Campaigners cry foul play as Oracle funds conservative lobby group supporting its court case against Google

Google-funded think tanks need to sit back and, er, have a think


Campaigners have reacted angrily to Oracle's decision to fund the Internet Accountability Project (IAP), a lobby group which has – surprisingly enough – supported Oracle's claim against Google in the US Supreme Court.

The IAP, among others, has filed amicus brief supporting Oracle's position in the case. IAP said it wants to "ensure that Google respects the copyrights of Oracle and other innovators".

Since then it has come to light that Oracle is, in fact, helping to fund the IAP. An Oracle political activity report (PDF) released late last year shows that in 2019 it donated between $25,000 and $99,999 to the IAP, known for its conservative-leaning views on internet policy.

Ashkhen Kazaryan, director of civil liberties and legal research fellow of nonprofit think tank TechFreedom, told The Register that the donation "is problematic since the IAP refuses to disclose its funding while demanding [funding transparency] of real research institutions.

"They go after many respected think tanks and call them 'Google shills' while themselves getting money directly from Oracle – a key competitor of Google. IAP has done a ton of work supporting Oracle's positions, including filling in their support of Oracle in the Supreme Court Case Oracle v Google."

The IAP is registered as "social welfare organization, such as a civic organization or a neighborhood association" [501c4] and therefore is not required to disclose its funding.

At the time of the IAP's February submission to the Supreme Court, Mike Davis, the founder and president, said:

With a straight face, Google is claiming that stealing copyrighted computer code from Oracle is "fair use." There is nothing fair about Google's absurd interpretation of the "fair use" doctrine to justify Google's theft of Oracle's intellectual property. Google's theft of Oracle's property was about money, pure and simple.

Oracle's copyright lawsuit against Google dates back to 2010, when Oracle sued Google for infringement over its use of Java APIs in its Android operating system.

Oral arguments in the Google vs Oracle Supreme Court battle are now scheduled for 24 March with a decision expected in June. It is set to decide if copyright protection applies to a software interface and whether Google's use of Java APIs in Android constitutes fair use.

Whatever the Court decides, funding of lobby groups by tech giants – on either side – is unlikely to be seen as fair.

Oracle has refused to comment to The Register on the issue. ®


Oracle exhumes ‘Older, Still Useful Content’ penned by Solaris and SPARC veterans

Posts look to have evaporated along with employee privileges

Oracle has done something a little odd: exhuming ancient blog posts about Solaris and SPARC by former Sun luminaries that have moved on to other things.

The company released one batch in December 2020 when it announced the restoration of 13 articles, dating back to 2006, by former Senior Principal Software Engineer Darryl Gove.

This week the company announced the release of more old articles, in a post with the odd headline “More Older, Still Useful Content Made Available”. The post says the new batch of articles, and the first lot, “got accidentally deleted” when the author left Oracle. The author of the newly exhumed posts is former Oracle Principal Software Engineer James McPherson.

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A Microsoft bork at the heart of The Oracle? Whatever next?

Going shopping? Hope your pockets are deep enough

Bork!Bork!Bork! The enmity between Microsoft and Oracle is the stuff of legend, but it appears The Beast of Redmond may have had the last laugh, at least over its namesake.

You may be picturing databases-at-dawn, but today's bork centres on Windows badness within The Oracle... er, shopping centre in Reading, UK.

Spotted by Register reader Simon while on a stroll, a four-letter word has been obscured by Windows 10's cry for attention in the window of clothing retailer Superdry. Not, we hasten to add, the four-letter word usually uttered by users of the OS as it decides that three minutes before an important meeting is the perfect time for an update.

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Trump backs Oracle as potential TikTok buyer

Larry Ellison hailed as 'terrific guy' but Big Red stays shtum on its intentions

Donald Trump has signaled his support of Oracle as a buyer for contentions made-in-China social media app TikTok.

"I think that Oracle would be certainly somebody that could handle it," the US President said at a press conference in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday. He also called Trump fundraiser and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison a "tremendous guy."

Trump's support of such a deal comes after yesterday's news that Oracle had reportedly expressed interest in acquiring TikTok's operations across the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond: Oracle launches rugged edge-of-network box for hostile environments

Call me what you will – but don't drop me more than 26 times

Oracle has launched a rugged computer-filled box which users should feel comfortable dropping from a 1.2m height but no more than 26 times.

What Big Red calls the Roving Edge Device is a 40-core, 512GB RAM, 61TB storage machine that can take Oracle's cloud where there is no cloud.

The point of the "ruggedized, portable, scalable server node" is to do processing in hostile environments where connecting to the internet is tricky. That means they can respond to data without sending it back to the bit barn, and only send back meaningful conclusions when reconnected, according to Oracle.

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Oracle upgrades MySQL with an analytics speed boost albeit only in the Big Red cloud

You're tired of best-of-breed databases, apparently

Oracle has upgraded the online analytical processing capabilities of its MySQL database, but only if you run it in the Oracle cloud.

Big Red recognises that MySQL is well regarded for transaction processing but has heard complaints from users who say that its weakness on analytics tasks mean they run another database for such jobs.

Enter the new "MySQL Analytics Engine", an in-memory analytics engine supposed to improve the open-source database's performance, developed by the same team that works on Oracle's eponymous database.

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Sopra Steria gets £££££££s to manage cops' Oracle e-Biz suite in Oracle's cloud in Cleveland, UK

The bad guys looking after the good guys... or is that the other way round? Life's so complicated

Cleveland Police in northeast England has handed a £4.2m contract to incumbent IT integrator and outsourcing provider Sopra Steria to host and maintain its Oracle E-business Suite applications in Big Red's cloud.

The French IT services biz, which until recently ran the police service's IT operations, has won the three-year contract for managed services of the force's Oracle EBS and Capita Duty Management system.

Although the contract value was estimated at nearly £17m in a tender notice, a spokeswoman for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland said this had been published in error.

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Oracle starts to lose patience with Solaris holdouts

Users who won’t upgrade to 11.4 given three-year warning of unpleasantness to come

Oracle appears to be losing patience with Solaris users who won’t adopt the newest 11.4 release of the OS.

The database giant this month notified folks that as of January 2021 "premier support" for version 11.3 will end. Oracle’s next tier of support for that build of the operating system is “extended support,” which Oracle’s Lifetime Support Policy explains offers the same support services as premier albeit for an extra fee and only for three years.

Support is available beyond the extended offering: “sustaining support” will continue for as long as you keep paying Big Red license fees, but does not include “new updates, fixes, security alerts, data fixes, and critical patch updates.”

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Tata Consultancy Services wins £4m deal to carry out Oracle 'reimplementation' for University of Manchester

That's an expensive reimplementation

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has won a £4m contract to bump up the University of Manchester from Oracle Financials version 12.1.3 to 12.2.8 or later.

The institution - based in England's north west and which was the centre of a COVID-19 lockdown protest last year - is also looking to create a new chart of accounts, involving a complete re-engineering of its core financial processes.

TCS will be expected to make the switch to the new system by 1 August 2022, according to a contract award notice.

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East London council breaks off 20-year Oracle relationship to shack up with cloud ERP nobodies by year's end

From one of the world's largest software suppliers to... who?

The clock is ticking for Barking and Dagenham Council as the East London authority plans to ditch Oracle e-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 and go live with cloud-based software from MHR and Advanced by the end of the year.

Support for its current version of Oracle ends 31 December 2021, leaving the council 11 months to complete an ERP upgrade for an organisation that employs around 3,500 people. Good luck with that.

"Slippage of the project go-live date beyond 3 months would result in the Council using an unsupported system from 2022," a council cabinet document [PDF] warned.

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Larry Ellison says he's not following Oracle to Texas, prefers his private Hawaii pad

It's great being king

Last week, Larry Ellison wished staff well as his IT giant Oracle prepares to move its headquarters from Silicon Valley, California, to Austin, Texas... though he apparently will be going in the opposite direction, to Hawaii.

"Following Friday's announcement ... I've received a number of inquiries about whether or not I will be moving to Texas," Ellison said in a note to workers yesterday, the Austin American Statesman reports.

"The answer is no. I've moved to the State of Hawaii and I'll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai. Mahalo, Larry."

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