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I Want It All

Posted by editor on March 31, 2006 at 8:22 AM PST

Paul Graham on patent trolls, Venitian glass-blowers, and hockey

The wretched silliness of software trivialities and obviousness that are granted patents by the U.S. Patent Office is a popular and easy target of scorn from technically-minded folks. A popular response is to declare that the very idea of software patents is nonsense at best and at worst the end of innovation in the tech industry.

Paul Graham will meet you half-way -- a lot of the things that get patents shouldn't -- but he makes a surprising case in favor of software patents in his essay Are Software Patents Evil? In it, he argues that holding and using software patents are two different things, the first isn't necessarily wrong, and the second has its defenses as well:

Google clearly doesn't feel that merely holding patents is evil.
They've applied for a lot of them. Are they hypocrites? Are patents

There are really two variants of that question, and people answering
it often aren't clear in their own minds which they're answering.
There's a narrow variant: is it bad, given the current legal system,
to apply for patents? and also a broader one: it is bad that the
current legal system allows patents?

These are separate questions. For example, in preindustrial societies
like medieval Europe, when someone attacked you, you didn't call
the police. There were no police. When attacked, you were supposed
to fight back, and there were conventions about how to do it. Was
this wrong? That's two questions: was it wrong to take justice
into your own hands, and was it wrong that you had to? We tend to
say yes to the second, but no to the first. If no one else will
defend you, you have to defend yourself.

Further in Also in
Java Today
"It sometimes seems like widely popular web-standards innovation halted
around 2000, and the last few years have been a period of very slow
catch-up. Various visions of a new Web, a better Web, have come and gone,
leaving behind useful parts but not yet transforming the Web. Are we on
the edge of the next big thing? It may make sense to look at the last few
big things, comparing their visions with what's happening today." In the article The Next Web? Simon St. Laurent traces the promises and
progress of various "Next Big Thing" contenders: the XML Web, the Semantic
Web, the Services Web, the Next XHTML, and AJAX.

The latest Poll asks "Have you tried the Mustang (Java SE 6) beta?" Cast your vote on the front page, then visit the results page for results and discussion.

In today's Forums,
leo_test seeks help with Threads in GUIs for 1.5:
"Next I'm getting confused about the Locks - What is the advantage to adapt code to 1.5 and not use any longer the synchronized in the method-name? (using lock resp. trylock instead of synchronized). And finally I am even more confused, cause I've found as well SwingWorkers. So, does this mean instead of hacking my own Thread-handling SwingWorker is the *better* approach? What's the benefit instead of starting the Thread by myself?"

beemer_addict has a clever hack in
Re: Full Screen Mode on Linux:
"I have found a workaround: A kind of 'poor mans' fullscreen mode: You simply maximize the window and remove the decorations. Works fine both on windows and linux win Java 1.4.2 and 1.5.0"

Nigel Daley has a grid computing introduction in today's Weblogs. In
Compute Server: how it works, he writes:
"The recently created Compute Server project aims to enable Java developers to easily and efficiently use the Sun Grid Compute Utility as a platform for the distributed execution of parallel jobs. I thought it might be helpful to give a 50,000 foot overview of the recently created Compute Server project."

David Herron considers the surprisingly related issues of
Scripting language support and whether Java needs to be open sourced:
"I came across this article Former Sun Exec Calls for Firm to Open-Source Java which is repeating yet another in the series of calls for Sun to open source our Java implementation. [...] There is a part I want to examine a bit."

Java Web Services (JWS) 2.0, Changshin Lee writes:
"While I was working on preparing slides for my session on TmaxDay 2006, I came up with some idea of grouping and classifying Java web services technologies"

In Projects and

Today (Friday, March 31) is the final day for entries in the Mustang Regression Challenge, which offers a t-shirt to every verified regression and an Ultra 20 workstation to the top five as judged by Sun's Java engineering and QA teams. Regression bugs will still be welcome after the deadline, but today is the last day for the contest.

The 74th issue of the JavaTools Community Newsletter rounds up tool-related news items from around the web, offers a "tool tip" for using Subversion when starting a new project, welcomes four projects to the community, and congratulates three projects on their graduation from the tools community incubator.

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Paul Graham on patent trolls, Venitian glass-blowers, and hockey