Let's see how nerds snarking in court works out for them


Unfortunately, that’s already happened (in the U.S.), and my understanding is that the Supreme Court declined to take up the case, so it’s settled at this point. Barring a change to the law for the better (hah!), the argument at this point is whether copying an API is a de minimis violation and thus acceptable under fair use.

I’m still shocked that something that’s roughly the equivalent of a phonebook for programmers was ruled to fall under copyright.


“How dare you!”

“reads like she thinks the “nerds” she’s talking about are a little clique in some weird subculture as opposed to members of an enormous, successful, important, and growing piece of the US economy”

“Don’t you know who I am?”


Sounds more like an asshole than a nerd.

(not that the two are mutually exclusive, mind you)


What are you getting at? I wasn’t trying to make an appeal to authority; I was just refuting Jeong’s implication that the “nerds” are part of some insular culture that doesn’t understand the outside world.


So, you see yourself as a member of the “normals,” hoping to impose philosophical changes on how the nerds write programs for your devices? Do you envision something like HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, or are you hoping for more of a “Big Bang Theory” approach?


I think I would explain an API as just the interface that client software uses.

From the point of view of a driver, the interface to a car consists of things like steering wheel, gas pedal, gear selector, etc…


Just the title of the article gives me rage. The more I read the article, the more pissed off I became. As a tech person, I get it. Explaining tech shit to non tech people can be hard. Hell, explaining your particular niche of tech shit to other tech people can be hard. However, as other posts in this thread have shown it’s really not too hard to break down tech shit into “ELI5” explanations if you give it a little bit of thought.

Even the title of the article pisses me off.

Give me a fucking break. I absolutely bristle at the suggestion that “open source software” is a culture. The notion that “I want my software to be unencumbered by copyright” isn’t some sort of radical counterculture notion, it’s a fucking contract. How much more square can you get?


If I were asked “You kept a Google blog on yourself, right?”, and on answering “no” had an email from a Google “Search Alert” triumphantly shoved under my nose, I might be a little snarky, too.

From the sounds of it, he did first explain that calling it a blog is a misrepresentation, and didn’t get snarky until he was pressed on whether he was going to disavow the linked article he had no control over…


Really wish people would stop conflating “nerds” with “tech billionaires.” These people represent me about as much as Donald Trump represents a little old lady who rents out her basement room.


I’d love to think this as well, but the thing is that this is a court of law ruling on Serious Stuff in a complex and highly technical case where you have to explain things you take to granted for those that have no clue what you’re talking about. I’m sure the attorney could start dropping a bunch of Latin terms and Law Shit to Schwartz and make him sound like an idiot. I think the attorney also has a responsibility to ensure that a witnesses’ statement comes off as unambiguously as possible in the court record. Sometimes that may entail asking stupid sounding questions.

Yes, it can be undignified to explain tech stuff when the other person doesn’t seem to get it, but they also don’t live in your world any more than you live in theirs. I’d imagine this is a similar problem that faces other witnesses in other highly technical and complicated fields (medicine, science, construction, etc) when they have to explain concepts to laypeople.


Also, thank you for the Ars link. I tound it much more informative than the OP.


This isn’t 1988. Today we call them technologists, engineers, and Sir/Ma’am.


Oracle v. Google is the revenge of the normals, bringing a
hammer down on the customs and practices that the nerds decided for
themselves. After all, something can’t be copyrightable just because all
the nerds agree it is; so why should something be unable to be
copyrighted just because the nerds think it is?

OP is a steaming pile.


Absolutely, where I get irritated is when they act as though you are speaking in tongues then look at you like you’re an idiot when you don’t understand their specialized knowledge. (accounting, law, science, medicine, etc.) We all have areas of arcane knowledge and just need to respect one another’s area of expertise.


What the hell did I just read? Snarking? Nerds? Wait, who are we hating now?
Sarah Jeong should write the screenplay for “two minutes of hate”


“ut outside the walls of the courthouse, the elegant, perfectly manicured, proprietary walled gardens of Apple are beating the goddamn pants off Android.” Um… if this was written 10 years ago… I would believe it but considering this was written less than 10 days ago… um dafuq? Using what metric exactly?


Nerd arrogance isn’t pretty. But MBA/JD/Oracle arrogance is much worse. The nerds need to win this one.


Really! Both the OP and Sarah Jeong must have High School trauma from some chess club nerds. Nerd subculture is “completely alien”? “Silicon Valley’s hypocrisy and narcissism.” are you for real?

Oracle wants 9,000,000,000 dollars because Google used tech that Sun begged people to use. And used it in a way Sun execs say was perfectly reasonable. Oracle wants to rewrite copyright law. Fair use is something that Sarah Jeong thinks is NERDS being jerks!

"Schwartz seemed less upset about being called one of the worst CEOs in America, and more put off by the sheer indignity of being cross-examined by a man who didn’t know what a blog is"
As he should be!

If Perez Hilton was on trial and a lawyer didn’t know who the Kardashians are, then yes you should be indignant to someone who spent no time preparing for this case.


From the article:

“Movement to a few minutes of terse explanations, including what the acronym GNU stands for: GNU is Not Unix.
“The G part stands for GNU?” Alsup asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” said Schwartz on the stand.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” said the 71-year-old Clinton appointee.”

Of course it makes sense. GNU is just an arbitrary label being used to distinguish one system from another by counting. It’s a recursive acronym / algorithm. It’s an intellectual joke playing on nested sets and Russell’s set theory paradox. Can GNU include itself or not?

It’s basically like saying
PARSE_GNU = "GNU is Not Unix"
GNU = 0 ; NU = 1
if PAST_GNU less than GNU print PARSE_GNU

Another way of saying it would be “GNU is Not Unix Ever Forever No Exceptions [GNUEFNE],” except that’s not a very elegant formula, when you can explain the same thing iteratively.

But when you have to explain a joke, it’s not funny anymore, right? It’s like peeling away the layers of an onion and expecting to find an onion under the last peel. Unless cluelessness about geek humor is also part of the inside joke. I would have asked the judge if he understood the old Abbott and Costello baseball sketch, since that seems to be more his speed. Sheesh.


I wonder how Cory would have spun this story. Probably with a link to EFF’s deep links blog.