Emergent: Oracle's behavior re Java

Bruno Girin brunogirin at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 20:01:49 UTC 2010

On Fri, 2010-08-13 at 09:11 -0400, Evan wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 9:00 AM, John Moser <john.r.moser at gmail.com> wrote:
> Something to keep in mind is that this won't just affect Ubuntu.
> If this does become a major issue, Debian will have to deal with it, Mono
> (as a project/community) will have to deal with it etc.
> Since we effectively inherit from all of these projects who will be much more
> directly affected, I think our best course of action is simply to keep
> on eye open,
> and be prepared to participate in any discussions that happen upstream.

To be honest, I don't think Ubuntu has to worry about this. Irrespective
of whether Oracle's actions are justified or not, the underlying reason
why they are going after Google is that the version of Java that runs on
Android is very bastardised, is incompatible with any Java edition (JME,
JSE or JEE) and as a result fragments the platform.

If Google had developed a JME implementation same as what Nokia,
Motorola et al have done for years, Oracle would have said nothing. So I
don't think any open source implementation of the JVM is at risk, as
they all implement a JDK and JVM that are compatible with Sun's: you can
run code built with GCJ or OpenJDK on the Sun JVM and vice versa. This
is not true of Dalvik.

At the end of the day, love them or hate them, Oracle are no fools: they
will go after who they think is harming their business. Proprietary and
open source implementations of the JVM that follow the specs and are
compatible with the Sun JVM are good for Oracle because they help spread
Java. Android's implementation is bad for Oracle because it fragments
the Java mobile market.

In fact, I was surprised that Sun didn't start that action when Google
originally came up with Dalvik, the same way they sued Microsoft all
those years ago when they tried to "extend" Java 1.0. I suppose Sun
realised at the time that they didn't have the financial strength for an
expensive lawsuit against Google, while Oracle certainly do.

My £0.02


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