Emergent: Oracle's behavior re Java

John Moser john.r.moser at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 13:00:05 UTC 2010


Emergent news.

I want to raise the question on what to do about this if it persists.
We're too early to call this another SCO fight (Ko fight?), but I'm
not the only person in the world with a strong distaste for Oracle's
crappy products and aggressive business practices.

I don't see much of a problem here, but I still want to pose the
question:  how would Ubuntu deal with this if it became relevant?
Let's say Oracle continues to pursue just Android for its
non-Sun/Oracle Java implementation patent infringements.  Would the
Ubuntu developers ignore this?  Would they wait several months, years,
or to verdict/settlement before making a decision?  Would Oracle
suddenly be in the clear if it backed off, or if the judge ruled
against their favor?

What if the decision was made to react to this?  Oracle gets to court,
Google starts fighting, it looks uncertain but everyone decides that
Oracle is too aggressive to keep ourselves in their shadow.  GCJ could
be at risk, or any open source Java reimplementation.  It's okay to
use Java, as long as it's Oracle Java.  Given these threats, the
decision is thus made to sever Ubuntu from Oracle.

Okay, so then what?  Source directly from Go-oo and disable Java
functionality in OpenOffice.org?  That would be "the main application"
of effect here; but what about the tons of open source software
written in proprietary, non-open-standard Java?  Apache Tomcat
especially.  Ejecting Java entirely will create problems; and keeping
Sun Java (and ejecting open source Java implementations) would create
controversy and phantom legal troubles (which could become REAL legal

Even worse than that, let's look at the patents Oracle holds in
relation to this case:

    6,125,447 - Protection Domains To Provide Security In A Computer System
    6,192,476 - Controlling Access To A Resource
    5,966,702 - Method And Apparatus For Preprocessing And Packaging Class Files
    7,426,720 - System And Method For Dynamic Preloading Of Classes
Through Memory Space Cloning Of A Master Runtime System Process
    RE38,104 - Method And Apparatus For Resolving Data References In
Generate Code
        (A reissued patent; the original number was 5,367,685)
    6,910,205 - Interpreting Functions Utilizing A Hybrid Of Virtual
And Native Machine Instructions
    6,061,520 - Method And System for Performing Static Initialization

Lots of these could apply to an implementation of the CLR, i.e. Mono.
At least on the face.  I haven't read the patents, I don't know how
Java-specific they are; but you could write a CLR by modifying Java to
interpret CIL instead of Java bytecode.  Slip a .NET class library
around it and you have another Mono.

This behavior at the moment is completely emergent and unknown.  It
could become significant, or the whole issue could go away.  Still,
just how much hangs in the balance here?  What would the impact be if
this became relevant?

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