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Oracle's Allies Against Google Include Scott McNealy and America's Justice Department
America's Justice Department "has filed a brief in support of Oracle in its Supreme Court battle against Google over whether Java should have copyright protection," reports ZDNet: The Justice Department filed its amicus brief to the Supreme Court this week, joining a mighty list of briefs from major tech companies and industry luminaries — including Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun, which Oracle bought in 2010, acquiring Sun-built Java in the process. While Microsoft, IBM and others have backed Google's arguments in the decade-long battle, McNealy, like the Justice Department, is opposing Google. McNealy called Google's description of how it uses Java packages a "woeful mischaracterization of the artful design of the Java packages" and "an insult to the hard-working developers at Sun who made Java such a success...." Joe Tucci, former CEO of now Dell-owned enterprise storage giant EMC, threw in his two cents against Google. "Accepting Google's invitation to upend that system by eliminating copyright protection for creative and original computer software code would not make the system better — it would instead have sweeping and harmful effects throughout the software industry," Tucci's brief reads. Oracle is also questioning the motives of Google's allies, reports The Verge: After filing a Supreme Court statement last week, Oracle VP Ken Glueck posted a statement over the weekend assailing the motives of Microsoft, IBM, and the CCIA industry group, all of which have publicly supported Google. Glueck's post comes shortly after two groups — an interdisciplinary panel of academics and the American Conservative Union Foundation — submitted legal briefs supporting Oracle. Both groups argued that Google should be liable for copying code from the Java language for the Android operating system. The ACUF argued that protecting Oracle's code "is fundamental to a well-ordered system of private property rights and indeed the rule of law itself...." Earlier this year, Google garnered around two dozen briefs supporting its position. But Oracle claims that in reality, "Google appears to be virtually alone — at least among the technology community." Glueck says Google's most prominent backers had ulterior motives or "parochial agendas"; either they were working closely with Google, or they had their own designs on Java... Even if you accept Oracle's arguments wholeheartedly, there's a long list of other Google backers from the tech community. Advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology signed on to amicus briefs last month, as did several prominent tech pioneers, including Linux creator Linus Torvalds and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. The CCIA brief was signed by the Internet Association, a trade group representing many of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley. Patreon, Reddit, Etsy, the Mozilla Corporation, and other midsized tech companies also backed a brief raising "fundamental concerns" about Oracle's assertions.

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FizzBuzz 2.0: Pragmatic Programming Questions For Software Engineers
A former YC partner co-founded a recruiting company for technical hiring, and one of its software engineers is long-time Slashdot reader compumike. He now writes: Like the decade-old Fizz Buzz Test, there are some questions that are trivial for anyone who can build software at a professional level, but are likely to stump anyone who can't hack it. I analyzed the data from over 100,000 programmers to reveal how five multiple-choice questions easily separate the real software engineers from the rest. The questions (and the data about correct answers) come from Triplebyte's own coder-recruiting quiz, and "98% of successful engineers answer at least 4 of 5 correctly," explains Mike's article. ("Successful" engineers are defined as those who went on to receive an inbound message from a company matching their preferences through Triplebyte's platform.) "I'm confident that if you're an engineering manager running an interview, you wouldn't give an offer to someone who performed below that line." Question 1: What kind of SQL statement retrieves data from a table? LOOKUPREADFETCHSELECT

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Will Low-Code and No-Code Platforms Revolutionize Programming?
In a new article in Forbes, a Business Technology professor at the Villanova School of Business argues that the way we build software applications is changing: If you're living in the 21st century you turn to your cloud provider for help where many of the most powerful technologies are now offered as-a-service. When your requirements cannot be completely fulfilled from cloud offerings, you build something. But what does "building" mean? What does "programming" mean...? You can program from scratch. You can go to Github (where you can find code of all flavors). Or you can — if you're a little lazier — turn to low-code or no-code programming platforms to develop your applications. All of this falls under the umbrella of what, the Gartner Group defines as the "democratization of expertise": "Democratization is focused on providing people with access to technical expertise (for example, ML, application development) or business domain expertise (for example, sales process, economic analysis) via a radically simplified experience and without requiring extensive and costly training...." [T]he new repositories, platforms and tools are enabling a whole new set of what we used to call "programming." As Satya Nadella said, "Every business will become a software business, build applications, use advanced analytics and provide SAAS services," and as Sajjad Daya says so well in Hackernoon, "Coding takes too long for it to be both profitable and competitively priced. That's not the case with no-code platforms, though. The platforms do the complicated programming automatically, slashing development time..." The technology democracy has forever changed corporate strategy. And what does this mean? It means that the technical team scales on cue. But "technical" means competencies around Github, low-code/no-code platforms and especially business domains... [A]ll of this levels the technology playing field among companies — so long as they understand the skills and competencies they need.

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