Google's Earth

WIlliam Gibson wrote a great op-ed piece for The New York Times. It's all about the universe that's being built around us by Google (and Facebook, and many of the other social media sites). Despite their good intentions and 'do no evil' mantra, they're getting perilously close to some of the dystopian nightmares that should stay in the pages of fiction. With every line of code we engineers write, we have to ask ourselves: does this move us closer to the world of Star Trek, or of Blade Runner? I, for one, would rather not live in the Blade Runner universe, and yet that's what we're sliding into building.

One small act that can help avoid the dystopia is to keep the pressure on Oracle to do the right thing. I don't believe that parading around in protest t-shirts will convince them to do what they committed to, but it'll let them know that the community is watching.

I have an offer to members of the press: a free dinner anywhere in the Bay Area to anyone who gets a straight, reasonable, intellectually defensible official answer from Oracle to the question of why their demand for the creation of an independent Java Foundation applied to Sun, but now doesn't apply to Oracle.

September 17, 2010