December 20, 2014

Google's Response to Oracle's Suit

We knew it would not take long for Google to respond the lawsuit that Oracle has filed against them.  An article from Informationweek.com gives a quote from the Google statement about the matter:

“We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit,” a Google spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. “The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the Web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.”

The article goes on to talk about some interesting comments made by one of the former Sun developers, and the creator of Java, James Gossling. Gossling says, “During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer’s eyes sparkle,” Gosling wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

These comments were confirmed by other employees from Sun that said the former CEO of the company had shopped them around with a big sign around the companies neck basically saying, “buy us and you can sue Google for big money”.

We had an idea that this of course would come down to the almighty dollar. With major companies employing whole legal teams to file patents then sue other companies for money based on those patents, this is looking like a golden opportunity for Oracle to make some money. While this practice is nothing new, it does not help Oracle with their public image, something that has been lacking anyhow. There is some speculation that Java itself is going to suffer, as coders and programmers will move away from the platform, waiting to see where it is going to end up.

Oracle is suing on the fact that Google used their tech and code without paying for it. When Android development started, Google decided to engineer it’s own Java engine called “Dalvik”, so that they would not have to pay the micro licensing fees. Oracle is chafed at this, and seems to want a piece of the Android pie anyways.

This is another sign that Android and Google have entered into a new realm in the Mobile industry, the realm of being top dog.  I am afraid we are going to see more and more of suits like this.  It will be interesting to see how both companies progress in the future with this issue.



  • Larry’s Peon

    I love Android. I love programming in Java. I work for Oracle. F–K YOU LARRY ELLISON! My loyalty is with Google!

    • Howie_in_AZ

      If you love Android and Java you should be rooting for Oracle/Sun to come out on top: Dalvik is not a standard JVM, meaning one cannot compile things with a JDK and run them without modification on Android. One of the core tenets of Java is its ability to run anywhere (provided a JVM exists), but this is broken on Android because Google was cheap and didn’t want to pay for licensing.

      • j1z0

        @Howie_In_AZ,

        Accept for the fact that Java ME kills battery life, is slow, is buggy and never really succeeded as a mobile phone environment. Further that would means that Android developers would probably have to end up paying to be android developers, and google wouldn’t likely be paying the licensing fee for the JDK as they don’t produce the phones (anymore) it would likely be the OEM’s paying, which means they might just stick with symbian (the horror), or Windows (not much better)….

        Disregarding the monetary issues, this suit basically signals that ORACLE wants to control all significant innovations to Java, which kinda kills the whole open-source nature of Java that Sun was trying to latch onto when they opened up the license.

        ORACLE is just trying to “protect” it’s “IP” which is counter to the whole Open Source movement. Sure SUN was careful to not Open Source Java ME, but that doesn’t means someone, say Google, shouldn’t be able to take what was open sourced, and make it run on a mobile phone. When you open source something your are saying to the world you can use this and innovate as you choose.. just because somebody innovated the hell out of what you open sourced and is making a killing doing it doesn’t mean that you should be suing does it? Sorry ORACLE but Google has acted in the spirit of open-source, don’t cry just cause you didn’t think of it first.

        • Howie_in_AZ

          I don’t believe Google is charging for Android, so how could they be making “a killing” with it?

          The fact remains that Dalvik breaks “write once, run anywhere”, and Sun was irked by this way back in 2007. I believe Oracle/Sun wants Google to either use a standard JVM and declare themselves Java (and pay some licensing fees in the process) or use their own language and don’t mention Java (and not pay licensing fees). Since Google already went ahead and did their own VM as a run-around the licensing issue, Oracle/Sun sued — the only way corporations can argue amongst themselves is by suing one another for money.

          Google could very well turn around and use the Mono VM and C# for Android. That’d be amazingly spiteful but pretty awesome.

          • PatrikS

            Do you really remotely believe that an J2ME works on all devices supporting “J2ME”?
            not a f*cking chance.

      • Matt J.

        What planet are you on, ‘Howie_in_AZ’? Sun’s promise of “write once run anywhere” was broken by Sun and their poor management of the JCP about a full decade before Google acquired Android.

        The promise was especially badly broken by Java Mobile Edition (formerly J2ME), with its fragmentation so bad, it became the topic of Master’s theses.

        If you really want to find fault with Google’s handling of Java, you should pay more attention to how they have packages of the same name as a Sun Java package, but the APIs in the package — also bearing the same name — do not do the same thing. The example that comes to my mind is System.gc(), which in Sun Java is guaranteed not to return until a best effort has been made to reclaim space for th heap. But in Android, you are not even guarenteed that the garbage collector is even called!

    • Oracle Staffer

      If you don’t like the company then you know what to do, go join the company you claim loyalty too.

    • technolaziness

      I work for oracle too….it’s demoralizing. Oracle is kinda stifling innovation.

  • Steve Jobs

    Noooo!!!! I am The Biggest D****e In The Universe, not Larry! The title is mine! MINE!!!!!

  • http://hireadroid.com bo

    I’m core-Java guy. I’ve been doing it from 1996 non-stop but I think Google should abandon it and invent G++ or G# which would be a “better Java”, rewrite Eclipse plugin and GWT and I’ll abandon tired Java crap faster than you can say “screw Oracle”

    • http://hireadroid.com bo

      Of course there IS g++ but you get the idea

    • Matt J.

      Conceding to Oracle’s blackmail using the legal system would be a bad idea. Rather, Google has the opportunity to set a precedent that will send the blackmailers reeling; it may even finally spur the long needed reform of our very badly broken patent system.

      You see, Oracle has miscalculated here: this time, they are going up against a company that has the resources to spend on overturning the patents. And they have the inclination to do it, too.

      Knuth was right: software patents are a bad idea. (I think it was in Vol 3 of TAOCP that he said this). This travesty is just another example confirming that Knuth was right.

  • Larry’s Peon

    @Howie
    Your point is well taken…if one is looking at this from a technical Java purist’s standpoint. This is more than that for me. You obviously don’t care for Google or Android based on your “…cheap…” comment. What’s your opinion on open source?

    • Howie_in_AZ

      Actually I’m an active Android developer with several applications on the market and one of the lead Android developers at my full-time job. Just because I think Google did something wrong doesn’t mean I don’t care about Android — thinking that is borderline fanboyism.

  • Johnny Wezel

    Hopefully this will open the path to Python. Java is a pretty crappy language anyway, sort of a Visual Basic. I’d even prefer C# over it.

    Why not use Python, one of (if not the) most advanced language/s available?

    • Kevin

      @Wezel Your entire post sounds like the ramblings of a newly christened nerd. Why is Java crappy? Why is Python awesome? Which is most popular? Is strict typing and OO a bad thing? Most advanced? Seriously, what does that even mean?

      @Howie I don’t see your argument actually playing out in practice. I’ve had great success using pre-compiled Java libraries within the Android environment. They were originally targeted for 1.4, but work fine on Android. As far as moving chunks of pre-compiled Android classes to Java? Why? Almost everything in Android targets the Android API. You can’t do a single thing without extended an Android API class or implementing their interfaces.

      Your argument may be well and good on the chalkboard, but I just don’t see it ever impacting anyone’s life.

      • Howie_in_AZ

        Using third-party JARs (eg Xstream, an XML serializer) requires them to be converted into something that the Dalvik VM understands. By definition that breaks “write once run anywhere”, something Sun took very seriously. Additionally, because Google isn’t using a standard JVM, incompatibilities may arise — either because Google didn’t implement a language feature or because of incompatibilities under the hood.

        Before you ask, yes, many applications make use of XStream and other libraries that don’t come standard with Android. Come to think of it, I believe Xstream had some issues under Android because Google didn’t implement certain features or classes.

    • Matt J.

      Because Python is a) NOT “the most advanced language available” and b) Python is slow, even for an interpreted language. We cannot afford such runtime inefficiency on a mobile phone, which is always quite limited in terms of processor & memory speed compared to a desktop or laptop.

      If we had to switch to another language, even Ruby or Lua would be a better choice than Python. But it would still be a while before JIT technology catches up to where it already is with Java and Dalvik.

      • Goferit

        Ruby is far slower than Python in general (though it is far more comparable of late). As a long time python coder (and other languages for that matter), Python or a embedded derivative (Go? which is really just… python/C-esque) is a better long time option, IMHO. Python years ago has proven to be nicely comparable to other languages… but for the mobile world, it’ll need something like Go to make it attractive. I was always a bit mystified with the Java option. That was a go-to-market decision, I am sure.

        Sorry… rambling.

  • Steve Jobs

    Larry, quick you spit in their eye and ill kick em in the shins. First they presume that using more than one finger to control a device was our idea (how dare they) and now they took what you gave them and turned it into something useful.

    We will get all their moneys!

  • Larry’s Peon

    Gosh, some of these posts from java developers/programmers are so impressive. You all are “gurus” compared to me. Java is hobby…a Passion for me. I have never coded in Java professionally. The closest I got was creating an Asteroids clone for a contest sponsored by IBM when Java ME first came out (I got honorable mention). Now, thanks to Google and Android, I’m finishing up my first app for the hacked Pandigital Novel.

    When, as an Oracle employee, I first heard of plans to acquire Sun, my first thought was “what is Larry going to do with Java?” I tried to discuss it with my colleagues, but they just laughed it off. Well I guess I know now what Larry wants to do…make more money. Suprise , suprise.

    Where’s my “Larry Kiss our Apps” shirt? The one given to me when Oracle was hostily taking over PeopleSoft. I need to wear it and my Google cap to work.

  • Larry’s Peon

    @Oracle Staffer
    Is that you Charles? Or is it Safra? Or, God forbid, Larry himself?

    You gotta be one of Larry’s high paid henchmen…your alias of “Oracle Staffer” doesn’t hide your identity.
    Wake up…there are a lot more people at Oracle that hate Larry and what he stands for than kiss asses like you. Maybe if Larry would take care of the people who work their butts off instead of buying more companies, he would have more loyalists. It’s a job…nothing more. I do what I do for my customer…not Oracle…and especially not Larry.

    See you Monday at work. I’ll be the guy being escorted out of the building by security because I expressed my opinion about Oracle and your beloved Larry…and you reported me.

  • Grey

    Oracle is leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Can’t do, so we’ll sue. Hey, they even make Microsoft look good.

  • Uaegatsu

    Greed drives all such companies without taking a second look consequence of their actions on there public image and product. To hell with Oracle.

  • http://reys.be/blog/ Mike

    I don’t think many of us know how long this has been going on, what the real story behind all of this is.

  • hazydave

    Thing is, Oracle is suing over patent infringement, not copyright infringement. This has nothing to do with Java-the-Language, which of course, doesn’t live on an Android device anyway.

    These are various details on how the Java system works… not even so much the low-level details that are different between Dalvik and Java-byte-code. A couple of the patents cover various details of code protection domains. This is particularly interesting in that Android does this at the app level differently than normal Linux or other OSs, so it’s questionable how much of this applies, and how much has to. Another covers some details about the way Java stores class libraries in a ZIP file. Another is related to preprocessing class files… this one probably doesn’t involve Android per se at all, but perhaps some of the development tools.

    One of them cover the “hybrid” environment of a JIT — it’s an interpreter and a compiler at the same time. Did this really originate at Sun? Nope… JITs were common in LISP environments, going back to 1960.

    And this is part of the problem, and perhaps why Google didn’t just bow down and pay. This is entirely based on various software patents, issues to Sun in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The problem is that the PTO is pretty bad a patent research, and they’ve never done a good job in software. One critical test for patentability is the existence (or not) of prior art — did someone already do this. But software patents weren’t even legal until the mid 80s, and then only due to a loophole.

    In most things, the PTO’s judge of “is there prior art” is a search of previous patents. If nothing reads on your patent, and you don’t supply any prior art knowledge yourself (a requirement of the process), you get your patent. But given that nothing going back to through the history of software was patented, the PTO pretty much approved a huge variety of patents with obvious prior art. And since they went for over a decade, issuing software patents without a single software engineer on the PTO staff, they also missed on the other fundamental — is it “obvious to a person skilled in the art”.

    I’ve run across a few of these myself. A company called “CADTrak” had a patent (gone now) on using XOR to make a cursor. They went after most PC companies, demanding payment on their “invention”. Now… gimme a break. When I was about 14 or 15, playing around on some very early computer hardware, I figured this out. I was up to that point self-taught in programming BASIC and 6502 machine language… not even up to the level of “skilled in the art”.

    In 1984, IBM was granted a patent on “cut and paste between text buffers” in a wordprocessor. You could demonstrate infringement using Emacs or MicroEmacs…. despite the very same command string did the very same thing back in the late 1970s (I used CMU’s Teco Emacs, which derived from Stallman’s orginal at MIT).

    So it’s a given that some very high percentage of software patents are bogus.. even before you get into whether they should exist or not. When I worked as a technical consultant on a patent case (IBM was coming after Commodore), I had a stack of some 30 patents to go through, both HW and SW, and could reject a number. But we knew that IBM could produce another such stack, and another after that. The licensing fees ended at “3 or more”.

    But this is Google… they have money, and it’s only five patents, at least one of which I believe doesn’t even read on the Android runtime. We also have yet to see what Google produces on Oracle. The main reason to have patents, if you’re a working tech company (rather than one using patents as a profits crutch) is to be able to countersue when someone comes after you, so in the end, there’s a cross license, often with no many changing hands.

    And then there’s the timeframe. The patents are all from the late 1990s and relative early 2000s. Sun/Oracle haven’t come after anyone, far as I know, until now… until Google’s being successful. You can’t just do that… you have to enforce patents all the time, or never. If they didn’t go after similar open source/independent implemtations, they’ll need to produce a license that makes those legal and Google’s not-so-much, or they might even have the patents invalidated.

  • meanmcclean

    I mean, I understand the want for a company to purchase another for their IP and patents for future products etc. But to purchase with the intention on suing for something that you had absolutely no hand at creating is down right despicable. Get the F*** outta here Oracle.

  • Dirk

    As I understand it, Oracle has may have to rewrite the complaint or forget it. Google did put some strong arguments in it’s reply.

  • VIKRAM SINGH

    post peon