IcedRobot launches Android fork to mitigate Oracle-Google war

Summary:A group of open source developers have embarked upon a project called IcedRobot that is building a Java virtual machine for Android based on the GPL-based OpenJDK.Yes, they are concerned about the "implications of Oracle winning its lawsuit against Google," noted IP activist Florian Mueller.

A group of open source developers have embarked upon a project called IcedRobot that is building a Java virtual machine for Android based on the GPL-based OpenJDK.

Yes, they are concerned about the "implications of Oracle winning its lawsuit against Google," noted IP activist Florian Mueller.

IcedRobot is officially an effort to bring the Android API to the Linux desktop. But it's much more than that.

"The goal is to avoid Dalvik and Harmony as much as possible and put the Android stack on top of the OpenJDK class library, and run the whole thing in Hotspot," according to IcedRobot project leaders. "The second goal is the most interesting because it means basically that Android will run on any desktop finally: one environment, one specification one JVM."

Florian Mueller said it's a forking of Android to ensure Java stays open.

"To do this, they apparently also build their own derived version of Android, which is called forking in open source circles, Mueller says. "By integrating Java code available on GPLv2 terms they hope to be safe from legal attacks on Oracle's part, but this depends on what exactly they do and how the implicit patent license contained in the GPLv2 would apply. The more they modify the OpenJDK code, the less likely they are to be covered by that implicit patent license.

"But just the fact that they see a need to act and don't trust that Google will defend itself successfully is interesting. Those are skilled software developers who apparently concluded that they have to take their destiny into their own hands," Mueller said.

Topics: Software Development, Legal, Open Source

About

Paula Rooney has covered the software and technology industry for more than 20 years, starting with semiconductor design and mini-computer systems at EDN News and later focused on PC software companies including Microsoft, Lotus, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell and other open source and commercial software companies for CRN and PCWeek. She receiv... Full Bio

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