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Judge For Google vs. Oracle Case Is Also A Programmer

Radford C. May 16, 2012 1

Judge William Haskell Alsup

This is cool to know. I can sit back and relax knowing the council from both sides of the case can’t fool the judge. In a Google Plus post by by Google Chief Engineer Ray Cromwell, he details the banter between Oracle’s council and Alsup. Pulled from the GrokLaw transcript, the judge calls out Oracle Council David Boies:

Alsup tells Boies Oracle’s only doing damages because they haven’t won anything else and they’re in a fix. “This is a fishing expedition.”…
Alsup says he’s been writing code since this trial started. He’s written rangeCheck code a “100 times”. Incredulous Oracle claiming damages…

I’ll be the first to say, that the world, including judges, jury and executives at the highest levels can get fooled by anyone that knows more about something. Whether it’s your mechanic or your web programmer, people with knowledge also have power.

In a case as complex as the Oracle/Google case, it’s good to know that the judge understands the scope of his rulings and the affect it has from a development standpoint. This is important because the development world has that much affect in the technology landscape.

Commenter Daniel Haggard set it best as well and linked to an old post on why people should program:

It’s really great to see more people coming out against the view that people shouldn’t learn to code.

As you point out +Ray Cromwell if our entire society is going to be based on information and computing then the possibilities of human experience are going to be constrained in a real way by what we can do with those fundamentals. If you can’t code you’re going to be at the mercy of those who can.

I go further however – and argue that desires themselves can open outward when you know something about what you can do with programming.

Here’s more banter between the Oracle’s lawyers and Judge Alsup:

Judge: We heard the testimony of Mr. Bloch. I couldn’t have told you the first thing about Java before this problem. I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I’ve written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. There’s no way you could say that was speeding them along to the marketplace. You’re one of the best lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind of argument?

Oracle: I want to come back to rangeCheck.

Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you’re inputting are within a range, and gives them some sort of exceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high school student could do it– —

Via »Ray Gromwell/Groklaw