Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

Summary: Google has answered Oracle's lawsuit over Java by denying all allegations and calling Oracle a hypocrite over the open-sourcing of the technology.

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updated with Oracle statement below:

Google has filed court documents denying all of Oracle's allegations in a Java patent infringement suit filed in August. But Google didn't just deny the allegations and ask for full dismissal of the suit.

Google essentially called out Oracle for its hypocrisy over Java, noting that Oracle took one position about the open-sourcing of Java when it was belonged to Sun. But now that Oracle has acquired Sun, the company has changed its tune, Google said in the court filing. (PDF)

From Google's filing:

Sun came under significant criticism from members of the open source community, including Oracle Corp., for its refusal to fully open source Java. For example, in August of 2006, the Apache Software Foundation (“ASF”), a not-for-profit corporation that provides organizational, legal, and financial support for open source software projects, attempted to obtain a TCK from Sun to verify Apache Harmony’s compatibility with Java. Although Sun eventually offered to open source the TCK for Java SE, Sun included field of use (“FOU”) restrictions that limited the circumstances under which Apache Harmony users could use the software that the ASF created, such as preventing the TCK from being executed on mobile devices. In April of 2007, the ASF wrote an open letter to Sun asking for either a TCK license without FOU restrictions, or an explanation as to why Sun was “protect[ing] portions of Sun’s commercial Java business at the expense of ASF’s open software” and violating “Sun’s public promise that any Sun-led specification [such as Java] would be fully implementable and distributable as open source/free software.” However, Sun continued to refuse the ASF’s requests.

Oracle Corp., as a member of the Executive Committee (“EC”) of the Java Community Process (“JCP”), the organization tasked with managing Java standards, voiced the same concerns regarding Sun’s refusal to fully open source the Java platform. Later that year, in December of 2007, during a JCP EC meeting, Oracle Corp. proposed that the JCP should provide “a new, simplified IPR [intellectual property rights] Policy that permits the broadest number of implementations.” At that same meeting, BEA Systems – which at the time was in negotiations that resulted in Oracle Corp. purchasing BEA – proposed a resolution that TCK licenses would be “offered without field of use restrictions . . . enabling the TCK to be used by organizations including Apache.” Oracle Corp. voted in favor of the resolution.

Just over a year later, in February of 2009, Oracle Corp. reiterated its position on the open-source community’s expectation of a fully open Java platform when it supported a motion that “TCK licenses must not be used to discriminate against or restrict compatible implementations of Java specifications by including field of use restrictions on the tested implementations or otherwise. Licenses containing such limitations do not meet the requirements of the JSPA, the agreement under which the JCP operates, and violate the expectations of the Java community that JCP specs can be openly implemented.”

Only a couple of months later, in April of 2009, Oracle Corp. announced that it would be acquiring Sun (renamed Oracle America after the acquisition was completed in January of 2010). Since that time, and directly contrary to Oracle Corp.’s public actions and statements, as well as its own proposals as an executive member of the JCP, Oracle Corp. and Sun (now Oracle America) have ignored the open source community’s requests to fully open-source the Java platform.

updated:

Oracle sent over the following statement from spokesperson Deborah Hellinger:

In developing Android, Google chose to use Java code without obtaining a license. Additionally, it modified the technology so it is not compliant with Java's central design principle to "write once and run anywhere."  Google's infringement and fragmentation of Java code not only damages Oracle, it clearly harms consumers, developers and device manufacturers.

Topics: Open Source, Google, Oracle, Software Development

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  • Yeah so what? Now they've paid big bucks for it, nothing wrong with wanting

    some ROI. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, they're not a non-profit charity. Anyone who doesnt like it is free to buy oracle shares and vote to change it...
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

      @Johnny Vegas I think Oracle has shoot itself on the foot by making promises to the Open Software community as to the its intentions of purchasing Sun and Java that it now has reneged on. These promises are what allowed the European Union to approve the purchase of Sun. In the future I think the European Union will take a harsher view of Oracle purchases of other companies which in fact affects shareholder value.
      mktpostal@...
      • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

        @mktpostal@...
        The argument for European approval was that the open source licenses (of MySql) are strong enough to protect against any unwanted manoeuvring of Oracle. I thing they are put to the test now. But I see already a libreoffice.
        bezoeker
      • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

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    • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

      @Johnny Vegas
      The problem is, Google implemented it's own Java-like development model, based on Harmony, not using anything Sun/Oracle actually made. I fail to see where Sun/Oracle had any R&D invested, so there was no investment made by said company.
      Of course, I'm on the outside looking in. From this position, it looks like Oracle has abandoned any FLOSS ideals it had and replaced it with greed. So now, I will not recommend Oracle to anyone. I will also urge others not to also.
      fireball74
      • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

        @fireball74 Google did not develop harmony, nor Dalvik, nor invented java. They essentially took a Java implementation to fit their own needs, throwing away the bytecode, removing APIs and adding others at will, thus doing exactly an incompatible version of the language. I don't think that Google has the high ground there. When Sun lived, they could have teamed with them, but Google wanted total control, and they did not want to share any profits they could make with Sun. Now Oracle bought Sun, who spent a lot of money on Java. Contrary to Google, they did not have Java free.
        atari_z
      • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

        @fireball74
        "took a Java implementation" ???
        OBJECTIONS: The claim relies on facts not in evidence.
        JohnVoter
    • Oracle should settle on Google's terms

      @Johnny Vegas
      and align with the community when it comes to OSS or suffer serious consequences!
      Linux Geek
    • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

      @Johnny Vegas Do you know anything about business at all, even in the current environment of corruption that sank the financial system, TRUST is still central to business agreements. The cardinal rule is don't do business with those you cannot trust. Do you think that Motorola trusts MS? After their track record, and now that MS is suing its customers where do you think that will end up? More business for MS? More sales of Mobile7?Hardly likely. I work for the biggest of the big, and they are already moving away from Oracle to SAP. Maybe it's because they don't litigate, you think? Isn't "litigation" one of the three L reason for not buying stock?
      bigpicture
      • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

        @bigpicture Your comment is absolutely ludicrous. You imply that your company is making a decision, costing tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars (if you truly work for the "biggest of the big") simply because Oracle is litigious over protecting their IP and other rights? So, in order to be trustworthy a company must never litigate to protect itself or risk being deemed untrustworthy? Foolish. Trust is not central to any business agreement: A well-crafted, reviewed and agreed-upon contract with legal standing in all relevant jurisdictions is, coupled with trusted legal counsel to make sure the terms are met, and LITIGATE when they are not. Trust is placed in the law and your firm?s ability to defend its interests.
        Your comment implies that you are, indeed, the one with very little understanding of business, at least at a level where people actually make decisions beyond what time to go on break.
        BrianTX
      • RE: Sea of cubicles - today's enterprise

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    • RE: Google replies to Oracle's Java suit; cites hypocrisy

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  • Whining won't help

    Unfortunately for Google, a change of opinion or action from that previously taken is not grounds for dismissal; inconsistency doesn't render Oracle's case groundless - although I guess it may be taken into consideration for awarded damages.
    funnyusername