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Google Developer Testifies That Java Memo Was Misinterpreted

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-what-I-meant dept.

Android 201

benfrog writes with a piece that appeared in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about the in-progress legal battle between Oracle and Google over Java: "Ex-Sun and current Google employee Tim Lindholm testified that it was "not what he meant" when asked about the smoking gun email (included here (PDF)) that essentially said that Google needed to get a license for Java because all the alternatives 'suck[ed].' He went on in 'brief but tense testimony' to claim that his day-to-day involvement with Android was limited."

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Liar liar (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39752735)

Pants on fire.

But we're on Google's side so we'll let it go.

Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (0, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752877)

If there is any lesson to be learnt from this trial it gonna be this - Hire the right person

This Mr. Lindholm is definitely NOT the type of person I would hire

I've been in the software/hardware development for decades, and never have I write any email or any message in any forum, or in any conversation in any formal setting that I will say things like what Mr. Lindholm has said

The tech world as we are now is not only filled with geeks, but with lawyers

Those lawyers will use WHATEVER we wrote or said to get their point across - even to the point of mis-interpret what we wrote / say

How can an ex-Sun employee, currently employed by Google, write an email saying things like "Google need a license for Java" ?

I mean, what qualification that Mr. Lindholm has on legal stuffs ?

If I am working for the human resource department of Google, I will fire that Mr. Lindholm long ago - and I ain't gonna tolerate any of my employee doing things similar to what Mr. Lindholm has done

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (5, Funny)

thaylin (555395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752923)

Of course you have never written a message like that, he used proper grammar in his emails. 8)

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753435)

Of course taken literally, Google needed to get 'a', one, single, not plural, just one licence, for the whole of Google and all of it's customers. So smoking gun all right, clearly a euphemism, no claim that google needed to get hundreds millions of licences to distribute it to all of it's customers.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754431)

So smoking gun all right, clearly a euphemism

Metaphor, you turdbrain.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752947)

Keep your hat on ... what are you going to be, the thought police ?
Its an email, people think and put it to words. You even made the statement. He is not a lawer.
Don't be so scared of lawyers, they will be fertilizer too one day

So what if your kid comes to work and says in a recording ... Gee that phone looks identical to an iPhone.

What do we do ... fire your arse and send the kid to finishing school ?

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39752961)

If I am working for the human resource department of Google, I will fire that Mr. Lindholm long ago

Where the hell have you been working that HR get to choose who to fire? That's really not how it works.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753251)

So you wouldn't call one of the authors of the original Java Virtual Machine spec a person who you would hire? Look at the top of this document:
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/specs/jvms/se7/html/index.html

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753335)

Ya, at least he knows how to write.

Your being an idiot aside, this was an unsent DRAFT email. Your reasons for hiring/firing are just stupid, as you clearly have no idea what is being discussed here nor what was being discussed in the email.

You know, people in businesses sometimes discuss BUSINESS in their communications. Go figure, huh? You, the expert, have never communicated any business information via any form ever. So you are a GREAT employee. Heh.

For your information, this man was more than qualified for the job, seeing as he is an expert on Java from the fucking creators of it. Yet you would fire him for stating a business reason to perform a routine licensing, which they later decided they didn't need to do by going with another implementation.

At its obvious you aren't in any position to actually act out these bizarre fantasies of yours. Thanks for being the idiot you are, so nobody actually has to worry about what YOU think.

So sorry, Mister Taco Cowboy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753347)

Not long into reading your self-important rant, the abundance of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors brought me to the conclusion that you are not one to hire.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753407)

If there is any lesson to be learnt from this trial it gonna be this - Hire the right person [...snip...] I mean, what qualification that Mr. Lindholm has on legal stuffs ?

Google did not hire Mr. Lindholm to work as a lawyer. Would you also expect your janitors to know how to code? Your delivery drivers to reconcile AP? Your controller to weld deck plates?


How can an ex-Sun employee, currently employed by Google, write an email saying things like "Google need a license for Java" ?

Because non-lawyers can still put two and two together to come up with four. Because the average employee frequently needs to make recommendations within their own domain of knowledge that have implications outside that domain. Because IT people in particular don't generally give a shit about what HR thinks, and HR would already fire us in a heartbeat if the company could live without us.

Or more accurately - Because someone asked.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753803)

Google did not hire Mr. Lindholm to work as a lawyer. Would you also expect your janitors to know how to code? Your delivery drivers to reconcile AP? Your controller to weld deck plates?

No. But you would expect employees (well, maybe except for janitors) to understand the implications in the current legal climate, and refrain from putting things so bluntly as "we're clearly violating these patents and must get a license", even in internal email - unless they are explicitly asked to express their legal opinion. At least, that sort of thing has been part of on-boarding training in pretty much every place I've worked in the last eight years.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753865)

No. But you would expect employees (well, maybe except for janitors) to understand the implications in the current legal climate, and refrain from putting things so bluntly as "we're clearly violating these patents and must get a license", even in internal email - unless they are explicitly asked to express their legal opinion. At least, that sort of thing has been part of on-boarding training in pretty much every place I've worked in the last eight years.

I'm all the time sending an email to my boss telling him that we need a license for such-and-such piece of software. It's just expected of most programmers in any sane company to recommend to their boss software tools or libraries that could make things easier or better.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753911)

I'm all the time sending an email to my boss telling him that we need a license for such-and-such piece of software. It's just expected of most programmers in any sane company to recommend to their boss software tools or libraries that could make things easier or better.

That is not a legal issue, it's a procurement request.

It would be a legal issue if you were already using the software in question (though in that case it would be unethical to not raise it, though it's still a good idea to do it with legal first). Something more closely resembling the situation at hand is if you had been using some software with a very complicated licensing scheme, and you came to believe that the license your company has does not actually allow you to use it in some of the ways you do - but said license violation is not intentional. For those kinds of things, you bring up with the lawyers, and you explicitly invoke the attorney-client privilege if possible (your training should cover this, as well).

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753881)

Well, good thing he doesn't say that, then. AFAICT, there are several mentions about getting a license, but not about violation as the reason to do it.

Oracle tries to paint as "get a license or violate", Google says it's "get a license or build everything ourself"

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754489)

But you would expect employees (well, maybe except for janitors)

patronizing cunt much?

to understand the implications in the current legal climate, and refrain from putting things so bluntly as "we're clearly violating these patents and must get a license", even in internal email

The person in the wrong is the one who trusted the opinion of an unqualified person.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (4, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754521)

No. But you would expect employees (well, maybe except for janitors) to understand the implications in the current legal climate, and refrain from putting things so bluntly as "we're clearly violating these patents and must get a license", even in internal email - unless they are explicitly asked to express their legal opinion. At least, that sort of thing has been part of on-boarding training in pretty much every place I've worked in the last eight years.

Except that's not what he says. Patents are not, at any point, mentioned in the memo. The memo expresses a desire to use the Java trademark in marketing Android. It is well-known that Sun required licensing of the Java Technology Compatibility Kit and a successful pass of its tests before it would allow you to use the Java trademark in this way, so the license stated as required (a license for the TCK software, not a patent license) would most definitely have been required IF google had proceeded with the plan as it was described in that memo. They did not proceed with this plan, however, instead deciding to distance themselves from Java, make their virtual machine incompatible with the Java virtual machine (although providing tools supporting automated translation between the two formats), and not use the Java trademark in any of their marketing material. So it is unclear what relevance a (correct) statement about the licensing terms on the Java trademark has on a court case about a system that does not use that trademark. This so-called "smoking gun" is just misdirection on Oracle's part.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753925)

Would you also expect your janitors to know how to code?

Well, actually, at Google, yes, I would.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754283)

and HR would already fire us in a heartbeat if the company could live without us.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is true for each and every person that works in a company, including the HR people. If a company keeps people who do nothing for the company, they are doing it wrong.

Does this happen sometimes? Sure and I am sure you have people on a list that you would think do nothing for the company. But then that is YOUR list and not the companies list.

Just as a side-note: HR has extremely seldom to do anything with who gets fired.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753685)

Actually I would say it should be looked upon as a more fundamental question which is this: Should email be treated as a letter, or as a text message?

The problem with treating emails like a letter is simply people don't think about emails like they do about a letter, probably because it is so trivial to send. With a letter one has to take the time and consolidate their thoughts, write them down, fold it up, put in the envelope etc, whereas with emails they are treated with no more thought most of the time than a LOLCat.

I just have to wonder how many times companies will be bitchslapped by emails like this before they either simply don't allow emails or have them disposed of quickly. because unless you can somehow get your employees to treat emails with the gravitas of a formal letter they will just keep biting you right in the ass.

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754085)

The guy uses the word "Memorialize" rather than "document" in its verb form. I would fire him just for that :o)

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753867)

It's the sort of email I would write, what's wrong with it? Maybe it's not accurate but you can't call him a liar for that, he was mistaken on the subtleties of licensing morass. But as someone who is not a lawyer, who is not speaking for the company, is not high up in the management chain, and who is only sending internal email about what he thinks should be done, it should not matter. Are we no longer allowed to send email to coworkers without having legal check it out first?

I know people today tend to get mail now and then at certain times saying "don't discuss X in email because it could be subpoenaed." but generally that's stuff about current ongoing litigation or sensitive issues, but this doesn't seem like something that should have risen to that level.

Re:Lawyers (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753961)

Nah, this all went to hell in the lawyer zone.

Many quality employees send recommendations to management all the time. It's up to Legal to *REPLY* and say "nice suggestion, we don't need to".

In Verbal Culture companies you get hosed because you are *missing* documentation because no one tells the right people stuff.

Then when $%#$ hits Fans you get questions like "he declined our contract and we never made a new one? WTF?"

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754089)

Wow, this post just goes to show you a low slashdot UID does not in the least correspond with any amount of intelligence or experience...

Re:Most vital lesson learnt: Hire the right person (1)

fwoop (2553110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754479)

I'm like you, however I notice many fellow engineers feel free to make legal statements in email all the time, even when lawyers tell them to shut up, they persist, even get mad someone's telling them to shut up. I can only conclude such people are autistic. Yes they may make great engineers. They just need to be babysat.

Re:Liar liar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753043)

Why would we be on Google's side?

Re:Liar liar (5, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753809)

Because Oracle is on the other side.

Re:Liar liar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754197)

Nor should we pay attention to the MASSIVE INFERNO that Oracle's pants appear to be.

It's wise. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39752753)

Wise words from an old sorcerer... What has two legs, comical, and a radius? Economical.

Skipped the best part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39752783)

Where he said he didn't mean a Sun license. Just a license.

Re:Skipped the best part. (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752799)

Maybe he meant lie sense. That's the ability to detect when your lie is making you sound retarded.

Re:Skipped the best part. (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752831)

Where he said he didn't mean a Sun license. Just a license.

Yeah, I don't understand why Oracle's attorneys ask such stupid questions. I mean obviously there are multiple Java implementations other than Sun's which they could have licensed if they didn't want to go the route of creating an alternative internally.

Re:Skipped the best part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753571)

Except that the license is for the patents which is what Sun held.

Re:Skipped the best part. (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753857)

Was it? I don't see the word "patent" in the email.

Re:Skipped the best part. (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753877)

Except that the license is for the patents which is what Sun held.

So if the patents are invalid or do not apply to Google's implementation, then no license is needed?

I didn't mean it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39752803)

"lol i trol u"

Oh come on (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752847)

If he didn't mean they should negotiate a Java license with Sun, why did he say:

...we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.

How you could possibly interpret that statement as meaning anything other than "we need to negotiate a license" is beyond me. I may not like Oracle's aggressiveness in pursuing the issue, but I can't read this email as being anything other than an acknowledgement that Google needs a license.

Now don't get me wrong. Google could have later used the GPL version of Java safely, but they didn't have that option back then. Plus there's the question of whether you're allowed to use pieces of a GPL piece of software, such as the Dalvik compiler and core runtime with a Dalvik-compiled copy of the Java code for it's libraries and packages.

I would contend that they're well within the GPL, provided that the Dalvik code was also released under the GPL. However, if the Dalvik core isn't under GPL, then they've got the issue of mixing GPL and non-GPL code to muddy the waters, and maybe that's the angle Oracle is playing.

Re:Oh come on (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752921)

How you could possibly interpret that statement as meaning anything other than "we need to negotiate a license" is beyond me.

"We need to buy shiny toy X" doesn't always, or (IMO) even usually, mean "we've already chewed the fingers off it, guess we need to pay for it now".

This e-mail was years after Google started Android (5, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753029)

No matter what he meant, it shouldn't matter. Oracle is trying to use the e-mail to prove "Google knew ahead of time they were in the wrong!" when in fact this e-mail was written AFTER Oracle bought Sun and was murmuring about lawsuits. It's also an unsent draft of an e-mail written by a Google employee who wasn't working on Android! Wow!

I guess if I want to screw over my company in the future, I know how to do it now... Incriminating e-mail drafts!

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753249)

Actually they are trying to use the email to show that Google were knowingly breaching the license, not that google knew ahead of time that they were in the wrong. Oracle are dicks, but that is only a mild improvement on the twats that are google.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (5, Informative)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753375)

Actually they are trying to use the email to show that Google were knowingly breaching the license, not that google knew ahead of time that they were in the wrong.

I don't think I understand the subtle difference in what I said and what you said... So let me try to be clear by pretending to know what I'm talking about for a second: Oracle is trying to use the e-mail to show evidence of WILLFUL INFRINGEMENT.

And it could be evidence of that, except: 1) it was written after Oracle started threatening, 2) it was written AFTER Sun's CEO publicly congratulated Google on releasing Android and promised Sun would support the Android platform 3) it was written by someone in Google not working on Android 4) it was saved as a draft but not sent.

Oracle are dicks, but that is only a mild improvement on the twats that are google.

Are you trying to say Oracle is less evil than Google? Are you at all familiar with Oracle?

Honestly even if Google is in the wrong here (which I strongly disagree with), I think it's vitally important Oracle lose this case, as the legal theory they are trying to push (that public APIs are subject to copyright and licensing) is absolute INSANITY and would be the death knell to a large percentage of the software industry.

Though it would make developing on proprietary systems significantly more painful than Free/Open systems like Linux, so that would make some people around here very happy...

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754247)

I don't think I understand the subtle difference in what I said and what you said.

That is excavate what this is about. ;-)

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754069)

I dunno. As a Guy I think I'd rather have more twats around me then dicks.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (1, Interesting)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753409)

Oracle is trying to use the e-mail to prove

There are literally shittons of emails talking about Google needing a license, trying to get a license, not doing clean-room because they were confident they would get a license, etc. To show it wasn't clean-room Oracle doesn't even have to show anything was copied, Google up and said it. 'Should we do this clean-room?' 'No, it'll be fine'.

Google now needs to prove to a jury not just that they didn't actually need a license, but also that all their top execs and engineers were wrong. If say in a police interrogation you admit to doing the crime a jury will still convict you even if there is absolute proof that you didn't do it. Human nature says if you admitted to it then you did it, so Google has a huge uphill battle to climb here with these emails. At this point they may be already planning the appeal, where the actual law matters.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753823)

What I don't get is why didn't they just buy or build their own? its not like Google doesn't have assloads of money. the only thing that I can come up with is just like MSFT tried to do in the 90s they tried to take advantage of all the experience that developers have with Java without bothering to actually get the rights to do so.

But you are right that I don't see how even the fanboys can be for Google when there are literally piles of emails saying "We aren't doing clean room" We should get a license" "We are on shaky ground here" etc. Either the employees at Google knew what they were doing was seriously iffy or all those writers of emails didn't have a clue what they were talking about....ya know, the logic just doesn't really hold up. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...its probably not a moose, no matter how much you want it to be one.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753953)

If it said "this is not clean room", Oracle would flourish those excerpts, not ambiguous out of context snippets about getting licenses which in context could be taken as "because that way's easier than doing it on our own"

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (2)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753975)

the only thing that I can come up with is just like MSFT tried to do in the 90s they tried to take advantage of all the experience that developers have with Java without bothering to actually get the rights to do so

It's nothing like that, please do not insult our intellgence. Microsoft's purpose was to pollute the Java brand by popularizing its incompatible version, calling it Java, whereas it was possible and even the default that Java programs developed with Microsoft's version would not operate correctly with Sun's version. As you know.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (0)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754487)

Unlike the Google version, where they popularise an incompatible version, calling it Java and where it's possible that programs developed with Google's version would not operate correctly with Oracle (or anyone else's compliant) version?

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (3, Insightful)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754529)

Unlike Microsoft, Google doesn't claim that their platform is compatible with the JVM. Just as C can be compiled for x86 or ARM, Java can now be compiled for JVM and Dalvik and nobody claims they are bytecode-compatible.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753579)

Except there are emails from 2005 saying the same thing. Even for this very same engineer. Sorry, but that excuse fails.

Re:This e-mail was years after Google started Andr (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754009)

Haven't seen those e-mails... Got a link?

Didn't RTFS; comment anyways (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754037)

"... email (included here (PDF)) [oracle.com] ..."

Re:Oh come on (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753049)

"Get a license" means that it would be simpler and more cost effective to buy a license for an existing technology than to build one from scratch or use a subpar implementation. It doesn't mean "oh crap we're illegal", just "let's buy an existing tech so we can move forward".

Re:Oh come on (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753055)

If he didn't mean they should negotiate a Java license with Sun, why did he say:

It seems likely that he meant that they should negotiate with Sun for a license. However, the most likely meaning of such a statement (when spoken or written by an engineer) is that it would be easier to get a quality product out the door in a timely manner if they licensed Java from Sun than if they wrote their own implementation, and thus, from an engineering perspective, they needed to do so. The powers that be chose to rewrite it instead of buying a license, therefore no license was needed from either a legal or a technical perspective. It is therefore downright silly to interpret such a statement from an engineer as implying that a license was legally necessary.

He ain't a lawyer (4, Informative)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753145)

I read it as: Whatever kind of license we need to run Android, we should get one. As somebody who was not, himself, actually involved in any kind of licensing negotiations, laws, etc., he didn't have the least flipping clue WHAT that might entail.

Imagine my boss seeing emacs for the first time and saying "Holy $hit! this emacs is awesome! SirWired, go buy whatever we need to run it." That isn't any kind of admission that running emacs requires paying somebody; just a statement that he wants it.

Google's position is that no license from Sun was in fact needed, and that Eric Lindstrom was not the person that had anything to do with that determination

Re:Oh come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753167)

I do emails like that all the time to my boss. Typical wording is "I need X, it has a license that I need approved." Typical responses are "yes, approved" or "no, do something else". Never once have I gotten no response or the let's talk offline comment.

Now if he had the explicit responsibility to approve/disapprove on behalf of Google, then yeah, Google is toast. If he wasn't the responsible decision maker, then he is just stating an opinion (even if an extremely well informed opinion).

Re:Oh come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753307)

Dalvik is released under an Apache License, which is not compatible with the GPL.

Re:Oh come on (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753709)

Using Apache-licensed software from a GPLv3 code base is perfectly legal:

http://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html [apache.org]

However, I would contend that a runtime is far more than a library, and it would seem that you can't include GPLv3 code into an Apache codebase, so the question is whether Google kept the license boundaries between the Java-sourced GPLv3 code and the Dalvik compiler/runtime. i.e. They were not allowed to incorporate pieces of the GPLv3 code into Dalvik itself. Recompiling the GPLv3 code with the Dalvik compiler would not violate the GPL, though, because the compiler is merely a tool and does not imply any license restrictions on the code it's used to compile.

Otherwise you could only use gcc to compile GPL code, which clearly is not the case in practice.

Re:Oh come on (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753397)

In that case you just license Dalvik as GPL. It's not like it doesn't work for the kernel or GCC and I hardly see Dalvik as any different.

Re:Oh come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753487)

"Need" is not the same as "legally obliged".

Say you're driving along one day and your car stalls. You complain to your wife, "Jeez we need to buy a new car". This does not enable the local car dealership to sue you for breach of contract when you do not actually buy a car.

Re:Oh come on (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753869)

It's like when your wife says, "We need to get new curtains in the living room." You say, "what's wrong with the ones we have?" She says, "They suck."

Re:Oh come on (5, Informative)

BillX (307153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753957)

Looking at the various email threads, it reads to me like Google decided a Java-compatible platform was their best option, and licensing one from Sun (they already had one, called Java) was the easiest path to getting the job done. Another email in the exhibit mentions the possibility of clean-rooming their own Java-compatible platform, but basically saying it would be a giant PITA and not cost-effective vs. just licensing Sun's existing one. I don't see the Java license discussions as construing "proof of knowledge of infringement" (etc.), or belief that it was the only legal path forward, only that at least one guy believed it was the easiest path forward.

Re:Oh come on (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754507)

Dalvik is released under the Apache licence, as it's partly based upon Apache Harmony - a free Java implementation. Note, Harmony wasn't an 'official' java implementation at the time, as it couldn't use the TCK testing kit (that showed compliance with the java spec) under licence terms that didn't conflict with the apache licence - specifically, field of use restrictions. Sun stonewalled, as they wanted to have their own GPL-licenced java implementation up and running for linux before working with the Apache Foundation.

Oracle argues that by using Java-like methods in the API - ie. to write code against before compilation to bytecode and then conversion to dalvik executables - infringes their copyright and patents. The dalvik virtual machine itself is quite different to java VMs as it's optimised for low memory/cpu devices, but the code is very java-like before it goes through the compiler.

GPL does imply a certain amount of patent protection, but as you say, it's somewhat of a moot point as Dalvik doesn't reference that code, having been written earlier against Harmony.

Now, the interesting question is - what DID he mean when he wrote that email? It's quite reasonable for Google to argue that he was wrong - not being a lawyer - and that they didn't need a licence, but wanted one (as they did attempt to do) in order to avoid this exact expensive legal battle - licencing being cheaper than lawyers - but that went out the window when they couldn't get one on sane terms and now they're fighting because Oracle want silly money for what is marginal infringement at most. After all, Oracle haven't sued the Apache Foundation for harmony, so why is code based on it - and open-sourced using the same licence - suddenly infringing?

But google's actual defence? get the guy to say, Oh, when I said we needed a licence, I didn't mean we actually NEEDED a licence, or know who we should get that licence from? Please. Not very convincing, and I'm on Google's side on this one.

Fairly plausible (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752913)

Reading the email linked by the FP, I would call his claim fairly plausible - I wouldn't take him to have meant "gee, we've infringed the hell out of it, we need to get legal ASAP", but rather "Can you please just buy the best option for us so we can move on and stop the games?"

Honestly, something like that exact discussion comes up on a monthly basis where I work, and some shyster could probably find examples of me saying substantially the same thing in my emails. And I don't give two shakes of a rat's ass about whether or not my employer wants to stay legal on the licensing side - If they don't mind me using a copy of Windows registered to Razor1911, no skin off my back (and hell, good ammo for me if things get ugly).

Re:Fairly plausible (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753069)

Never the less I think google is down one employee soon...

Re:Fairly plausible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753235)

Over what? Getting called out of context by the opposition? Fuck better fire them all then.

Re:Fairly plausible (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753453)

I wouldn't take him to have meant "gee, we've infringed the hell out of it, we need to get legal ASAP", but rather "Can you please just buy the best option for us so we can move on and stop the games?"

The email is from August 2010. They'd already created everything Android, already a success, but somebody tasked this guy to find out what they could replace Java with. That's insane, the only reason you would replace Java at that late date is if you were prohibited from using it.

That's not 'licensing games', that's an 'oh shit Oracle has Java now and we're screwed'.

Re:Fairly plausible (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753631)

From here [oracle.com] :

Jul 26, 2005: “Must take license from Sun”
Oct 11, 2005: “We’ll pay Sun for the license and the TCK”
“We are making Java central to our solution”
Feb 10, 2006: “helping negotiate with my old team at Sun for a critical
license”
Mar 24, 2006: “Java.lang api’s are copyrighted”

Re:Fairly plausible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753787)

Yeah, and each of those "take a license" can be read as "let's just get a ready solution".

Negotiation for a license is not a proof of wilful infringement.

Nice foresight (5, Informative)

ghn (2469034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752953)

On Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 7:59AM, Dave Sobota wrote:

2. Can you spell out the risk of us relying on Sun for support in more detail? I thought Java was largely opensourced anyway -- so I don't understand why we'd be so worried if Sun went bankrupt, was sold to an unfriendly company or just decided to act erratically with respect to Java. Is it that we are concerned about the parts that are not opensourced (e.g., test suite) --that Sun might jack up the license fees or just stop licensing those altogether?

p29 of the exhibit

Pretty clear to me (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752963)

  • Google would like to work with Sun to conceive of and agree to a license that enables Google to release to the Open Source community, under a license of it's own choosing, it's internally developed CLDC based JVM. Google would like to achieve this goal with Sun's blessing and cooperation.
  • Google does not foresee the necessity to license or redistribute any software from Sun.
  • Google desires to be able to call the resulting work Java.

Under that last point, they would definitely need a license from Sun, as "Java" was a registered trademark from Sun. MS and Sun had already been through that battle. If you want to call it Java, you needed permission from Sun. That's very different from claiming you need a license to make a Java compatible language. No smoking gun here.

Re:Pretty clear to me (3, Informative)

ghn (2469034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752989)

But they could not work out an agreement with sun to obtain a licence with the terms and price tag they needed. So they did not call their implementation 'java', thus, not infringing on the trademark.
The trial is about patent infringement, not trademarks..

Re:Pretty clear to me (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753037)

It's about both patent and copyright. They're down to only one patent though. The actual copyright is minimal, so Oracle's trying to make the silly argument that they have a copyright on the API. Not only is such a thing impossible, but they can't produce a "work" that's infringed nor an exemplar of a reproduction.

I'm going to agree with the grandparent. One employee urging the company buy something to solve a certain problem is not proof the company stole it. If the company decides to achieve its goals in a different way strategically because the object of their desire is not for sale (which is the case here) this also doesn't mean that they stole it.

Re:Pretty clear to me (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753457)

That claim by Oracle means they can sue each and every developer using Java. Major alarm bells should be going off here, Java is now a poisoned language, whilst Google should be able to fight off the battle how many other companies would be destroyed by the cash fight in court. Time to give Java the boot and go elsewhere Ruby for example.

Re:Pretty clear to me (3)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753569)

It's a bigger deal than that because the Java APIs are clearly derivative of C and C++ libraries. Oracle DB and SQL is clearly derivative of other work. Which means if Oracle wins this one they've effectively commited suicide. All their IP would belong to somebody else.

Re:Pretty clear to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754395)

Java was always a poisoned language for this very reason. Thinking "It's a programming language! It simply cannot run into problems with intellectual property laws." betrays stunning naivety of the imagination, tenacity, and sheer greed of the bastards that form the upper echelon of the corporate world.

Although many past arguments have somewhat eroded my empathy for pro-Java developers I do sincerely hope that Java becomes more free as a result of this court case. I am growing weary of the relentless efforts of companies to domesticate humans; to cultivate and control networks of people; to shamelessly infringe the most basic human rights in a quest for profit.

Re:Pretty clear to me (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754259)

What's the remaining patent?

Re:Pretty clear to me (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753173)

First, the point is that this email isn't a "smoking gun". Not by a long stretch.

The patent claims have narrowed significantly [arstechnica.com] , with only 2 of the original 7 patents remaining, and one of those is on shaky ground. Most of the remaining claims are about copyright, not patent. So while there are still patents involved, it's largely about copyright at this point.

See Groklaw [groklaw.net] if you need to familiarize yourself with other facts of the case.

Groklaw stopped posting facts a long time ago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753933)

It has become nothing but propaganda since PJ gave the website to lawyers. They are even posting articles pretending to be her because the site lost a lot of the reputation it had with them at the helm.

You can see that the new "pj" is not the original ... by just looking at the writing.

Let me google that for you (2)

PaddyM (45763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39752969)

From the article:

"This week Larry Page could not recall who Lindholm was"

Hey Larry, let me google that for you:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=tim+lindholm [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Let me google that for you (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753825)

You think a great man like Larry Page dirties his fingers with a computer keyboard?

Re:Let me google that for you (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753875)

You think a great man like Larry Page dirties his fingers with a computer keyboard?

He has Siri look it up for him.

Obvious implementation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753005)

That "copied" code is a joke.

If you have the function prototype per the java doc and you test the limit cases to see what exceptions are thrown, how else can you implement that array range check in a non-trivial way?

That's just lawyer bullshit.

Re:Obvious implementation (4, Informative)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753093)

That "copied" code is a joke.

If you have the function prototype per the java doc and you test the limit cases to see what exceptions are thrown, how else can you implement that array range check in a non-trivial way?

That's just lawyer bullshit.

My first thought, too, but it's a private method, not implementing any API.

What's funny is that they're highlighting this trivial function while inadvertently showing that Android uses TimSort, whereas the Java standard library which, according to the docs [oracle.com] , uses a tuned quicksort, adapted from Jon L. Bentley and M. Douglas McIlroy's "Engineering a Sort Function".

Re:Obvious implementation (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754505)

Those are the 1.6 docs. Java 1.7 also uses TimSort. Of course, since this was released in 2011, it's entirely possible that this means Oracle has been copying Android code...

He meant a *driver's* license (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753099)

You know, go down to the DMV and get a driver's license so android could drive one of those google cars. In the country Java (note the capitalization), not for the JAVA SDK.

Re:He meant a *driver's* license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753279)

You missed your calling. You should have been a lawyer. *ducks*

Why was it ever a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753195)

Even if the engineer (not lawyer, not executive) thought Google should buy a license, so what?

There were employees at IBM who thought Scox was in the right.

Re:Why was it ever a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753401)

You're pretty stupid if you really believe that, troll.

Erm (3, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753261)

NOTHING is free. Everything takes time and money to create. Now, for various reasons, people give software away...but this is a massive corporation producing software worth billions of dollars, and a key part of it depends on software that was developed at a cost of millions of dollars.

So a reasonable few million bucks to Oracle for their trouble seems fair.

Re:Erm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754415)

"software worth billions of dollars"

No, software which cost billions of dollars to produce.

Suppose I were to spend millions on an incredible fireworks display in a public place. So many people are thinking:
    "This display is worth millions so it should not be free to watch and steps should be taken to ensure that this guy get my money back."
where, I claim, the correct response is:
    "This guy is either very generous or insane. I like fireworks so I'll watch this display. I would be utterly incensed if people then came demanding money and threatening legal action for my 'theft'."

Re:Erm (2)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754447)

NOTHING is free. Everything takes time and money to create. Now, for various reasons, people give software away...but this is a massive corporation producing software worth billions of dollars, and a key part of it depends on software that was developed at a cost of millions of dollars.

So a reasonable few million bucks to Oracle for their trouble seems fair.

Is the English Language free?

Google caught red-handed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753489)

Internal emails in evidence has shown that Google knew what they were getting into. In 2005 Google's head of Android wrote:

>"If Sun doesn't want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language - or - 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way"

Then there are emails like the one in this story where they admit they needed a license. Then there is the engineer who literally copypasted code...

Yet, there are people who act like poor Google is as innocent as a newborn baby and is the victim of some great injustice. It's silly. Google tried to get away with everything they could and now those "enemies" they made have come back to bite them.

Reminds me of Charles Barkley (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753521)

The NBA hall of famer and TV basketball analyst once responded to criticism by explaining he had been misquoted in his own autobiography [nwsource.com]

Where's Inigo Montoya When You Need Him? (0)

akpoff (683177) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753623)

we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.

I keep reading each side's position in terms of movie quotes:

  1. You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  2. Neh...gohtiate. No further questions your honor.
  3. This is not the incriminating email you're looking for.
  4. I'm sorry, Larry. I'm afraid I can't do that.
  5. "Negotiate a license for Java"? What do you think he means by that?
  6. Maybe it's a perk!
  7. SQUIRREL!

First Time Reading An Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753773)

Oracle's case is that Google is making a profit off of Java, which is, in many aspects, owned by Java. The thing is, Java has been released by Oracle under the GPL, meaning that they can freely distribute their work so long as they're giving it away. Being that Google does not sell Java, Oracle claims that Google is making a profit off of the advertising revenue and that this therefore infringes on the GPL.

I don't believe Oracle has a case, but I really don't know. Anyone want to fill us in?

I was only following orders! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39753929)

From Eric Schmidt!

Please kill Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754377)

Please please please let this kill the Java/Dalvik in Android and replace it with C/Go/anything-non-JVM-based.
There's at least some chance it might become less hideous if that happens. If it isn't going to happen, please let Android die so it can be replaced by something cleaner.

Why was he evaluating alternatives to Java? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39754403)

If management didn't believe they needed to license Java in order to use it on their mobile platform (remember, Java ME has never been free), why would they spend resources on evaluating the alternatives? I think that's the real issue this mail points to, some _lawyers_ had looked at this and thought they were in a difficult situation and then asked engineering to evaluate the alternatives.

Re:Why was he evaluating alternatives to Java? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39754511)

Because Java might not be the best tool for the job? I know some Java developers find this a shocking idea, but it's really true: sometimes another language and environment is a better solution.
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