The Google engineer who wrote a contentious email that Oracle is hinging part of its Java patent case on has said that his words are being misconstrued. Timothy Lindhom, a former Sun engineer who joined Google in 2005, wrote an email in 2010 to Andy Rubin, head of the Android team, saying he had been asked to look into …
"What we've actually been asked to do (by Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin]) is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome. We've been over a bunch of these, and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need,"
Lindholm is not a lawyer and in particular is not an IP lawyer. So whatever he "concludes" is completely irrelevant.
What if a plumber had a look at that zit you've been nursing and "concluded" you had cancer? You'd laugh your ass off and tell him to get back to his plumbing.
The issue isn't whether Lindholm suggested that they license Java, it is just that he was aware they were using Java in Android. If you actually read the article, it says exactly that: "evidence that Google was aware of Java code being integrated into Android"
The fact that a license would be needed to use the Java code is obvious to everyone, not just IP Lawyers.
Lindholm may not be a lawyer, but nor are most expert witnesses. Far from being a plumber diagnosing cancer he's commenting on a subject he is seemingly familiar and experienced with.
His email evidence is far from irrelevant but it is up to the court to judge how much of an expert he is and how much weight should be put on his conclusions.
Re: actaully relevant
The fact that this is in court means, no, it wasn't obvious to everyone. More exactly, it isn't obvious to Googles legal team or they'd have settled. Aside from the API copyright claim, Google appear to have done everything required to avoid needing a license from Sun and the API claim is about to be tested.
I'd also remind you that 'Need a licence.' and 'need to negotiate a licence' are different statements. The 1st is a specific admission of fault, the 2nd could be a preferred option faced with impending litigation regardless of the merits of that litigation.
Lastly something important was made revealed: Lindholm NEVER worked on Android or with the Android team! Expect Google to remind the jury of that in summation, it devalues the email evidence.
With all due respect I disagree.
At risk of stretching our analogy to breaking point: just because our plumber works in the maintenance department of a cancer hospital still does not mean he is qualified to diagnose cancer.
He may be asked to comment on whether the hospital's waste disposal systems are up to code (a code which may be more specialised than the usual) but that's about it.
Apples and Oranges
"We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need," he wrote.
When Oracle's lawyer David Boies asked him if this meant he was recommending that Google purchase a license for Java from Sun, Lindholm replied in the negative.
And he would seem to be being truthful; he concluded they needed to, "negotiate a license for Java", not, "purchase a license for Java from Sun". The correct question should perhaps have been; so you concluded for Google to use Java they would need a licence ? The issue of how they could / would get such a licence is a follow-up issue.
Of course we're only seeing soundbites, don't have the full context, nor a full transcript of what was said.
Dr Reinholds testimony more interesting
Especially this exchange (from Groklaws seriously patchy transcripts), which basically destroys Oracles claims on fragmentation. Apparently fragmentation is OK as long as Sun/Oracle do it but not if Google create an 'Android profile' ;)
Q. JavaME also has different configurations, such as CLBC, correct? And some configurations also have a range of profiles? So an application written for one profile might not run on another profile?
A. It might, or it might not.
Q. How can this be "Write Once, Run Anywhere"?
A. If you have written for a specific platform, then the program should run on any vendor's version of that platform.