Jamie McCracken (jamiemcc) wrote,
Jamie McCracken
jamiemcc

Own goal

If you ask me, Oracle has scored a massive own goal by suing Google. Not least because if it expects to wrest back control of Java and make billions from it, it will surely be in for a massive disappointment. Heres why:

Despite Oracle's motivations (which I interpret as total disrespect/disregard for FOSS at best and pure malevolence at worst), its attacks are destined to fail. The copyright claim looks bizarre especially as everything is open source and publicly viewable and for all purposes consists of clean room stuff and the Harmony open source stuff. If there was any dispute here why wasn't examples provided? To me it smacks of wishful thinking and is surely a long shot. Worst case scenario is Google rewriting the offending code (if any) which should not be a big deal

The 8 salvo patent broadside also looks like a hit and miss approach and as they are more based on optimisation techniques rather than on restricting running of Dalvik code, it seems unfathomable that there's anything there that could not be coded around. Oracle would need to land a killer hit that would prevent execution of Dalvik code to have any chance of bringing Google to its knees and I cant see that happening. Chances are that one or two salvos may hit but they look like causing only minor damage which is easily repaired

So when the dust settles, what will oracle have achieved? I sure hope Google will fight and the end result could hurt Oracle big time

Oracle no doubt expects the following:

1) Google to concede and license Dalvik for billions

2) Oracle to pursue all manufacturers for similar license deals and loads more cash

3) Force Dalvik to comply with Java standards and put itself firmly at the helm of future java development

Here's what I think will happen instead:

1) Instead of billions it may only get a few tens of millions in damages due to the odd patent sticking and no license deal

2) Google will armour plate Android by coding around any weaknesses thus Android will become invulnerable to further attack and so Oracle will not be able to go after anyone else - the only damages it will receive will be for previous violations and not present or future ones and there's no hope of any license deal or further revenue. And there's plenty of time to do this as patent disputes take years to resolve if they go to court

3) Dalvik could become the new Java standard. If Microsoft proved anything, its that anyone with a half a brain steered clear of getting involved with them and Oracle is likely to develop a similar feared and loathed reputation that will drive Java adopters into Google's arms. On technical merit it also looks like Dalvik is way ahead of any other Java implementation too so its really bad news for Oracle here

So to sum up I would like to offer my congratulations to Oracle - you have lost big time!

And please Google go for it and make 'em suffer!
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  • 5 comments

Anonymous

August 14 2010, 15:14:54 UTC 11 years ago

"3) Dalvik could become the new Java standard. If Microsoft proved anything, its that anyone with a half a brain steered clear of getting involved with them and Oracle is likely to develop a similar feared and loathed reputation that will drive Java adopters into Google's arms. On technical merit it also looks like Dalvik is way ahead of any other Java implementation too so its really bad news for Oracle here"

Not in your wildest dreams. Regular Java is used massively in the industry and is not going to disappear any time soon. Heck, I suspect it will outlive most trendy new web technologies such as GWT and .

Although I do not like what Oracle is doing, as a Java programmer I think what Google did with dalvik is borderline abusing the Java platform to pursue their $$$ goals (much like Oracle). Why did they choose java in the first place:

- Java is known by plenty of programmers and taught in most schools, even if for some reason it is always snubbed by OSS developpers (C and C++ re soooo much better!)
- Java has world class tooling in the form of Eclipse which has the advantage of being multi-platorm
- Java has plenty of existing OSS and commercial libraries that address every possible need. And most of them can be (re)compiled to dalvik bytecode.

So they ripped off every benefit of Java but workarounded the licensing issues by creating an incompatible VM, dalvik, and creating more fragmentation in the Java world. I'm sure there are valid technical reasons for dalvik to exist (efficiency, ...), but they probably could have done the same by making their own optimized JVM using regular bytecode, advancing Java technology in the process.

but Dalvik is Java language - just class library and implementation is slightly different.

One of the points of Open Source is that you should be able to fork and create improvements to suit your needs. And this is all Google has done but to their credit, Dalvik is released under a more permissive open source license so anyone else can further improve it without GPL restrictions. And no one has to pay Google for the privilege

For open source to succeed it needs to be free from the ridiculous restrictions laid out in patent grants by Oracle/Sun and Microsoft for .Net.

Imagine if you could not subset or superset the linux kernel - it would be useless for most things especially mobile which needs more custom fittings

Freedom is way more important that sticking to someone's rigid "standard"

Anonymous

August 15 2010, 21:31:16 UTC 11 years ago

Java is known by plenty of programmers and taught in most schools, even if for some reason it is always snubbed by OSS developpers (C and C++ re soooo much better!)

Not true - there's a *vast* amount of OSS Java code out there, from Apache, from Google, from countless others. The entire Java industry is built on OSS components like junit, log4j, and commons-* packages, and on frameworks like spring, hibernate, and struts.

Anonymous

August 14 2010, 16:13:39 UTC 11 years ago

What I wanted to express is that Google could not care less about Java as a standard platform as used by most Java devellopers. They are interested in the points I listed in my previous post (to which I forgot Java has excellent API documentation). So, like a boomerang effect, the message from Oracle is the following: "Hey Mr Google, you benefited from this great technology made by others, but did you contribute anything back ?". Of course the other message is : "we want $$$ now!".
Google has a tendency to sometimes use OSS but only for their own interest, in a sort of greedy way.

In part what made Java successful in the first place is that Sun assured the control of the platform, assuring backward compatibility and preventing forks. Or course you could have JVM from multiple vendors, each with its own quirks, but it was the same platform.

This Oracle vs Google situation is not all black and white. It is not just if like Google are the good guys and Oracle the bad guys...There's probably bad guys on both side :).
Sure I understand. But my point is while standards are good, they should not be used as an excuse to prevent basic freedoms especially those who want to deviate (for whatever reason)

What google did is potentially a benefit to everyone because anyone can adapt, modify or use Dalvik for their own purposes without paying royalties. That cannot be said of Oracle's java (nor miscrosoft's .net). In essence, Google has set Java free with Dalvik

Time will tell whether the freer but incompatible Dalvik or the stock java will dominate the market but hey competition is good and I have no doubt the better technology will win in the end