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Oracle Sues Google Over Android's Use of Java

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Oracle has just filed a lawsuit againt Google for patent and copyright infringement related to Android's use of Java.

"In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," said Oracle spokesperson Karen Tillman.

Developers around the world have been watching for clues about how Oracle would manage its new leadership role in the Java community. This lawsuit against Google is certain to raise serious questions and concerns, and some will no doubt feel it confirms their worst fears.

We've embedded the actual complaint below so you can read it for yourself. DZone will follow the matter closely to bring you more info as quickly as it becomes available.

Oracle Google Complaint


Rick Ross replied on Thu, 2010/08/12 - 9:54pm

The legal complaint appears to claim Google is violating Oracle's Java patents and copyrights in very fundamental ways - so fundamental that one can only wonder who's next on Oracle's hit list? Is it IBM, or maybe Apache, possibly Red Hat (since Larry Ellison was reportedly angry when he failed to acquire them.)

In short, it seems Oracle has erased in one fell swoop the goodwill and trust Sun nurtured and built up for years in the open source community. Regardless of whether Oracle prevails in the courtroom, there is no possibility that the Redwood Shores giant can "win" this case. This lawsuit is sure to alienate thousands of developers, many of whom already doubted Oracle and felt disaffected after the Sun acquisition.

Will the last person to leave the Java community please turn out the lights?

Mark Unknown replied on Thu, 2010/08/12 - 10:09pm

Trying to read that hurts my head.

Anyway, I was thinking the same thing. Who is next? They are attacking [one of] the innovators of the Java platform. If all the innovators are gone, Java will be too and any money they spent on Java will be useless. I don't use Java because it is not .NET. I use it because of all that is available. If Google and Vmware and RedHat and .... are gone ...

I use .NET in addition to Java. Please oh Please Oracle. Don't screw this up.

Mark Unknown replied on Thu, 2010/08/12 - 10:13pm

In a vindictive world i can see not being able to find anything on Oracle in a Google search.

Mark Haniford replied on Thu, 2010/08/12 - 10:49pm

This is going to get ugly.  It appears that Oracle is just being spiteful because of Android success.  Apparently, Oracle had tried to reach a deal with Google, and Google told them to F-off.  

This doesn't appear to be about Java, but really about fundamental VM techniques.  So it's not like ditching Java will change anything.  This is about Dalvik.  As Rick said, there's many that can be on the hit list.

I also agree that this is a no-win situation for Oracle.  Java and the whole JVM ecosystem's future looks pretty bleak.  


James Jamesson replied on Thu, 2010/08/12 - 11:36pm in response to: Rick Ross

this is not about Java but the use of Java brand and VM technologies. I think Oracle has every right to go after google on this. Apperantly, other VM developer companies who do not have licensing deal with old Sun and making profit will also get hammered for damages.

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:03am in response to: James Jamesson

No, as you stated this isn't really about Java.  This about VM technology, so Oracle can go after almost anybody with a VM.  So you approve of these bullshit patent trolls?

This is bad for Java, bad for Oracle, bad for Java developers.   Nobody is going to trust Oracle now.

Shai Almog replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:07am in response to: Rick Ross

I'm not a fan of lawsuits but this has been brewing for 5 years so Google must have known. Oracle claims they actually copied Java source code and effectively relicensed it under an Apache license, that is a GPL violation and a fork.

I don't like the usage of the patent claims (personally very much against software patents) but if Google was negligent enough to use GPL licensed code and publish it as Apache licensed code they have only themselves to blame (I'm using a NexusOne myself so I seriously hope they come to an understanding and unify the Java brand rather than the current confusing mess).

James Jamesson replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:09am in response to: Mark Haniford

my approval does not mean anything. By law, this is Oracles right. I also do not see how it would be bad for the use of Java?

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:13am in response to: James Jamesson

Wow, you don't see how this is bad for Java?  If Google moves away from Java on Android then that's a massive blow to Java.  Android is going to be huge.  And the ripple effect of developers not trusting Oracle, along with companies like IBM looking at Oracle with a suspicious eye.  Java was already in bad shape.  This is a crippling blow.

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:15am in response to: Shai Almog

Shai, can you please give us a link about the GPL violation that Oracle is claiming?  It's my understanding that this is about patents and not copyrights.

James Jamesson replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:26am in response to: Mark Haniford

IBM pays royalties to Sun/Oracle. And, I really do not see the role of android in Java's popularity.

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 12:41am in response to: James Jamesson

Are you sure that IBM pays "royalties" to Oracle?  It's my understanding that IBM licenses Java library code, and IBM doesn't license VM technology.  In that case you better believe that IBM should be worried.

You do realize that a lot of android software is written in Java?

 The bottom line is that Oracle has blown any goodwill, wait-n-see attitude that developers had towards it now.  This is a disaster for Java.

Phil H. replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 1:14am in response to: Mark Haniford

I agree. I don't see how anyone couldn't see that this is a potential disaster for Java. Or maybe I'm missing something. If the JVM is GPL 2 then I'm not sure I understand how you can complain about someone using the code freely as long as they do so according to the conditions of the license. Its obviously free to download, use and distribute the JVM so would thing be ok if they had just done that instead of working on Dalvik? Its obviously potentially harmful to Java because Java rides on the back of many FOSS projects. What is Java without Tomcat, Jetty, Commons, MyFaces and other JSF libraries, Hibernate, JBoss, Eclipse and many others. Aren't all of these open source. Doesn't Oracle risk offending or scaring them by pulling patent cards on GPLed software? If they all decide to drop their projects what will Java stand on? I get the feeling that Oracle is planning to lock Java down and they don't want alternatives out there for people to run to. And as for Androids importance to the popularity of Java Oracle made it clear in their own filing. If Android and Dalvik are hurting them then its obvious that they must be popular. However since Google is using the Java syntax they are actually pulling more people to Java and in turn helping Oracle. I honestly thought Oracle would come out on the side of Google and use them as a vehicle. Why not work with them, develop tools, and even use Android as a platform for JavaFX? That sounds more like what open source communities are about. Instead they attack them and sink their own ship in the process.

Jean-Francois P... replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 1:44am

I find article 12 so laughable "Google's Android competes with Java system for cellular phones".

What are they talking about? JavaME? Must be a joke! JavaFX? No better.

Java by itself (not accounting for Android, that is) doesn't look to me as a serious contender for mobile devices.

By this article, Oracle just shows they're jealous of Android success and would to rip off some of the benefits.

At least, there must be a couple of people happy about that lawsuit: Steve Jobs first... Also, Bill Gates may see it as a good opportunity for WinMobile...

Anyway, all that is just an additional evidence of the failure of software patents system.

Shame on Oracle; it's maybe time I take a look at something else than Java, after more than 12 years? My next smart phone won't have Oracle Java (ME or FX whatever) on it, that point is for sure!

Casper Bang replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 1:54am

I am confused: These events benefits no-one but Microsoft (.NET), what logic is behind Oracle's reasoning for pulling this one? Was it their motive for buying Sun in the first place? Or did they just discovered the honey-pot and moved in when shipment reached 200K units daily? Oracle already lost plenty of Sun talent, now they stand to loose the community which is the single largest reason behind Java's success. It seems they are determined to become a license milk farm (as with their DBMS) but that seems like an awfully uncertain strategy for the long-term.

Will Aknow replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 3:37am

This is an opportunity for the Java community to evolve. You know like the wooly mammoth. The risk is to the entire wellbeing of the Java concept. Is its role over? On the other hand this lawsuit is akin to saying that the genome of an amoeba owns the human genes. The legal dissection to follow will cut Java into its contributed constituent sources. This one will greatly benefit the industry. The industry could not have gotten here with out Fortran, but its role has deceased.

Dimitris Menounos replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 4:27am

Google hijacked Java (the language) for their very own controlled ecosystems (Android & GWT). Things like "community" and "goodwill" vanish when business interests collide. Oracle is doing the right thing for themselves, to (try to) make clear who is the boss. Reminds me Apple vs Adobe/Flash and Sun vs Microsoft back in the day.


Shai Almog replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 5:00am in response to: Mark Haniford

See count VIII in page 9 above and the Ars Technica article covering the suit.

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 5:42am

I am shocked. I cannot imagine that whatever amount of $$$ Oracle could get out of this would make up for them becoming the #1 enemy of their whole developer base.

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 6:37am in response to: Shai Almog

Shai, you're right that there is a claim of copyright infringement in the lawsuit, but I don't see anything about the GPL in there. 

 I find it hard to believe that Google engineers would be stupid enough to be violating the GPL in the Android stack.  It's my understanding that Android uses Apache Harmony for its Java code.

 But since there is copyright infrigement in the claim, it's something that will hit closer to home for normal developers instead of VM makers -- not good news.

Shai Almog replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 7:12am in response to: Mark Haniford

The GPL violation claim is my personal undestanding assuming code was taken from the JDK and even if it was taken prior to the GPL you could still presume that this is relevant in that context.

Since Android was an external company purchased by Google its highly possible that this is old code that was never removed (e.g. within Dalvik or the Harmony project, again pure speculation). Since Sun has been sitting on this for years and discussed it with Google as far as I understand I'm guessing they have better evidence than SCO had against Linux... 

I would not be surprised if Googles engineer driven mentality was a bit lax on copyrights, they don't have the corporate beurocracy Oracle/Sun have which is normally a HUGE advantage but it can lead to miss judegements e.g. Buzz, wifi collection, China etc. 

I seriously hope both sides settle fast and avoid a long/painful courtroom drama that won't benefit anyone.

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 7:35am

 For the record, I've copied the single patent claims from the cited document:

“Protection Domains To Provide Security In A Computer System”
“Controlling Access To A Resource"
“Method And Apparatus For Preprocessing And Packaging Class Files”
“System And Method For Dynamic Preloading Of Classes Through Memory Space Cloning Of A Master Runtime System Process”
“Method And Apparatus For Resolving Data References In Generate Code”
“Interpreting Functions Utilizing A Hybrid Of Virtual And Native Machine Instructions”
“Method And System for Performing Static Initialization” 


As it has been said, there's no GPL or such infringement. If there was, Google would be sued for license infringement, not for patent infringement. As it has been said, those patents are really about low-level VM stuff and Oracle could probably sue everybody about that, including Microsoft for C#. And Java has little to do with that, since it's Dalvik to be under attack. So Google would not save itself in moving away from Java. 

I think those patents are just a casus belli for Oracle and I think they will eventually reach an agreement. It's just another step of the Google - Sun war, continuning under Oracle.


Kevin Daly replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 7:36am

Google did mobile right... Now Oracle wants to sue, this stinks.

If J2ME didn't have so many issues such as fragmentation, SDK only in Windows (CDC), JavaFX not on mobile devices yet, developers would have flocked to J2ME, but instead they've gone to Android / IPhone development.

J2ME is still the number one platform for mobile, but it's too hard to build apps that will work on all the devices, Sun screwed it up, period.

Although Android does have some fragmentation problems, it is relatively simple to write applications that address 1.6 and up, which is a majority of devices.

Something as simple as getting a CDC emulator for Linux, Sun couldn't do... The god damn things were mostly written in Java what was the problem!! Google released the Android SDK with full emulators on Mac / Windows & Linux in version 1.0 of the SDK, frankly that should have been an embarassment to Sun..

Rakesh Juyal replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 8:25am

java is no more free

java is no more open source

David Vellante replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 8:29am

Google tried to skirt Sun's license terms way back in 2007. Dalvik is an attempt by Google to end run Sun's original license terms and Oracle is calling foul. Microsoft did a virtual machine cross license with Sun years ago for mobile apps - why shouldn't Google play by the same rules: Here in my view is the right analysis: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2010/08/13/how-google-tried-to-end-run-java-and-why-oracle%E2%80%99s-lawsuit-has-merit/

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 9:00am in response to: Shai Almog

Shai, I doubt it's a GPL violation.  I think it's something else, but we'll see.

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 9:06am in response to: Fabrizio Giudici

Fabrizio, actually there is a copyright infrigement claim in the lawsuit too.

 And the copyright infrigement claim is what should be scary to framework developers and your regular developers, because that could be a sign of things to come.

 I think Oracle's next step is to close up Java again and really start getting tough with the licensing terms.  They claim that Java is the big asset in the Sun acquisition, and knowing Oracle's history you better believe they're going to capitalize on it, even if it means alienating developers and others in the industry.  Oracle just doesn't care.  They figure too many organizations are too locked in to move away.



cometta comettat replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 9:14am

oracle decision will make ... ton ton of developers hate them !!!!!! alot !!!lot

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 9:46am

Mark, the copyright infringement claim comes after all the patents and doesn't explain where the copyright infringement has occurred (it refers generically to Java source code, documents, specifications). Until this is clarified, I don't see the point. Also because, if any, at risk would be people who do a parallel thing to Java, not just people who develops a framework on it.

I don't see it always makes sense to ask "what's after", beyond Google. The patents are about using a certain kind of VM and if one should just be consequential, Oracle should be going to sue Microsoft and every other corporate who makes use of a VM. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Oracle is going to declare war to the world. I think it's only acting against Google. I've read many doomsday warnings in the past ten years that frankly I prefer first to see some more details before declaring a disaster.

Mark Haniford replied on Fri, 2010/08/13 - 10:26am in response to: Fabrizio Giudici

Fabrizio, it doesn't matter if it comes before or after the patent claims in the lawsuit.  It's there.  Maybe you're not concerned, but I bet lots of other people are.

I don't think that Oracle will go after Microsoft though.  Sun already has agreements with Microsoft, and I think that Microsoft would probably just fight it until the end of time.  But Oracle is Oracle, and I think you can look at their past actions to get a glimpse of the future.

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