Yesterday Oracle announced that it would sue Google over the use of Java on its Android platform. The net is screaming about this subject and most of the people commenting on it are defending Google. Although Google has its fair share of excellent contributions to the computing world, I do not think it’s fair to accuse Oracle without knowing the facts first. Most of the opinions against Oracle are based solely on the argument that Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and consequently MySQL and therefore Oracle is bad.
The Java Language Specification (which is protected by many patents some of which are in question in the aforementioned lawsuit), in its copyright notes, mentions this (I have emphasized important phrases with italics):
Sun Microsystems, Inc. (SUN) hereby grants to you a fully paid, nonexclusive, nontransferable, perpetual, worldwide limited license (without the right to sublicense) under SUN’s intellectual property rights that are essential to practice this specification. This license allows and is limited to the creation and distribution of clean room implementations of this specification that: (i) include a complete implementation of the current version of this specification without subsetting or supersetting; (ii) implement all the interfaces and functionality of the required packages of the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, as defined by SUN, without subsetting or supersetting; (iii) do not add any additional packages, classes, or interfaces to the java. or javax. packages or their subpackages; (iv) pass all test suites relating to the most recent published version of the specification of the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, that are available from SUN six (6) months prior to any beta release of the clean room implementation or upgrade thereto; (v) do not derive from SUN source code or binary materials; and (vi) do not include any SUN source code or binary materials without an appropriate and separate license from SUN.
Oracle’s complaint is available here. By studying both the complaint and the above text one can clearly make the connections. It is also interesting to study the patents which have been used for the accusation counts.
I particularly dislike the fanboy-ism that everyone is manifesting now and of course the double standards applied by the same happy bunch. When Sun sued Microsoft for breaching the license terms nobody jumped to defend Microsoft the same way they do with Google now. My suggestion is to wait for the court to pronounce its decision without starting flame-wars for free. After all, both Google and Oracle have begun showing their evil side in the last couple of years…