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The Courts

Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Oracle is gearing up for a fight with officials in Oregon over its role developing an expensive health insurance exchange website that still isn't fully operational. In a letter obtained by the Oregonian newspaper this week, Oracle co-president Safra Catz said that Oregon officials have provided the public with a 'false narrative' concerning who is to blame for Cover Oregon's woes. In the letter, Catz pointed out that Oregon's decision to act as their own systems integrator on the project, using Oracle consultants on a time-and-materials basis, was 'criticized frequently by many'. And as far as Oracle is concerned, 'Cover Oregon lacked the skills, knowledge or ability to be successful as the systems integrator on an undertaking of this scope and complexity,' she added."
Open Source

Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What? 273

Posted by timothy
from the hundreds-of-millions-served dept.
We're thankfully long past the days when an emailed Word document was useless without a copy of Microsoft Word, and that's in large part thanks to the success of the OpenOffice family of word processors. "Family," because the OpenOffice name has been attached to several branches of a codebase that's gone through some serious evolution over the years, starting from its roots in closed-source StarOffice, acquired and open-sourced by Sun to become OpenOffice.org. The same software has led (via some hamfisted moves by Oracle after its acquisition of Sun) to the also-excellent LibreOffice. OpenOffice.org's direct descendant is Apache OpenOffice, and an anonymous reader writes with this excellent news from that project: "The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times. Over 100 million downloads, over 750 extensions, over 2,800 templates. But what does the community at Apache need to do to get the next 100 million?" If you want to play along, you can get the latest version of OpenOffice from SourceForge (Slashdot's corporate cousin). I wonder how many government offices -- the U.S. Federal government has long been Microsoft's biggest customer -- couldn't get along just fine with an open source word processor, even considering all the proprietary-format documents they're stuck with for now.
Hardware

Used IT Equipment Can Be Worth a Fortune (Video) 79

Posted by Roblimo
from the how-much-is-that-mainframe-in-the-window? dept.
This is a conversation with Frank Muscarello, CEO and co-founder of MarkiTx, a company that brokers used and rehabbed IT equipment. We're not talking about an iPhone 3 you might sell on craigslist, but enterprise-level items. Cisco. Oracle. IBM mainframes. Racks full of HP or Dell servers. That kind of thing. In 2013 IDC pegged the value of the used IT equipment market at $70 billion, so this is a substantial business. MarkiTx has three main bullet points: *Know what your gear is worth; *Sell with ease at a fair price; and *Buy reliable, refurbished gear. Pricing is the big deal, Frank says. With cars you have Cars.com and Kelley Blue Book. There are similar pricing services for commercial trucks, construction equipment, and nearly anything else a business or government agency might buy or sell used. For computers? Not so much. Worth Monkey calls itself "The blue book for used electronics and more," but it only seems to list popular consumer equipment. I tried looking up several popular Dell PowerEdge servers. No joy. An HTC Sensation phone or an Acer Aspire notebook? Sure. With price ranges based on condition, same as Kelley Blue Book does with cars. Now back to the big iron. A New York bank wants to buy new servers. Their old ones are fully depreciated in the tax sense, and their CTO can show stats saying they are going to suffer from decreasing reliability. So they send out for bids on new hardware. Meanwhile, there's a bank in Goa, India, that is building a server farm on a tight budget. If they can buy used servers from the New York bank, rehabbed and with a warranty, for one-third what they'd cost new, they are going to jump on this deal the same way a small earthmoving operation buys used dump trucks a multinational construction company no longer wants.

In February, 2013 Computerworld ran an article titled A new way to sell used IT equipment about MarkiTx. The main differentiator between MarkiTx and predecessor companies is that this is primarily an information company. It is not eBay, where plenty of commercial IT equipment changes hands, nor is it quite like UK-based Environmental Computer, which deals in used and scrap computer hardware. It is, rather, the vanguard of computer hardware as a commodity; as something you don't care about as long as it runs the software you need it to run, and you can buy it at a good price -- or more and more, Frank notes -- rent a little bit of its capacity in the form of a cloud service, a direction in which an increasing number of business are moving for their computing needs. Even more fun: Let's say you are (or would like to be) a local or regional computer service company and you want to buy or sell or broker a little used hardware. You could use MarkiTx's price information to set both your buy and sell prices, same as a car dealer uses Kelley Blue Book. We seem to be moving into a whole new era of computer sales and resales. MarkiTx is one company making a splash in this market. But there are others, and there are sure to be even more before long. (Alternate video link.)
The Courts

Ex-Head of Troubled Health Insurance Site May Sue, Citing 'Cover-Up' 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the doomed-from-the-beginning dept.
itwbennett writes "Carolyn Lawson, the former CIO for Oregon's troubled health care insurance website, is alleging that state officials engaged in a 'substantial cover-up' meant to deflect blame away from themselves and onto herself and the project's contractor, Oracle. Lawson, who was forced to resign in December, this week filed a tort claim notice, which is a required precursor to filing a lawsuit against the state." Claims are made that the state was the typical bad client, refusing to articulate "business requirements" effectively and repeatedly increasing the scope of the project. But then again Oracle was involved.
Java

Java 8 Officially Released 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the gluten-free,-no-trans-fats dept.
darthcamaro writes "Oracle today officially released Java 8, nearly two years after Java 7, and after much delay. The new release includes a number of critical new features, including Lambda expressions and the new Nashorn JavaScript engine. Java 8, however, is still missing at least one critical piece that Java developers have been asking for, for years. 'It's a pity that some of the features like Jigsaw were dropped as modularity, runtime dependencies and interoperability are still a huge problem in Java,' James Donelan, vice president of engineering at MuleSoft said. 'In fact this is the one area where I still think Java has a long way to go.'"
Oracle

Oregon Withholding $25.6M From Oracle Over Health Website Woes 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
itwbennett writes "Oregon is holding back $25.6 million in payments from Oracle (out of some $69.5 million Oracle claims it is owed) over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website. The site was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional. This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out 'an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees,' according to a statement. Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away."
Businesses

WhatsApp: 2nd Biggest Tech Acquisition of All Time 257

Posted by timothy
from the of-all-time! dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to drop a cool $16 billion on WhatsApp, a messaging service with 450 million users. It was a mind-boggling sum, even if you buy into Facebook's argument that WhatsApp (which will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary, at least for the moment) will soon connect a billion people around the world. But it wasn't the biggest tech acquisition of all time: that honor belongs to Hewlett-Packard, which bought Compaq for (an inflation-adjusted) $33.4 billion in 2001. Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp comes in second on the list, followed by Hewlett-Packard's purchase of Electronic Data Systems for $15.4 billion; Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $13 billion, and Oracle snatching up Peoplesoft for $12.7 billion. In sixth comes Hewlett-Packard again, with its Autonomy buy in 2011 (for $11.7 billion), followed by Oracle's BEA Systems acquisition ($9.4 billion) and Microsoft seizing Skype ($9.0 billion). What do many of these highest-cost purchases have in common? Many of them didn't pan out. Hewlett-Packard's Compaq, Autonomy, and EDS acquisitions, for example, made all the sense in the world on paper, the tech giant eventually took significant write-downs on all three (Autonomy in particular was an outright disaster, resulting in a $8.8 billion write-off and widespread allegations of financial and management impropriety)." Update: 02/20 19:32 GMT by T : Of interest: Mother Jones has an interesting take on the seeming mismatch between Facebook's business model and the way the WhatsApp founders think about advertising. Hint: they hate it.
Businesses

Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down 92

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the linux-defeats-linux dept.
cold fjord writes with news that Red Flag Software, makers of China's Red Hat derivative Red Flag Linux, has halted operations. From the article: "Once the world's second-largest Linux distributor, Red Flag Software has shuttered reportedly due to mismanagement and after owing employees months in unpaid wages. China's state-funded answer to global software giants like Microsoft ... filed for liquidation over the weekend and terminated all employee contracts. Set up in late-1999 amid the dot-com boom, Red Flag was touted as an alternative to Windows ... It thrived in the early days, inking deals with partners such as Oracle and Dell which products were certified to support and shipped with Red Flag Software. The Beijing-based vendor was primarily funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Software Research, and later received additional funding from state-owned Shanghai NewMargin Venture Capital and the Ministry of Information Industry's VC arm ... 'A lack of brand awareness and sustained investments, coupled with the rise of rivals including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise, led to its downfall,' Eric Peng, Beijing-based research manager with IDC, said ... Peng noted that, during its hey days, Red Flag had enjoyed high adoption among government agencies, state-owned organizations, and schools.""
Ubuntu

Why Do You Need License From Canonical To Create Derivatives? 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-they-said-so dept.
sfcrazy writes "Canonical's requirement of a license for those creating Ubuntu derivatives is back in the news. Yesterday the Community Council published a statement about Canonical's licensing policies, but it's vague and it provides no resolution to the issue. It tells creators of derivative distros to avoid the press and instead talk to the Community Council (when they're not quick about responding). Now Jonathan Riddell of Kubuntu has come forth to say no one needs any license to create any derivative distro. So, the question remains: If Red Hat doesn't force a license on Oracle or CentOS, why does Canonical insist upon one?"
Oracle

Oracle Broadens Legal Fight Against Third-party Solaris Support Providers 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the friendly-neighborhood-corporation-looking-out-for-you dept.
angry tapir writes "Oracle is continuing its legal battle against third-party software support providers it alleges are performing such services in a manner that violates its intellectual property. Last week, Oracle sued StratisCom, a Georgia company that offers customers support for Oracle's Solaris OS, claiming it had 'misappropriated and distributed copyright, proprietary software code, along with the login credentials necessary to download this code from Oracle's password-protected websites.'"
Java

Oracle Seeking Community Feedback on Java 8 EE Plans 109

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the will-no-one-think-about-cyberdog dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quick bite from Info Q: "Oracle is seeking feedback from the Java community about what it should work on for the next version of Java EE, the popular and widely used enterprise framework. As well as standardizing APIs for PaaS and SaaS the vendor is looking at removing some legacy baggage including EJB 2.x remote and local client view (EJBObject, EJBLocalObject, EJBHome, and EJBLocalHome interfaces) and CORBA."
The Almighty Buck

Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian' 409

Posted by timothy
from the cue-the-h1bigots dept.
jfruh writes "A former Oracle sales manager is suing the database company for what he called racially discriminatory salary-setting practices. Ian Spandow wanted to transfer a high-performing salesman from Oracle's India office to California. When he requested a salary of $60,000 a year or more for the employee, equivalent to what his white American counterparts received, he was told instead to offer $50,000, which was 'good money for an Indian.' When Spandow protested, he was himself summarily fired."
Sun Microsystems

James Gosling Grades Oracle's Handling of Sun's Tech 223

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the a+-for-killing-solaris dept.
snydeq writes "With the four-year anniversary of Oracle's Sun Microsystems acquisition looming, InfoWorld reached out to Java founder James Gosling to rate how Oracle has done in shepherding Sun technology. Gosling gives Oracle eyebrow-raising grades, lauding Oracle's handling of Java, despite his past acrimony toward Oracle over Java (remember those T-shirts?), and giving Oracle a flat-out failing grade on what has become of Solaris OS."
Java

Oracle Promises Patches Next Week For 36 Exploits In Latest Java 154

Posted by timothy
from the they-call-this-progress dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Oracle is posting patches for all its products next Tuesday, which include 36 exploits for Java alone and over 140 for all Oracle products currently supported, included over 80 that require no authentication to execute.These patches look to be critical for any administrator. Java 6 users who use equipment or programs that rely on older versions are SOL unless they sign up for a very expensive support contract, as these patches are for Java 7 only."
Oracle

Tech Companies Set To Appeal 2012 Oracle Vs. Google Ruling 198

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-think-now? dept.
sl4shd0rk writes "In 2012, Oracle took Google to court over Java. In the balance hung the legalities of writing code to mimic the functionality of copyrighted software. The trial was set to determine how all future software would be written (and by whom). Oracle's entire case boiled down to an inadvertent 9 lines of code; an argument over a simple and basic comparison of a range of numbers. The presiding judge (who had some background in writing software) didn't buy it stating he had 'written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before.' A victory for more than just Google. This week, however, Microsoft, EMC, Oracle and Netapp have filed for appeal and seek to reverse the ruling. It's not looking good as the new bevy of judges Indicating they may side with Oracle on the issue."
Bug

How Much Is Oracle To Blame For Healthcare IT Woes? 275

Posted by timothy
from the called-larry-ellison dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The state of Oregon blames Oracle for the failures of its online health exchange. The health-insurance site still doesn't fully work as intended, with many customers forced to download and fill out paper applications rather than sign up online; Oracle has reportedly informed the state that it will sort out the bulk of technical issues by December 16, a day after those paper applications are due. 'It is the most maddening and frustrating position to be in, absolutely,' Liz Baxter, chairwoman of the board for the online exchange, told NPR. 'We have spent a lot of money to get something done—to get it done well—to serve the people in our state, and it is maddening that we can't seem to get over this last hump.' Oregon state officials insist that, despite payments of $43 million, Oracle missed multiple deadlines in the months leading up to the health exchange's bungled launch." (Read more, below.)
The Almighty Buck

Nasdaq 4000 — This Time It's Different? 241

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the new-and-exciting-bubbles-to-pop dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes, quoting USA Today "The NASDAQ has topped 4000 for the first time in 13 years, but much has changed since then. ... Tech investors in 2000 were right about the possibilities of the Internet and mobile computing. But they were dead wrong about which companies would be in the vanguard ... The recovery of the NASDAQ has been a complex tale of creative destruction, where old companies that once fueled the index have been pushed aside by new players. Back in 2000, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Intel, Oracle, and Sun accounted for 8.9%, 8.5%, 7.1%, 3.6% and 2.6%, respectively, of the value of the NASDAQ composite. Today, companies that were just starting out or didn't even exist — think Google, Amazon, and Facebook — are in the top 10, accounting for 4.7%, 2.7% and 1.5% of NASDAQ's value. Microsoft, Cisco and Intel's weight has fallen sharply. Apple, which wasn't in the top 10 in 2000, is a behemoth at 7.9%. So is the NASDAQ enjoying a long overdue catch-up with the rest of the market, or is the broad market overpriced, with the NASDAQ being pulled along for the ride? 'The reality is that the only thing that's the same from Nasdaq 4000 in 1999 and Nasdaq 4000 in 2013,' says Doug Sandler, 'is the number 4000.'"
Databases

NYT: Healthcare.gov Project Chaos Due Partly To Unorthodox Database Choice 334

Posted by timothy
from the even-if-it's-perfectly-nice dept.
First time accepted submitter conoviator writes "The NY Times has just published a piece providing more background on the healthcare.gov software project. One interesting aspect: 'Another sore point was the Medicare agency's decision to use database software, from a company called MarkLogic, that managed the data differently from systems by companies like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. CGI officials argued that it would slow work because it was too unfamiliar. Government officials disagreed, and its configuration remains a serious problem.'" The story does not say that MarkLogic's software is bad in itself, only that the choice meant increased complexity on the project.
Oracle

Oracle Kills Commercial Support For GlassFish: Was It Inevitable? 125

Posted by timothy
from the allocation-of-resources dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Oracle acquired GlassFish when it acquired Sun Microsystems, and now — like OpenSolaris and OpenOffice — the company has announced it will no longer support a commercial version of the product. Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. said in an interview the decision wasn't exactly a surprise: "The only company that was putting any real investment in GlassFish was Oracle," Milinkovich said. "Nobody else was really stepping up to the plate to help. If you never contributed anything to it, you can't complain when something like this happens." An update to the open source version is still planned for 2014." GlassFish is an open source application server.
Patents

Microsoft, Apple and Others Launch Huge Patent Strike at Android 476

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
New submitter GODISNOWHERE writes "Nortel went bankrupt in 2009. In 2011, it held an auction for its massive patent portfolio. The winners of the auction were Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM, and others, who bought the patents for $4.5 billion as a consortium named Rockstar Bidco. At the time, many people speculated those patents would be used against Google, who bid separately but lost. It turns out they were right. Rockstar has filed eight lawsuits in federal court targeting Google and Android device manufacturers. 'The complaint (PDF) against Google involves six patents, all from the same patent "family." They're all titled "associative search engine," and list Richard Skillen and Prescott Livermore as inventors. The patents describe "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network. The oldest patent in the case is US Patent No. 6,098,065, with a filing date of 1997, one year before Google was founded. The newest patent in the suit was filed in 2007 and granted in 2011. The complaint tries to use the fact that Google bid for the patents as an extra point against the search giant.'"

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