco U.S. District Court again asking the same judge, William Alsup, to toss the verdict.

The company cited case law suggesting use is not legal if the user "exclusively acquires conspicuous financial rewards'' from its use of the copyrighted material. Google, said Oracle, has earned more than $42 billion from Android. "Google's financial rewards are as 'conspicuous' as they come, and unprecedented in the case law," Oracle's filing said. Oracle wants the judge to adhere to the narrower and more traditional applications of fair use, "for example, when it is 'criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching ... scholarship, or research.'"

Java

Oracle Says It Is 'Committed' To Java EE 8 -- Amid Claims It Quietly Axed Future Development (theregister.co.uk) 66

Media reports, citing anonymous Oracle engineers, noted earlier this week that development of Java EE (Enterprise Edition) projects at Oracle had been "practically ceased" since last fall. This led many to wonder about the future of Java. Well, it's all cosy, says Oracle. The software firm assures that it is "committed" to Java. The Register reports: The Redwood City titan said it will present fresh plans for the future of Java EE 8 at its JavaOne conference in San Francisco in September. Version eight is due to be released in the first half of 2017. However, over the past six months, it appeared Oracle had pretty much ceased development of the enterprise edition -- a crucial component in hundreds of thousands of business applications -- and instead quietly focused its engineers on other products and projects. Oracle spokesman Mike Moeller tonight sought to allay those fears, and said a plan for the future of Java EE is brewing. "Oracle is committed to Java and has a very well defined proposal for the next version of the Java EE specification -- Java EE 8 -- that will support developers as they seek to build new applications that are designed using micro-services on large-scale distributed computing and container-based environments on the Cloud," said Moeller.
Open Source

Bulgaria Got a Law Requiring Open Source (medium.com) 62

All software written for the government in Bulgaria are now required to be open-source. The amendments to put such laws in motion were voted in domestic parliament and are now in effect, announced software engineer Bozhidar Bozhanov, who is also an adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister at Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria. All such software will also be required by law to be developed in a public repository. Bozhanov writes in a blog post:That does not mean that the whole country is moving to Linux and LibreOffice, neither does it mean the government demands Microsoft and Oracle to give the source to their products. Existing solutions are purchased on licensing terms and they remain unaffected (although we strongly encourage the use of open source solutions for that as well). It means that whatever custom software the government procures will be visible and accessible to everyone. After all, it's paid by tax-payers money and they should both be able to see it and benefit from it. As for security -- in the past "security through obscurity" was the main approach, and it didn't quite work -- numerous vulnerabilities were found in government websites that went unpatched for years, simply because a contract had expired. With opening the source we hope to reduce those incidents, and to detect bad information security practices in the development process, rather than when it's too late.
Google

Google Twists the Knife, Asks For Sanctions Against Oracle Attorney (arstechnica.com) 78

Google isn't done with its victory over Oracle. Court filings suggest that Google will be filing a motion for sanctions against Oracle and its law firm, Orrick, Sutcliffe & Herrington. The Mountain View-based company is apparently irked that Oracle attorney disclosed the financial agreements between Google and Apple. From an Ars Technica report: Speaking in open court, Oracle attorney Annette Hurst said that Google's Android operating system had generated revenue of $31 billion and $22 billion in profit. She also disclosed that Google pays Apple $1 billion to keep Google's search bar on iPhones. "Look at the extraordinary magnitude of commerciality here," Hurst told a magistrate judge as she discussed the revenue figures. The $1 billion figure comes from a revenue-split that gives Apple a portion of the money that Google makes off searches that originate on iPhones. The revenue share figure was 34 percent, "at one point in time," according to Hurst. Google lawyers asked for the figure to be struck from the record. "That percentage just stated, that should be sealed," Google lawyer Robert Van Nest said, according to a transcript of the hearing. "We are talking hypotheticals here. That's not a publicly known number."
Java

Oracle May Have Stopped Funding and Developing Java EE (arstechnica.com) 115

While anticipating new features in Java 9, developers also have other concerns, according to an anonymous Slashdot reader: ArsTechnica is reporting that Oracle has quietly pulled funding and development efforts away from Java EE, the server-side Java technology that is part of hundreds of thousands of Internet and business applications. Java EE even plays an integral role for many apps that aren't otherwise based on Java, and customers and partners have invested time and code. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened, but the implications are huge for Java as a platform.
"It's a dangerous game they're playing..." says one member of the Java Community Process Executive Committee. "It's amazing -- there's a company here that's making us miss Sun." Oracle's former Java evangelist even left the company in March and became a spokesman for the "Java EE Guardians," who have now created an online petition asking Oracle to "clarify" its intent and resume development or "transfer ownership of Java EE 8".
Oracle

Oracle Ordered To Pay $3B Damages To HP (bbc.com) 47

Oracle has been ordered to pay HP $3 billion in damages by a California jury over HP's claim that Oracle reneged on a deal to support HP computer servers running on Itanium chips from Intel. Oracle said it will appeal. BBC reports:The court battle over the contract was settled in 2012 but the damages HPE was due have only now been agreed. HP was split into two in 2015 with HPE taking over the running of its servers and services business. In court, HPE argued that although the 2012 legal judgement meant Oracle had resumed making software for the powerful chips, its business had suffered harm. It argued that Oracle took the decision in 2011 to stop supporting Itanium in a bid to get customers to move to hardware made by Sun -- a hardware firm owned by Oracle. Oracle said that its decision in 2011 was driven by a realisation that Itanium was coming to the end of its life. It also argued that the contract it signed never obliged it to keep producing software in perpetuity. Intel stopped making Itanium chips in late 2012 and many companies that used servers built around them have now moved to more powerful processors.
The Almighty Buck

Open and Rich Co-exist But Don't Mingle So Much (scripting.com) 75

In an interview with The Atlantic, Ev Williams, best known for co-founding Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, says the web is about money now -- and not creativity. According to him, the burst of creativity has repeatedly been followed by big companies showing up and locking it down. From the article: But the thing about dreaming up a future, and making it real, is then you have to live in it. Back in San Francisco, coming out of the BART station on Market Street, he admits that the web game has changed since he came up. [Editor's note: he is talking about web services that allow you to book a taxi with an app, pay for stuff you purchase with your phone]. "There were always ecommerce startups," he says. "I was never part of that world, and we kind of looked down on them when the whole boom was happening. We were creating businesses, but ours had more creativity, ours weren't just for the money. Or maybe ours were even for utility but not just money, whereas clearly there are ways for both." He laughs. "Even the Google guys -- they were trying to create something really useful and good for the world, and they made all the money." Software developer and writer Dave Winer disagrees. He believes that not all technologies are money-driven -- at least when you look at it from a different perspective. He writes: The fun is over. Now it's about money. I guess that's what you see from his perspective. And from Facebook, Apple and Google, and maybe Oracle and Salesforce, and a few others. But there are technologies that went a different way. My favorite example is Manhattan's relationship to Central Park. The apartment buildings around the park are the money, and the creativity is in the park. The buildings are exclusive, the most expensive real estate in the world. The park is open to anyone, rich or poor, from anywhere in the world. The park is the engine of renewal. It's where the new stuff comes from. The buildings are where the money is parked. In the interview Williams did with the Atlantic, in NYC, they looked into the park from a nearby hotel. That's one valid perspective of course. Or you could go for a walk and see wha''s happening inside the park. You can see a great concert at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, but there's great music in the park too. It's different. But it's good music. And the price is right.
Oracle

Those 100,000 Lost Air Force Files Have Been Found Again (govexec.com) 36

The Air Force now says it will be able to recover those 100,000 investigation files dating back to 2004, after "aggressively leveraging all vendor and department capabilities." An anonymous reader quotes a report from Government Executive about the mysteriously corrupted database: In a short, four-sentence statement released midday on Wednesday, service officials said the Air Force continues to investigate the embarrassing incident in which the files and their backups were corrupted. "Through extensive data recovery efforts over the weekend and this week, the Air Force has been able to regain access to the data in the Air Force Inspector General Automated Case Tracking System..." the statement reads. Earlier on Wednesday, the Air Force chief of staff said that the effort to recover the files involved Lockheed Martin and Oracle, the two defense contractors that run the database, plus Air Force cyber and defense cyber crime personnel.
The Chief of Staff hopes "there won't be a long-term impact, other than making sure we understand exactly what happened, how it happened and how we keep it from ever happening again." The Air Force is conducting an independent review, while Lockheed Martin is now also performing a separate internal review.
Java

Judge Blasts Oracle's Attempt To Overturn Pro-Google Jury Verdict (arstechnica.com) 106

Joe Mullin, reporting for Ars Technica: Google successfully made its case to a jury last month that its use of Java APIs in Android was "fair use," and the verdict rejected Oracle's claim that the mobile system infringed its copyrights. After Google argued its case, though, Oracle filed a motion arguing that the judge should decide as a matter of law that fair use didn't cover it. In the wake of the jury's pro-Google verdict, Oracle's motion was its last hope of a trial victory. It didn't happen; US District Judge William Alsup shot down the motion on Wednesday. The same order also denied Google's motion making similar arguments, filed at the close of trial but before the jury's verdict. Alsup's stinging order [PDF], which rejects Oracle's argument [PDF] on every front, hardly comes as a surprise. But the document provides the first insights as to what Oracle might bring up in an appeal proceeding, which the company has said it will pursue. In the order, Alsup defends how he ran the trial. The evidence and instructions presented to the jury were a mix of mandates from the appeals court, which overruled Alsup on the key issue of API copyrightability, and modifications urged by both sides' lawyers.
Cloud

Oracle Whistleblower Suit Raises Questions Over Cloud Accounting (nbcnews.com) 63

Svetlana Blackburn, a former senior finance manager for Oracle claims that the company has fired her for not "inflating" revenues in its cloud services division. She alleges that her bosses had instructed her to add "millions of dollars of accruals" for expected business "with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers." Oracle eventually inflated the numbers without her assistance, anyway, she adds. From NBC News report: The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by former Oracle senior finance manager Svetlana Blackburn, also revives longstanding questions about proper accounting when software and computer services are bought on a subscription basis rather than as a single package, analysts said. Those questions are becoming more urgent as companies including Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and SAP race to transform their businesses for an era in which customers no longer own and operate their own information technology systems and instead lease computing services and software from cloud vendors using vast data centers.A spokesperson for Oracle says that Blackburn's claims are wrong, adding, "We are confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct."
IBM

Is Denver The Next High-Tech Center? (newyorker.com) 151

An anonymous reader write: "The spread of the tech industry outside Silicon Valley has helped make Denver the fastest-growing large city in the U.S.," reports the New Yorker, saying it's now growing faster than Austin and Seattle, becoming one of America's 20 most populous cities. Cost-conscious investors and tech executives now are opening offices in cheaper "secondary cities" outside of Silicon Valley, like Salt Lake City, and the good universities near Denver mean a well-educated workforce, coupled with a low cost of living.

"Though the city isn't the headquarters for any big tech companies -- like Dell in the Austin area or Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle -- several of them, including IBM and Oracle, have offices here. The presence of those offices, and of the universities, has also helped create a vibrant startup scene: people get educated here or come here for jobs, and then they graduate or leave those jobs and become entrepreneurs." Last year venture capitalists invested $800 million in Demver's tech, energy, food, and marijuana companies, and in 2014 Oracle paid over a billion dollars to acquire Denver-based Datalogix.

Anyone else live in a burgeoning "secondary" tech city? Scott McNealy said he co-founded his data-analysis startup in Denver because in California "The prices of everything have skyrocketed. The regulations. The pension deficit. The traffic. It's just not a fun place to go start."
Android

Op-ed: Oracle Attorney Says Google's Court Victory Might Kill the GPL (arstechnica.com) 357

Annette Hurst, an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who represented Oracle in the recent Oracle v. Google trial, has written an opinion piece for Ars Technica in which she urges developers and creators to not celebrate Google's win in the hard-fought copyright case as the decision -- if remains intact -- is poised to make them "suffer" everywhere and also the free software movement itself "now faces substantial jeopardy." As you're aware, in a verdict earlier this week, a federal court announced that Google's Android operating system didn't infringe on Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." Hurst writes: No business trying to commercialize software with any element of open software can afford to ignore this verdict. Dual licensing models are very common and have long depended upon a delicate balance between free use and commercial use. Royalties from licensed commercial exploitation fuel continued development and innovation of an open and free option. The balance depends upon adherence to the license restrictions in the open and free option. This jury's verdict suggests that such restrictions are now meaningless, since disregarding them is simply a matter of claiming "fair use." It is hard to see how GPL can survive such a result. In fact, it is hard to see how ownership of a copy of any software protected by copyright can survive this result. Software businesses now must accelerate their move to the cloud where everything can be controlled as a service rather than software. Consumers can expect to find decreasing options to own anything for themselves, decreasing options to control their data, decreasing options to protect their privacy.
Google

Android Is 'Fair Use' As Google Beats Oracle In $9 Billion Lawsuit (arstechnica.com) 243

infernalC writes: Ars Technica is reporting that the verdict is in, and that the jury decided that Google's duplication of several Java interfaces is fair use. Ars Technica writes that Google's Android OS does not infringe upon Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." The jury unanimously answered "yes" in response to whether or not Google's use of Java APIs was a "fair use" under copyright law. The trial is now over, since Google won. "Google's win somewhat softens the blow to software developers who previously thought programming language APIs were free to use," Ars Technica writes. "It's still the case that APIs can be protected by copyright under the law of at least one appeals court. However, the first high-profile attempt to control APIs with copyright law has now been stymied by a "fair use" defense." The amount Oracle may have asked for in damages could have been as much as $9 billion.
Google

Apple, Microsoft and Google Hold 23% Of All US Corporate Cash Outside the Finance Sector (geekwire.com) 166

An anonymous reader writes: Apple, Microsoft, and Google are the top three cash-rich U.S. companies across all sectors of business, not including banks and other financial institutions -- holding a combined $391 billion in cash as of the end of 2015, or more than 23 percent of the entire $1.68 trillion held by the nation's non-financial corporations. Apple leads the pack with $215.7 billion in cash, followed by Microsoft at $102.6 billion, and Google at $73.1 billion. The numbers are documented in a new report from Moody's Investors Service that shows an unprecedented concentration of cash in the tech sector. For the first time, the top five companies on the Moody's cash ranking are tech companies, with Cisco and Oracle following Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Technology companies overall held $777 billion in cash, or 46 percent of the total cash across all non-financial industries.
The Almighty Buck

A Third Of Cash Is Held By 5 US Tech Companies (siliconbeat.com) 392

An anonymous reader writes: Moody's Investors Service released an analysis Friday that shows Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Cisco Systems, and Oracle are sitting on $504 billion, which is roughly 30% of the $1.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents held by U.S. non-financial companies in 2015. Almost all of their earnings ($1.2 trillion) are stashed overseas in an effort to avoid paying taxes on moving profits back to the U.S. under the country's complex tax code. Apple has more than 90 percent of its money located outside of the U.S., according to its most recent filings. Moody's said in its report that "we expect that overseas cash balances will continue to grow unless tax laws are changed to encourage companies to repatriate money." Some of the other tech and Silicon Valley companies in the top 50 include Intel, Gilead Sciences, Facebook, Amazon, Qualcomm, eBay, Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo.

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