In a notice picked up by several sites, none of which had much about the heart of the matter, we find that Google is being sued by Oracle for things it gained control of with the purchase of Sun (I knew that was not a good thing, and was not so secretly hoping that IBM would have purchased the ailing company – too late to worry about it now).
The site with the most elucidating information is Ars Technica, which appears to be as on top of the situation as anyone that publishes on the internet -
In a tersely worded press release, Oracle announced that it was suing Google for patent and copyright infringement over its use of the Java programming language for Android development. Neither the press release nor the complaint filed in the US District Court for Northern California go into any significant detail.
“In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly, and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property” an Oracle spokesperson said in a statement. “This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement.”
Google makes heavy use of Java in the Android software development kit (SDK). Third-party developers code Android apps in Java, which is then translated into bytecode that runs in Dalvik, Google’s own custom VM. Google subsequently released the Android Native Development Kit, which allows developers to build Android components with C and C++. It is not intended to replace the Java development model, though, which remains the strongly preferred means of Android development.
Aside from its use of Java syntax, Google’s Android SDK implementation is largely independent from Oracle’s. It uses its own compiler and runtime tailored specifically for Android.
Originally developed by Sun Microsystems as a “write-once, run anywhere” language, Java became the property of Oracle when it purchased Sun in April 2009. Java was a significant part of the deal for Oracle, as it has been a major player in the world of Java middleware.
Prior to its acquisition by Oracle, Sun proved hostile to the Harmony Project, the Apache Software Foundation’s attempt to build an Apache-licensed Java SE implementation. In addition to Dalvik, Google also uses Harmony’s class libraries in Android, which has apparently aroused the ire of Oracle.
In the complaint, a copy of which was posted on VentureBeat, Oracle claims that Android, the Android SDK, and Dalvik all infringe on seven patents owned by the database giant. Oracle also accuses Google of “knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully” copying, preparing, publishing, and distributed its IP.
The fact that Oracle has chosen to sue Google over its implementation is sure to cause concern in the wider Java community.
Neither Oracle nor Google responded to our requests for comment in time for publication.
While the evolution and pedigree of Android is interesting, it is something I wonder about because it would seem that (though I am no lawyer here) the entire problem could be avoided by using native libraries in Dalvik, which might be time consuming to do at this point, but would be the fastest, and easiest way to extricate Google from the problems with Oracle.
I must say that the early comments from some users on Ars coincide with my thoughts that Ellison is going against the general spirit of live-and-let- the-other-guy-live cooperation, that used to be hallmark of early computing. Apparently Ellison is subscribing to the patent troll theory with this. Surely during the period that Sun was independent this information was known, and simply let pass as that cooperation I spoke of.
A new clash of the titans is incoming as IT heavyweights Oracle and Google have entered into a legal dispute over the Android operating system. According to Oracle, who filed a complaint against Google yesterday, Android infringes on seven of its patents related to Java software.
According to the filing made with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Google was “aware of Sun’s patent portfolio, including the patents at issue, since the middle of this decade, when Google hired certain former Sun Java engineers,” yet it still went on to use Sun technology in its increasingly-popular mobile platform.
With the lawsuit Oracle is seeking damages as well as the ‘destruction’ of infringing products.
Again, I am no lawyer, nor do I play one on television, but it seems as though the last sentence there could be potentially devastating to many companies, not only Google.
Would it not be very interesting to know that Mr. Ballmer knew of this, prior to the filing, which is why he had not already given up on Windows smart phones?
Quote of the day:
The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.
- Nikola Tesla