Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Oracle owns “JavaScript”, so Apple is taking down my app (reddit.com)
484 points by petercooper 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 201 comments

I knew that Microsoft had to call their ECMAScript implementation JScript, but it never dawned on me that Oracle is the current owner of the "JavaScript" trademark:


Between this and Oracle's ongoing lawsuit against Google for their use of Java in Android, I have a pretty low opinion of Oracle.

Indeed. When they said:

> The unauthorized display of our client's intellectual property is likely to cause consumers encountering this app to mistakenly believe that it emanates from, or is provided under a license from, Oracle.

I think most of us would agree that no, literally almost no one familiar with JavaScript would have believed that app to “emanate from, or be provided under a license from, Oracle”.

I know that Oracle owns Java, but I never would have guessed that they had any ownership of the JavaScript name. When I think of JS, Oracle is like the last company I would think of.

When I think of JS, I think of Brendan Eich, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, web development, Node.js, etc.

I believe trademark laws require trademark holders to actively enforce them or they run the risk of losing the trademark when it comes up in something that actually matters.

Although really Oracle should have the sense to see the state of the landscape and just drop it. It's become a generic term - in fact, it always was.

If it's the case that by not going after the user of JavaScript, they would be putting their Java trademark in peril, then perhaps a solution would be for oracle to put out a notice putting the term JavaScript under a creative commons commerical non-attribution license.

That way, they keep everything 'java' protected, without the poor PR of targeting the use of the term 'JavaScript'.

Trademark is not the same thing as copyright. A work might be affected by both, but "put it under a CC license" does nothing to make the trademark freely usable. To make the trademark freely usable, they simply have to abandon it or create a liberal trademark policy like Mozilla's or Wikimedia's (or even CCs).


I am primarily a JavaScript developer by trade and I literally didn't know it even originated at Oracle. And I'm sure I'm not alone. The trademark should be invalidated.

It didn't originate there, they acquired the rights to the name when they bought sun

I knew that about Java but I didn't know the same was true of JavaScript

JavaScript originated at Netscape, not Sun. I assume Sun owned the trademark because it's so close to Java)

I believe they acquired the rights to 'Java' and they're arguing that gives them the rights to 'JavaScript'.

Which is fair-ish -- it should have never been named Javascript to begin with.

No, Oracle owns the "JavaScript" trademark, it's separate from "Java".


" When I think of JS, Oracle is like the last company I would think of." - Check out Oracle JET (JavaScript Toolkit), it's an open source library for modern web developers : https://github.com/oracle/oraclejet

Which no 'modern' web developer would go anywhere near!

What the hell is this...


Google taught everybody a lesson, avoid Oracle products.

I think you're accidentally proving the point you're attempting to debunk.

Wait, Oracle? On GITHUB? Now I have seen everything...

I assume it's some kind of preemptive move, before they sue Github.

If I had to explain Oracle to anyone I would only say that their motto is simply "Do all evil."

It's more accurately "take money" — don't anthropomorphize them: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5170246

Heh and adding on to that... "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil"


I thought it was premature optimisation.

No, it’s shared mutable state. The belief there is only one true instance of state, and everything must use it directly.

That's a good one, but I'll appeal to authority here and make the fallacious argument that I'm correct because Donald Knuth said so:


Do you truly believe that?

Just asking ...

Nice! I see what you did there.

It took me a while though:

I was wondering if this statement is self-contradictory or not. Eventually, I figured it is not necessarily self-contradictory, but that it declares itself to be an evil belief (since it is a statement of universal truth that declares that the belief of any universal truth is evil).

Of course I think it’s just incorrect.

For my sake, I believe in truth and good, and that if someone finds a good thing, they should tell others about it in a respectful and loving way.

Relativism: There is no absolute truth except the fact that there is no absolute truth.

Nihilism: Nothing matters except for the fact that nothing matters.

Do you?

Seems like it struck a nerve with a lot of people. Not sure what their problem is.

I didn't downvote you, but I believe I understand why folks got upset. It appears that you are taking a passive aggressive dig at all religions because the parent comment referenced a Christian biblical verse (1 Timothy 6:10). While this usually isn't an issue here, the comment appears unrelated to the main conversation and may be seen as trolling.

I could be wrong.

I actually didn’t even know that was a biblical verse, how would I? I’m not particularly religious. I figured it was just some other quote people say. My source was straight from German physicist and mathematician Max Born.

I was facetiously trying to point out the irony in your statement. I should have added a ;) .

I think the emphasis on `you` made it seem as if you were directly attacking the parent.

How does one differentiate between you the OP and you the reader?

Why was that comment flag killed?

I could tell two sentences in that was a Brian C quote.

Ethics is the difference.

Yup and the interpretation of law doesn't need to be ethical. Law and justice are quite different things.

what a treat. thanks for sharing this video.

I expect one day to learn that Larry Ellison bought that Hawaiian island in order to hunt people for sport.

I mean he dresses and grooms himself like the evil alternate universe version of a nice person. And everything I’ve heard is that he’s a horrible manchild.

Not that I'd have a detailed knowledge about him, but there is:


Something which only few persons choose to do

With Larry, there's going to be a self interest angle driving it completely. Literally 0 chance of him "doing good".

Feel free to dig into the details though if you want. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out where the rot is. :)

If you have relevant details regarding his giving pledge I'm interested to learn them.

But rot, self interest? Not everybody can't do no evil. If he goes through with his pledge (which I assume) he will have done a lot of good. And he will have done it voluntarily. Doesn't make hime a saint, but...

(..almost ;-) - i'm joking; btw, did/will Steve Jobs, Larry and Sergey give away such a substancial part of their wealth?)

One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison.

Do not fall into the trap of anthropomorphizing Larry Ellison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zRN7XLCRhc#t=38m28s (quote at 38m28s)

His major contribution to society is some entertaining sailboat racing.

Well, it's not like the AC72 and AC50 rules were a lot more popular to certain groups than Oracle is to developers. The AC75 is both a reaction to and rejection of Ellison's vision.

More than my contribution.

Bryan Cantrill on Oracle: https://youtu.be/-zRN7XLCRhc?t=2044

It does seem they always go for the path that will maximize profits, evil (note not a legal term, but a moral one) and pull everyone down to the bottom with their actions.

I am convinced if there was a crossroads with a payout of x dollars for both choices, but with a pretty nasty outcome for the community for choice y as the distinguishing factor, Oracle would pick y in a heartbeat.

I think a good description for Oracle is "the demon that pulls everyone down to hell with them..."

Manny many years ago, I read a story about Oracle:

In a big budget project, they had implemented a report, like sales per month or something similar. The requirement was to sort the result by month. Any sane person would sort it by the order the months happens in a year, like January, February, March, etc... But not Oracle: April, August, December, February, January, July, June, March, May, November, October, September.

Technically they are sorted... and they requirements only said sort by month. To get it fixed the customer had to pay Oracle more money, since they changed changed the requirements.

At least there's no pretense

At times they do release some cool new software though, e.g. GraalVM.

But "Do all evil." is trademarked by google... :D :D :D

It’s also the trademark owner of “MySQL”, which I discovered when Google AdWords rejected some of my client’s ads for having “MySQL” in them (the client’s product integrates with the database).

I spent weeks and many back-and-forth emails and calls with AdWords support trying to explain that 1) our use of the term is well within Oracle’s guidelines, and 2) no, I am not going to contact Oracle to fill out a permission form for me.

It didn’t work. Not even with Level 2 support.

Thankfully, AdWords policy enforcement is completely random and nonsensical so I just duplicated the ads several times until one of them did not get flagged.

If you have a pretty low opinion of Oracle just because of that, you don't know much about Oracle.

Are you saying the reality is much worse? Or that Oracle has a bright side?

Oracle exists mainly to make Microsoft look good.

Please, Oracle exist only to make money. Microsoft looking good is just an amusing side effect.

There isn't a bright side about Oracle, not even using their products.

It's old school software selling, influence the decision maker and the job is done

The former, Oracle is pretty much the devil of the tech world.

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Those Hawaiian islands aren't cheap, you know...

It's one of the market leader in enterprise software and database for decades. Don't be just another hater.

"Suyash Joshi is a a senior software engineer at Oracle"

Next time, just put "Disclaimer: I work for Oracle"

Disclosure, not disclaimer

Normally I would agree, but we are talking about Oracle.

And it's not going to stay that way through legal bludgeoning. Where's the technical innovation? Where's the work that's going to make working with an Oracle database package something less akin to being chased by a swarm of bees? Where's the developer tooling which doesn't make SQL Server Management Studio look like a paragon of user experience (which it very much isn't)?

Where's the documentation for PeopleSoft which actually makes any sense? (I suspect the product itself no longer makes any sense, which would explain much).

It really feels like Oracle once had amazing technology but fell into the trap of an unmaintainable nightmare and have fallen back on the legal route to try to retain their dominance.

Codd, at IBM, invented the relational database (though not SQL). And yet, Oracle got their rdb to market before IBM. They subsequently marketed it as a way to integrate heterogeneous systems - which IBM could not do (they had to champion their own machines). Amazing - stealing fire from the gods (as Microsoft later did...)

Unfortunately, while the community advantages of having a dominant interoperation mechanism are real - like having a common tongue - it rewarded the means of attaining dominance. A sales culture. A zero-sum game. It's not enough that I win, others must lose.

And here we are.

I’ve never heard a developer say good things about Oracle databases though.

Being the #1 doesn’t mean you’re right. It just means your ads work.

I've used a vast array of databases over the years, from Open Source to expensive vendor stuff. Oracle always seemed ridiculously overpriced for what you got. MS Sql Server is the most common enterprise RDBMS I've encountered and is by no means cheap (at enterprise level) but by goodness it's wonderful compared to Oracle.

Being rich and successful puts them above criticism?

Hmm, so JavaScript was conceived at Netscape in 1995 according to Wikipedia. After the release Sun must have registered the "JavaScript" trademark instead of going after Netscape. Any idea why they did that?

Wasn't their inaction risking to lose the entire Java trademark by not defending it against Netscape? Does anyone know more about the history here?

What would Google do today if someone named their language DartScript? Or what would Apple do if someone released SwiftScript?

Sun was encouraging Netscape to include the JVM in their browser for applets, and generally trying to promote Java as the Next Big Thing. The in-browser scripting language was going to be called "LiveScript", but Sun asked them to change it to "JavaScript" to strengthen the Java brand, and make the syntax more closely resemble C-family languages.

Wow - I heard it was called JavaScript to cash in on the familiarity of the name Java, but I didn’t realize it was at the behest of Sun.

If you look at the Java timeline, the full Java marketing blitz wasn’t in full swing. JavaScript was announced on December 4, 1995 and Java (alpha) was public in March of the same year. A stable Java wasn’t available until 1996. It was more coordinated than riding the coattails.

> the full Java marketing blitz wasn’t in full swing

Pun unintended I guess, but still funny.

>Between this and Oracle's ongoing lawsuit against Google for their use of Java in Android, I have a pretty low opinion of Oracle.

You won't find any argument here

You must not have a lot experience with Oracle if you had even a moderately rosy opinion of Oracle. In my experience Oracle products are stupendously overpriced. They have been riding their dot-com boom clout in the hollow husk of a company.

The only weapons Oracle has are vendor lock in and crushing competition with litigation.

I always assumed it was because that was Microsoft's "embrace, extend, extinguish" era and they didn't want to use the name "Java" but did want to imply that it was compatible. Also at the time, pretty sure that Sun still owned Java?

If I recall correctly, it was called JScript because it wasn't actually fully compatible and because it had extended stuff - there was a JScript host for Windows scripting at one point, and there was talk about using it for ASP instead of VBScript. I'm not sure if that was ever actually implemented. Also I suspect Microsoft wanted to have their own branding.

Visual J++ on the other hand was because Sun sued them over a Java implementation which wasn't actually compatible with Java, and misuse of the trademark, and all that kind of thing, so Microsoft weren't allowed to call it Java anymore. This ultimately led to the development of C#, so it was probably for the good in the long term, apart from some of the bits they copied from Java in what was presumably an attempt to make it more a direct alternative.

Jscript asp was a real thing. “Run jscript on the client and the sever” was supposed to be a big time/labor saving. Ala nodejs

I'm surprised that "JavaScript" has not become a generic trademark [0]. Examples from the Wikipedia article include Thermos, Chapstick, and Dumpster.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark

A test case might be needed. If Oracle were to sue a deep-pocketed competitor over the trademark, then we might find a court reaching the conclusion that the trademark has been diluted and the name is now generic. But if Oracle does no such thing, and sues only shallow-pocketed "nobodies", then the legal status of the mark will remain unclear.

My guess is Oracle would only do the latter, and that they're doing it because some lawyer thinks that Oracle has to do this to demonstrate that it is defending the mark even though that's nonsense if they don't go after notable unlicensed uses of their mark.

Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to a corporate lawyer.

I love your riff on Hanlon's Razor:

"Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to a corporate lawyer."

Shall we call it Cryptonector's Razor? You invented it, you name it :)

edit: someone else (not me) should name the principle that explains why so few people on HN have any sense of humor whatsoever.

> edit: someone else (not me) should name the principle that explains why so few people on HN have any sense of humor whatsoever.

I think lots of people have sense of humor, but it's accepted here in very limited amount (and preferably when it's clever humor). I'd attribute this to HN being one of the few remaining places on the Internet where you can discuss serious/interesting stuff without immediately drowning in effort-free jokes and memes - and people want to keep it that way. Hence, the word I'd be looking for might be "oversensitivity".

I agree with everything you said, but c'mon, down-voting nerd-humor is just wrong. If you don't "get" the joke, just move on; only down-vote if the humor is inappropriate. In this case, I thought my nerd-humor was welcome, and in the worst case, someone who didn't know about Hanlon's Razor would be educated and maybe have a laugh. It's not like this was toilet humor. Have a heart, HN :)

Hmmm, I don't think I've heard anyone else express this razor, so, yeah, sure, you can call it after me, though it does seem vain of me to say that you should, so let's let you call it whatever you want.

As to the HN-has-little-humor phenomenon, well, some people seem to think that dry == authoritative. That's BS, of course, but I don't know what to call that. I'll think about it.

This is Oracle. "Never attribute to malice [...]" doesn't apply to Oracle.

"Never attribute to corporate lawyers what you can attribute to Oracle"? Good point.

>Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to a corporate lawyer.

Are corporate lawyers not the physical manifestation of malice itself?

There are no lawyers in this thread, huh?

My wife is a corporate lawyer, so ive seen a little bit of these shenanigans from her perspective. And it pretty much boils down to this: there are certain risks lawyers can take and keep their jobs, and risks they will lose their jobs over. Like everyone else, they do not enjoy unemployment.

Saying “this business idea is fine, go for it” and it succeeds? They get no credit. Saying “I don’t think this is legal,” ugh, lawyers are always too cautious, but its par for the course sonit doesn’t reflect badly on them. Saying “go for it” and get nailed in an enforcement action? Unemployed and unemployable.

Likewise, when it comes to protecting IP, as required by law. They can’t -not- do it: it’s their job, explicitly, to protect the IP. Deciding “we will not pursue the correct course of legal action to (legally) protect our clients rights to protect their branding” isn’t in their purview, that belongs to the execs (who Are the ones that make those decisions). Any lawyer that decided that on their own? They’d better hope it -never- has -any- consequences, because... unemployed and unemployable.

It’s easy to blame lawyers for protecting their clients rights, but all they do is navigate the system. They don’t make the system[1], and they don’t pull the trigger

[1] there is a meme that lawyers build the legal system, as opposed to, you know, legislators, lobbyists, special interest groups, etc. I find it poorly related to reality.

It is perfectly permissible to not defend a trademark. A lawyer is not obligated, and cannot, make a trademark owner defend it. A lawyer is obligated to provide legal advice to their customers regarding their trademarks. But defending a trademark is a business decision, and the law does not require it -- you are allowed to let a trademark become generic. Lawyers should not make their customers' business decisions. Business executives should not allow their corporate lawyers to make business decisions on their behalf.

How to defend a trademark is also a business decision. Dollars to donuts says that Oracle's corporate lawyers have "defend Oracle IP" as a generic goal, and that they know that suing a big player over infringement of their JavaScript (tm) mark would be the sort of business decision that requires senior executive approval, but sending out cease&desist letters to nobodies almost certainly requires no executive approval. This is standard corporate organization and operation. But this too is how you get into PR problems, for example, and corporate lawyers don't really think about that.

Now, whether Oracle should or should not be taking these actions to defend the JavaScript (tm) mark -- I don't know. That's their business, and it's a business decision. That the law and courts don't look askance at small-scale enforcement of rapidly-becoming-generic marks is a completely separate problem for some other day. Corporate lawyers should make sure that this is what the business wants. If Oracle as a business has decided that this is what it wants, fine, and I'm ready to believe that they have, but I find it a lot easier to believe that this is just a small decision made by their legal department in something of a vacuum.

> t is perfectly permissible to not defend a trademark. A lawyer is not obligated, and cannot, make a trademark owner defend it.

When I said “defend as required by law,” I meant “defend the IP in the specific manner dictated by our laws,” not that one is obligated to defend it at all. Eg, suing people to prevent IP from becoming generic is the defense that is recognized in our legal tradition - thus, if they are to defend it, the conservative must follow this route.

Indeed, but it should still be a business decision.

It's absolutely clear that suing, say, Google, over JavaScript mark misuse would be a big deal business decision at Oracle, while sending a cease&desist letter over some piddly app in the iOS store is almost certainly not. But there is a cost to the latter, in that it destroys goodwill to be overly and unnecessarily aggressive in enforcement of a mark that arguably is now generic. This should be a business decision, not a legal one.

It is a business decision. The idea that lawyers exist in their own bubble somewhere and just launch legal missiles when they want to is false. Part of business is “protect our ownership rights,” and you’d better believe execs push the button on that aggressively.

In a free country nobody forces people to become IP lawyers nor are you born an IP lawyer. Becoming one involves a series of choices.

Legislators and lobbyists are mainly lawyers

Legislators are mostly lawyers, by tradition. They comprise a barely measurable fraction of 1% of lawyers. They do not make laws to create work for lawyers, as is usually implied in these discussions.

They also don't see the justice system through the eyes of a non-lawyer. If they did, we would likely see a lot of reforms that tried to simplify the courts and reduce the price of justice for ordinary citizens. As it is, that price is basically beyond the reach of most of us, unless the potential settlement is large enough that a lawyer will take it on speculatively. We've turned the Common Law from something that citizens can use to get justice for wrongs against them into something that is only accessible by corporations, or by people so wealthy that their financial and business lives operate as corporations do.

Justice has always been for sale. What's happened is that the price has increased to the point where most of us can't afford it.

There is always elder law! #saulgoodman

Not always. It's just difficult for them to do the right thing when it's so easy to pretend you have the law on your side that that makes it OK to take the 800 lb gorilla you work for and then go sit it on some nobody. And too many executives can't bring themselves to tell the lawyers to worry about legal things and let the executives make the business decisions. I've seen this time and again. Inexperienced or just lame executives often let the lawyers force their decisions.

A lot of what's said and written about genericized trademarks is just utter BS. Go ahead and market a product named Thermos, Chapstick, Band-Aid, or Kleenex in the US and see how far you get.

That's not the issue here. Try selling a product called "Kleenex Dispenser" or "Man's Guide to Kleenex" and see how far you get. That's a more analogous example.

More apt would be KleenexScript.

The community would call the FOSS build system "snot" and the linter "nosebleed".

That is more analogous to the current situation, but it’s also irrelevant to the issue of trademark genericization, which the parent of your comment was replying to someone else’s claim about.

> I'm surprised that "JavaScript" has not become a generic trademark

If Kleenex = Java and Kleenex Dispenser = javascript, your argument is wrong.

I think the argument is Kleenex = javascript and "Kleenex Dispenser" = "HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, HTML, Snippet Editor":


His argument is valid. You are correcting something he never said.

Kleenex = JavaScript

Kranky Kim's Kleenex Keeper = Blue Mountain JavaScript Percolator

Kleenex is probably a bad example, because Kleenex has actually defended their trademark. At least I don't think Kranky Kim could actually use Kleenex in her product name.

I think the legal argument for the genericized meaning of "javascript" is valid and could be argued, in that you ciuld show that it's reasonable for anyone to think it was merely a noun and not a trademark. But the argument would take more years and money than any individual developer has.

Which begs the question: Is there any such thing as a class action but for defense instead of lawsuit? Oracle could snuff out a million app developers individually without ever even having to so much as appear once in court. Just send these letters. But could a million developers act as a class in a defense the way they could in an action?

I was at a keynote about 6 years ago where Brendan Eich said he thought it'd be indefensible as a trademark now too, though I must note it was just his opinion. That Oracle are now suddenly attempting to defend the trademark must mean something..

It may mean nothing more than that some Oracle lawyer is keeping busy, showing that they are pulling their weight.

Most likely, that is exactly why they are pursuing actions like this one. They're worried that if they don't, they'll lose control over the name, not that this app itself is costing them anything.

They don't really have any control over the name though. Agressive action to control it would just further alienate a community and cause a push back that would be damaging to Oracle...oh if only there were a push back.

A bunch of web devs would get pissed off and... stop buying Oracle products? For that to work, wouldn't they have to be buying any Oracle product at all in the first place?

I wasn't even aware that Oracle owned the trademark. With Java, you can't really get around them, since you need to download JDK, but JavaScript just works. Maybe we can crowd fund a lawsuit!

I doubt it. Where this has happened is where people get confused and call other things by the name.

Adobe is worried about protecting Photoshop as people use the word as a verb for editing photos in other apps. Kimberly-Clark is worried about protecting Kleenex as people use the word as substitute for other tissues (at least in the U.S.) And Velcro is worried about protecting their namesake (it’s a hook and loop).

People don’t typically confuse other scripting languages or web technologies for JavaScript. The reason Oracle cares here is not to protect the JavaScript brand. Instead, it’s to protect the Java brand, which people do confuse with other languages (or at least with JavaScript).

This must be the reason that you can't say Legos online without being corrected.

I don't follow.

LEGO is the singular and the plural form. Thus "a LEGO brick" and "the LEGO bricks" are valid sentences. That's why some choose to correct Americas on their use of "legos." It has nothing to do with trademark law.

Mainly I think it just sounds really grating to anyone outside America, as it's not used elsewhere. Similar to "I could care less".

I'm outside America, and I hear it all the time.

English-speaking country?

Ah, no. Portuguese.

I think its just grating for grammar nazis, rather than a legal issue. It's like saying sheeps.

That should be "it's just grating" ;-)

It's not quite the same as sheep/sheeps. Saying "there are 2 sheep in the field" is fine but saying "there are 2 Lego on the floor" still sounds a bit weird. You would have to use "there are 2 Lego bricks on the floor".

It's because Lego is an uncountable noun, like rice or sand. E.g. "there are 2 grains of rice on the floor" is fine but "there are 2 rice on the floor" is not. Saying "there are 2 rices on the floor" sounds very bad, and is the equivalent to using "Legos" instead of "Lego bricks".

Is anyone else bothered by the likelihood that the writer of this sentence doesn't believe it's true?

The unauthorized display of our client's intellectual property is likely to cause consumers encountering this app to mistakenly believe that it emanates from, or is provided under a license from, Oracle.

I wouldn't be surprised if that part of the process is automated. With a dictionary of words mapped to their trademark records, it would be easy to do a simple string search over an app's title and description and auto-generate this whole blurb.

Let's not go overboard with the criticism. It's a standard phrase expressing a probability, because it's impossible to predict with absolute certainty.

(I have my doubts regarding that probability, but that's a different matter)

Yes, "likely" is expressing a probability. Substitute "unlikely" into their sentence and it would still be expressing a probability, except it would be a believable one.

I stand by my original comment. There's nothing overboard about it, and nothing demanding absolute certainty.

Should we actually start calling it "Yavascript"?

ref: https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/the-birth-and-death...

Another comment pointed out that Netscape originally planned to call it LiceScript but was encouraged by Sun to change it JavaScript so I say if we're going to change the name we go with the original one. Either that or argue that the original holder of the Java trademark essentially blessed the use of its mark and continue calling it JavaScript.

> LiceScript

Ahem, "LiveScript": https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/JavaScript#History

Fitting. The direction the JavaScript community has been going in for the past half decade has left me scratching my head often.

Of course you're right. I'll chalk that one up to poor proofreading on my part and not even try to blame autocorrect.

I was gonna say, dodged a bullet by not calling it _LiceScript_

I don't know... LiceScript has a nice ring to it.

LiceScript? Pretty apt name for something that has infested the web!

I was wondering why he kept pronouncing it that way. I thought he was just doing funny German pronunciation thing.

It's very common to hear Scandinavian speakers pronounce it that way.

did he call yavascript to avoid something like this?

He was from the future in the presentation, so he knew that after this oracle debacle, everyone since 2018 onwards called it "yavascript"

In that case everybody in the exclusion zone better start selling their real estate. Help the short term housing crunch while they're at it.

I'm still holding out for JawaScript

Phonetic drift and "information lost to time" is a pretty obvious reference, I think.

It is unfortunate that "ECMAScript" is simply a terrible name. I understand why the term is used, but that doesn't make it inherently good, easy to say, or memorable.

Fortunately the ES shorthand is more workable (e.g. ES6, ES2017, etc).

> 1995 - Brendan Eich reads up on every mistake ever made in designing a programming language, invents a few more, and creates LiveScript. Later, in an effort to cash in on the popularity of Java the language is renamed JavaScript. Later still, in an effort to cash in on the popularity of skin diseases the language is renamed ECMAScript.

From the brilliant "A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages": http://james-iry.blogspot.co.il/2009/05/brief-incomplete-and... .

TLS has the same problem. Everybody knows SSL and everybody wants to keep saying SSL.

We should just call it JS. That way the filename extension still makes sense.

We should just shorten that to eichscript.

I can't see what's wrong with ECMAScript. ['ek.ma] script. Javascript is just as long.

ECMAScript sounds like a disease and it's unpleasant to pronounce.

ek ma script? It isn't too hard to say.

Fuck it, let's just call it ECMAScript and be done with it. JavaScript was a purposefully horrible name to begin with (as other commenters have pointed out). One less thing Oracle can jerk us around on.

I'm just going to call it ES or ECMAScript from now on. If enough people do it the matter will be settled.

Havent dug into this but can you actually? Will browsers accept type="ecmascript" and will editors accept .es extension without much fuss?

Better switch to WebAssembly

> let's just call it ECMAScript and be done with it


It makes my head hurt a little bit to think that everything after the slash in the Mime type of open web standard "text/javascript" is a trademark Oracle is actually trying to enforce

I wonder what would happen if he actually asked Oracle permission to use the name. Would Oracle allow it? Would he be required to pay a fee?

> Would Oracle allow it?

Yes, but only after:

> Would he be required to pay a fee?

Yes, it's Oracle. It will be a hefty one.

Wow, Oracle is now even more evil than they were just yesterday.

Another day ending in “y”... :)

[deleted. Netscape licensed "Java" name from Sun.]

Except that Oracle owns both the JavaScript and Java trademarks via the Sun acquisition.

And Sun requested the name change:

in early December, Netscape and Sun did a license agreement and it became JavaScript. And the idea was to make it a complementary scripting language to go with Java, with the compiled language.[1]

So it's kind of the opposite of chickens coming home to roost. More like a term plan finally paying off.

[1] https://www.infoworld.com/article/2653798/application-develo...

Yes, thank goodness that those impudent thugs that usurped the good name of Java are getting their comeuppance 25 years later. This will teach Reddit user imacpro1 a lesson that he will not soon forget!

To be fair, 23 years is a very, very long time for something to "roost".

What is the name of the app? It is unclear if the OP uses "JavaScript" in the title of the app, or just "JavaScript" appears in the description or the content of the app. I guess they are quite different cases.

App author here, the name is: "HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, HTML, Snippet Editor".

The app was written long time ago and I'm surprised to receive an email from Apple about it at all.

Here is the link so you can see how it's shown in the App Store, I don't think anyone would associate this app with Oracle!


It's in the (unwieldy) name? Have you considered changing the name to, say, Snippet Editor?

This was done long time ago when we game the appstore ranking by adding all the keywords to the app name. I haven't touched the app since like many years.

Maybe stop trying to game the system? If your product is worth anything, people will buy it without the need for tricky bullshit.

So many years the App Store gives a warning it needs an update to run OK under current IOS. Not trying to defend Oracle or justify this move, but do you think the negative feedback might have influenced the issuing of the takedown? I see many other Javascript editors and Javascript-based tools on the App Store and this is the first I’ve read of a takedown due to this specific issue. Maybe you just became the lucky first case.

The reddit OP is selling a product (an app) with the word "JavaScript" in the name of the product. That's the problem.

That's completely different than using the word JavaScript to describe your product.

It's also different than using the word JavaScript in an open source project, such as a github repository.


Also, everyone is assuming that Oracle has demanded this. It could be that some over-eager lawyer at Apple set up a rule which says that any trademark cannot be in the name of an app. Until I hear some evidence that Oracle demanded this, I think this is an Apple issue. Can you sell an app with this name on Google Play?

This is one of the reason why new products have weird names such as Airbnb, Pinterest, and Lyft. You can't use a word which is already trademarked (Oracle owns a trademark on JavaScript) in the name of a product you are selling.

I guess it depends on what your app "Javascript" does.

The key idea in trademark disputes/claims is that you are probably ok as long as your mark isn't confusingly similar to a widely known valid mark by another entity/owner. So if your Javascript app has nothing whatsoever to do with the programming language or computer in general, Apple shouldn't take down your app.

Eons ago Apple Computer was sued by Apple Corp (Beatle's record label) for trademark infringement. I wouldn't be too surprised if the Steve's deliberately named their computer company after the Beattles's corporate creature, being that Jobs was an ardent Beatles fan. They settled and agreed not to enter each other's business (ie, music and computer), so as not to confuse consumers. Apple is a bit hypocritical in this regard though -- in one trademark lawsuit, the company sued a mom-and-pop grocer in Poland whose website, A.pl, Apple claimed, violated Apple's trademark, not too long ago and was criticized for their insanely absurd legal tactics.

From the head of the linked Reddit discussion:

Just received this email from Apple about my app(Html, css, javascript snippet editor).

In other words, it appears to be an app that's an IDE for various syntaxes, and JavaScript is one of them. IMHO (not a lawyer, but just observation) simply mentioning a trademark in reference to your product having something to do with it is completely legit. Otherwise we'd be seeing companies like Apple go after all the smartphone case manufacturers that mention "iPhone" since that's what their product is for.

> Otherwise we'd be seeing companies like Apple go after all the smartphone case manufacturers that mention "iPhone" since that's what their product is for.

Apple does that. They have a "Made For i" accessory program, and go after third-party accessory distributors (not manufacturers) who use their trademarks without permission: https://developer.apple.com/programs/mfi/

Finally, the ultimate reason to kill off JavaScript once and for all!

Meh, I learned modern JavaScript and dove deep into how JS works over the last year and I think it’s probably one of my favorite dynamic languages if not my most favorite one. The syntax is a nice sweet spot, the semantics make more sense in most situations than Ruby or Python, the lacking standard library has been more than made up for by third part packages. I’d love to work in JS in the future which isn’t something I’d have said 10 years ago and especially not 20 years ago.

Try maintaining and extending a codebase founded on all those third party packages, over a period of several years

Dunno, small stdlib-like extensions are the absolute most trivial 3rd party dependencies. Like let's say they use Lodash.

Definitely not the hard part of maintaining a legacy dynamically-typed application. And I'd say it's the most trivial part.

And your assertion suggests that it's somehow rare to have to maintain code? I'm sure the person you replied to has maintained code for more than a year and is drawing part of their post from that experience.

Just be careful about what third party packages you are using. It's not like users of other languages don't have the same problem (Case in point: I earn my salary working on several legacy Rails apps).

I've worked on a Node application with express, underscore and redis (we didn't need a full DB -- name value pairs were fine). I'm not even sure if using express is worth it. In our case it stayed completely out of our way, so I can't really complain. My only regret was using jasmine for testing. I would definitely use mocha these days. For server side, just use Node modules and ES6. No need to complicate it with transpilers, build tools, etc, etc.

Ironically, client side is much more of a hassle (I still haven't found a build tool that I think is worth using).

Been working on a 100kloc app and it hasn’t been a problem.

It's all the clever metaprogramming fads that ensures JavaScript code bases are unmaintainable goo.

It would be nice if eliminating web scripting was as simple as Oracle asserting their trademark rights.

I might actually forgive Oracle if that happened.

Hmmm, we just need to find the right lawyer there and put the thought in their head.

You need some inception; make them think it was their idea.

JavaScript was not their idea, so that's clearly not a problem.

Nah, you need to make them think it is going to bring them money. They'll happily take someone's else idea in this case ;)

Because "Ecmascript" sounds like a job for the Ghostbusters.

Or perhaps a skin rash.

ES seems like a decent enough alternative to me.

Is this Apple just doing pre-emptive due-diligence or did Oracle actually raise a flag?

IANAL, but why does he not just change the name to "JS" and be done with it?

Edit: looks like he was suggested this in the Reddit thread and thought it was a good idea.

This was probably an automated script and just a precaution from Apple. I think it's safe to use the name JavaScript. For me JavaScript is ES5, eg before 2015 and EcmaScript is the new JavaScript from ES6 2015 and onwards.

We can still call it ES6 right?

Given the formatting, I can't help but wonder if the trademark is for "JAVASCRIPT" and not "JavaScript"/"Javascript"/"javascript"...

Trademarks are case insensitive

Reading this article makes me want to speed up on a project where I am migrating an application away from Oracle DB and Forms.

Oracle is just acting as expected. Nice of Apple to stand up for their developers.

It needs a new name (that isn't "ECMAScript").

Boycot "Javascript"!

Sure: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/noscript/ (Just don't go poking around the addon internals, might be written in The-Language-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named)

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact