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Oracle's Newest Move To Undermine Android

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-you-are-the-more-badder-one dept.

Google 342

GMGruman writes "Oracle's decision to shift focus from the Harmony Java open source project to OpenJDK seems innocuous enough — but InfoWorld's Josh Fruhlinger explains it's part of an effort to derail Google's mobile Android OS by gutting the open source project that Android has been driven by. IBM has signed on, apparently in return for getting the Java Community Process reactivated, leaving Google in a bind."

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Rough times (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33874878)

Fuck you Oracle. Android is the only mobile OS worth using on the market right now, why are you trying to fuck that up? Its not like Apple's garbage is worth using.

Re:Rough times (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875026)

Its not like Apple's garbage is worth using.

Yeah, clearly the 50+ million iPhones sold to date [simonblog.com] is an indication of an inferior product that nobody wants.

You're a troll and an idiot.

Re:Rough times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875244)

Yes, because everything popular is worthwhile.

You must think talk shows, Jersey Shore, and soap operas are the pinnacle of television programming.

Re:Rough times (1)

drc003 (738548) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875384)

Great point. He probably also thinks that Miley Cyrus is a fantastic singer/musician.

Re:Rough times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875572)

Great point. He probably also thinks that Miley Cyrus is a fantastic singer/musician.

She stinks. But, that Hanna Montana chick is terrific!

Re:Rough times (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875640)

Or that Linux is a good server OS, by that chalk, if we're going with "popular = automatically rubbish".

Re:Rough times (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875782)

Finally! The year of Linux on the Desktop!

Re:Rough times (-1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875698)

You must think talk shows, Jersey Shore, and soap operas are the pinnacle of television programming.

Of course! And therefore everything popular *isn't* worthwhile! I'm *sure* that's the logical conclusion to make...

Re:Rough times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875296)

just because there are 50+ Million Iphones doesn't mean that it is not an Inferior product or that it is not a piece of garbage. I mean just look at the Wii. it is inferior to both the XBOX 360 and the Playstation3 but it has sold a ton of units. the Wii and the Iphone just shows that the average consumer is an idiot and if you want the be sucessful don't make the best product. just make an ok product that you can convince a lot of idiots they want. its more about trends then technology. I mean the Wii is just the game cube in a new box with a retarded motion controller.

Re:Rough times (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875386)

Not sure that's a good comparison.

The Wii is focusing on a different crowd than the 360 and the PS3 -> casual gamers and kids. It's also quite a bit cheaper, particularly at the release of either the 360 or the PS3. Their lack focus on hardcore gaming probably says less bad about them than you...

Also, since the classic gaming systems are hard to get for a reasonable price, the Wii isn't a bad choice to get a bunch of classic games relatively inexpensively.

Re:Rough times (2, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875692)

It's a great comparison because the iPhone targets the casual phone user. It's not a phone for a power user. Similar to the iPod, which doesn't even play OGG like a 30 dollar Sansa Clip. 360 and PS3 are for the power users, Wii is for the mass market.

Re:Rough times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875306)

Im more interested in how many iphones are in use today. What is that number compared to the number of androids in use today. That would provide a more accurate description. I mean how many fords have been made ever, compared to how many BMWs.

Re:Rough times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875464)

So, according to your theory, McDonald's is the best restaurant on Earth.

Re:Rough times (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875534)

number of sales doesn't equate to quality, it only equates to popularity.

The yugo was popular, but it didn't mean it was a great car.

Re:Rough times (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875124)

(1) as far as I can tell, this being intended as an attack on Android is PURE speculation. There are other options as to why this could have been done...
(2) It seems that the issue is the decision of Oracle, but the decision of IBM that is making the challenge for Google. Why blame IBM? It's like *punches self in face, NO CAR ANALOGIES*... It's like trying to blame the committer team of some *BSD for Apple choosing to make OS X based on BSD rather than Linux, thus adding a bit of challenge for people who want to make Apple ports of Linux software, instead of blaming Apple.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33874880)

Can someone explain why Oracle cares about the success/failure of Android? I honestly don't know.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874926)

Can someone explain why Oracle cares about the success/failure of Android? I honestly don't know.

The success of Android means a potential 'licensing fee' from every Android install. They don't care about Android per se, they just want to charge everyone to be able to use it.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875158)

What licensing fee are you talking about? These JDKs and Android are both open source projects and Java and JDKs from Sun and IBM have always been free. Android isn't selling a brand name. It's not selling anything except advertising and back end services.

Re:Why? (1)

sockman (133264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875270)

Java ME (mobile) is not under the same agreement as the full SE (standard) JDK. Oracle/Sun charge licenses fees for ME implementations, in an attempt to thrive off of the mobile market.

Re:Why? (1)

bhamlin (986048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875282)

That's just it though, Oracle wants to be able to collect a fee. There isn't one now, but if Oracle wins then they could demand a fee for use of Android.

Re:Why? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875284)

Also, technically, Android doesn't run Java, it runs Dalvik. Dalvik is CURRENTLY only compiled from Java, to my knowledge, but the compiler and java stuff are not on the phone, it is on the developer machines.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875348)

Google collects a license fee from Java ME installs. Android isn't a Java ME implmenetation, obviously, and you can argue that Android is hindering the adoption of Java ME in the next generation smartphone world by absorbing the energies of the huge pool of Java programmers who might want to do mobile development. (You could also argue that Java ME was failing to catch on quite well on its own before Android showed up due to its own limitations.)

If you're interested in the background, here's an article I wrote about it a couple of months ago [infoworld.com] . (I'm the guy who wrote the article that got slashdotted, for what it's worth.)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875356)

What licensing fee are you talking about? These JDKs and Android are both open source projects and Java and JDKs from Sun and IBM have always been free. Android isn't selling a brand name. It's not selling anything except advertising and back end services.

Java SDK is free, J2ME however isnt. The current fight between Oracle and Google is about how Google has implemented J2ME which requires licenses and was the only revenue which Sun had from Java.

Oracle is simply trying to expand its income.

Patents not licensed on mobile devices (3, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875400)

Sun/Oracle holds several patents on Java technology. They will only issue licenses to these patents to implementations that pass their compatibility tests. Without this license, the source code is freely distributable, but you risk being sued if you actually use it. Harmony and other java reimplementation have struggled with being in this legal grey area for some time. The trick is you have to pay a big chunk of money to Sun/Oracle for this compatibility test. Furthermore, Android's implementation wouldn't pass because they only ship a subset of the standard library, and because they compile to a different bytecode format. Furthermore, Sun has not been as open when it comes to J2ME. Android is cutting into J2ME revenue, and Oracle are greedy bastards in general, so they would like for everyone who runs Android to pay them patent royalties.

Re:Why? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875570)

he doesn't mean that they should get a fee, the word potential was accurate. He means that Oracle wants a fee anyway. it's called entitlement culture, and this is what happens when intellectual property laws run out of wack.

It's not about the old people who think they deserve something from the young, it's what happens when you conflate owning something intangible in the same way as owning a physical product that people tend to get the other properties mixed up.

What IBM just did however, was gave google the finger, straight up.

Re:Why? (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874970)

Can someone explain why Oracle cares about the success/failure of Android? I honestly don't know.

Please turn in your geek card on the way out because simply not reading the article does not qualify you.

Oracle, after buying Sun (and thus Java) is currently suing Google over its use of Java clone in Android.

-Em

Re:Why? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875146)

Perhaps you ought to turn yours in. The suit isn't about destroying Android. The suit is about the fact that Google is using an incompatible VM with the Java language and trying to pass it off as Java. Which it isn't. Java is supposed to be compatible between the various VMs, even if not always perfect.

Re:Why? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875166)

Except they never tried to pass it off as Java. It's Dalvik. It just happens to share Java's grammar.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875234)

It just happens to share Java's grammar.

and a good percentage of the java class library too

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875412)

The parts that Sun open-sourced, yes.

Re:Why? (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875584)

Open-sourced code does not prevent patent licence fee free.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

bhamlin (986048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875382)

Not even that.

The Dalvik VM doesn't accept Java VM bytecode. The Java language is what all the tools work on currently for creating executable images for the VM, and precompiled class files are also converted. If someone were so inclined, Dalvik could use lisp or c or befunge in much the same way that other languages have been compiled to work on the Java VM.

Google says it's Java. It's Java. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875458)

Except they never tried to pass it off as Java. It's Dalvik. It just happens to share Java's grammar.

Google's What is Android? [android.com] pages mentions Java several times. A notable quote includes:

All applications are written using the Java programming language.

It's not like that is passing mention either. It's repeated several times throughout the site. From the Application Fundamentals: [android.com]

Android applications are written in the Java programming language. The compiled Java code -- along with any data and resource files required by the application ...

Re:Why? (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875302)

What about the rumors of Oracle and MSFT aligning?

Re:Why? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875676)

I just don't see it as plausible. They're each other's main (commercial, for sure, and possibly period) competitor in too many of their core businesses.

It would be like the Democrats and Republicans deciding to run a single dual-party candidate in a Presidential election just to make sure the Green Party didn't win.

Check, But Not Mate (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874898)

Google is full of smart people. I'm sure they saw this move - and the entire assault on mobile Java and derivatives thereof - coming long before Oracle started their anti-Android crusade. I'd be willing to bet that Google has something new 'brewing' for Android 3 that will leave this whole mess behind. You just don't get that many programmers together without a few being paranoid enough to have planned an 'escape module'.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (2, Insightful)

Orga (1720130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874950)

Agreed, I think the usage of the term bind is excessive. Somehow MS and RIM survive without external developers working on their products language I'm sure Google can handle it. And as TFA stated Google has OpenJDK developers right now, whose to say what the future will bring to android.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875276)

Wonder if they would stick with OpenJDK or move all those devs to Harmony.. might be an even swap.. IBM to OpenJDK and Google to Harmony.. now the question is.. who get the best of that trade!

Re:Check, But Not Mate (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875354)

Agreed, I think the usage of the term bind is excessive. Somehow MS and RIM survive without external developers working on their products language

What language does RIM use again?

Oh right, Java [blackberry.com] .

As for MS, both C# and the Common Language Runtime have published specifications, and MS's implementation is not the only one (see also: Mono Project). Granted, I don't think Mono has released a version of .NET Compact Edition.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875154)

Oh god, you scared me for a second when putting "brew [wikipedia.org] " and Android in the same sentence.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875184)

the problem is not lack of devs, but money. Google currently has some good margins and takes in a lot of cash. if they were to develop their own visual studio clone for android development it would cost a lot of money that they would have to eat in lower margins and lower stock price. or charge money for the kit making the cost of entry a lot higher than it is now. kind of like apple requiring the purchase of a Mac to develop for the iPhone

Re:Check, But Not Mate (1)

Pyrus.mg (1152215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875202)

Really though, from the article:

"and now Google may have no alternative but to inject development resources into Harmony"

Google has so many resources to inject they ran out of places to hide the track marks.

"-- and take ownership of a bigger role in this struggle."

Oh shit, we're screwed.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875294)

Don't taunt the Google.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (4, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875416)

Not even check, honestly. More like a limp attack on the queen with a pawn. What Google uses from the Harmony project is a bunch of the core java.* classes. This stuff changes, sure, but not particularly heavily or rapidly these days. This is not where Android is innovating, nor is it a huge area of rapid development, assuming Harmony is at or approaching stability. This might require Google to shift a couple of their Java developers around, but the legal issues are far more significant than any costs associated with this.

The Dalvik VM itself is already developed internally at Google. The Android apps and framework and the rest of the stack is already developed internally at Google.

This might very well mean that Harmony won't see ongoing development toward being a fully featured JDK replacement, but Google doesn't need that anyway.

I'm not an expert on Android internals or anything, but I think this story is being significantly overblown.

How big can the pod be? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875438)

I'd be willing to bet that Google has something new 'brewing' for Android 3 that will leave this whole mess behind.

But what would the brew be, that would work with all of the existing applications written in Java today?

You mention programmers being paranoid which implies a technical solution, but how can even the smartest programmer have developed an escape module from what is essentially a legal problem...

You also imply some Java variant to be switched to ("brewing" in quotes) but that doesn't get around the fundamental patent issues.

the brew (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875626)

But what would the brew be, that would work with all of the existing applications written in Java today?

It would be the Brew that is True, so Google wants to avoid the Vessel with the Pestle. I'm sure this means they'll choose the Chalice from the Palace.

Re:Check, But Not Mate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875454)

Google go [wikipedia.org] instead of Java, perhaps?

Re:Check, But Not Mate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875470)

@WrongSizeGlass #google is #switching to #dotnet for #android #cheesecake

Forgive the layman here... (3, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874906)

Forgive the layman here, but why can't Android simply switch Java platforms as well? Open is Open, no?

Re:Forgive the layman here... (5, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874968)

Forgive the layman here, but why can't Android simply switch Java platforms as well? Open is Open, no?

Oracle is trying to claim that Dalvik, Android's virtual machine [wikipedia.org] infringes on mobile java patents. Mobile java was not included when Java received it's current "open" licensing.

Mobile Java, Carriers, Licensing--Oh My! (5, Informative)

Kostya (1146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875230)

Oracle is trying to claim that Dalvik, Android's virtual machine infringes on mobile java patents. Mobile java was not included when Java received it's current "open" licensing.

And I'm sure part of the reason why Mobile Java wasn't in the "open licensing" was the carriers. That is, Sun had already extracted some money out of the carriers and met with a very nice bit of success there. Remember, before Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, JavaME was a big success in offering advanced features (that sucks compared to today's offerings). It was a big success for Sun licensing wise--something the original Java was not.

But with that money came a very, very hefty price. They had to bend over backwards to give the carriers what they wanted in order to "add value". One of those was charging developers $500+ a pop to be able to release applications for their network. Another for the developers to pay extra to access certain features (location). And another still was for companies like Verizon and Sprint to just flat out turn off certain features.

Which is why Apple didn't do JavaME (I remember being pretty bummed when they didn't)--they wanted complete control, and they would never get that with JavaME.

And Google had similar needs--but also didn't want to pay the licensing costs everyone else did.

JavaME was a money maker for Sun (unlike the standard Java VM), but the process of making money off of it made it a nightmare to deploy apps on. Development--writing code--was ok, but getting it to work on multiple headsets (nevermind multiple carriers) was a huge headache. And it was a huge headache because of all the compromises Sun made to get the carriers on board. And that nightmare (in addition to licensing costs) is why Google came up with their own VM implementation.

I used to be a big Java proponent for mobile development. I'm not anymore. But it is interesting to see how all those bad decisions (I cursed Sun weekly as I tried to wrestle another carrier or headset down) played out into what we have now.

Google didn't want to pay the money. Microsoft (via Miguel) likes to say they would have been better, but they are just as bad on the licensing (see HTC and now Motorola). Sounds to me like Google got used to their free ride on Java and balked at the idea of giving anyone a slice of their work and money on Android.

I'm not saying Ellison is not squeezing them (he definitely is), just that Google is kind of getting a bucket of cold water in their face about how the tech companies "collaborate" in new tech fields. Not "fair", but it is kind of predictable.

Re:Forgive the layman here... (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875812)

But Oracle is claiming that these patents apply to whatever Android is doing now, using Harmony, so I don't see how it would make any difference if Android switched to using OpenJDK instead, as the OP suggests.

Re:Forgive the layman here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875420)

I think you're right. Oracle isn't trying to kill Android, Oracle is trying to get Google to run a version of Java that will run Oracle applications. For example, it would benefit Oracle a great deal if Android was able to run JavaFX applications. Oracle wants in on the mobile market, and Java is their way in. If only someone would produce a phone that runs Java... That's what this is all about - you heard it first from Anonymous Coward.

Re:Forgive the layman here... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875580)

I RTFA, and I don't see how it will hurt Google at all.

The components of Android that allow it to run Java code are based on the Harmony project, an open source implementation of Java created under the aegis of the Apache Software Foundation.

This is a non-issue, unless I'm missing something. The writer's point is that Google will have to contribute more to the project since IBM had done so much of it, but so what? As someone mentioned earlier, Google has plenty of talent to throw at it.

Re:Forgive the layman here... (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875824)

Well, Harmony is released under the Apache license, while OpenJDK is released under the GPL. I don't know if that would make a difference - Android already includes GPLed software, so Google clearly have no objection to the license in general.

Who is surprised (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874912)

Did this surprise anyone?
Let us all remember that ORACLE stands for "One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison"

This is the company that buys out someone else and does not even bother to offer the customers a migration path. Nor any form of support other than letting you fill out a bug report they close as the product is EOL.

Port? (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33874954)

Given that this project is only just starting, why can't they just port everything that they need from Harmony into OpenJDK and change over in V4?

I know this is simplictic, but as an idea, where would it fail?

Re:Port? (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875000)

Sorry, project is the wrong word, I should have read it one more time before hitting post. Given that this fight is only just starting....

Re:Port? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875490)

Given that this project is only just starting, why can't they just port everything that they need from Harmony into OpenJDK and change over in V4?

At a guess, licensing. OpenJDK uses the GPLv2 (GPLv2+Classpath exception for some files). The Apache 2.0 license isn't compatible with GPLv2, only GPLv3.

The Classpath exception covers the linking of any files covered by it in other software projects without requiring said projects becoming GPL.

android can easily ship with the full JDK. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875028)

avoid the fees B.S. and just ship the 100 meg java SDK with android and be done with it. it even has a patent cross licensing clause. yes its bloated. yes developers might not use any of its features. who the fuck cares ? just ship the damn thing and keep the JVM compatible. if a nokia dumbphone from 5 years ago can ship with j2me so can an android smartphone.

Re:android can easily ship with the full JDK. (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875072)

J2ME is not free, if your phone uses that VM you owe oracle money.

Re:android can easily ship with the full JDK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875144)

no but the JDK is. an android smartphone can ship the full 100meg JDK with VM for free instead of the crippled J2ME.

Re:android can easily ship with the full JDK. (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875178)

J2ME is not free, if your phone uses that VM you owe oracle money.

Couldn't you just use the Standard Edition? All those "smartphone" doohickeys require CPU and memory anyway.

Re:android can easily ship with the full JDK. (4, Informative)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875378)

And Android isn't based on J2ME. It's a Java SE derivative.

No Duh. (5, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875042)

Sun started OpenJDK as the project from which the GPL'ed version of Java would be created.

It stands to reason, that Sun had planned to discontinue supporting Harmony when OpenJDK was formed.

Don't mean to spoil a good conspiracy...

Re:No Duh. (3, Insightful)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875118)

Did Sun ever really support Harmony?

Either way, making a deal with another company to ensure that all their developers stop working on a project is going farther than to "discontinue supporting" it.

Also, I think you did mean to spoil a good conspiracy. Shame on you.

Re:No Duh. (2, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875424)

Did Sun ever really support Harmony?

Actually no. I don't think so. But the summary gave the appearance, so I just gave it some latitude.

Either way, making a deal with another company to ensure that all their developers stop working on a project is going farther than to "discontinue supporting" it.

Except that IBM has said that they have no plans to stop supporting Harmony. Of course the exact words were " IBM will continue working on Harmony, but its main efforts will be directed toward OpenJDK, Smith said.".

This make sense because it gives more credence to the JCP and IBM's invitation can be seen as the JCP slowing turning into a independent body governing Java.

Also, I think you did mean to spoil a good conspiracy. Shame on you.

Guilty as charged ;)

Re:No Duh. (3, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875722)

Did Sun ever really support Harmony?

No, IBM did.

This article is largely about Oracle offering IBM concessions regarding the management JCP process so that IBM would drop involvement with Harmony in favor of dedicating resources to OpenJDK and the Java Community Process.

Re:No Duh. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875848)

Also if Oracle (who now owns Sun) decides to throw their weight behind OpenJDK and not Harmony, can you really blame IBM for abandoning Harmony in favor of OpenJDK?

Annoying Xerox ad cuts InfoWorld off at the knees (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875044)

Well I was going to read about this, but all of a sudden some Xerox jerk comes along and spills papers everywhere blocking the text of the article.

I got so annoyed I just left...thanks InfoWorld/Xerox!

Re:Annoying Xerox ad cuts InfoWorld off at the kne (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875478)

They must not like your browser, it didn't do that to me. But you didn't miss much -- TFA's author was really reaching, unless I missed something.

How much of Java does it actually use? (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875060)

We already know that Dalvik VM itself isn't like JVM. It can be mapped one-to-one (at least going from JVM bytecode to Dalvik bytecode), but the basic architecture is different.

Android also has its own rich class library, while retaining some stock fundamental Java classes. Of those some are inherently implemented mostly by the VM (Object, String...), so presumably they are also Dalvik-specific, while others have Java implementation - collections, for example. I assume the latter is what is taken from Harmony. The obvious question, then, is - how much code is that? Somehow, I suspect that it's not all that big, and so Google could just take over those bits it needs - rather than Harmony as a whole - without having to contribute significant resources to it.

Re:How much of Java does it actually use? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875242)

Android also has its own rich class library, while retaining some stock fundamental Java classes.

Those "stock fundamental classes" were either taken or adapted from Apache Harmony, which is the point of this article.

Re:How much of Java does it actually use? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875528)

That's what I wrote. The question is, how much code is that in practice? TFA says that maintaining it would be a significant burden, but I'm unconvinced. I suspect it's a fraction of the Google-specific Android Java code in practice.

Rather Huge (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875486)

Of those some are inherently implemented mostly by the VM (Object, String...), so presumably they are also Dalvik-specific, while others have Java implementation - collections, for example. I assume the latter is what is taken from Harmony. The obvious question, then, is - how much code is that?

It's a huge amount of code when you consider how reliant Java code is to how strings work, to how the networking classes work, to how date handling works, to how internationalization works...

At the core of any modern language framework is a huge reliance on the equivalent of a string class. It's not a minor thing just to re-write that, let alone the many other classes that make up the core of the Java foundation frameworks.

Re:Rather Huge (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875574)

It's a huge amount of code when you consider how reliant Java code is to how strings work, to how the networking classes work, to how date handling works, to how internationalization works.

Is it a huge amount of code, or a huge amount of work to get it right?

Note that there is no talk about rewriting anything. Harmony already has the implementation, and it is OSS, and will remain such even if its development is discontinued. Google would only need to fork that code and maintain it on the level of fixing bugs.

Re:Rather Huge (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875648)

Is it a huge amount of code, or a huge amount of work to get it right?

Both.

Note that there is no talk about rewriting anything. Harmony already has the implementation, and it is OSS, and will remain such even if its development is discontinued.

Irrelevant, they already use Harmony. It doesn't matter how open it is when you can't use it because of patent issues, which is Google's current problem. That's when you start talking about re-writing code to work around patents.

That's less work, but not at all insignificant.

Re:Rather Huge (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875724)

Irrelevant, they already use Harmony. It doesn't matter how open it is when you can't use it because of patent issues, which is Google's current problem. That's when you start talking about re-writing code to work around patents.

Oracle's patents don't have anything to do with Harmony. They mostly relate to implementation techniques for VMs (not just Java VMs, but VMs in general - there were claims around that Microsoft licensed those patents from Sun back in the day so as to not get sued for .NET), and target Dalvik, not Android class library.

TFA not about Oracle threatening Harmony with patents, either. It's about Oracle withdrawing official support and contribution to Harmony, so that it becomes "just a community project", which is not viable for something of that scale. So Google either has to step in and take over the entire project, or just fork the bits they need and ditch the rest.

As you rightly note, patents are a wholly separate problem. It's yet to be seen how Google will deal with this (aside from defending themselves in court).

Can't they just switch to GNU JRE? (2)

satuon (1822492) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875074)

What about GNU JRE? I know ORACLE owns Java when they bought Sun, but is that only Sun's implementation, or can they charge you for using free implementations, too (via patents I assume)?

Next SCO? (1)

toonie (1231874) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875090)

It is remarkable if Oracle or IBM would expect 'the community' to support them after this fiasco. What on earth do they expect? Google currently have FAR more respect with the open community, and OpenJDK would simply supplant Oracle's offering with Google's backing?

Re:Next SCO? (0, Troll)

Arimus (198136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875132)

Google's credibility and 'do no evil' motto will be stretched to breaking point as people realise google aren't doing all this purely for their own good - in this day and age he who controls the data is king...

Re:Next SCO? (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875418)

So you're expecting a big, collective gasp as suddenly thousands of people realize Google is a company? You might want to prepare yourself for disappointment.

On a different note, Google's model seems to be more interesting than simply controlling data. They don't want control; they want visibility. They want data to flow through their systems. And they want systems that will make better use of that data. All the free services produce advertising eyeballs, to be sure. But they also provide massive amounts of test data on which Google can try new ideas and tweak useful tools. GOOG411 is a great example. Google presented the service and used it to collect voice samples and feedback to tweak their voice recognition. Now that they're to a certain point (and perhaps Android devices are providing a cost-effective alternative), GOOG411 is EOL.

God forbid Google should develop themselves (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875122)

Google is famous for building a piece of cool software to version .8 or so and then releasing it under open source and letting everyone else finish the work. they build some cool software for internal use but for all their consumer products they expect everyeone else to finisht the work or let a cool product like google reader languish

Re:God forbid Google should develop themselves (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875162)

UMADBRO?

Re:God forbid Google should develop themselves (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875552)

Would you prefer the alternative of just not releasing it as open source and letting it die quietly instead? But then people would say "why can't they just release the source code and let the community run with it?". Guess you just can't win...

Re:God forbid Google should develop themselves (3, Interesting)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875642)

Google is famous for building a piece of cool software to version .8 or so and then releasing it under open source and letting everyone else finish the work.

I call your bluff: Show source control logs that demonstrate that any significant Google open source release (of which there are many) has more than a trivial percentage of non-Google contributions. For full credit, you must show that these non-Google contributors were somehow not working in their self interest by contributing to the project.

On that latter point... Last I checked, "open source volunteer sweatshop" was still equal to the empty set. I.e. no one is forced to contribute to any particular piece of open source code. The deal for all OSS projects is essentially the same: "hey, I made something cool, come help out if you like!" Whether "I" is a corporation or one or more independent volunteers is irrelevant. Any external contributors to a project do so for their own reasons, reasons which have been extensively discussed elsewhere.

Re:God forbid Google should develop themselves (2)

Tanman (90298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875784)

No, google is famous for building pieces of software to .8 or so, releasing them to beta, and then letting them die.

There are, of course, some notable exceptions. But I don't see very many google labs products get picked up once Google smurfs them.

Conspiracy theory... (3, Insightful)

Snap E Tom (128447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875300)

And Larry Ellison's good buddies with Steve Jobs. Coincidence? I think not.

Re:Conspiracy theory... (4, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875634)

And Larry Ellison's good buddies with Steve Jobs. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course it's not a coincidence. Pompous douchebags like other pompous douchebags. :)

Not to derail the conspiracy angle, but sometimes it's better to bet on people being self-promoting jerks than people being Evil with a capital E.

Re:Conspiracy theory... (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875808)

Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. So what?

The whole case is about cashing in on the success of Android. Oracle sells dull clunky buggy database software and they'd love to get some revenue from the consumer market.

A Chess match. (3, Interesting)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875376)

Sergey vs. Larry.

Google should block Oracle's networks (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875482)

Seriously. If I was Google, I would block all of Oracle's IP space from accessing any Google service. And, hell, IBM's too, for good measure. Then I would threaten to block the IPs of all of Oracle's big customers.

What is Oracle going to do? Google isn't a public utility. Yeah, Oracle would obviously sue Google immediately, but that would work in Google's favor- they could say "Open up Java, and we'll unblock you."

For that matter, what law says that Google has to give you access to their site? I can't think of one that would apply.

Google holds ALL the cards, is what I'm saying. Oracle is too stupid to realize that, but that's no surprise. They've always been stupid, and they were stupid enough to buy Sun.

Re:Google should block Oracle's networks (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875612)

Seriously. If I was Google, I would block all of Oracle's IP space from accessing any Google service. And, hell, IBM's too, for good measure. Then I would threaten to block the IPs of all of Oracle's big customers.

Oracle and IBM have a lot of pull with most Fortune 500 companies. Starting a war with them would be a serious mistake, particularly for a company whose major source of income is advertisements.

WTF are you all smoking? (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875514)

JVM's have a fixed cost to develop them, just as Dalvik has a fixed cost to develop new and exciting features like JIT's and better GC's. IBM has J9, BEA (now Oracle) has JRocket, Sun (now Oracle) has Hotspot. Instead of writing their own customized JVM's they've decided to collaborate (I assume) to cut costs and streamline the JVM's presentation and roll-out to customers. How is this some super secret attack on Android?

Harmony is open and will remain open for the foreseeable future. Its not like BEA/Oracle/IBM were big supporters of harmony before this deal was inked... The question being is if Dalvik's JVM its susceptible to software patents which will now be tested (again?) in court with Google.

Correction: If by attack, you mean that they are making a better product faster, then you can make that giant leap, but really, J9 and JRocket are really server targeted JVM's, so I think the alliance is really to make a better server JVM. Maybe they're seeing increased competition with .NET or the scripting web platforms and they want to step up their games, who knows.

Re:WTF are you all smoking? (1)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875810)

Harmony is open and will remain open for the foreseeable future. Its not like BEA/Oracle/IBM were big supporters of harmony before this deal was inked...

Actually, you'll find in the article that most of the code in Harmony was written by IBM employees on company time, and now that IBM is switching its efforts to OpenJDK, the ASF folks are essentially saying that Harmony is dead. While we'd all like to believe that open source projects magically maintain themselves through the gumption of citizen-programmers, the fact is that the more complex and important ones are often maintained by corporate patronage.

Certainly the move isn't just an attack on Android -- all of the other things you list are true, and the JCP was desperately in need of reform. But the fact that it guts the basis for Android's Java compatibilty can't have caused anyone at Oracle to shed any tears. Look, one of their big Java ME guys is gloating [sun.com] .

Android is a small part of the Java Universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875596)

IBM and Oracle both know that. The goal here is probably more to remove any FUD around
Java as a commercial development option than to pull support from Harmony. It is very
good for JavaSE and EE, the platform for a good fraction of all commercial software
development today.

Robot Cars (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875694)

Faster, Robot Car! Kill! Kill!

Google could move to Tamarin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33875752)

There is an open source version of the Flex SDK (ActionScript 3.0).

ActionScript 3.0 has a syntax very similar to Java and many different free tools and libraries. There is an open source implementation in Mozilla's Tamarin project.

Google could also use some of the work they have done on their Javascript engine.

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/tamarin/

Google could even buy Adobe.

Why Does Google Use Dalvik? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33875764)

It's really Google that undermines Android by using the Dalvik VM, with its (even if slightly) incompatible bytecode instead of actual 100% Java that can run on any properly compatible JVM. That move just opens the platform to this kind of disruption. Why did Google do it, anyway?

If Google had made Android simply a (perhaps heavily) patched Linux kernel distro, with its own variation on the GNU tools and userland, with a standard JVM, it would have tapped the entire large and dynamic Linux developer community, and all the apps that already run directly on Linux, as well as all the Java apps that already run on other devices, mobile/embedded/desktop/etc. Why fragment the Linux/Java platform that way, and depend on defending the isolated fragment?

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