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Sun CEO Explicitly Endorsed Java's Use In Android 204

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-he-was-in-on-the-plot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet writes: 'If you believe Oracle's patent lawsuits against Google for its use of Java in Android, Google has stolen not just patented ideas but directly copied Java code. In short, Google is a red-handed thief and should pay Oracle over a billion in damages. There's just one little problem with this portrayal of Google as an intellectual property (IP) bandit. When Android first came out, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, then Java's owner, greeted the news with 'heartfelt congratulations.' Whoops.'"
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Sun CEO Explicitly Endorsed Java's Use In Android

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  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @07:03AM (#36881592)

    Definitely puts Oracle in an difficult position but does the current owner of a company assume the liability of "word-of-mouth" statements by a former owner? What's more, are they actually a legal binding agreement? I like Oracle about as much as I like Microsoft and Apple, but it seems to me that what it comes down to is Google would need to produce an actual legal document signed by Sun to make anything matter out of this.

  • Re:Won't stop Oracle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @07:18AM (#36881674) Journal
    It doesn't seem very relevant if it happened when Android was first released. Back then, Google was shouting loudly that they were using Java. Schwartz probably read this and said 'well done, using Java is great!' Then, on closer inspection, it turned out that Google was using almost-Java, which is not something they were too happy about.
  • Re:Won't stop Oracle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @07:19AM (#36881676) Homepage

    If commentary on Groklaw [groklaw.net] concerning this very subject is any indication of probably outcome, then the case is pretty much already lost because of the doctrine of estoppel. It basically says "we were encouraged and supported in this route by the owners of Java and it became what it became in part because of that. You can't take that back now just because there are new owners." Permission to do what Google has done has already been given before Oracle took over. It seems unjust and childish somehow that it would be possible for new owners of something to step in and suddenly evict others from their intellectual property after they have been homesteading for so long.

    The doctrine of estoppel defence is just one of Google's defences in this case, of course... Google will also, as much as possible, render as much of Oracle's IP useless in the process of defending their case. Oracle's arrogant aggressiveness, I hope, will result in a very humbling experience for them and give pause to anyone who wishes to assert software patents in court. The more frequently software patents are invalidated, the less likely new ones are to be approved in the future... and I pray that one fine day, they are simply dropped from the list of things that can be patented entirely.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hacki s h . o rg> on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @07:20AM (#36881678)

    It's not nearly as good as a real patent license, but if you encourage someone to do something and then sue them for it, they can argue "detrimental reliance", that you had suggested it was fine for them to do something and they had relied on that representation--- and therefore, even if the use turned out to be unauthorized, it might not be equitable to allow damages to be collected in that case.

  • Re:Won't stop Oracle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @08:11AM (#36881950)

    Week of wait + public telling of how great he was in bed on the internet the day after + saving a used condom for a week.

    Personally I WTF:d at the condom. That thing must have smelled wonderful when she took it out at police station. Tells a lot about woman's personality that she actually saved that used condom for a week.

  • Not the whole story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by realinvalidname (529939) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @08:41AM (#36882124) Homepage

    It's unfortunate that Schwartz's blog is gone, and that ZDNet didn't drill down a little more carefully to check dates on things. I was working with Sun on the java.net site at the time, through a contract with O'Reilly. As I recall, the story is actually somewhat worse. The rumor mill reported that Android would be using Java, and Schwartz went off half-cocked and praised Google for the "Java/Linux platform". Writing for java.net [java.net], I said "But I didn't end up putting this on the front page, because I just couldn't source the Java angle well enough (no offense, Jonathan, but you did say ZFS would be on Leopard...)." (that's the current editor's headshot on the page, not me, BTW).

    Not too much later, Google laid out the details of Android, including the Dalvik VM, which meant that Google was only using Java the language (which it didn't have to license) and not Java the VM (which it would have had to). What I heard through the back channel was that Sun was pissed, believing it had been stabbed in the back. This made for a very awkward scene at Sun's mobile-focused "ME Developer Days" a few months later in January 2008: the Sun people had clearly been told to not talk about Android or acknowledge it in any way, which led of a few awkward moments of dancing around the elephant in the room. The first night of the conference, the Java Posse stopped by for dinner, and upon seeing Dick Wall (who at that time worked at Google), the first thing I said to him was "man, are they pissed at you guys."

    Relevant dates and links:

    • November 5, 2007 - Google announces Android [blogspot.com], doesn't mention Java
    • November 5, 2007 - Later that day, Schwartz posts blog praising Android as "Java/Linux platform"
    • November 12, 2007 - First release of Android source, Dalvik revealed. This blog [betaversion.org], written that day, has a pretty good explanation of the fast one Google pulled on Sun. "How did Google manage to get Sun to license off a platform that could very well kill their own? Turns out, they didn’t: their move was even smarter than Sun’s."

    Anyways, assuming my recollection of events and this timeline is accurate, Schwartz's blog should not be taken as an indication that Sun knew about and approved what Google was doing with Android. What it does prove is what a lot of people knew then but wouldn't say: Schwartz was a clueless loud-mouthed buffoon who happily fiddled away on his blog as SUNW burned.

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