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On a New Road

OvG: It's finally (almost) over.Wednesday May 23, 2012
The patent part of the case is finally over, with Google acquitted on (almost) all counts.. The happy part for me is that despite having been on the witness list and gone through a bunch of prep work with lawyers, I didn't actually have to testify. Despite all the furor that went into this one, it went out with a wimper. Court cases are never about right and wrong, they're about the law and what you can convince a jury of. For those of us at Sun who felt trampled-on and abused by Google's callous self-righteousness, I would have preferred a different outcome - not from the court case as much as from events of years past.

"Google's callous self-righteousness" ... how about "Oracle's stunning idiocy"?

Posted by lamont on May 23, 2012 at 08:23 PM PDT #

I don't see what was idiotic about Oracle's case. As the past few posts on this blog show, Sun/Oracle felt quite wronged and were probably justified in pursuing this lawsuit.

Posted by kinkfisher on May 23, 2012 at 08:49 PM PDT #

@kinkfisher: I think that's a funny comment: "Sun/Oracle felt quite wronged and were probably justified in pursuing this lawsuit." In what way are they justified? I think it's clear to most sane people they weren't legally justified. When someone does something you don't like, you try and sue them, even if the law pretty clearly says you're out in left field? Everyone thinks every other lawsuit is inappropriate (except their own).

Posted by bwm on May 23, 2012 at 08:58 PM PDT #

You would prefer that APIs are copyrightable? And don't you see that this case has hugely damaged Java?

Posted by Pete Austin on May 23, 2012 at 09:37 PM PDT #

Google might have been morally (or even technically) wrong, but the larger problem is that software patents are damaging the tech industry. If the great people like yourself are unable to look past bitter disagreements and stand up for what really matters, then the lawyer have already won.

Posted by Lex on May 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM PDT #

Court cases are always about right and wrong you sore loser. Oracle lost. Because their case was weak, weak, weak. I mourn the day Oracle got their grubby hands on Java.

Posted by Livers on May 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM PDT #

What was the difference with Microsoft case? AFAIK, they were creating their own JVM, with their own extensions. What changed since then?

Posted by Roberto Liffredo on May 23, 2012 at 11:32 PM PDT #

Microsoft called their implementation 'Java', that's the difference.

Posted by JJ on May 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM PDT #

@Roberto Liffredo Since the Microsoft case, Sun has open sourced Java.

Posted by Raymanunique on May 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM PDT #

It's the moment for Lava...

Posted by zetucu on May 24, 2012 at 01:15 AM PDT #

Classic quote from a juror about Oracle's case... He said he was waiting for the steak, and all he got was the parsley.... The image I think of when I look back at this case will be of a plate cover being lifted by the fancy waiter and the disappointed look on the diners face with a bubble forming above his head with the words, Is that it?

Posted by Peter on May 24, 2012 at 01:35 AM PDT #

"For those of us at Sun who felt trampled-on and abused by Google's callous self-righteousness" Though not abused and trampled on enough to stop you working for them?

Posted by mcbi4kh2 on May 24, 2012 at 03:56 AM PDT #

Thanks to Oracle's fumblings I will be avoiding Java going forward. They want to have their cake and eat it too much. Goodness knows what they will do with MySQL.

Posted by Andre on May 24, 2012 at 04:01 AM PDT #

Hopefully, Oracle must repay taxpayers for the court costs of this frivolous blunder. If they had succeeded, this could have backfired severely and set a dangerous precedent for the entire open source community. What would be next, IBM buying the Apache Foundation and going after 90% of the net for licensing fees? I applaud the jury.

Posted by Mike on May 24, 2012 at 04:04 AM PDT #

Deja vu. Somehow reminds me of SCO vs IBM

Posted by Invisible on May 24, 2012 at 04:14 AM PDT #

Nothing Sun had going, not JavaFX, nor JME, could could even close to rivaling iOS. Thanks to Google, for all practical purposes, Java is now flourishing again and a healthy competitive smartphone business is blooming. How you, as the originator of Java, can be disappointed with that, can only be explained by prior expectation (influence, money, saving Sun etc.). The right thing would've been for Sun to have submitted Java as not just eventually open source, but also as an open standard for anyone to implement, incl. Apache. As far as I can recall, Sun was doing poorly way before Android came into play, in spite of the $1.6bn injection in 2004 from Microsoft. If Google had biggy-bagged on Xamarin Mono rather than Apache JDK, would you've felt equally? We are probably many wondering, what specific actions Google took, that were so horrible to Sun?

Posted by Casper Bang on May 24, 2012 at 04:31 AM PDT #

Google did little more than take the terms that your former employers allowed. As computer scientists, this case has shown what many of us have clamored about for years--software is math. You can't patent math. And when it gets into court with an informed jurist and an open-minded jury, software patents don't hold up. I know it will deflate some egos in our community, but that deflation will allow us to innovate again.

Posted by JM in SA on May 24, 2012 at 04:33 AM PDT #

"Court cases are never about right and wrong, they're about the law and what you can convince a jury of." Why don't you just be honest and straightforward (you are a software developer...) and instead say "I am a sore loser"

Posted by F on May 24, 2012 at 07:23 AM PDT #

Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it idiotic. Sun invested billions in development of Java, and more importantly, many billions more in marketing to make Java as popular as it is. They then give it away from free (as in beer and later speech) and only make some money from licensing the JVM on embedded devices. Google then swoops in, hijacks it to get all those hard-earned developers onto its new, incompatible platform for embedded devices - the one area where Sun made direct money off Java - and refuses to share with Sun, claiming it's not Java. Really! Sun obviously feels wronged, and you think this is meritless? Sun's mistake was in open sourcing its crown jewels without retaining enough control. (Ironically, something that Amazon is doing to Google with Android. Luckily for Google, they make money off selling ads, not technology.)

Posted by kinkfisher on May 24, 2012 at 08:25 AM PDT #

Google spread Java to millions of devices and Oracle owns Java and is doing a good effort of advancing the technology. Obviously, they have overlapping interests and should be cooperating rather than being stuck in a court room with each other.

Posted by Smartypants on May 24, 2012 at 08:30 AM PDT #

Check it out, the guy who invented java, can't make a web page that handles "quotes" correctly.

Posted by F on May 24, 2012 at 09:04 AM PDT #

kinkfisher, remember that it was Sun who refused to grant Apache Harmony status as Java - they talk the talk, but were not ready to walk the walk. So in a sense, Android is not Java, because it uses Apache's Harmony, which specifically Sun made sure could never be called Java. Also, Oracle was on Apache's side in this matter... until they bought Sun that is, then they changed 180 degrees (or 3.1415... radians).

Posted by Casper Bang on May 24, 2012 at 09:51 AM PDT #

Re: walking the walk, I definitely agree that Sun's 'open sourcing' of Java was only really a marketing move, exactly as 'Android is open' is for Google. But I can't blame Sun for wanting to keep some control over their huge in investment in Java (ditto for Google/Android). As such, Sun didn't let Harmony, a competing implementation, qualify to be a real Java. Sun's mistake was in not keeping enough control, which let Google find a way around them.

Posted by kinkfisher on May 24, 2012 at 02:21 PM PDT #

<quote>... a different solution ... </quote> I also would have preferred a 'standard' java working on all platforms, including mobile, open source and all. Too bad Sun/Oracle were not able to provide that.

Posted by Jan on May 24, 2012 at 02:32 PM PDT #

As one of the people who worked in the Sun/Oracle JVM group for almost a decade, I can say that the Patent portion of the suit *might* have had merit, and I can certainly see that taking it to trial was valid legal strategy, even thought Oracle eventually lost. However, the copyright portions of the suit were, and still are, completely crap. Period. There's no justification for the copyright claim, and the API claim is pure drivel, even in the current pro-IP legal framework we're stuck in. I can't see the judge ruling that the APIs are protectable, which effectively invalidates even that small victory for Oracle.

Posted by Erik on May 24, 2012 at 03:40 PM PDT #

Android made Java relevant in the mobile space. But then, Google doesn't use Java on Android so it's really a non starter. It's also upsetting, James, that you would support a company that would even attempt to copyright method signatures. That is the lowest form of bottom feeders there is.

Posted by xen on May 24, 2012 at 09:27 PM PDT #

Should the graphic accompanying the article be changed by having gun pointing back at his own head sutitled with Oracle?

Posted by Peter on May 25, 2012 at 02:15 AM PDT #

I understand James, If I put myself in his position java was his baby an in a way google took it from him. I think the real problem Sun had was there business model, monetizing from a language was never gonna work specially now days were languages are open source. James I loved Sun and is was very sad to see it go down. Having said that I think Android is the best thing it could had happen to Java, java was stuck and it was dieying in the client side , and if it wasn't for what they did today java will not exist it the mobile it will have gone with symbian and BB, running only on servers and not thanks to oracle but thanks to open-source community that had made so much great java libraries. I think the right path will have been that google have bought sun and then do android.I think google should buy java from oracle, is the only company I think is qualified to be the stewards of java, they have the right people to make it move forward and will fully open-source it.

Posted by Gabriel Guerrero on May 25, 2012 at 06:24 AM PDT #

Google had broken java in the sense of &quot;Write once run anywhere&quot;, you can't write java and have it run on android. You need Google's VM. Then again Sun/Oracle never really had anything worth it for running on mobile... J2ME ...? gimme a break. I think once phones become strong enough to run the regular JavaVM without the need of Dalvik then it'll change completely.

Posted by George H on May 25, 2012 at 07:21 AM PDT #

Though I understand the pain, Sun did the right thing by not sueing. The worst thing that could have happened to both Oracle and Java is that Oracle would have won. The API copyright and patent claims are outrageous and would cause huge precedents for other bs lawsuits. No one wants to use the technology of a bully. Combine that with the terrible mobile/desktop execution of Java Sun/Oracle, and the fragmentation caused by Sun itself in deciding mobile needed an incompatible Java ME, and limiting SE with bs field-of-use clauses. Basically, Google had a choice to do Java, not piss you guys off, or, actually have any chance of success...

Posted by Peter on May 25, 2012 at 09:31 AM PDT #

The only thing I wanted out of this was for the case to focus on asking Google to allow Android support Java truly and not about money and power. The case was not fought for the community but for money I guess. Android is growing and Oracle needs to lay ego aside and find a way to work with Google to boost the Java ecosystem in mobile

Posted by DJ on May 26, 2012 at 02:53 AM PDT #

Does this mean that I can implement Microsoft's Win32 API on Linux without violating any copyrights?

Posted by Mike on May 26, 2012 at 05:11 PM PDT #

To me this is another clear example where capitalism and human happiness don't seem to have much to do with each other. To my understanding, patents were originated to encourage investment in research and development. With this court case, patents seem to now encourage lawyers spending... @JM in SA: Why is being a software developer a sore looser?. Or a better question may be: what's not a sore loose? @Smartypants Google this: &quot;En casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo&quot;

Posted by Software companies in Perth on May 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM PDT #

Plus, What's going on? A civil jury to decide whether compilation techniques infringe certain software patents? I've been coding for 16 years. I've read the patents a few times and i still don't understand what they are about....

Posted by Software companies in Perth on May 26, 2012 at 07:48 PM PDT #

Google in future will ask people to code direct dalvik language - which will be a sister language of Java. This will keep on changing and finally - java will be killed and even Java EE- will be Dalvik EE. may be judges- purposefully allowed some stealing to happen- after all it was open source. Open source=steal my code. Don't expect - one exposes source code and others don't steal it.

Posted by tendulkar on May 28, 2012 at 10:23 AM PDT #

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