The Jury in the Oracle vs. Google case has decided that Google violated Oracle’s copyright in implementing the Java APIs. Now, that’s actually not too bad of news, because the Judge in the case told the jury to “assume APIs are copyrightable for this decision” but that he would eventually decide that independently. Given that the EU just ruled they are not, I’m hoping the judge in this case comes to the same conclusion.
If APIs are ruled copyrightable, this would break all kinds of interoperability that we take for granted today. As always, groklaw has the best coverage of this legal action.
Oracle was the opening keynote for Linuxcon this year, where they talked about how much they did for Linux and open source. The moment everyone had checked out of their hotel in Boston, they filed a massive patent suit against Google’s open source java like implementation in Android. Oracle, you can suck it.
This has led to a lot of virtual ink in the blogosphere on the subject, and you can see that for the most part, we all sit inside our tech valleys, unable to see the wider world over the hills. This is especially true for folks that have worked in the same kind of tech for a long time. Charles Nutter provides a really good background on what the Java space looks like, and gives his own thoughts on the matter. Much like Linux, Java is really just about everywhere, some times in surprising places.
The Java platform is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. And by big, I mean it’s everywhere.
There are three mainstream JVMs people know about: JRockit (WebLogic’s first and then Oracle’s after it acquired them), Hotspot (Which came to Sun through an acquisition and eventually became OpenJDK), and J9 (IBM’s own JVM, fully-licensed and with all its shots). Upon those three JVMs lives a gigantic world. If you want the details, there’s numerous studies and reports about the use of Java in all manner of business, from the hippest new startups (Twitter recently switched much of their stack to the JVM) to the oldest of the old financial concerns. It’s the favored choice for government server applications, the strongest not-quite-completely-Free managed runtime for open-source libraries and applications, and now with Android it’s rapidly becoming one of the strongest (if not the strongest) mobile OS platform (even though Android isn’t *really* Java, as I’ll get into later). You may love or hate Java, but I guarantee it’s part of your life in some way or another.
It’s a long read, but well worth your time. The why people hate Java section is particularly useful for people that hate Java. It may or may not change your mind, but it will at least give you a broader view.
There is one main reason people in the open source community get so violent over Mono (the open source .NET implementation): the fear that Microsoft could shut everything. There is long standing fear that MS has patents on core parts of the system. People were afraid their investments in software written on top of it would be at risk. Java was always held up as the much safer choice, with a longer legacy, being more open source friendly, with a company behind it that everyone trusted. Of course, companies change hands some times….
Oracle sues Google for patent, copyright infringement
Oracle filed a complaint in federal court in California, alleging the infringement of seven patents and copyrights by Google’s Android mobile operating system software.
I was once told that Sun actually made money off Java, and one of the big sources of revenue was the J2ME market, which is what all those dumb little snake games are written in. Google has undercut that by making a really popular cell phone platform with a version of Java they wrote themselves.
It’s still not a good world to be in, where innovation comes with a 10% patent tax.