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Google: Sun Offered To License Java For $100M

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the how-generous dept.

Google 173

alphadogg writes "Sun Microsystems offered to license its Java technology to Google for $100 million, a Google attorney said Thursday, attempting to show that Oracle is out of touch as it seeks billions from Google for patent infringement. Oracle and Google were in court for a hearing in Oracle's lawsuit accusing Google of patent infringement in its Android OS. Judge William Alsup was in a feisty mood, warning Oracle that 'this court is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle Corporation' and telling Google that Andy Rubin, who runs its Android business, will be 'on the hot-seat' at trial. He also criticized both parties for taking unreasonable positions regarding the amount of damages owed for the alleged infringement."

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173 comments

So is this an example? (0)

Apothem (1921856) | about 3 years ago | (#36844566)

Is this an example of the system actually working, or just constantly stating the obvious?

Re:So is this an example? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36844584)

Either way, I'm starting to get as many lulz from this as from SCO vs IBM. That these lawyers don't bust out laughing while they're spouting this shit is a wonderment to me.

Lawyers (2)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#36845058)

Forget all the laws, the rules, the years of training... they only help you clerk. The single most effective tool in a lawyer's warchest is being able to deadpan better than Al Pacino.

Re:So is this an example? (3, Insightful)

Lance Dearnis (1184983) | about 3 years ago | (#36844594)

A sign that they're recognizing that the system has a problem, which, let's be honest - is a great step forward in and of itself. With more pressure from judges like Alsup, maybe we can start to see a move away from the purely-adversarial legal process; where both sides demand the moon because not doing so will just weaken their position to no gain...and because with less time wasted in trial, the lawyers earn less in legal fees. But, hey, even if he just stops at fixing the symptom, at least he's bloody fixing the symptom. Good for the judge.

Re:So is this an example? (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 3 years ago | (#36844700)

Some sanity in the courts would go a long way towards imposing some sanity in the world at large.

Re:So is this an example? (1)

justsomebody (525308) | about 3 years ago | (#36844690)

if system would be working, this suit wouldn't exist, but it is a nice example of judge having sense of humor and humiliation.

Re:So is this an example? (1)

mcvos (645701) | about 3 years ago | (#36845076)

It sounds like the judge is explaining to the lawyers how they should do their job.

He asks for a Sun executive not on Oracle's payroll who would testify in Oracle's favour, then Oracle suggests someone who is on their payroll, and the judge has to explain to the lawyer that someone not on their payroll would be a lot more convincing to the jury. Honestly, can't Oracle's lawyers think of that on their own?

Re:So is this an example? (2)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | about 3 years ago | (#36845444)

Of course they can, but then they might actually have to do some "work"... Also, maybe they just can't find anybody?

Re:So is this an example? (2)

ccguy (1116865) | about 3 years ago | (#36844750)

Don't know, to me it seems like an example of corporate gambling.

- Sun betting that google would pay $100M to prevent future lawsuits (after all, Google has been playing with fire all along)
- Google betting that they would pay nothing after all, so they preferred to bet "lawyer fees" vs "$100M" vs "lawyer fees + billions"
- Oracle betting whatever they bought Sun for - for a chance to win billions.

Also, lots of small investors with stock in google and/or oracle, just spending the day at the casino :-)

Not betting: Lawyers, they're shopping for widescreen monitors so they don't have to horizontal-scroll when home banking.

Re:So is this an example? (2)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#36846348)

(after all, Google has been playing with fire all along)

How so? They specifically created a technology base from the ground up which is superior to to Java ME and is NOT a derivative work. Your argument implies either you're being spoon fed misinformation from Oracle, or that all technology development is, "playing with fire." Can you clarify what you meant because I seriously doubt you meant the later and its not clear at all how the former can be the least bit true.

Not a wholly owned subsidiary... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 years ago | (#36844586)

... but they do hold a majority share. :-P

Re:Not a wholly owned subsidiary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844632)

Ellison doesn't want a "majority share", he wants to own your soul.

haha not a chance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844588)

I'll buy that for a dollar.

Re:haha not a chance. (1)

kulnor (856639) | about 3 years ago | (#36844826)

Maybe it's time to fork Java, and then go to court....

Re:haha not a chance. (1)

fuzzytv (2108482) | about 3 years ago | (#36845982)

Prepare a few millions to pay the lawyers. AFAIK Google knew they're using technology owned by Sun, decided to play and will and it worked fine for a few years. But they're probably end like a dupe in a casino, loosing 10x they've gained.

What co. did Google not steal IP from for Android? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844710)

Even if just half of the patent infringement claims are legitimate, it's getting ridiculous how many places Google stole IP to create Android. Microsoft is getting cash for it's stuff, Oracle for Java, Apple and HTC.

Re:What co. did Google not steal IP from for Andro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845074)

Wow. Steve Jobs let you out so early today!

You forgot how Nokia bitch-slapped your dungeon master? and Kodak as well?

Re:What co. did Google not steal IP from for Andro (2)

mcvos (645701) | about 3 years ago | (#36845108)

It's unlikely that even half of the patents are legitimate. Microsoft doesn't get the money because they won a lawsuit, but because these lawsuits are impossible to figure out, and none of the smaller Android players wanted to get involved in that.

Re:What co. did Google not steal IP from for Andro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845200)

What are you, an idiot? Android is derived from GPL software. The GPL exists because the originators wanted to be able to create derivative works. Further, the fight is not over Java. The argument is over whether or not a tablet is a "mobile device" (primarily a cellphone, meaning you pay licencing fees) or a PC (meaning the free JRE is a go.) Technology has advanced beyond the definitions of the original licence and we are once again hamstrung by a lack of forward thinking. Oracle should be relieved Google didn't throw their weight behind Iced Tea. The rest of us should be pissed that they didn't.

Re:What co. did Google not steal IP from for Andro (1)

fuzzytv (2108482) | about 3 years ago | (#36846070)

The fact that HTC decided to pay Apple some fee does not prove they've violated their IP. It merely means they've found out this was a cheaper and safer way to go. Maybe they'd loose, paying 10x more, maybe they'd win but paying a lot of money to the lawyers ...

Most of the Apple patents are complete gibberish, a perfect proof that software patents are just a stick used to bash competitors.

Didn't the patents get invalidated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844766)

Didn't the patents get invalidated?

Re:Didn't the patents get invalidated? (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about 3 years ago | (#36844980)

Not all of them

Re:Didn't the patents get invalidated? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 years ago | (#36845174)

No. And some of those invalidations are also in appeal.

Re:Didn't the patents get invalidated? (1)

fuzzytv (2108482) | about 3 years ago | (#36846114)

And those appeals will be appealed, etc.

Can you imagine a world without lawyers? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u9JAt6gFqM [youtube.com]

Greedy, Oracle. (1)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#36844774)

Google is in the wrong here but because Oracle is getting greedy, Google will get off with a slap on the wrist. Good for them!

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (2)

dwandy (907337) | about 3 years ago | (#36844800)

Google is in the wrong here

[citation needed]

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#36844958)

You'll have to wait for the judge for that citation but my best guess here is that Google either approached Sun or Sun approached Google, and the two companies couldn't work out a deal. Google wanted to partner to save money, but Sun wanted $100mil and I'm pretty sure Google didn't want to invest that much so they decided not to. But Google used the code anyway and that's where they are in the wrong.

People have known about Google being in the wrong for about a year [tirania.org] . It's pretty obvious they knew about these patents but ignored them so that puts them in the wrong. Oracle being greedy though is going to get the short end of the stick here but yeah... Google screwed up and played this a little too close to the line.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#36845340)

It's pretty obvious they knew about these patents but ignored them so that puts them in the wrong.

I'm sure you're right, legally. But morally ... "An unjust law is no law at all" is among the most agree upon paradigms of the great thinkers. Google didn't just steal and ship Java - they improved upon it to actually be the first ones to make the promise of mobile Java a reality. Building upon the work of those who have come before is an essential element of progress. Yeah, the patent system was intended to create more of this, but that's not the actual outcome. Perhaps a noble experiment, but continuing a failed experiment is ignoble.

It seems like Sun's residual value was ultimately as a patent holding tank. Not surprising that Oracle snatched them up, then.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 3 years ago | (#36846608)

Google didn't just steal and ship Java - they improved upon it to actually be the first ones to make the promise of mobile Java a reality.

So... all those Blackberrys that run JavaME apps aren't a reality?

Up until quite recently, they outnumbered the Android phones.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (5, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#36845430)

But Google used the code anyway and that's where they are in the wrong.

Uh, no, you might be confusing patents with copyright. They don't distribute Oracle's licensed code in Android itself [zdnet.com] and as far as I know, the copyright claim in the lawsuit has already been dropped.

It's pretty obvious they knew about these patents but ignored them so that puts them in the wrong.

The question is not whether they knew about them, but whether:
1) They are valid at all - (Oracle was ordered to drop 98% of them from the lawsuit [slashdot.org] )
2) They are infringing - that's up to the court to decide.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about 3 years ago | (#36845492)

"Google wanted to partner to save money, but Sun wanted $100mil and I'm pretty sure Google didn't want to invest that much so they decided not to. But Google used the code anyway and that's where they are in the wrong."

That or they figured out a way to work around the patents and avoid being guilty of infringement.

"People have known about Google being in the wrong for about a year. "

Oh, it's written in a blog on the internet. It must be true then. Perhaps we could update Wikipedia to reference the blog just to confirm it to be the case.

"It's pretty obvious they knew about these patents but ignored them so that puts them in the wrong."

Ignored them, or found them to be almost certainly invalid, or simply worked around them? You seem to be rather blindly dismissing some perfectly credible alternative possibilities here.

More realistically the chance are Google examined the patents, felt they were probably not valid and invalidated by prior art or similar, but to avoid having to deal with the hassle of a costly court case, figured it'd approach Sun about licensing. When Sun gave the $100mill figure they quite possibly figured that the risk of the cost of court was probably worth it, Sun probably didn't take it any further knowing that they themselves saw little point in stumping up the cash for a case they'd probably lose. Oracle however obviously thought differently, but, as some of Oracle's patents have already been dismissed as not valid, then perhaps there's some truth to this theory.

You seem to have made a very strong assertion, based on very little fact, whilst ignoring perfectly valid alternative possible events.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about 3 years ago | (#36846606)

Perhaps we could update Wikipedia to reference the blog just to confirm it to be the case.

Win!! :D

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 3 years ago | (#36845596)

wait, you're citing the patents that have been found invalid or reduced in scope to almost nothing? Are you serious, even in jest?

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (5, Interesting)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 3 years ago | (#36845672)

You're ignoring some crucial points:
1) That google chose a clean-room over SUN tech after the dealmaking failed. That is a perfectly valid defense for a copyright claim - and nothing in the evidence so far suggests that anything other than a copyright claim was ever discussed. Patent claims wouldn't be addressed by a clean-room implementation but so far there is no evidence whatsoever of willfull patent infringement.
2) The factor of willful and selective enforcement: several other organisations have built java compatible VM's and compilers (Kaffeine and gcj for example) - and never has sun or oracle sued them -despite stating their aim at java-compatibility.
3) That java itself was GPL'd prior to the oracle acquisition and teh terms of that license provides blanket patent coverage over java itself, it's only the java test-suite (used for measuring compatibility) which is licensed differently (thus remaining patentable) and this is why code such as Apache Foundation's Harmony are safe - they don't do those tests. Oracle has yet to show any proof that google ever used the test-suite.
4) Public statements by SUN employees that the java patents in question are frivolous (made stronger by the fact that they are the very employees who applied for them) and were only filed to get sun defensive patent protection, and that they even competed to see who could get the stupidest, silliest patent granted.

This case is still very much up in the air in terms of real guilt. Whether you agree with software patents or not - the simple reality is that Oracle has a lot of unanswered questions here and it's by no means clear-cut whether google did in fact infringe any patents at all - let alone what the true damage assesment should be if they did.

I find one thing from this far more disturbing: google claims that real damages should be based on android value only, and since android is zero-cost that damages must be zero-cost as well.
The judge declared that zero-cost is not applicable as their other income (ad-revenue) must be considered as tied in with this. This is very concerning because it would make the likely liability of open-source projects that are sued by patent trolls far higher, if the revenue from the supposedly infringing product is to be expanded to include revenue from any other software, service or product which in some way gets bundled or shared on that product then many open-source companies face a far higher risk in patents than they previously did.

Imagine if a company sued wordpress for patent infringement and then claimed that every ad shown on their commercial wordpress.com free blog hosting site is revenue that should count toward the calculation of patent damages ?

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

m50d (797211) | about 3 years ago | (#36846244)

That java itself was GPL'd prior to the oracle acquisition and teh terms of that license provides blanket patent coverage over java itself

No they don't - GPLv2 mentions nothing of patents. (I think possibly the CDDL does, making it in some ways better - was java ever released under the CDDL?). This has been an issue for Apache Harmony, as sun's patent grants only apply to software that passes those tests that they're not allowed to have.

Imagine if a company sued wordpress for patent infringement and then claimed that every ad shown on their commercial wordpress.com free blog hosting site is revenue that should count toward the calculation of patent damages ?

I think that's perfectly sensible (or rather, as sensible as patents ever are). You shouldn't be able to get free reign to infringe on anyone's patents just by making the particular infringing part of your software open source.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (2)

imric (6240) | about 3 years ago | (#36846444)

"I think that's perfectly sensible (or rather, as sensible as patents ever are). You shouldn't be able to get free reign to infringe on anyone's patents just by making the particular infringing part of your software open source."

But that's not what happened.

The patent holder gpled; the patent holder was aware of the patents when they did it.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 3 years ago | (#36846812)

3) That java itself was GPL'd prior to the oracle acquisition and teh terms of that license provides blanket patent coverage over java itself, it's only the java test-suite (used for measuring compatibility) which is licensed differently (thus remaining patentable) and this is why code such as Apache Foundation's Harmony are safe - they don't do those tests. Oracle has yet to show any proof that google ever used the test-suite.

Fun fact: A distribution license for software product X doesn't apply to me if I don't distribute something derived from software product X.

Google used Apache Harmony as a base, which is Apache's implementation of the Java runtime and standard library under the Apache 2.0 license.

If Apache Harmony is based on OpenJDK, that's a clear GPL violation, as you're not allowed to change the license on products derived from GPL products, unless explicitly allowed by the copyright owner.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 3 years ago | (#36845744)

Isn't $100M a drop in the bucket for Google ? I mean, I don't know their financials at all, but I doubt they'd flinch at that kind of outlay for their major mobile platform.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

dwandy (907337) | about 3 years ago | (#36845852)

and the two companies couldn't work out a deal

While interesting, that Google tried to strike a license deal doesn't mean they believed they would be infringing on valid patents; they may have felt it was easier/cheaper to license than fight. Once the license price hit a threshold they decided to fight if necessary. And they may have felt that Sun wouldn't litigate -- had they know Oracle would buy it they might have been willing to pay more to avoid litigation. But that doesn't mean they think they're "in the wrong". The license may have included additional value; at the very least would have made them customers of "Java" technology which they are now not. Having Android==Java might have been a good thing for Sun. We can speculate all day, but at the end all this means is that Google talked to Sun about Java, and then didn't implement Java.
In short, the negotiating is a (not very) interesting historical trivia and nothing more.

Google used the code

This implies a copyright issue; they're being sued for patent infringement.

People have known about Google being in the wrong

again, citation needed [...to the other people who presume Google's "wrong" not you who did provide linky :-) ]

It should be noted that many of the patent claims have already been invalidated w/o further consideration.
Where this all ends is yet to be determined, but I tire (in general terms) of the growing presumption of guilt (in general terms) before trials are concluded. That's not a Oracle/Google thing, but a we-believe-in-trials-to-resolve-disputes or for the criminal trials; we believe in innocent until proven guilty.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845368)

His master Steve Jobs says so.

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

Xest (935314) | about 3 years ago | (#36845412)

"Google is in the wrong here"

Please, elaborate. Obviously with your years of experience as a judge in computer patent cases and with the full access to all the relevant documentation in the case you can provide us with the explanation as to why this is the case now, rather than us having to wait for the lengthy court proceedings to finish!

Re:Greedy, Oracle. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 3 years ago | (#36845578)

"in the wrong" in some fantasy world, perhaps.

Oracle's case is falling apart, and the judge is getting tired of them.

Google will not get a slap on the wrist, they are out for blood with oracle at this point.

This judge mostly gets it (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36844816)

It's really nice to see this judge cutting through most of the crap without endless cycles of discovery, but he's WAY off base here:

"Is there a single Sun executive you have found who will come forward -- who's not on the payroll, by the way -- and say fragmentation is terrible"? Alsup asked Oracle's attorney.

My god, avoiding Java fragmentation was a cult religion at Sun (witness the Microsoft Java suit). Keeping Java under one umbrella was pretty much ALL Sun cared about for the last ten years of its life.

Re:This judge mostly gets it (2)

dr.newton (648217) | about 3 years ago | (#36845038)

Agreed! I was surprised to see that the judge used those words, as I thought the question to be answered by a Sun employee not on Oracle's payroll was not "is fragmentation bad?", but rather "did Android fragment Java?"

From earlier in TFA:

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's former CEO...testified that Android did not fragment the Java platform.

Re:This judge mostly gets it (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | about 3 years ago | (#36845284)

Who cares if Android fragmented Java as a language.... Google is allowed.
Isn't this about using IP and patents?

Re:This judge mostly gets it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845450)

No it's about money, if Google was podunk company with 10 customers no one would care.

Re:This judge mostly gets it (1)

vgerclover (1186893) | about 3 years ago | (#36845470)

No, this is about Oracle wanting money from Google.

Re:This judge mostly gets it (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 3 years ago | (#36846918)

Who cares if Android fragmented Java as a language.... Google is allowed.

Not according to previous litigation [wikipedia.org] they aren't. And the US is a precedent-based legal system.

Re:This judge mostly gets it (2)

ak3ldama (554026) | about 3 years ago | (#36846390)

They could ask Gosling, oh wait he works for Google now. This is a tough issue for me at least. Java was designed by, written first by, marketed and pushed by Sun. Though this was years ago. By now it has indeed become popular but there are patents that still apply regardless of if its been rewritten by others. See, see it isn't Java - we changed the namespaces!!! It is understandable that Sun didn't want fragmentation of Java. It is one of the remaining great things they did. The $100m price to license Java onto Android seems to me like it was a fair request.

The part that becomes so ridiculous is why would licenses for just mobile/embedded become so contentious but yet Sun/Oracle doesn't give a shit elsewhere? It is possible that that aspect could bring Oracles case down. The judge is also on the right track asking why fragmentation is bad. However even looking at Mono and .NET is useful since they had to tread very lightly because of all the Microsoft patents - on a language and VM almost identical to Java even. Sometimes I feel like Oracle has to be protecting their views on Java usage but other times it is just crazy talk.

Andy Rubin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844818)

Isn't he Pee Wee Herman?

wow google wow. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844822)

wow....100million and they turned it down? what assholes....they buy crappy startups for 100 times that. Maybe Oracle should indeed teach them a lesson.

Re:wow google wow. (1)

mcvos (645701) | about 3 years ago | (#36845138)

They buy crappy startups for 10 billion? I think they tend to offer about 100 or 200 million for crappy startups.

Re:wow google wow. (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | about 3 years ago | (#36845302)

Its wrong on principal.
Besides, if they want to control their own destiny, they should implement their own runtime.

Re:wow google wow. (4, Informative)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | about 3 years ago | (#36845382)

they did. it's called "dalvik". the problem is, oracle thinks dalvik infringes on patents used by java's hotspot(tm) runtime.

I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (2, Interesting)

assertation (1255714) | about 3 years ago | (#36844828)

As much as I hate Google as a company, I wish ownership of Java went to them instead of Oracle when Sun died.

Oracle has a culture of making everything needlessly complicated. Sun did too and that always hurt Java, but Oracle is far worse.

As a long time Java developer I feel like a Parisian in Nazi held France.

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (1)

mcvos (645701) | about 3 years ago | (#36845170)

At that time, I also didn't understand why Google didn't just buy Sun for whatever they needed to pay. Would have saved everybody a lot of trouble.

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (1)

assertation (1255714) | about 3 years ago | (#36845696)

I could see Google buying Java ( though maybe at the time it wasn't an obvious benefit ), but Google isn't the kind of company to be interested in the other things Sun did or Sun's corporate culture.

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845202)

So, you were in Paris, then, when it was captured and held by the Nazis? No? Perhaps you should choose better analogies in the future. In fact, you could probably learn a little from this [nytimes.com] .

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845528)

Thanks for the comment from the overly-sensitive gay retard contingent.

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | about 3 years ago | (#36845328)

Forget Java... I wish Google would continue the work it promised to do on Python. What is going on with unladen swallow?

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845810)

Google has kinda abandoned Python the last years, discouraging employees to use it which makes me sad:(
but yeah i believe its because python is slower than Java and C# and Javascript V8 and C++ ...

Re:I wish Java went to Google rather than Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36846316)

Forget Java... I wish Google would continue the work it promised to do on Python. What is going on with unladen swallow?

They haven't determined whether it's an unladen African swallow, or an unladen European swallow yet.

When Hubris takes precedence over Brains... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 3 years ago | (#36844876)

I do think $100 million is a bit much for licensing Java, however Google has to admit that the Java technology is worth a considerable amount of money since they worked hard to copy it.

If they both knew what was good for them, they would enter into some cross licensing agreement where Google can focus on something else besides trying to defend their blatant copy of JVM, and Oracle would have access to Google's refinements that made Java run better on underpowered hardware (register based v. stack based JVM). Also I think it would be nice not to have to do simple byte substitution to run a Java program on Dalvik (Google really you're not fooling anybody).

If they quickly settled :

  • Java's future as a platform would be more secure since more people would have a reason to learn Java. Look what iOS did for Objective-C. Oracle wake up and quit squandering your investment in Java. Let Google do something that Sun could never figure out which was making Java the dominate language for mobile computing. Oracle is in danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
  • Google make a peace offering. We all know $100 million is a BS figure designed to scare you into an unfavorable settlement. Make a counter settlement that is fair and reasonable. Offer to get rid of that stupid byte translation, and in exchange for cross licensing your technology (with very little money changing hands) you'd be willing to allow Oracle to advertise that the next version of Android is 100% Java. If Oracle was smart, they would understand that being associated with the fastest growing Mobile platform is worth more than a measly $100 million.

I think combining their efforts would bring true innovation to the market, but this patent war is doing the exact opposite. Google and Oracle both need to step back and see that they both are shooting themselves in the foot. If people needed a concrete example of how patents can stifle innovation they only need to look at this case.

Re:When Hubris takes precedence over Brains... (4, Interesting)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#36845256)

Google can focus on something else besides trying to defend their blatant copy of JVM, and Oracle would have access to Google's refinements that made Java run better on underpowered hardware (register based v. stack based JVM).

There is no such thing as a copy of Suns JVM etc.
The only thing that is "similar" is the fact that the "language" used to program on Android "looks like" Java and is ofc from a programmers point of view the same as Java.
However as soon as you start doing serious development, you realize there is no "Android Java Platform" there is only a language!

In other words: there is no claim or wish or hint that a "Java Program" would run on Android. The programs need to be considered "Android Programs". The opposite is true as well, an Android Program is not advertized to be compatible to any Java Platform in any way.

Java is just a modern Pascal in this case or a newer C ...

If you bring the point about register based VMs versus stack based ones, then python and parrot infringe also Oracles patents?

I think combining their efforts would bring true innovation to the market, but this patent war is doing the exact opposite. Google and Oracle both need to step back and see that they both are shooting themselves in the foot. If people needed a concrete example of how patents can stifle innovation they only need to look at this case.

That is very very true and also very very sad :-/

Re:When Hubris takes precedence over Brains... (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | about 3 years ago | (#36845832)

Since when is Java a "Register-Based VM"? I have never heard that. Is that true? Citation please.

Re:When Hubris takes precedence over Brains... (1)

alvinrod (889928) | about 3 years ago | (#36845662)

If they manage to get more out of Google than they paid for Sun, how are they squandering their investment?

It's better to assume that Oracle cares more about money than the future of some language.

Now seeing what Slashdotters... (4, Insightful)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 3 years ago | (#36844878)

... have always talked about on here.

Software patents are tired, pointless and ultimately just fucking dumb.

Watching the patent wars that are continuing to errupt in the mobile telecoms market is clear evidence of this. Everyone is suing everyone else for breaching ideas, rather than implementations.

I may have gotten this completely wrong, due to all the Chinese Whispers that comes with this kind of thing, but if it's true, how on earth can Apple patent the idea of recognising a phone number in a piece of text. Jesus Christ, you can do that with a fucking regular expression..!

(surely the above is not what they're suing HTC over, right???)

Software patents need to go, as this is all starting to become fucking ridiculous.

Instead of innovation to draw customers and and generate revenue, Microsoft, Apple and even now HTC are reaching into their portfolios and waving crappy bits of paper in each others faces.

"Customers? We don't need customers!" they screech. "We're just going to make our money off you, instead!"

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (4, Interesting)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 3 years ago | (#36844978)

And if anyone still needs further convincing: the makers of Angry Birds are now being sued for patent violations

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14245047

As the kids say: What. The. Fuck????

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36845098)

From that FA:

Lodsys, a company that licenses patents but does not have any other business, added five new defendants to a suit filed in May with a US district court in Texas.

Along with Rovio, it named Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive which makes Grand Theft Auto, Atari and others in the list of companies it says are violating its patents.

Sigh. Yeah, software patents are a great idea. Really promotes the useful arts. If you're a lawyer, that is.

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (1)

canajin56 (660655) | about 3 years ago | (#36845180)

Not even lawyers, it says "useful" arts.

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36845532)

Really? The thing that pushed you over the limit was that Angry Birds makers are being sued for an unknown patent? It wasn't One-Click Purchase or Cat-laser-pointer games? I'm not sure what I think about that.

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 3 years ago | (#36846686)

The FA did say that Rovio had not yet been presented with official documents and the article was pretty slim on details regarding what patents were abused. This sounds/looks more like a good 'ol mobster shakedown then violation. What would be nice is if Lodsys was brought up on rackateering RICO charges. It might actually make patent trolls take the time to investigate their cliam before filing.

(Damn its hard to take off the rose colored glasses)

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (1)

csteinle (68146) | about 3 years ago | (#36845072)

I believe one of the patents Apple is trying to beat up Android phone manufacturers with is the infamous BT "mobile computer" US patent that they acquired from the UK telco. This seems to prevent anyone else making any form portable device that can run custom applications.

Re:Now seeing what Slashdotters... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 years ago | (#36845196)

The judge in this case is not against software patents. To read that into his statements is to make shit up.

Google + Java = Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844888)

i think only Google can extract the real use of Java : Techravi [techravi.com] , Sun microsystems only used the 10 % potential of Java...

Oracle is SURE out of touch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36844890)

Oracle, it's one hundred BILLION dollars!

Geeze!

And I bet Larry's tank of sharks with laser beams are really angry Sea Bass.

Random observations from Europe (1)

nyri (132206) | about 3 years ago | (#36844928)

As an European (from Finland), this is mainly a spectacle of American justice system. Here are some random thoughts based on this news.

In here I constantly hear that "American justice system is corrupted, owned by politicians and big money... Blah blah blah." Now we have an example to observe. It seems to me that the judge is this case is not willing to cave in for anything. The junge is strict, has huge balls, and it appears that the best thing he can do for his career, is to make just decision.

I also bet that he is going to deliver his decision in plain language that is readable even to lay persons. This, and the fact that the case is public, will guarantee that if anything will go wrong, you will hear about it. This is quite a good guarantee that there won't be any funny business.

Nothing is perfect and there is a possibility that the decision is rotten. If this is the case, as I mentioned, the hell break loose. Unfortunately, the public ripping of judgements has one unintended consequence: Europeans will hear about it and somehow conclude that because the system is criticized, it must be worse than their own system that receives no such critique. If any, the opposite is true.

Re:Random observations from Europe (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#36845060)

I think in general the point isn't so much that it is corrupt, but rather unless you are rich, you wouldn't even be able to stand in court next to these guys as the lawyer costs would be too expensive. A case about IP law is rarely cheap.

Re:Random observations from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845482)

Then what, in your opinion, would constitute "corrupt"? Because to me, "corrupt" means "money (or power) trumps justice".

Re:Random observations from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845760)

What he was saying is that if you do not have enough money because you aren't Google, when Oracle comes after you, you are practically forced to settle out of court and take the agreement Oracle made up because fighting Oracle in court is impossible. Unless you are someone like Google. I don't know about you, but I can't afford a $700 an hour lawyer for months on end, not to mention having to actually show up in a court that is often geographically seperated from where you live and work, so in addition to having to pay the lawyers you have lost income...

That pretty much sounds like "money trumps justice" to me.

Re:Random observations from Europe (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 3 years ago | (#36845132)

Software patents don't apply in Europe so your point is moot. Google just got lucky with a nice judge, that's all.

Re:Random observations from Europe (2)

alvinrod (889928) | about 3 years ago | (#36845834)

You completely missed his point. His comments are not so much about software patents, but about how people perceive the various justice systems in the world, and the consequences of those perceptions. The whole post could be boiled down to Europeans continually hearing that the US system is such a mess (whether or not it always is) and assume that their own system is better, when in some cases it can be just as bad or worse than the US system. To better illustrate, after the Pirate Bay trials and the whole debacle involving Assange, many people on Slashdot who had blindly assumed that the Swedish legal system was immune to the problems for which the US system is criticized were forced to reassess their beliefs.

Re:Random observations from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845842)

To all Europeans:
You should be so fortunate as have a patent and legal system that allows the creation companies like Sun, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. I see no evidence that reforming the US patent system would increase Silicon Valley capital investment. In fact Silicon Valley is enjoying a surge of venture capital apparent undeterred by US patent law.
 

Re:Random observations from Europe (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 3 years ago | (#36845856)

In here I constantly hear that "American justice system is corrupted, owned by politicians and big money... Blah blah blah."

          Just proves that you need to take everything on slashdot with a massive grain of salt.

How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

KugelKurt (908765) | about 3 years ago | (#36844976)

Disclaimer: I'm not taking sides here, just posting a general info.

If I release some software under GPL-- completely free (beer and speech) -- and someone takes that source code, strips all copyright info, and creates a closed source version of my software, I can receive financial damage compensation. It doesn't matter that my code is available free of charge.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 3 years ago | (#36845064)

'cept that's nothing like what happened.

In fact, all Google did was reimplement an already clean-room reimplementation of Java. The case is about software patents, which Oracle claims Google infringed by doing so, not copyrights. The only mention of copyrights was Oracle trying to say "Google made an interface that was compatible with Java" because Google took a public header file (which are non-copyrightable through reason of insufficient expression - because they are *fact*-based files, nothing else) and used it to create a compatible API.

The lawsuit is basically trying to say "no-one, anywhere, can make anything even vaguely similar to Java because we hold the patent on it", not "Google stole our Java code".

But, please, do carry on trolling.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (2)

Moby Cock (771358) | about 3 years ago | (#36845166)

I am a bit in the dark as to the intricacies of Java and Dalvik, so forgive me if this is a daft question...

When you say Google "create[d] a compatible API", is this similar to what WINE did for the WIN32 API? A re-implementation, through new code, that emulates* the functionality of the precursor?

* I know -- WINE is not an emulator, I use the word in a more metaphoric sense.

MC

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

ledow (319597) | about 3 years ago | (#36845480)

Even better than that - they used, in part, an Apache open source project that had already done that (basically reimplemented Java) and reimplemented the Java VM themselves with compatible interfaces so you *can* run Java code on it without (too many) modifications.

But because they wouldn't go through the Java certification process and/or pay off Sun, Oracle waited until they owned Sun (who didn't really care for years) and then tried to sue only Google. Basically, they say that if you're not certified, you don't have a right to the software patents they have (and hence why the lawsuit only really concerns patents and everything else is a "throw-it-in, see-if-it-sticks" tactics from Oracle), and that Google infringe the patents (despite the VAST, VAST majority of them having been put under review, or completely made void by Google prior-art searches and the Patent Office).

It's gone from "you copied us" to "the code you use, which millions are happily using in a variety of projects and the entirety of which is clean-room implementations, might possibly infringe one of the several hundred quite stupid and obvious software patents we asserted at the start - but we won't say which one until you void all of the rest - and although we offered you a licence for $100m for EVERYTHING, we're going to seek billions from you for that one tiny patent that we're not even sure will stand up."

Oracle will be lucky to come out of it with just a settlement that stops Google from suing their arse off in retaliation.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 3 years ago | (#36845770)

Yep, that's just about exactly what they did. They aren't the first either. Kaffeine and GCJ and many others have done the same - but oracle only sued Google.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about 3 years ago | (#36845520)

Oracle are suing for copyright infringement, too.

I don't think you can't implement your own version of Java without being sued, as IBM and the ASF have been distributing their own implementation for years. I think, in poor words, that you can't have a commercial implementation and call it "Java" without giving money to Oracle.

If I remember correctly, Oracle opposed this "field of use" limitation when they weren't the owners of Java. Talk about consistency...

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#36845176)

But they did something that you didn't give them an option to pay for, which is completely different than the case in question in which there is a price set for what was done (whether the activity was infringing is a whole other question).

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 years ago | (#36845304)

That depends on the country and law you are in.

In germany you would not get any damage compensation as you had no measurable financial damage.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | about 3 years ago | (#36845310)

The amount you charge for distributing software under the GPL, even if you offer it gratis, is completely unrelated to then the amount you would charge for offering alternative license terms. Conversely Google are claiming Sun set a price for licensing the technology on the very terms that Google asked for. This can and should be taking into account in calculating any real damages. However admitting that this was discussed also risks strengthening Oracle's case that there was willful infringement, which would add unrelated and much higher punitive damages.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845682)

I can think of only one reason why Google would disclose this information: they are going for a RAND defense (arguing that Java is a standard and Sun's offer was unfair given the inherent value of the licensed material).

They might succeed in making the latter point, especially since most of the patents have been severely watered down on reexamination. But I don't see how they can make a case for the former, unless there is some "de-facto standard" precedent that they can rely on.

As you say, if they fail to make that case, then disclosing this information only strengthens Oracle's willful infringement case.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (0)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 3 years ago | (#36846362)

this is complete FUD. no copyright infringement occurred, no code was copied. this is about patents. please learn about the difference.

Re:How much Sun wanted is irrelevant (1)

KugelKurt (908765) | about 3 years ago | (#36846878)

this is complete FUD. no copyright infringement occurred, no code was copied. this is about patents. please learn about the difference.

I know the difference between copyrights and patents. What I wrote was an analogy and that analogy is still valid.

Maybe billion is fair then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845188)

I don't think Oracle will win this one, or that they are in the right. But as far as a $ goes are they really far out?

If you'd sell it on a licensed deal for 100M, then if you accuse someone of stealing & selling your IP - wouldn't it be damages of Billions? I mean, you can't say the damages are just what the proposed purchase price was - otherwise it is incentive to always steal.

Steal a $20,000 car, get caught 50% of the time, punishment = $20,000 fine (and you keep the car). = always steal it.

Meh... nthx (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845264)

I'm not a fan of Oracle, but I hope Google and Oracle eventually reach a cross-licensing deal. My concern is that Oracle appears to be buying open-source companies and turning around and suing everyone using it (K-splice being next.) Or Google just buys Oracle to solve it and get some patent leverage. Google should have bought Sun when it had the chance.

Correct me if I'm wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36845392)

Methinks they would get the inferior Java ME if they paid for it.
Not the best deal, is it?

Why did we allow all of this legal mess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36846086)

Software patents have done nothing but hurt everyone who uses software by hurting the software developers especially the little guys who can't afford to license the Intellectual Property of every element of a program such as icons, multiple icons, tabs, scrollbars, progressbars, screen taps, text on pictures, text on video all of which are now patented along with everything else imaginable. Allowing software patents was a huge mistake in the first place and every end user is just now beginning to pay the price. Software development is slowing down because nobody wants the liability involved in making anything. What a damn mess! It should be put back to how it was when things actually worked, software should be protected by copyright not patents.

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