Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

Summary: Stop the presses! Juicy "evidence" of Google's evil side turns out to be much ado about nothing.

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Sometimes the sheer wrongness of what is posted on the web leaves us speechless. Especially when it's picked up and repeated as gospel by otherwise reputable sites like Engadget. "Google copied Oracle's Java code, pasted in a new license, and shipped it," they reported this morning.

Sorry, but that just isn't true.

It all started with an article written by Florian Mueller, who by the way is neither a lawyer nor a developer although he plays one on TV. I downloaded and examined all the files he wrote about, and my analysis as an expert developer comes to a completely different conclusion than Mr. Mueller. Here's what I found:

There are two sets of files in question. The first set of 7 (PolicyNodeImpl.java, AclEntryImpl.java, AclImpl.java, GroupImpl.java, OwnerImpl.java, PermissionImpl.java, and PrincipalImpl.java) are in the unit test area of the source code tree. As any programmer will tell you, you don't ship your unit tests with your product. Unit tests are tools used internally to ensure the quality of the software before you ship it.

The second set of 37 files is actually zipped up into one file called MMAPI.zip and tucked away in a directory used for native code audio drivers for one particular type of chip set.  Florian really had to go digging for this one. I double-checked the make files and it's clear this file is not shipped with Android either. Somebody uploaded it by mistake and it should simply be deleted.

I did find one odd thing about the first 7 files. Sun published those files on its web site to help developers debug and test their own code. For some reason, the Android or Harmony developer who was using them decompiled and rebuilt them instead of just using the ones from Sun. Later an Apache license got incorrectly pasted to the top of the files, perhaps by some automated script. The solution to this earth shattering conspiracy? Replace them with the original files from Sun which have the correct comments. Or just delete them. After all, they're not shipped with Android.

Updated: Looks like Google has already taken care of these files. PolicyNodeImpl.java was deleted from the source tree on 30 Oct 2010. The other 6 java files and a few others were deleted on 14 Jan 2011. The commit comment from developer Dan Bornstein reads "Remove pointless tests". You can still go back through the history to see the old versions.

Sadly, while sensational articles like Engadget's and Mueller's will get splashed all over the web and lavished with thousands of views and hundreds of comments, the boring truth will rate no such attention.

Topics: Software Development, Android, Google, Open Source

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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176 comments
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  • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

    Nice work! Thanks for your time spent clearing that up.
    bstringy
    • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

      @bstringy What he did is not to clear up but to come up with inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims. That's called muddying the water, not clearing up.
      FlorianMueller
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @FlorianMueller Obviously, I disagree with that characterization.
        Ed Burnette
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @FlorianMueller Erm...He substantiates those claims, actually. He tells you just where the files are and what their story is and links to their (former) locations on android's public git repository. You can go through the changelog following the links he posted and verify his claims if you really wanted, for Pete's sake. (Full disclaimer: I haven't bothered to do so)

        The stories he's contradicting, on the other hand, have no substantiated claims. They just mention a header and some "expert's" claims.
        ChickenLiver
      • Message has been deleted.

        zato_3
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @FlorianMueller

        Be careful not to spread too many blatantly unsupported claims because nobody will listen to you if most of what you claim is true is in fact show to be false by real experts (unlike you).
        DonRupertBitByte
      • Message has been deleted.

        Alan Smithie
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @FlorianMueller Actually, he is listing each of the files that are in question, in FULL CONTEXT, which is more than you did. I think (having reviewed the same sources) that he has put the issue to sleep, along with your journalistic integrity.
        dimonic
    • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

      @bstringy
      Thanks for exposing the lies of this fake journalist.
      One should wonder who put those files there and than notified this dude to make waves in media. I bet it was some sort of M$ sponsored operation.
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @Linux Geek Hahaha, you're awesome. Your posts are so entertaining
        NaderBelaid
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @Linux Geek haha
        gowish
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @Linux Geek

        Let me add my comment too.
        Ha ha ha
        live.tiles
      • news?

        @Linux Geek Of course he is a bully from MSFT. Everyone knows that. Just make a list of whom he attacks or ask around.
        magachet
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @Linux Geek

        Are you paying any attention at all? Or are you just trolling for excuses to attack Microsoft? Why, you haven't even made it clear which side you think has the "fake journalist".

        MSFT has nothing to do with this. It is a battle between Oracle and Google. MSFt's interests in this aren't even clear, though they do have a lot of software patents.
        mejohnsn
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @Linux Geek Come on Donnieboy/Ron take your medicine today dude.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

      @bstringy No, he didn't cleared it up. Who uploaded those files and why?
      Gerald Shields
  • Pheeeew!

    DTS our Linux advocate, almost had a heart attack. :)
    MG537-23482538203179240121698430309828
    • I'm sure the new CEO at Google

      @MG537 is putting on a fresh pair or underware right about now, too. :)
      John Zern
      • Back to adult supervision for these guys.

        @John Zern

        Uncle Eric, I swore I didn't see "Do Not Distribute" note at the beginning.
        osreinstall
      • RE: Oops: No copied Java code or weapons of mass destruction found in Android

        @John Zern<br><br>Perhaps, wiser than his detractors, he's also learning to spell ?...

        Thanks, Ed, for setting this straight !...<br><br>Henri
        mhenriday