×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Didn't Ship Relicensed Java Code After All

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the deeper-looks dept.

Google 223

RedK writes "In a follow up to yesterday's news about Google apparently relicensing confidential Oracle code found in Java under the ASL, it seems that the blogger who initially reported the issue was plain wrong, as the files he indicated were in breach of Oracle's copyright do not actually ship with Android. Google has also deleted many of these files, which were mostly used as unit tests."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

223 comments

Still... (0)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966552)

So they're just distributing copyrighted files?

Hardly sounds much better.

Re:Still... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966660)

They still are guilty of replacing GPL license notices with an Incompatible Apache one.

Re:Still... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967066)

Go worship, Stallman. Nitpicking OSS nerds... at least Google makes software that people actually want to use.

Re:Still... (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967246)

For which files, exactly?

Re:Still... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967400)

The ones listed in TFA. You can refer to it if you want the names, but I will quote one block from there:

I did find one odd thing about the first 7 files. Sun published those files on its web site to help developers debug and test their own code. For some reason, the Android or Harmony developer who was using them decompiled and rebuilt them instead of just using the ones from Sun. Later an Apache license got incorrectly pasted to the top of the files, perhaps by some automated script. The solution to this earth shattering conspiracy? Replace them with the original files from Sun which have the correct comments. Or just delete them. After all, they’re not shipped with Android.

See, it may be true its not shipped, but the writer of the article in question does admit the license was altered and tries to dismiss it as an irrelevant action that may have been done by an automated script.

How it happened is not significant (though nor is it unimportant.) The result was an illegal change of licensing, enough to open the doors for rightful legal action. As much as I may dislike Oracle, they were given solid legal recourse by that [assumed by the article's writter, not confirmed by Google] automated script.

Unlike the writer suggests, the solution to this is not just removing the files or restoring the original license notes. The fact is that the code was already distributed with an altered licensing and Google may be ordered to report how many copies of the files were distributed. Additional audits may require to find if the code made it into any device distributions and how many copies did so, not to mention how many developers may had done branches of said code for internal testing without complying with GPL licensing requirements due to thinking the license they were provided under was rightfully the Apache license.

Re:Still... (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967662)

They are "guilty" of what exactly? If they aren't distributing them, so what?

Re:Still... (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967738)

Already replied to another post, but they DID distribute it [stopped but did] to other developers [and anyone that cared to download the entire codebase.] It was not meant for end user distribution, does not mean it did not end up in any handsets either', but it was distributed.

Re:Still... (4, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967258)

Sounds much like you're trolling. Copyrighted files can be distributed if the copyright holder allows it.

Re:Still... (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967648)

Sounds much like you're trolling. Copyrighted files can be distributed if the copyright holder allows it.

And the copyright holder (Oracle) did not allow it. But this is a situation where the GPL harms Google and helps Oracle, so maybe we should just sweep this all under the rug and call anyone who points out reality a troll?

These aren't the droids you're looking for. (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967406)

Doesn't sound like "distributing," more like "making available." The files were in the tree for a while, have since been removed, and were apparently never shipped on a handset. None of the files were significant, or added any value, to Android. It was pretty clearly unintentional (likewise with changing the license, likely happened during an automated process). Even if Google were to get hit with a Jammie Thomas [wikipedia.org] scale judgement, a few million $ is mice nuts to them.

Oh, and if unintentionally replacing the GPL license with Apache were to cause them to loose access to these files, it simply doesn't matter. They weren't part of Android to begin with.

Oracle, these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Re:These aren't the droids you're looking for. (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967686)

Doesn't sound like "distributing," more like "making available."

That's pretty much a prerequisite for distributing something. They first made it available, then later (when someone downloaded it), distributed it.

Oh, and if unintentionally replacing the GPL license with Apache were to cause them to loose access to these files, it simply doesn't matter. They weren't part of Android to begin with.

How does that work out, exactly? If you went do download Android from Google via source, you got these files. Google distributed them to every Android developer, just not to Android handset users.

Irrelevant (4, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966554)

If Google distributed the source at any point, it's a copyright violation, whether or not it shipped in a handset.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966596)

The files are from Apache, durr. At least bother to read about it before spouting crap.

Re:Irrelevant (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966760)

Er, no, they aren't. They are proprietary GPL'd Sun Java code files that got an Apache license (illegally) pasted on them, and then distributed as part of the Android source tree.

Re:Irrelevant (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967266)

Not everything slapped with an Apache license is from Apache. Just like not everything slapped with a GPL is from Gnu.

Re:Irrelevant (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966688)

If you read the summary and not just the article, you'd see that Google did not ship them with Android. They were located in the source files if someone bothered to go to the source files that Google had on their site and look for them. They were also copies of files that Sun released but instead of merely using them someone had decompiled and deconstructed them. Somewhere along the way a different copyright got pasted on them. Google also removed them from the tree with the comment "remove pointless test files".

Re:Irrelevant (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966928)

If you read what you're replying to, you'll see that he wrote "whether or not it shipped in a handset", not "since it shipped in a handset". You said that the files were available on a public web server, so to disprove the parent you have to show that they were never downloaded.

Re:Irrelevant (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967152)

Perhaps they were.

Some of those files are covered by Sun's public license.

No one's found them YET on android phones. I suppose it's possible. Remember: there's a lot of contention about how Sun licensed these files, and whether or not they were used in Android to begin with, and if they were, if they were distributed as payloads.

These files were found by Mueller, if you RTFAs, on the Dev tree. Has anyone from Oracle/Sun decompiled phone payloads yet? Seems as though there are lots of details to decide before the finger pointing is over with.

Oracle's trying to lever a fat royalty check out of Google's BigBank. There'll be a lot of posturing, then a deal will be struck, and we'll move on.

Re:Irrelevant (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967372)

Oracle's trying to lever a fat royalty check out of Google's BigBank. There'll be a lot of posturing, then a deal will be struck, and we'll move on.

I very much want to see Larry take his Java patents to court and get smacked down on abundant prior art. I'm really looking forward to the spectacle of increasingly erratic/comic behavior from Larry Ellison as the case moves through discovery, meaning closer to patent invalidation. Of course, there is the remote possibility he might win in court, which would be the end of Java in open source, including Android. Which would also be a big win. So either way, we the people win. I don't see much incentive for Google to make a deal.

Actually, I think Java is already done for in open source. Which as fate would have it, actually turned out to be the biggest application area by far, way bigger than its current servlet niche Hard to feel a lot of sympathy for bully boy Larry over that.

Larry? Which Larry? (2)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967450)

I very much want to see Larry take his Java patents to court and get smacked down on abundant prior art.

I hope you meant Larry Ellison and not Larry Page.

Falcon

Re:Irrelevant (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967732)

If you've been following the whole thing, this started out with Oracle accusing Google of shenanigans with Android. When someone actually looked at Android, they did find non-compliant files, however, they would not have been files that Google shipped with Android. They were available if someone wanted to download them, just like the source files of Linux are available with every flavor of Linux. However if you get dev and source files, there are some files that you get that will never make it to a binary to be compiled.

This is similar to the "smoking gun" code SCO claimed that they had. If you remember the "smoking gun" code that SCO tried to paint as proof of Linux infringement, it was quickly ascertained that the code did not originate from SCO or any entity that SCO owned. The origination of the files was SGI. The code did not work and would not compile. Also the code was for a branch of Linux that was never released. It had already been removed from the Linux tree by that point.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967312)

Google also removed them from the tree with the comment "remove pointless test files".

Well they were hardly going to remove them with the comment "REMOVE WILFUL COPYRIGHT INFRINGING FILES" were they?

Just joking though, I am a software developer and I know that heaps of random testing stuff ends up in the SCM that doesn't go into the final product. The difference here is that its public so anyone can see it.

Re:Irrelevant (4, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966698)

They might have a case for copyright violation against Google, but it might hamper their dreams of extracting licensing fees from all the handset makers shipping with Android. Could be significant.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966980)

I don't think it affects the case at all since Oracle is more concerned about the Dalvik JAVA like VM that they claim violates their patents. The case is really going to hinge on that as far as "do handset makes owe any money". I really like my Android phone - I wonder when we are going to see the first of the "pay your $699 licensing fee you xxxx yyyy" like we did with the SCO crap.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967142)

I wonder when we are going to see the first of the "pay your $699 licensing fee you cocksmoking teabaggers" like we did with the SCO crap.

FTFY

Re:Irrelevant (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967456)

They might have a case for copyright violation against Google

You mean GPL violation? The usual remedy is for the offending party to correct the fault, which in this case would appear to involve (re)attaching the correct copyleft license to some files distributed to developers. An alternative remedy would be to stop distributing the files in question. A combination of correcting the license for files that actually matter and dropping those files that aren't needed anyway is the likely outcome.

Relevant (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966706)

Fines/Damages/Fees/"Whatever your legal system calls it" usually depend on how often you copied it and what money you made from it.

So if there are only those files, all they did was making them available in the source code repository, so that might be some large one-time sum.

If that code was in every single android device or only many android devices had code somehow based on this one or derived from it or otherwise extending the copyright of those file to what is shipped with those devices, then Oracle could have hope to get some money for every single Android devices shipped. Both from google and from the manufacturers, who might want to get that money back from google.

I think this difference is relevant.

Re:Relevant (4, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967462)

Fines/Damages/Fees/"Whatever your legal system calls it" usually depend on how often you copied it and what money you made from it.

Weather you intended to violate copyright or not factors in as well (though it has no bearing on guilt or innocence).

The range of damages for copyright violation is anywhere from 1$ to $150,000 per work infringed.

It also matters if they were registered with the US Copyright Office. Copyright is automatic, but you cannot claim statutory damages without registration. All that is left available to you are punative damages, and since Google clearly did not intend any harm, and since any distribution of the files was likely accidental, Oracle isn't likely to see very much money for their trouble.

It's also worth noting that damages are awarded per work, not per instance of infringement (i.e. if someone shares a song a million times it's only one case of infringement). Since any distribution by hardware manufacturers is only due to Google's initial distribution, the very worst Oracle could do is make them share the maximum $150k per work with Google. They can't get extra damages for each manufacturer.

This [ipinbrief.com] is an informative article about the current state of copyright statutory damages. The same author has a more in-depth "primer for non-lawyers" here. [ipinbrief.com]

This is really pretty pathetic. Even if 1,000 files were infringed on, the absolute maximum Oracle can get for all cases involving Android is $150 million. That's combined, not individually. Even the most egregious cases rarely elicit the maximum, so they're really probably looking about $50-60 million, tops.

Thanks, Ed Burnette, for your diligence. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966576)

Thanks. Flatr

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966580)

mistake FuCK AlL THiS WAITING FOR RESOURCES SHIT I BETTER GET FIRST POST dont tell me not to use caps you bitchez.

Re:First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966902)

Amazingly, I have no objection to you using all caps. However, it would please me greatly to be able to see something comprehensible in your post.

Strawmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966592)

I see nothing in that article claiming that the files did ship. That said, they could certainly break the "Chinese wall" that's supposed to exist for "clean room" implementations and could still violate copyright by being distributed as code, even if they're not distributed on phones.

Mind you, I'm taking Google's side on this because the files are pretty minor (empty interfaces, etc.) and I'm not too sure that Google put them there, but we should be careful to keep a clean house here and remove any such crap before Oracle goes suing over it.

I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebuttals' (3, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966606)

I'll do a couple of follow-up posts on my blog these days to respond to some of the misconceptions and misinformation out there.

My blog never made a specific claim about Android devices containing certain code. From a copyright law point of view, however, putting software online for everyone to download means "to distribute", or "to ship", such code, and distributing, or shipping, infringing code makes someone liable.

Ed Burnette, whose post is referenced here, does not seem to understand even basic copyright-related terminology and concepts. He's wrong on almost everything he wrote and I'll debunk itI already left some comments below his article.

It's also wrong, as stated above, that Google "deleted" those files. They are still in the Froyo (Android 2.2) and Gingerbread (2.3) trees. At least they were when I last checked, which was yesterday. They are just not in the tree for future versions.

There is so much out there that's wrong, and I'll deal with it step by step.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (5, Insightful)

randall77 (1069956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966670)

Yes, they are liable, but liable for what? What damages case can you make for files that aren't actually used?

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (-1, Troll)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966720)

You can be sure the damage award would not be zero even if nobody ever used it. Just the act of publishing it creates damage. And can you or anyone else prove that no one ever downloaded the file, relied on an Apache license header and consequently built it into something (Android or not)?

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967370)

The burden of proof goes the other way. Oracle would need to prove that this distribution did cause damage. It is not Google's (or anyone else's) job to prove lack of damages. They could maybe get server logs to determine # of downloads, but that's only useful for statutory damages.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (4, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967602)

You can be sure the damage award would not be zero even if nobody ever used it.

For an inadvertent inclusion of an incorrect license on GPLed code? I can't be sure of what you suggest at all, in fact the opposite seems considerably more likely. Looks to me like you're pretty far out on a limb on this, I would suggest backing slowly away.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (4, Informative)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966766)

Statutory damages [wikipedia.org] , probably. "The basic level of damages is between $750 and $30,000 per work," but "statutory damages are only available in the United States for works that were registered with the Copyright Office prior to infringement." If they can't claim statutory damages, they would probably only be able to claim either lost earnings, or whatever profit Google made from the infringing distribution, neither of which are likely to add up to very much.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967056)

$30,000 is chump change for Google and Oracle. Oracle is not suing Google over $30,000.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (2)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967530)

I'd be surprised if these files were individually registered with the US Copyright Office, but I could be wrong. If they were registered as a group, distributing a portion of the files for testing purposes likely doesn't even qualify as copyright infringement.

Statutory damages can also go as high as $150,000 per infringement under the right circumstances, but the number of infringements don't matter. Only the number works infringed.

I'm not really sure what Oracle is going for here, are they really that hard up for cash that they'll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to squeeze Google for $150k?

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966738)

My blog never made a specific claim about Android devices containing certain code.

That's not what your blog post reads like. If they're not part of the codebase used on an Android device, you should have explicitly stated so, seeing as quite obviously "The Android versions of those files" by default suggests that those files are a part of the Android OS.

Maybe you can admit you were wrong or at the very least unclear in certain places, rather than quite childishly trying to bullshit your way out of this?

It's also wrong, as stated above, that Google "deleted" those files. They are still in the Froyo (Android 2.2) and Gingerbread (2.3) trees. At least they were when I last checked, which was yesterday. They are just not in the tree for future versions.

That's kind of how source repositories work when you delete things.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (0)

miruku (642921) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966836)

The fact Google redistributed the files in their own source repo is legally bad, no?

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967148)

That's kind of how source repositories work when you delete things.

That depends entirely on how the repository is structured. I'm assuming though that 2.2 and 2.3 are separate trees/branches/repositories/whatever, in which case it's perfectly possible to delete the files from the current revision on those branches too. Given that the legal status of these files is in question, it would be wisest to completely remove the files - even if that means having to remove access to previous revisions of the source tree.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (2)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967566)

even if that means having to remove access to previous revisions of the source tree.

That's not really an option, given the fact that most Android devices still use pre-2.3 versions of the OS.

I think the wisest option is exactly what they are doing: leave the old stuff alone, remove them from the new stuff, and wait for the injunction that may or may not ever come. Here's a hint - since the source is so "out there" already, it will probably never come.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966852)

Moderators - don't be idiots - Florian Mueller is one of the principal parties to this particular portion of this tempest in a teapot. You CAN'T simply "troll" mod him out of existence. Posting AC as I'm moderating, although not his post.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967154)

Of course we can troll mod him out of existence. He's the original troll.

He doesn't get any special brownie points.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (1, Funny)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967364)

I believe people who try to just misuse mod points against me are real trolls and Slashdot should make sure that such people don't get mod points again too soon.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (5, Insightful)

zzatz (965857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966984)

Please name one Android device that ships with this code.

I'm looking for clarity regarding the impact of any possible infringement. Willful infringement of code central to Android devices could stop shipments. Incidental infringement of peripheral code is another matter. It should be resolved, of course, but would have little impact on the market.

Do Android devices contain infringing code? Do they contain infringing code that could be easily replaced? Or do they contain infringing code that is central to their operation?

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967002)

The question is whether distributing GPLd source code, without including it in a binary, constitutes legal use of the GPLd source code.

Everything I have heard Stallman say indicates that it IS legal. One can distribute GPLd code on the same web page as non-GPLd or proprietary code. Nor is there any intrinsic difference between including the GPLd code on a web page or in a source tree when the GPLd code is not compiled into the resulting binary.

Florian Mueller confuses distribution of GPLd code, which is often legal, with incorporation of GPLd code in a proprietary product, which is not.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967108)

Pasting an Apache license on GPL'd code falls spectacularly into the "not legal" category.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967652)

Pasting an Apache license on GPL'd code falls spectacularly into the "not legal" category.

Spectacularly? You must lead a pretty dull life :-)

In my opinion, it falls more in the "should be pointed out and corrected" category. Much like a typo in a textbook.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (2)

folderol (1965326) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967166)

Nono. Please don't. I don't think I can cope with any more of your 'creative' view of the IT world :(

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967320)

What you said was:

Android contains, under the Apache license, code that is essentially just decompiled code of Oracle/Sun software that was never licensed to Apache.

Now, with some creative interpretation, you can likely indeed weasel out of it and say that this doesn't really mean that files were shipped to end users as part of Android. But it certainly wasn't the impression from your original post, and nowhere did you highlight that very important detail. What more, you contrasted your newly discovered files with PolicyNodeImpl.java, from which the "decompiled unlicensed copy" story started - and why it wasn't big deal back in the day was that it didn't ship on devices.

A lot of readers interpreted your words in the same way as TFA, which leaves one to wonder if that was an honest mistake (but then why not just admit that and correct the story?), an attempt to sound more sensationalist than it really is by omitting details that make it mundane, or deliberate FUD. I was one of those readers [slashdot.org] , and I now have to apologize to fellow Slashdot readers for spreading this misinformation. Are you going to apologize for starting it?

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (-1, Troll)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967376)

It's not a "creative interpretation" to refer to android.git.kernel.org as Android. I will clarify this, with some additional information that may surprise some, on my blog soon.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967486)

Okay, maybe not creative. We'll go with "incorrect" then.

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967494)

Yes, it is. The correct name is AOSP, or more correctly, the AOSP repository. You could get away with 'Android repository' but that would be confusing. Android is a term given to a set of derived operating systems. It is neither open source nor a codebase (most Android distributions are closed source).

Re:I was *not* plain wrong -- unlike some 'rebutta (5, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967564)

It's also wrong, as stated above, that Google "deleted" those files. They are still in the Froyo (Android 2.2) and Gingerbread (2.3) trees. At least they were when I last checked, which was yesterday. They are just not in the tree for future versions.

Wow Florian, that's a creative interpretation of "not deleted". I presume that you mean, a user can still check out an older repository version and that version would contain the files in question. Let me make an equally creative counter-proposition. If the files were deleted from the tip of the repository but not from the history, that simply provides a historical record of exactly what was deleted. You can't make the information vanish from the past you know, unless you are also proposing some kind of time travel. You can only make information vanish from the present, that is, tip of tree.

Ex-Sun honcho recent resignation (3, Interesting)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966642)

this is pure speculation but...
one wonders whether Eric Schmidt's (former Sun executive) and his very probable push for Java on Android was not behind his resignation. From any angle Android's Java reliance seams like a bad move.

Re:Ex-Sun honcho recent resignation (3, Informative)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966956)

Wasn't Android the result of Google's purchase of a smaller company? Given that it's unlikely Eric Schmidt had any say in the initial technology choices behind Android.

Re:Ex-Sun honcho recent resignation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967642)

Yes, Google purchased a smaller company that was already building Android, then Google created the OHA and transfered ownership to them. Not only that but the whole point of this debate is that they arent sending any money to Sun/Oracle because dalvik was a clean room implementation of a JVM.

So the schmidt conspiracy makes no sense on several levels.

Re:Ex-Sun honcho recent resignation (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967714)

Wasn't Android the result of Google's purchase of a smaller company?

That is correct, a company called "Android".

Given that it's unlikely Eric Schmidt had any say in the initial technology choices behind Android.

Clearly not the original design, but very probably in the continued reliance on it. By now, a C++ application platform with no ties whatsoever to Java should have been added to the Android SDK and the fact that it is not suggests some kind of "go slow" order from the top. In the most charitable view, it would constitute extreme lack of attention.

natural outcome (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966648)

it seems that the blogger who initially reported the issue was plain wrong

Florian Mueller produced two blatantly erroneous stories in about as many days. I hope this high error rate keeps Slashdot from promiscuously posting his stuff for a while. I'm not counting on miracles, but this guy was given two chances on Slashdot and he blew it badly each time. Even if Slashdot's goal is to troll for eyeballs, they can find someone more competent to do the trolling.

Re:natural outcome (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966716)

Except that Google *DID* distribute the copyrighted code in question, even if they didn't put it into the handsets. So it's actually this story that's wrong-- Google did, in fact, violate the copyright. Does that mean Slashdot should stop posting pro-Google stories for a couple days? Your point doesn't make much sense to me.

Re:natural outcome (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967254)

Except that Google *DID* distribute the copyrighted code in question

Part of the source code was actually freely distributable, because they were distributed by Sun as sample code (RTA). The Apache license was later added in error to them, but distributing them was not copyright infringement.

The source code in the other zipfile was indeed apparently not freely distributable, and Google made an error there. I think however that most people are annoyed by the sensationalist way Mr. Mueller has been selling his find (I guess his patrons want action for their money), rather than by the fact that somebody called out Google for making a mistake.

Re:natural outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967580)

The title of this article is "Google Didn't Ship Relicensed Java Code After All". How is that wrong?

Re:natural outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967012)

I simple don't see his error just of bunch of irrelevant noise from critics. If I copy (that is Xerox, photograph, hand draw, etc) a copyrighted work like a house blueprint for example I have violated copyright law. Its is completely irrelevant whether I use the blueprint to construct a house or just as wallpaper for my bathroom. Why do you people go on and on on how the code was used, or when it was deleted. It doesn't matter legally at all.

Re:natural outcome (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967350)

Another AC sums it up [slashdot.org] .

If I copy (that is Xerox, photograph, hand draw, etc) a copyrighted work like a house blueprint for example I have violated copyright law.

Unless it is legal. There are both fair use exceptions and the copyright owner can grant you permission. Copyright doesn't mean that copying is illegal, but rather that the copyright owner has a great deal of control over the copying and use of their material.

Re:natural outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967428)

because no one fucking cares about trivial use of infringed source files for UNIT TESTING. even Oracle probably won't give a shit about it. you might as well accuse Google of jaywalking if that were possible. this type of crap goes on every day inside companies -- it shows just how fucked up copyright law is.

what we DO care about, is whether it's shipped on ANDROID, because that would not only be criminally liable but it will allow Oracle to seek damages for every single goddamned infringement (that is, every single device sold).

this is the difference between stealing from a candy store and Enron.

Re:natural outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967078)

Even if Slashdot's goal is to troll for eyeballs, they can find someone more competent to do the trolling.

Hmm Trolling for Eyeballs...sounds like Slashdot is in reality just simple fishing forum. Wonder what you do with an eyeball? Are they any good in sushi? Do you catch them in fresh or salt water and will they come to a well presented fly if you hide the hook well enough?

Go Google go (4, Interesting)

javilon (99157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966664)

I hope Google gets its way on court, scales up the Dalvik VM and we stop using anything coming from Oracle. Tomcat would run happily on it and we would use a completely Free/Free/No patents virtual machine. Kind of like they are doing with WebM. That would result in companies becoming really careful when trying to take open source code and screw up with it.

Re:Go Google go (1, Flamebait)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966754)

I hope Google gets its way on court, scales up the Dalvik VM and we stop using anything coming from Oracle. Tomcat would run happily on it and we would use a completely Free/Free/No patents virtual machine. Kind of like they are doing with WebM. That would result in companies becoming really careful when trying to take open source code and screw up with it.

Google fragmented the Java platform because they were too cheap to pay Sun. That's the bottom line. There are now two incompatible Java specs instead of one (I'm not talking about competing implementations of the same spec like IBM JDK, etc). What Google did is terrible for Java because it's no longer write once run anywhere.

And if you don't think Google violated Oracle's VM patents, then you're deluding yourself.

Re:Go Google go (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966850)

Just to make something clear: they didn't use JavaME because they were too cheap, it's because anyone who has done more than a Hello Wold app realizes how antiquated JavaME is (both CDC and CLDC). Hands down developing something in Objective C using Xcode is a much better experience. What Google offered is basically JavaSE on a phone, which Sun should have started pushing years ago. This isn't the first technology Sun created in the Java realm that sucked (Applets, JSF, JavaFX, EJB 1.0 to name a few) and Google's net result is an increase in Java developers. Oracle should be happy about this, just as Jonathan Schwartz was in his blogpost here: http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/congratulations_google

Re:Go Google go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966858)

Google fragmented the Java platform because they were too cheap to pay Sun.

It was to do with Java never being fully open-sourced. Developing a compiler and a VM for Dalvik has probably cost Google much more in developer costs than any licensing available to them. And Dalvik isn't anything to do with the Java 'platform' as such, it just uses the same language.

And if you don't think Google violated Oracle's VM patents, then you're deluding yourself.

What are you basing that on?

Re:Go Google go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967490)

but but but it's google. it has to be good!@#

Re:Go Google go (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966998)

What do you mean by "scales up"? And is performance of Dalvik really comparable to the Snoracle VM? I've read that it can't compete with Hotspot - is this false or outdated?

Re:Go Google go (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967130)

Pre-2.2, Dalvik is purely a bytecode interpreter. After 2.2, performance is still pretty crappy, since its designed for a tiny memory footprint and to work effectively on processors with very little cache. I find the idea of running Dalvik as the main JVM to be frightening.

Re:Go Google go (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967612)

To be fair, most JVM's had similar issues with their default settings until recently.

Running Java apps used to be the bane of my existence. Now they just suck - a huge improvement. ;)

(In case you didn't notice, I'm not a fan of Java. It is ever so slowly improving, however, so maybe someday I'll like it. One can dream, right?)

What if a copy of "All You Need is Love" mp3 is (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966712)

found in the unit test area? Does that mean EMI (who owns the copyrights for the Beatles songs) could sue Google for copyright violation and get a percentage for each android handset even though the song "All You Need is Love" is not used in Android in any way whatsoever?

Re:What if a copy of "All You Need is Love" mp3 is (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966874)

Of course not. Google has good lawyers. Now if it was your personal repository on the other hand...

Re:What if a copy of "All You Need is Love" mp3 is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966894)

I don't get it either, what if the file just was mislabeled? Should that cause a complete project to be infringing? Perhaps the file was committed by accident (as it has no use whatsoever in the OS) and therefore just should have been deleted and be done with it? Is 'human error' overlooked? Shouldn't there be a motivation of 'ill intent' before throwing out big words like patent and infringement?

If the files were actively used and developed further while it was very clear that they were in violation, it would have been a different situation. But they clearly served no other purpose as they aren't used in the distribution. Thus I fail to see the story here.

FlorianM, you can blog all you want, it'll be a cold day in hell when I'll willingly read the drivel that exits from your orifices. It's bad enough you got to appear on /. with your AW'ing.

Re:What if a copy of "All You Need is Love" mp3 is (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967646)

Actually what would happen is EMI would get a one-time award of $10k (maybe $25k if it was clearly deliberate) for all instances of infringement for the work.

That wouldn't even pay the lawyers' salaries. Oracle is in the same situation, so they'd better hope Google willfully infringed on a whole lot of files (all of which need to be registered with the USCO to get any statutory damages at all) in order to break even.

wait a second.. (4, Informative)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966718)

this seems like a perfectly valid counter to the zdnet piece:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/android-source-code-java-and-copyright-infringement-whats-go/ [engadget.com]

From a legal perspective, it seems very likely that these files create increased copyright liability for Google, because the state of our current copyright law doesn't make exceptions for how source code trees work, or whether or not a script pasted in a different license, or whether these files made it into handsets. The single most relevant legal question is whether or not copying and distributing these files was authorized by Oracle, and the answer clearly appears to be "nope" -- even if Oracle licensed the code under the GPL. Why? Because somewhere along the line, Google took Oracle's code, replaced the GPL language with the incompatible Apache Open Source License, and distributed the code under that license publicly. That's all it takes -- if Google violated the GPL by changing the license, it also infringed Oracle's underlying copyright. It doesn't matter if a Google employee, a script, a robot, or Eric Schmidt's cat made the change -- once you've created or distributed an unauthorized copy, you're liable for infringement.*

Re:wait a second.. (1)

Xargle (165143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967102)

Exactly. The tone of the ZDnet piece is way too readily dismissive. Deleting something and marking it as useless etc won't make a blind bit of difference in court. "Just unit tests" doesn't either.

Re:wait a second.. (3, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967710)

On the other hand, Google is only liable for infringement ONCE. The number of times you infringe doesn't matter, it's a per-work thing, not a per-infringement thing. Also, was each file individually registered with the Copyright Office? Copyright is automatic, and you can license without registering, but you cannot collect statutory damages without registering. In fact, registering the works doesn't even make continued infringement after registration liable to statutory damages.

In other words, about $30k per file is what Oracle can expect out of Google. If Oracle manages to get the handset manufacturers in on it (I can't see how they could, but lawyers are pretty creative) all it means is Google gets to split the cost of that $30k with the handset manufacturers - Oracle won't see an extra dime.

This is really pretty pathetic, and typical of Oracle. Instead of calling up Google and saying "WTF bro? You re-licensed my code without my permission! That's not cool!" and allowing Google to say "Oh snap! My bad! I'll fix it!", they decided to try to sucker-punch Google after walking out of a club late Saturday night.

Childish is what it is.

A GPL violation is a GPL violation (2, Insightful)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34966730)

I really don't understand this bias against Oracle.

If any other company was the victim of a GPL violation, for whatever reason and whereever the code was distributed, Slashdot would cry foul. I guess as long as it's done to Oracle, it's OK.

It doesn't matter if you distribute the code as part of a product that makes money or if you use it internally. If you slap an Apache license header on GPL code, you're violating the GPL. Copyright law doesn't require you to make money in order to infringe. Why do you think the RIAA is going after P2P users and getting massive settlements?

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (1)

Atti K. (1169503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967086)

I really don't understand this bias against Oracle.

Looks like Oracle is the new Microsoft.

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967128)

Use != Abuse
Entitled != Miserly

There is a difference between protecting one's property and using one's property to harm others.

Regards,
Ruemere

Bias? BIAS??!?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967172)

I really don't understand this bias against Oracle.

Do you know how I can tell you never had to deal with them or their products?

If there is one company that I wouldn't mind getting hit by a medium sized comet, it's Oracle. Words can't begin to describe how piss poor their products are. Look at the RDBMS funny and it throws an "ORA-600" while mangling your data beyond hope of repair. The data warehouse tools are, for lack of a better word, ludicrously bad. Unusably bad.

The lack of quality is only surpassed by the sheer arrogance of the people that work for the company. It doesn't matter if you have to deal with their sales people, their support desk or the so-called professionals that charge top dollar prices while delivering sub standard performance. All are pricks.

Man, don't get me started on Oracle, the horror I've been through...

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967174)

...and a GPL infraction is generally handled by allowing the offending party to make right rather than continuing to drag their names through the mud or sue them for some obscene damages.

GPL violators generally get treated much nicer than anyone else that violates some license.

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967582)

You don't think that happened? This wasn't something new, or unseen. Sun knew about it before the buy-out. Google was definitely aware. They decided to do nothing about it. Result? Lawsuit. Oracle doesn't fuck around.

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967260)

I really don't understand this bias against Oracle.

You will if they decide to treat Java in the same way as the rest of their IP, 'javacowboy'. If Oracle decide to play nasty, you may just end up writing code for the Dalvik VM in a few years.

If any other company was the victim of a GPL violation, for whatever reason and whereever the code was distributed, Slashdot would cry foul. I guess as long as it's done to Oracle, it's OK.

Someone screwed with the licence, but it hasn't been incorporated into a product, nor forked into a closed source version. Obviously this needs to be resolved, but it's nowhere near as bad as when a company actively takes GPL code, incorporates it into a closed product, then responds that the GPL has never been tested in court, as has happened several times before.

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967438)

Perhaps the bias against Oracle has more to do with how they've handled the situation. If this is indeed something that can be reasonably explained as a mistake and something that happened in code which is trivial/not part of the actual shipping Android product, then Oracle's behavior seems completely out of line. Google did not benefit from use of this code, and Oracle did not lose anything from it being in Google's sources, license changed or not.

This type of thing can be corrected easily and without the need for legal action. Restore the correct license, remove the files, etc.. exactly what Google has done. It seems that Oracle's motivation here is not to defend their rights but instead to seek profit from any violation of them, no matter how minor.

Re:A GPL violation is a GPL violation (5, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967752)

Usually the infringed party contacts the infringing party and allows them to correct the error, since mistakes happen. It's the polite, non-douchebag way to behave, particularly since the goal of the GPL is spreading code. In legal terms, it's called "good-faith".

Oracle, of course, is a douchebag, and as such does things the douchebag way.

Thus, Oracle gets slammed for being a douchebag.

It's like seeing a guy hit on your girlfriend, and instead of telling the guy she's spoken for, you sucker-punch him. You're a douchebag if you behave that way, plain and simple. That's how Oracle operates.

FRIST PSOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34966926)

I have a life to later seen in with t&he work, or against vigorous

Not So Fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967094)

These files are emphatically not unit tests. There are no tests in there. Unit tests in Java use Junit and generally test something.

Here would be a sample

import junit.framework.*;

public class TestCourse extends TestCase {
private Course c;

public TestCourse(String name) {
super(name);
}

protected void setUp() {
c = new Course();
c.setName("St. Andrews");
int[] par = {4,4,4,4,5,4,4,3,4,4,3,4,4,5,4,4,4,4};
c.setPar(par);
}

public void testSomething() {
assertEquals(0, c.parUpToHole(0));
assertEquals(8, c.parUpToHole(2));
assertEquals(72, c.parUpToHole(18));
}

Whatever part of the tree this stuff appeared in it did nothing like that. Use Junit. Subclass TestCase. Any expert developer could probably see that there was no test here. Also - how can a unit test in a totally different project test the class it is testing, unless that class were the same and had the same functionality and paramamters, results and outputs?

So something is copied, not that this was a unit test anyway.

The placing of this code in the unit test part of the tree, is itself suspect.

Re:Not So Fast... (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967344)

Unit tests in Java use Junit

"*whimper*"

"Don't listen to the bad man, little TestNG."

Sigh... Florian Mueller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34967140)

Is it just me, or do other people also think that FOSS would be better off if this guy just left us alone?

Okay, let me see if I've got this straight. (4, Insightful)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34967402)

The files discovered in the Android code repository are unequivocally Oracle's IP, with an inappropriately modified license. This means, that for these at least, Google is almost certainly liable for infringement. However, since none of those files ever went into an Android handset, their presence, in a legal sense, is most likely completely irrelevant with regards to Oracle's main aim, which is to extract court-mandated royalties from Google and/or handset manufacturers for each Android device they produce. It would be like the RIAA trying to collect royalties on music that I wrote and produced on my own, because they found pirated music on one of my computers.

Does that sound about right, or am I way off-base here?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...