Oracle sues Google: What most are not considering

I have seen the doom and gloom pack write about Oracle’s lawsuit against Google; they all seem to think Oracle is trying to prevent Google from using Java.

Oracle filed a federal lawsuit Thursday in San Jose, California, charging that Android breaches Java’s open source license. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, and demands a federal judge immediately block distribution of Android, the No. 3 mobile operating platform.

Read that one carefully… Android breaches Java’s open source license. Think about that. Don’t rush.

Many questions about the prospects of the suit remain unanswered, and the long-term impact of the suit is very much up in the air. Nevertheless, the suit drew a fearful response from the open source community on Friday.

Why is this the assumption? I am not saying that I know what Boies, Schiller, and Flexner LLP are thinking, but is it possible that Oracle is actually upholding FOSS principals and will argue that the proprietary code Google put in the phone must be open source? I have no reason to believe Oracle is, but I have not seen Oracle act the way Apple and Microsoft have in protecting patents. Oracle is certainly no Sun, but lets give this a little more than a day before walking the streets in folded wooden signs proclaiming that the world is ending.

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10 Responses to Oracle sues Google: What most are not considering

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Oracle sues Google: What most are not considering « Free Trader Beowulf --

  2. Alex says:

    Android is completely unrelated to the open source Java code, and the portions that Oracle is suing over are open source as well. Dalvik uses completely different bytecode, different class library (derived from Apache Harmony), etc. It’s a completely different VM which happens to intended for use with a Java-like language.

    Your quote is confused. What Oracle is suing them over is primarily patents; as Dalvik is not a derivative, the relevant clauses in the GPL do not apply. They are not in any way uploading FOSS principles.

    • Charles Profitt says:

      Interesting. It will be interesting to see how things unfold as we all learn more about the particulars.

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  4. ahmed sallam says:

    thanks alot
    thank you very much

  5. I don’t see how this could be the case as Oracle is using it’t new patents to sue Google. Only the GPLv3 covers patents in relation to Free Software and Java is not under that license, so there cannot be an Open Source angle to this case.

    • Charles Profitt says:

      “cannot” is a strong word and until more specifics come out we should all be cautious in making judgments — that is really what my post was about.

      • Not really, the suit centers on them having patents on Java, despite Java being released under an Open Source license.

        Google did a full re-implementation of Java and that is what this attack is centering on, but the patents would also apply to someone forking Java (in line with the license).

        Oracle is essentially using patents to make Free Software non-free. This is exactly what the GPLv3 fixed BTW.

  6. Martin Rait says:

    Frankly recently recent moves by Oracle seem to have hurt Apple. The new OS X 10.7 Lion rips out all the Oracle owned technology. No JVM ships with it, and they’ve taken out all the dependant server components that used Java. They’ve just left placeholders and jars for quicktime etc to allow users to add modern JVMs back in (or Apple’s old one). Apple have also removed MySQL and the NFS support, all now Oracle owned (I heard some Linux distros are removing MySQL because of Oracle as well). Basically Apple shipping a commercial OS have distanced themselves from Oracle tech, possibly to avoid any of the stuff Google is facing now.

    Also with respect to GPLv3 licences. the SAMBA team moved their code to this licence and commercial operators like Apple who’ve been using SAMBA in their OS for years, have had to take it out and write their own inhouse support for SMB, AD etc.

    What I’m noticing is a shift putting some hard lines between commercial products and opensource code projects. These moves are driving some commercial operators away. What will that mean for commercial funding support, enterprise volume licensing or code sharing from them?

    What is at the heart of what Oracle is doing to Google, I don’t know. The Sun-Apple relationship to the new Oracle-Apple relationship is probably worth looking at as a comparative to see why Oracle is taking on Google.

  7. GR says:

    Open source will only continue to exist if it works in harmony with commercial products.

    A great deal of open source development is actually funded by commercial projects.

    And if open source tries to isolate itself away from commercial software I can guarantee you that open source will wither and die.


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