If you haven’t been following, Oracle’s lawsuit against Google and their allegations that they ‘stole’ Java to develop Android is in court this week. Groklaw as usual are doing a stellar job to report on the proceedings (Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday), although nothing earth shattering has happened so far.
Here’s the summary, wording is entirely my own, somewhat loosely based on my understanding of the facts 🙂
Ellison: you stole Java Page: no we didn't Ellison: ok, then you didn't license it Page: we didn't license it because we couldn't come to an agreement on the terms with Sun, so we developed our own version based on Apache Harmony Judge: did Apache Harmony license Java? Page: no, because they didn't agree to Sun's licensing terms either, in particular the 'field of use' restrictions that limited what types of devices a particular version (SE vs ME) of the JVM can run on, that limits SE for example to only run on desktops and not on mobile devices Ellison: but the fact is, to develop your own version of Java, you should have licensed the TCK to verify that this was/is a valid version of Java Page: but it's not Java, its Dalvik. We've never said it is Java or is called Java Ellison: ok, then you should have licensed Java to build a new version of the language using the Java API spec Page: is there a license for the API spec? The Java language API is freely available without a license, is it not? Silence.
Ok. In a nutshell this is my understanding of where the discussions are so far. There seems to be a disagreement whether a license is required or even available to take the API spec for Java and develop your own version of the language. Based on the summaries from the Groklaw site, I get the impression Ellison’s team are accusing Page of things that they’re not sure of themselves – is a license available and/or required to use/read the Java language API spec? I’m not sure, but this is what seems to be the current discussion point.
Also if you build something that is functionally similar to Java, but you don’t call it Java and you don’t pretend to even call it Java, is it Java? If you haven’t blatantly copied copyright code, you rewrote the code again yourself in a cleanroom environment, then have you broken the law? Stay tuned as the court case continues in the coming days (weeks… months….)