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On a New Road

My attitude on Oracle v GoogleSaturday April 28, 2012
[ Update: he fixed the article to put me on the same side as Scott ]

In Dan Farber's recent article on CNET titled "Oracle v. Google: Ex-Sun execs on opposite sides" he got my position on the case totally backwards and totally misinterpreted my comments. Just because Sun didn't have patent suits in our genetic code doesn't mean we didn't feel wronged. While I have differences with Oracle, in this case they are in the right. Google totally slimed Sun. We were all really disturbed, even Jonathan: he just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade, which annoyed a lot of folks at Sun.

Comments:

Thats a better way of doing business than burning Google's house down, with the lemons.

Posted by Patrick McFarland on April 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM PDT #

@Patrick Is it? Sun went out of business. We have to wait to see what will happen to Oracle.

Posted by Daniel Jackson on April 29, 2012 at 01:50 AM PDT #

Well, it still is better to try and see if you can get real Java working on Android than spending time and money on trying to stop it. So, yes, lemonade please.

Posted by Tom on April 29, 2012 at 03:53 AM PDT #

After ME, Sun failed to innovate and continue Java heritage on mobile. Google did something not all revolutionary but at least something that can keep java on mobile although technically it may not exacly be java. I understand Sun did not have resources, again I understand oracle is not all so interested to be leader in mobile but if those two are not interested in java on mobile, why stop Google. I respect the copyrights and patents (not exactly software patents) but i would be paying google to push android more if i were sun/oracle. Either way sun/oracle's java is already left out in mobile world and google's success will keep more developers focused on java.

Posted by Murat Yener on April 29, 2012 at 06:50 AM PDT #

So, James, do you have a position on the copyrightability of APIs?

Posted by Frank Ch. Eigler on April 29, 2012 at 06:50 AM PDT #

Lot of "end justifies the means" thinking in the comments. Yes you invented Java, yes it's your idea, but you are a moron and not using it properly so this justifies me stealing it from you. That's not Science, people. That's what they do at Black Mesa.

Posted by Combustible Lemon on April 29, 2012 at 09:34 AM PDT #

James What's your comment on copyrights of API's.Please Explain.

Posted by Santosh on April 29, 2012 at 09:56 AM PDT #

So Apache made you feel wronged?? Their license allows you to use part of the code in "incompatible" way regarding "Java". Please tell us how you felf about Apache.

Posted by Peter Frandsen on April 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM PDT #

I hope Oracle wins, not regarding the "copyright on APIs", but because Google doesn't respect copyright in general. As for Apache, ASL stands for the Apache Slavery License doesn't it? Large corporations encourage you to use the ASL instead of the GPL so that they can make money using the code, whereas the developer can hardly make any money writing it. Just my 2 cents...

Posted by Bruno Lowagie on April 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM PDT #

Copyrighting the definition of APIs, function and class names, header files? That's taking American IP insanity to a whole new level. People with this mindset probably also would think that human languages and alphabets should be put under a copyright and that everybody who writes a letter or talks to another human being should have to pay license fees. I sure hope that Oracle loses this one for the greater good of all of us. And also to make this very clear, I firmly believe that software patents are another American IP abomination that needs to be abolished once and for all. You have copyright laws to protect real products. That ought to be enough protection for anyone.

Posted by Winfried Maus on April 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM PDT #

Android was a good thing that happened to Java. Oracle trying to copyright APIs? A bad thing. But this from technology POV. Regarding the legality of it, I have no idea.

Posted by Rui on April 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM PDT #

Android is not a good thing which happened to Java. I had to port a big Java app which I knew very well to Android, and it was a nightmare. Deficient and buggy tools, buggy implementation, no consistency at all in the specific android API. It was developed in a hurry and it shows. in fact the best thing that could happen to google is if they lose and are obliged to adhere to the standard. They won't be able to maintain the mess they're in with their implementation for very long, and in the meantime Oracle Java is still evolving, and now it is very quickly.

Posted by Herve on April 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM PDT #

IMO Google played foul play with Android, wronging SUN (Oracle) and Apple (were he still alive, Steve Jobs would have chosen Larry's side). No matter who wins in the Oracle vs. Google case, there will be damage. What is our greatest fear: getting hit by collateral damage, or accepting that Google can get away with almost anything?

Posted by Bruno Lowagie on April 30, 2012 at 12:48 AM PDT #

Why should Oracle prevail? When Oracle is showing that there is code and/or APIs in Android that are copied from JavaTM how is that any different than copying from OpenJDK? Surely the only legitimate complaint that can be made is a GPL violation, for which the standard practice is to give the offender an opportunity to repair the problem before court action. And of course the GPL grants the needed patent licenses. So really, what's the beef?

Posted by Jim White on April 30, 2012 at 02:23 AM PDT #

"You don’t have to do exact copies, e.g., you could use science.sqrt() as your method rather than math.sqrt()" What will happen if Oracle manages to pull this API crap out?

Posted by Luiz on April 30, 2012 at 05:08 AM PDT #

The question is, does anyone in the Google-vs-Oracle fight care about SUN? We all know that this whole thing is just Oracle trying to make a few billions from Google. Java was always free - now all of a sudden it's patented and people need to pay for it (of course, those people must have billions of dollars to be "eligible" of this penalty first).

Posted by Fadi El-Eter on April 30, 2012 at 06:11 AM PDT #

You are one of the best things that happened after Wozniak, Steve Jobs(no tech) Ken ,Linus Torvalds but here are my 2 cents, Why didn;t you guys went ahead tried something like android did with java. You know what i feel when one creates a PL it intent is to make the best application and android is an appliocation (OS) but still . Now what oracle is doing is not right either.

Posted by Sameer Kulkarni on April 30, 2012 at 09:37 AM PDT #

Biggest mistake that happened to JAVA was not android but you let go off Java to one of the greediest CEO after MS . When you trade with .... well well haven't you heard merchant of venice .. I feel so stupid and naive.. all these years i thought no one can use sue anyone when they use JAVA but fact is they are open but closed like Apple and MS.

Posted by Sameer Kulkarni on April 30, 2012 at 09:42 AM PDT #

Many Google Fans think that Sun/Oracle should be happy if Google let Java become popular - even Google folk at Sun... Maybe they should be happy if Amazon folk at Google...

Posted by Nobody on April 30, 2012 at 09:47 AM PDT #

Can't say I agree. J2ME was a disaster in so many ways. Android, despite its flaws, is a huge improvement in APIs, usability, consistency and adoption over J2ME. I'd normally agree with you in principle, but the difference in mobile development between J2ME and Android is so huge that it's clear the ends justified the means here. If only Sun had actually been effective about pushing the platform, Google would not have needed to make Android. Any flaws people point to in Android pail in comparison to the multi-device, slow-performance, unintegrated mess that J2ME was. Android has a lot of what's great about Java, but on a platform in which apps usually work, perform well, and can do interesting things. Android apps have attractive UI widgets that normal people can figure out. J2ME had a great golf game on my Symbian phone. Beyond that, I remember that seeing the Java logo on my phone meant that it would soon grind to a halt.

Posted by Matt on April 30, 2012 at 10:08 AM PDT #

It's unfortunate you feel that way James as the only thing Google copied were method signatures - which is absurd to even think they can be copyrightable. Looking back I wish Google had never selected Java and just used C++ or some other language. Android is the only reason why there is even a resurgence in Java. Once Google's Go language matures I hope they switch over to it and be done with this archaic and limiting language.

Posted by Cal on April 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM PDT #

@Daniel Jackson: Its better than a perpetual testing initiative.

Posted by Patrick McFarland on April 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM PDT #

Not sure why you're getting so many Goog fanboys in your comments... I for one totally agree with you, James. Shame that the big G thinks it is always above the rules that apply to everyone else.

Posted by Harry on April 30, 2012 at 10:50 AM PDT #

My sentiments exactly, James.

Posted by Jon Kannegaard on April 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM PDT #

It was nasty, however, I'd have to side with Google on this one. It's up to Oracle to prove infringement, but a bunch of the architects from Sun were poached by Google. It was up to Oracle to defend the rights of their buy with Sun and all of the IP that came with it. I don't think they were prepared totally.... I liken it to the difference between Fruit Whirls (Kroger Brand Cereal) and Fruit Loops (Kellogs). We know Kroger copied the idea, just made it more affordable to all. Fruit Whirls have all of the looks and the flavor, but it's not Fruit Loops.

Posted by BigMixxx on April 30, 2012 at 11:43 AM PDT #

Absolutly agree… exacly the same sentiment… a lot of angry people from Google but that is only because they fail to understand what really happened. Sun should had done this. Not Oracle. I like to see Google pay for what they knew they had to license. Jonathan just avoided conflict - to the point of not having a profitable quater/year. A happy face is all Jonathan ever wanted. We were all wronged and Google knows it. But winning at all cost (even at fracmenting the ecosystem) is more important to them when they were so back behind.

Posted by Ramses Moya on April 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM PDT #

It's so sad to see how ungrateful Google is. After Sun had helped them in the early days through a donation they haven't even acted fair by getting license for the JVM. They just took a move from Microsoft's book and created Dalvik to avoid paying anything to Sun. And all that because they wanted complete 'control' ... How else could they create their crappy undocumented APIs they change at each new major release every 6 months, breaking compatibility with previous ones. It would have been highly unlikely that royalties from Android could have sustained Sun but the way in which Google acted shows their lack of character. On the other hand Mr. Schwartz appears to be a real gentleman and good natured person, not having started any legal actions even in the critical situation in which Sun was. Thank you James and all the true engineers at Sun for the rich heritage you left for us! (and for getting us out of the dark ages of programming)

Posted by Crisp on April 30, 2012 at 01:07 PM PDT #

Are you people out of your minds here? Despite that Google's move was negative for Sun, they were completely in their right to do it. Otherwise we should be defending poor AT&T because Linux and GNU copied their OS. C++ has plenty of implementations and interoperability is fine (they mostly abide to the standards now) so why is it a problem with Java if there are many versions?

Posted by Jose Goruka on April 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM PDT #

Quite honestly, I am really disappointed with the way big companies like these are fighting against each other and causing hindrance to the world of innovation. If google cant do it nobody else would dare to do it in future for such innovations.

Posted by Java Developer on April 30, 2012 at 01:54 PM PDT #

Mr. Gosling, how do you feel about Samba "sliming" Windows networking, or OpenBoot "sliming" Forth, or OEL "sliming" Linux, or SunOS "sliming" BSD, or BSD "sliming" System V? Or, for that matter, javax.xml sliming Xerces? I trust that, if Oracle receives a favorable decision re: API copyright, that they'll no longer be shipping all that infringing compatibility nonsense? If I can't implement the producing side of a documented API without permission, I'm either quitting the industry or I'm taking myself and my services to a country that's not an IP banana republic.

Posted by Jonathan on April 30, 2012 at 02:14 PM PDT #

I think Java is a big reason Oracle bought Sun, and yeah, it's a tip off when a company has to tell you they don't intend to do evil.

Posted by Marianne Mueller on April 30, 2012 at 03:40 PM PDT #

Nothing good resulted from the fragmentation of Unix, etc. This has always been wrong, and it is not an excuse for Android doing the same to Java.

Posted by albedo on April 30, 2012 at 03:51 PM PDT #

Lets say judge ordered Android to switch to "real Java". Who will update their firmware and what will happen to millions of titles? There should be a good meeting in oracle questioning what exactly went wrong with j2me.

Posted by Ilgaz on April 30, 2012 at 07:50 PM PDT #

Google made a point about not wanting to work with a bunch of D grade engineers from Sun. I can see why they thought that way.

Posted by Cal on April 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM PDT #

Gosling seems to have a self-serving view of IP law. When Sun took some liberties with RISC patents, Gosling thought that the lawsuits were absurd because all RISC meant was that "if you make something simpler, it will be faster." I am sure John Cocke, who won every engineering award under the sun for RISC, appreciated that dumbed down characterization of RISC by someone who knew better. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, with a much more ambiguous IP licensing structure in Java, Google is clearly in the wrong. They may be in the wrong, but no less than Sun was in the wrong with RISC.

Posted by Sam on April 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM PDT #

Mr. Gosling--thanks for the clarification of your viewpoint in this matter. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts.

Posted by Huntress on May 01, 2012 at 06:40 AM PDT #

Some thoughts: 1.) Sun released the source code under GPL v2. The purpose of GPL is to allow others to take the code and release back to the community any further developments on it. 2.) Sun's restrictions arise from their separate TCK License. Neither Apache nor Google are subject to this license. 3.) As a matter of law, the restrictions imposed by the TCK License may be in violation of the General Public License (in letter and spirit) under which the Java source code was released.

Posted by Manoj on May 01, 2012 at 08:21 AM PDT #

The GPL license includes the copyleft provisions, simply stated any IP resulting from original must be re-incorporated back into the whole. Google refuses to do this with Android. Google has made a legal distinction between the code that runs the Galaxy Nexus and the their open source releases. Google claimed in recent court filing that the code running Galaxy Nexus is a "trade secret". That's still a violation under GPL terms. GPL is actually very restrictive about how IP can be used.

Posted by Tim on May 01, 2012 at 03:31 PM PDT #

Be that as it may, Google's 'slimy' behavior still doesn't justify this lawsuit from Oracle which could have extremely far reaching consequences and not for the better. I mean copyrighting APIs? What a joke.

Posted by James on May 02, 2012 at 06:02 AM PDT #

It's a bit sad what's been happening with Java over the years. (Sun) Oracle is in the right here, but looking at it practically Google has a point. The ends just don't justify the means, they never do, just explain them. I was thinking, when the dust has settled down a bit, would it make sense to "get the old band together" and have you, Josh Bloch and some brilliant engineers turn Java 8 into a proper desktop/webtop Java?

Posted by Timo Kinnunen on May 02, 2012 at 08:01 AM PDT #

Its really obvious Google knew what they were doing was wrong and through their arrogance decided to go for it thinking maybe nothing would happen. Only an Android fanboy doesn't see this.

Posted by Darwin on May 02, 2012 at 08:55 AM PDT #

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