Trial: Android chief on why Java was picked for Android

As Google continues to present its side of the story in the copyright legal battle against Oracle, lawyers recalled Android chief Andy Rubin to the stand.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Android chief Andy Rubin returned to the stand for the third time in two days on Tuesday afternoon as the second witness called by Google in its intellectual property legal battle against Oracle.

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Rubin had already appeared earlier on Tuesday, sparring with Oracle counsel David Boies over the definition of fragmentation and what that meant for the Java community and technology.

When prompted by Google counsel Robert Van Nest if there were other programming languages that could have worked for Android, Rubin affirmed there could have been. Some of the other languages considered for Android were Javascript, Python and Lua.

Nevertheless, describing his experience from his first startup, Danger, Rubin highlighted the benefits of using Java for a smartphone -- primarily the well-known brand name as well as compatibility being that it is a common language taught at universities worldwide.

Rubin affirmed that he led negotiations with Sun over implementing Java for Android, with preliminary discussions starting in 2005.

"We saw this as an opportunity to open up Java, and we asked Sun to contribute to the open source community," Rubin said.

Looking at the July 26, 2005 Android GPS presentation, Rubin explained that the initial model for Android was working with software and mobile OEM partners to take the open source platform (Android) and put it on their smartphones.

Van Nest highlighted an email chain between Rubin to Leo Cizek, a Java licensing account manager at Sun, in September 2005. Rubin wrote:

I reviewed the documents. Looks like there are no roadblocks to us taking a license and then open sourcing our implementation.

Right now we are moving ahead with the project and doing an independent implementation. If Sun would like to get involved, we'd be happy to have you.

On the stand, Rubin explained that Sun needed to make a philosophical decisions to partner with Google and throw away the standard license as Google wanted something different for its open source strategy.

In another email in September 2005 to Cizek, Rubin wrote

I was asking you to modify the various agreements to allow our model per our discussions with Vineet. I'm really hoping this is the approach Sun is comfortable with because I think it could mean a really close partnership. As discussed, the two companies are aligned against a common industry bully.

If Sun doesn't want to partner with us to support this initiative, we are fine releasing our work and not calling it Java.

Although Google was in discussions with Sun over a license, Rubin explained that Google was fine with going ahead without one because of the clean room implementation of Java for Android.

Rubin commented that he explained to his Android developer team as to what they couldn't use during the clean room implementation. For example, he said he instructed them that they couldn't download anything from the Sun website that required a license or use anything that wasn't already open source and non-proprietary.