Feeds

back to article Oracle v Google round-up: The show so far

After years of waiting for the contenders to open fire, the Oracle-Google shooting match is now on, and the bullets are pretty expensive. The opening salvos have landed, so let's take stock. It’s worth keeping at the back of your mind how strange it is to be here at all. Judge Alsup has spent three years trying to persuade both …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Steve Knox

"Had you even tried to include the defense's side..."

Typically speaking, trials are 'he said, she said' affairs: one day the prosecution or litigants will say their piece, then the defendants will have their say at a later point. You can't preempt the full defence until it's played out in court.

It's like asking during the first innings of a cricket match, "Who's winning?"

See Andrew's previous article for more on Google's side of the argument.

C.

0
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: article fail

I think you're being grossly unfair - you're effectively asking "who's winning?" in the first innings of a cricket match. That's why newspapers and telly news people tend to end their reports of on-going court cases with the words "the trial continues".

You have a point about prosecution v litigant. This is a civil matter, but that doesn't distract from my above point.

C.

0
2
Vic
Silver badge

Re: article fail

> you're effectively asking "who's winning?" in the first innings of a cricket match.

No, we're not.

We're asking you to stop quoting Florian Mueller as if he were some sort of unbiased source of all things truthful.

He is a paid lobbyist. And he's on Oracle's payroll. How objective do you imagine that might leave his utterances?

Vic.

5
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: article fail

And I'm not referring to Mueller, because it's a one-line link in an otherwise longer analysis piece by a neutral author.

C.

0
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: article fail

But isn't the statement: "So... it doesn’t look great for Google. " rather like saying "It doesn't look good for England" after the opening couple of overs of a 5 day test?

So far we have had Oracle stating their case and trying to get the witnesses from Google to do anything more than dead ball their questions.

In reality its far to early to say how its going at all, apart from the Judge telling people that he will be deciding on the copyrightability of the APIs and not the jury.

2
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: article fail

"But isn't the statement: 'So... it doesn’t look great for Google' rather like saying 'It doesn't look good for England' after the opening couple of overs of a 5 day test?"

Perhaps so, but that's Andrew's measured opinion; Oracle is presenting a tough case, after all.

But my point is that there should be no suggestion that we're omitting or censoring Google's defence.

C.

0
1
Silver badge

Re: article fail

"But my point is that there should be no suggestion that we're omitting or censoring Google's defence."

With respect however, in my opinion, your point is wrong,. There are been quite a lot of 'defence' in the opening statements, the questions from the defence council and reams of technical details available before the trail began (some of which is cited). I cannot see any proper discussion of that - hence I believe that the phrase 'omitting' is not without merit.

There is also (IMO) either a lack of technical understanding of the issue or a definite slant (concious or unconcious) regarding the discussion of the alleged clean room code generation... this is even more surprising when taken along with Andrew's article on the perils of API copyrights (which makes a half decent fist of explaining some of the problems with that) in light of which I have trouble doubting his technical insight here. This view may, of course, be wildly misguided but i'd maintain "it doesn't look good for England".

4
0
Mushroom

Google didn't need a license & others have taken one either.

So much wrong in so few words.....

There is _no_ license required to build/use Java the language, nor Java the JVM. You _do_ have to acquire a license to the test suite (TCK) if you want to call your result 'Java' or Java compatible.

It's in the TCK that Sun (now Oracle) hid such nastiness as the dreaded Field Of Use (FOU) restrictions that among other things prevents you from running what you've built in the mobile space.

The Apache Foundation never accepted the FOU for the Harmony project. They never took a license from Sun, didn't need to. Still doesn't need to.

HP doesn't have a license for their ChaiVM or their MicrochaiVM implementations.

Google wrote their own VM Dalvik. It's _not_ a JVM. It can't run Java programs. Google wanted a programming language that many programmers already knew to write code for Android. The apparently went with Java_the_language. To be compatible with Java_the_language they based the language on Java as documented by the freely available API's. They started with the Apache licensed Harmony project and adjusted it to create code that they felt was more appropriate to mobile development and compiled to code that would run under their Dalvik VM. Dalvik byecode won't run under a Java VM and Java bytecode won't run under the Dalvik VM. The only part of Java that android uses is Java_the_language.

Most people, I would have said all but obviously Oracle doesn't agree, agree that you can't copyright a language. Courts in the US have already ruled that having a copyright on a system does _not_ give you any rights on a subsequent implementation of that system.[Baker v. Selden, 101 US 99 (1879)]. The only parts that are identical are those _required_ to be identical for compatibility. (Yes, I realize that there were a couple of cases of literal copying, but that's a different issue that the one here. Google's already removed them and they may face a small fine for that mistake.)

Oracle's stance is that since they literally own the copyright to the book the defines the Java API's that you need a license to implement any system that uses them. Unfortunately the courts have never actually ruled on the applicability of Copyright to API's. Up until this point no one ever thought that they needed to. It makes as much sense as having to get a license from Webster to use the English language simply due to the fact that they hold the copyright to an English dictionary.

Is a shame that Oracle's sunk so far.....

39
3
Gold badge

Re: Google didn't need a license & others have taken one either.

Thanks for that - that's a very clear summary.

Having said that, I can see Oracle being pretty annoyed with having the product, and Google walking away for free with the work involved in creating the language, the docs and the dev base without paying a penny (sorry, dime), but if that cannot be licensed, so be it.

I suspect this will rumble on for a while, in effect creating the same environment around Android that Microsoft created around Linux: the vague fear of infringement. All Oracle needs to do is to keep the potential threat elevated enough for developers to start worrying (and maybe buy a separate license if it was available)..

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Google didn't need a license & others have taken one either.

Your basic premise is wrong.

You do need a license.

At least to run on mobile appliances.

1
8
WTF?

Re: Google didn't need a license & others have taken one either.

You should go back and reread the relevant licenses.

You only need a license if you want to call what you've created 'Java'.

The whole 'can't run it on mobile' thing you are referring to is in the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK). You can only call what you've created Java if you license the TCK and pass all the tests. In the TCK is what's called the 'Field of Use' restriction. It's what says you can only run Java SE/EE on _non_mobile_ devices.

Apache's Harmony project wouldn't agree so they could never call Harmony "Java". Harmony has _no_ license from Sun/Oracle. Like Google, they don't need one.

Do you have anything to back up your expressed belief that:

" Your basic premise is wrong.

You do need a license.

At least to run on mobile appliances. "

Anything at all?

8
0
Silver badge
FAIL

chief prosecutor?

What? It's not a criminal trial.

Or is this story from the people who brought us the "you wouldn't steal a car" BS.

3
1
Alert

Not the only Java implementation without a license

Apache Harmony is a clean implementation of Java and they never paid Sun a thing - nor do they have to. And Harmony is what Dalvik is based on. You only have to pay for a TCK (compatility kit) if you want to actually call it "Java".

If you want a proper legal analysis try http://www.groklaw.net ...

Oracle Lawyer: What is the Java Specification License (JSL)?

Ellison: The JSL lets you look at all the design specifications. It allows you to build your own version of Java. After building your own version, you have to run and pass a compatibility test, called a TCK. Oracle charges money for the TCK. Once the TCK is passed (and accepted by the JCP), you are granted rights to the Java copyrights and patents. The JSL is free, the TCK is not.

Note that Ellison is mischaracterising the situation here - as noted you only "have to" pass the compatibility test to use the Java name. Google don't.

8
1
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

Funny, but Apache said Google's bastardization wasn't based on their project.

1
4
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

> Apache said Google's bastardization wasn't based on their project.

Reference?

Google's codebase is freely available. A comparison with Harmony will show a remarkable similarity...

Vic.

5
0
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

Vic,

You can google it.

Try the WSJ or El Reg

Like this article..

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/01/oracle_hits_google_with_code_copying_claims/print.html

When Oracle sued Google over Android, many assumed the database giant would target code Google lifted from the Apache Foundation's open source Java incarnation, Project Harmony. But Oracle just pinpointed [1] six pages of Google code, claiming they were "directly copied" from copyrighted Oracle material, and according to Apache, this code is not part of Harmony.

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

> But Oracle just pinpointed [1] six pages of Google code ... and

> according to Apache, this code is not part of Harmony.

Then your logic is incorrect.

What you claim above shows thast Google added material that was not in Harmony. That was never in doubt.

What you claimed was that "Apache said Google's bastardization wasn't based on their project."[1]. This is a completely different statement.

I could write a set of plays which are word-fro-word identical to the collected works of Shakespeare, then add six pages which are nothing to do with him. Any reader familiar with Shakespeare could testify that those six pages were not written by him. But it would be entirely untrue in that situation to say that my "bastardization wasn't based" on what Shakespeare wrote, because the rest of it would be identical.

And so it is here; the fact that Android is not *identical* to Harmony - provably so, although AFAIK no-one has ever claimed is is - in no way means that the one is not based on the other.

You've made a basic error of logic.

Vic.

[1] http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1386636

0
0
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

No Vic, the error in logic is yours.

Try and follow it...

1) Clean room work has to be done in a clean room. Any outside contamination destroys the fact that it wasa clean room effort. Meaning you can't claim your work was done in a clean room when it wasn't.

2) Google claims they based their work on Apache. APL allows anyone to do anything with their code under very liberal terms.

3) Oracle's smoking gun. Some of the code wasn't part of Apache and could be traced back to Sun.

4) Apache says that code isn't theirs...

This means that Apace did break the clean room, Google did.

And that's a crucial point.

Google admitted that some of the code was added by a third party and it was since removed.

Doesn't matter, the damage was done. Even if the infringement was small, it's all the proof Oracle needs to destroy the clean room defense. The reason the bar is so low, is that it's difficult to find occurrences. I mean Timmy could always pull up a window and look at Sun's code to give him ideas of how to do something. While he may not have cut and pasted the code, such an act would be a violation of a clean room build. Also if you can find one infringing act, it's more than likely another infringing act occurred elsewhere.

Oh and let's look at Google's defense here and elsewhere....

'a third party did this...'

'a rogue programmer did this'

'we did it because we wanted to maintain the users experience'

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

> the error in logic is yours.

Once again, you accuse others of your own faults.

> Apache says that code isn't theirs...

Apache said no such thing.

They have said that *not all* the code in question is theirs. And that was never in dispute.

If you cannot see the difference between that and what you claim, then there really is no hope for you.

Vic.

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge
Unhappy

Mueller

This string taints every article it's in, making it unworthy of print.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Excellent intro

The Java licensing history lesson is excellent especially the part about the difficult middle ground Sun walked.

Can the jury understand any of this? I suggest they will base their decisions as much on who seems like a crook and who doesn't. They have to be asking themselves if Google is innocent why all the subterfuge -- scrubbing the J-word from their documentation, and such and why the evasive answers on the stand? They acted like they were stealing something and it shows. Google will come in and say if they're so guilty why the praise for Jonathan Schwarz. Stay tuned for that.

2
5
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Excellent intro

> scrubbing the J-word from their documentation

As has been mentioned by a few people, if you want to call it Java, then you need to license the test kit, which they didn't.

With a slightly different bias, you might say that they were duty bound to "scrub the j-word" from the documentation.

6
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Re: Excellent intro

> Can the jury understand any of this? I suggest they will base their decisions ...

They won't have to. The judge will decide if APIs are copyrightable as a matter of law. The facts are not in dispute, Google has the same APIs as Java, so the jury has nothing to decide.

0
0
Flame

Stay Clear Of Java

...or get sued if your product is successful by Mr Larry's minions. That is the message out of all this. No matter what the details are, Mr Larry needs his yachts in perfect working condition and that costs money.

So if you write a successful Eclipse plugin - expect to be sued by Oracle.

If you write a successful Tomcat web service - give Mr Larry his cut, or be sued !

You think this is pulled out of thin air. Well, then wait until the legal artillery is trained on your little(or not so little) arse.

I don't get why Google didn't simply use Perl. It surely is as efficient as their J-contraption and disciplined programmers can create complex software in that language.

Use Java and be damned - that is the message of Mr Larry.

3
2
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Stay Clear Of Java

"I don't get why Google didn't simply use Perl."

Perhaps they decided up-front not to use a write-only programming language..

" It surely is as efficient as their J-contraption and disciplined programmers can create complex software in that language.

Ahhh - 'Perl' and 'disciplined programmers' (almost) in the same sentence... novel, I like your style :)

3
0

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

Apache have said that Dalvik wasn't "based" on Harmony.

But that's a wide term and (no doubt not wanting Mr Larry to add them to his list) I expect they meant it isn't a direct port, recompilation, cut-down Harmony-lite, etc, of their codebase.

What I believe Google have said (incl in court) is that when they wanted to figure out the best way to, and good practices of, creating a new Java Spec implementation they looked at how Apache had done it - not how Sun had built it originally. Incl no doubt the API definitions, yada yada.

Which (as an admin, not a developer) makes sense to me. Sun/Oracle's implementation has been built up over time, modified, upgraded, probably kludged here and there. Maybe got a bit flabby?

Whereas Apache took the resulting spec of that and built a much newer implementation from scratch - their code is bound to be a lot cleaner than the slowly evolved Sun version, is it not?

3
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

Dalvik is a VM and has nothing whatsoever to do with Java.

Therefore, of course it wouldn't be based on Harmony, which is a library implementation.

3
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Not the only Java implementation without a license

> Apache have said that Dalvik wasn't "based" on Harmony.

Are you sure about that? There's an awful lot of import statements with "harmony" in them for that to be true...

Vic.

0
0

Thievin, pure and simple

It's thievin pure and simple.

Them Sun boys built this fancy contraption and most everone that look at it says it's mighty fine. The Sun boys they said anyone can use it free but you wanna build one like it, pay me a nickel so I can keep the horses fed. And just bout everybody did, paid em a nickel. Then the Google Brothers rode into town and think it's pretty fine too but heck, they'll just take it even though they's signs posted everwhere. They don't care bout no signs. They didn't get rich readin no signs and givin way money. Well they been caught but hired theirselves a fancy dressin lawyer says even though everyone else paid a nickel and they is signs everwhere the thing is free like the air so the Google Brothers could take it for nothin just like breathin.

That's just fancy lawyerin. It's still thievin.

4
8
Silver badge

Re: Thievin, pure and simple

> And just bout everybody did, paid em a nickel.

No they didn't.

0
0
Silver badge

No case to answer

Firstly, the interpreter in Android is based on Apache Harmony. Which was an unofficial clone of the Java programming language. Unofficial because it was unable (for Oracle's capricious reasons) to pass the test suite required to make it official. No intellectual property inheres in a language.

Secondly, what the "copied" code does couldn't sanely be done any other way. This places it beyond the scope of copyright protection.

Google should push to have the (non-)case dismissed, and Oracle branded Vexatious Litigants.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.