Google's Rubin spars with Oracle over definition of fragmentation

Summary:Andy Rubin returns to court to follow up on questions that prompted him to say that the java.lang APIs were copyrighted by Sun Microsystems.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Android chief Andy Rubin, returned to court to continue his testimony in the Google-Oracle intellectual property trial at the U.S. District Court on Tuesday morning.

See alsoEric Schmidt talks Android, search revenue in Oracle-Google IP trial Trial: Eric Schmidt discusses Google-Sun negotiations for Android CNET: Google's Andy Rubin dodges David Boies' bullets CNETGoogle's Eric Schmidt defends Android in court

Tension was already high as Monday's proceedings concluded after Rubin admitted, based on an old email of his shown to him as evidence, that the java.lang APIs were copyrighted by Sun Microsystems -- the previous owner of Java before the Oracle acquisition in 2010.

Oracle counsel David Boies commenced Tuesday's examination by asking Rubin to identify several e-mails that he had either written or received between 2006 and 2010 -- some of which had been objected to by Google's legal team but were approved as evidence anyway. Rubin confirmed that he could identify all of them.

Boies picked up with questioning Rubin about the clean room implementation of Java, citing an email from Rubin in 2006 in which he wrote,

Actually, it's a clean-room implementation we're buying. Anyone with specific knowledge (especially those from Sun) are tainted and would be bad. I interviewed Lars and think he's great, but sadly, not for this project.

Turning towards fragmentation, Boies cited an email, dated October 11, 2005, from Rubin to Google CEO Larry Page. Rubin wrote:

My proposal is that we take a license that specifically grants the right of us to Open Source our product. We'll pay Sun for the license and the TCK. Before we release our product to open source the community we'll make sure our JVM passes all TCK certification so we don't create fragmentation.

Boies then asked Rubin if he was aware about Sun's concerns about fragmentation and if it was something that the company didn't want. Rubin replied, "I'm unsure if my definition of fragmentation is the same as Sun's."

Boies grilled Rubin if he ever asked anyone back in 2005 about Sun's definition of fragmentation, to which Rubin replied he did not.

This prompted Boies to say, "The reason you didn't ask it was because you knew perfectly well what fragmentation was."

"It's hard for me to say what other people are thinking," Rubin said, "I know that Sun had a definition of fragmentation that Sun used over and over again."

After being prompted by Judge William Alsup, Rubin explained his definition of fragmentation in this case as being an "incompatible implementation of Java."

Google's legal team reserved questioning for Rubin until they begin their case later on Tuesday.

Related:

Topics: Oracle, Google, Open Source, Software Development

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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