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Schmidt Testifies Android Did Not Use Sun's IP 239

CWmike writes "Google built a 'clean room' version of Java and did not use Sun's intellectual property, Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, testified in court Tuesday. Schmidt said its use of Java in Android was 'legally correct.' On this day seven of the trial, Schmidt gave the jury a brief history of Java, describing its release as 'an almost religious moment.' He told the jury that Google had once hoped to partner with Sun to develop Android using Java, but that negotiations broke off because Google wanted Android to be open source, and Sun was unwilling to give up that much control over Java. Instead, Schmidt said, Google created the 'clean room' version of Java that didn't use Sun's protected code. Its engineers invented 'a completely different approach' to the way Java worked internally, Schmidt testified."
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Schmidt Testifies Android Did Not Use Sun's IP

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  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:42PM (#39790803)

    Guess why Google doesn't use it or create their own? Because that would be much more work to do.

    1) What's wrong with saving yourself work?
    2) Isn't that the whole point of OSS?

  • fragmentation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:44PM (#39790811)

    If Oracle is so worried about the "Fragmentation of Java", why would they want to force Google to write a completely different API?

  • by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @10:51PM (#39790869)

    If what he says is true, there should be lots of evidence including a big stack of affidavits signed by the reverse-engineers swearing that they have never seen the original code. If he can't pull these out of his pocket, along with the Attorney who oversaw the project, I'd be.. erm... skeptical.

  • There are some fairly large differences between Dalvik (the vm in android) and the JVM from sun/oracle/whoever. Namely the Dalvik instruction set is register based whereas java is stack based. You can easily have any engineer look at the code for the Dalvik vm itself and see there is quite a difference. Then the libraries that aren't android specific are based on the Apache harmony project so affidavits from Google engineers would be quite useless there. Now the question to me wouldn't be in Android itself but is the Android SDK truly clean room. There's a static re-compiler to recompile JVM bytecode to Dalvik bytecode. My guess is the SDK is clean room itself but Schmidt being honest about android being clean room isn't so unlikely but it is quite possible this is doublespeak and the SDK itself (hey it's not "Android") could very well be based on Sun IP. The relevant stuff I've seen in this court case hasn't related to so much lifted code as it was patents which is quite difficult to avoid infringing just by not seeing code.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:42PM (#39791119)

    If you look at docs, specifically java docs you will get variable names and description what it does. This is still clean room implementation.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:51PM (#39791169) Journal
    It seems some people here are a little unclear of what a clean room implementation is. Here, from the wiki:

    Typically, a clean room design is done by having someone examine the system to be reimplemented and having this person write a specification. This specification is then reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that no copyrighted material is included. The specification is then implemented by a team with no connection to the original examiners.

    That's the proper way to do a clean room implementation. Once you start looking at copyrighted materials of the person you are copying, then it's no longer clean room. And yes, Javadocs are copyrighted.

    Now, what you have done might still be legal. That's what I'm hoping for in this case. However, it certainly isn't clean room.

  • by Talisein ( 65839 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:59PM (#39791199) Homepage

    That's the weird part of this trial, there doesn't seem to be a formal decision paper/memorandum saying "Okay, we are doing a clean room, and these are the measures we need to be sure we enforce, here is the manager in charge." [Cravat: Maybe there is and Oracle simply didn't want to present it. But that seems unlikely] It seems more like Andy Rubin was shooting the shit over email and some engineer said that he could write his own byte-code interpreter, and some others piped up that maybe rewriting everything would be fun. And then 2 years later they had it done and Rubin was just like, "Oh, cool, let's build our business on this then."

    But really this entire phase of the "trial" is bizarre. Oracle spent hours and hours and hours proving.... Google implemented the methods in java.lang et al. And Google is saying.... they implemented those methods. What exactly is the jury supposed to decide? Isn't whether or not Google can implement those methods be a matter of law? if the jury is supposed to say its fair use or not, why wasn't Oracle's presentation filled with examples of what things are fair use and what things aren't?

    Oracle's lawyers are so focused on saying that Google should have got a TCK license, but they never presented WHY Google should have gotten that license. They just asked the Google people, "Hey, did you know you should have got a TCK license?" Then they ask the Sun people, "Hey, should they have gotten a TCK license?" But they never seemed to explain why the TCK was needed beyond avoiding fragmentation of the language. Fragmentation of the language isn't against the law AFAIK.

    I guess things will become clear when the judge gives his instructions to the jury, but I am completely puzzled.

  • Re:mod up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:21AM (#39791305)

    Nice nearly universal copypasta there.

    Name any market Apple has created? Tablets? Smartphones? MP3 players? It's all polished implementations of other peoples well proven ideas. Their finest and purest idea was their first one: computing accesible to masses.

    Name any market Microsoft has created? Operating systems? Database servers? Directory services? It's all polished etc. etc. etc.

  • Re:mod up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The1stImmortal ( 1990110 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:23AM (#39791311)
    There is nothing new under the sun :)
    Seriously though - I love the irony in someone saying

    "Name any market Google has created [...] It's all polished implementations of other peoples well proven ideas."

    in response to a comment about Google "stealing" from Apple

  • Re:Like Linux? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:01AM (#39791797) Homepage

    Linux is written to the POSIX standard. The POSIX standard is copyright IEEE and the Open Group.

    IEEE holds the copyright to the documents describing the POSIX standard. It doesn't necessarily apply to the particular items being standardized (APIs, utilities, etc.).

  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:11AM (#39791835)

    It's not clear to me you understand what a clean room implementation is. It is perfectly possible to make a clean-room implementation of an SDK, or a chip, that implements the behavior accurately, without looking at the original code. There is no reason to believe Google did this (except for the sketchy testimony by their CEO).

    And the fact that a very large majority of the non-trivial portions of the code clearly do what they do in different ways to Oracle's implementation. And the fact that the developers of the code (in this case Apache, not Google) have stated several times that it is clean room. And that it was an open source project where the practice was to obtain a signed statement from developers providing complete details of exposure to Sun's IP prior to accepting patches from them (see [] ), so it seems to be pretty clear that either it was clean room, or there is a developer who lied to them in a written warranty and therefore *that developer should be liable*, not Google.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:16AM (#39791855) Journal

    Why do you have a strong opinion for google or oracle in this case? I don't have a horse in the race, and I hope truth will out.

    Incidentally, the bias on Slashdot against Oracle, and for Google, is so strong right now, that if you aren't careful, you can get modded down for pointing out a way Google can lose, even though your post is 100% accurate. It's ridiculous.

    Mentioning that you think it's better if Google wins is a way to let those people feel good without needing to mod you down. Sad but true.

  • by zuperduperman ( 1206922 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @02:24AM (#39791895)

    He should have excused himself from the board the moment Google started working on Android.

    That would have been silly because Google started working on Android when Apple was a company that made portable music players and pretty much nothing else. But even so, he did in fact recuse himself from all discussions involving the iPhone and resigned not long after its release. Since Google purchasing Android was very publicly known there is no excuse for the rest of the board for not removing him if they thought it was a problem. There was absolutely nothing secret about it, so if it was a problem as you seem to believe then that is a testament to incredible stupidity of the Apple board room and not much else.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:25AM (#39792969)

    You appear to have been the victim of several (-1, I disagree) mods.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:48AM (#39793433) Homepage

    No, he's just wrong.

    In fact, despite the fact that kernel and userland programs in Android require it to be open source, Google is making it as hard as possible for it to be any use for others.

    This is wrong - only the kernel is GPL. They have no obligation to release the rest of the source, which is either Apache2 or BSD licensed. In fact, they didn't for a version (Honeycomb?).

    Bionic, Dalvik, they could've kept all of that closed and they didn't.

    You need to be registered partner and pay hefty sums just to officially use Android.

    This is a red herring and slightly wrong. You can call your device "Android" if you pass the compatibility test, which is free (as in beer and speech). If this is enough to call Android not open, then Firefox isn't either (see Iceweasel).

    You have to get a license to get access to Google Play, which isn't software but a service provided by Google and not really part of Android.

    In fact, they have basically used the work of countless amount of volunteer programmers without giving much back.

    That's called open source. We all use much more than we contribute back; in fact, that's the whole point!

    But the fact is that the Android software is open, and Linux 3.3 included contributions from Android's kernel.

    Guess why Google doesn't use it or create their own? Because that would be much more work to do.

    They have created a language (Go), they pay for the development of Python (check who employs Guido van Rossum) and they have developed a full compiler and VM (Dalvik).

    The reason they chose Java has nothing to do with it being more work, but with the fact that developers already know the language.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:50AM (#39793449) Homepage

    "You appear to have been the victim of several (-1, Most of us are not clueless morons) mods."


How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."