back to article Google: Oracle doctored that 'copied Java code'

Google has accused Oracle of doctoring the code samples that allegedly prove Mountain View pilfered Oracle's copyrighted Java code in building its Android mobile operating system. Late last month, as part of its ongoing lawsuit over the use of Java in Android, Oracle waved six pages of Android code at a federal court (see …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commitment to partners?

    @Google: "Any use [] of any protected elements [] was made by third parties..."

    Wow - way to backstab your business partners! There goes the "do no evil" - Google is shaping up nicely as another Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Interesting approach

      Nice tactic by Google, who seemingly have shoulders more sloping than many of the managers I have worked for.

      Also nice (paraphrased): "we are not guilty, but even if we are it's not us who develop it", way to create a relationship.....

      Quite how they can claim this is different code based on the examples I don't know? I assume google are saying that they have added in their own code comments, and that these are making the base work significantly different to the oracle.

      Oh and btw, expect to be utterly downvoted by the droidboi's for daring to question the love of their life. I am guessing at 10 downvotes...

      I'll be sticking to my 6310i for a few years yet then.

    2. Anton Ivanov

      Actually I beg to differ here

      Microsoft never backstabs its channels on patents and copyrights. In fact it is an explicit part of the licensing arrangements that it will take over the litigation in such cases. It makes a very big point out of it in their marketing.

      It is Google speciality to treat the middlemen as per the old Russian proverb (not surprising considering Mr Brin original nationality) which starts with the tradesman is silver, the customer is gold and finishes with: "A posrednik - gavno" (and the middlemen is sh**e). In a world where most companies follow the Microsoft example and ignore the end-customer in favour of the channel this will often give a company a competitive edge (Apple is another one using same approach). It may however backfire in the most spectacular way on occasions.

      My gut feeling is that this will be one of those times. Mr Ellison is not someone who will give up a fight easily. Google has finally encountered a company that operates a "confirmed kill" policy in its conflicts and will not back down at handwaving and PR. This one will be lots of FUN to watch.

      In any case, it is well deserved as Google should have gone with something like python which is not patent-encumbered and achieve the same result. FFS, Apple managed to make developers swallow Objective C. If that is possible, anything is. Even Perl.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @Anton ... you must be new around here...

        I suggest you talk with a bunch of Silicon Valley survivors from the late 80's and 90's. There are enough people who can tell you horror stories. ;-)

        Microsoft has a nasty reputation because of their past actions before being found guilty of being a monopoly.

        If they got caught pulling the stunts they did... they would be very expensive mistakes because they are now recognized as a monopoly by the courts.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Not like Microsoft

      If I understand correctly, Microsoft indemnify licensed users of their code against patent action. Basically, if you buy MS software, and it's found to be patent infringing, then Microsoft is liable, but their users are not. The hidden cost/risk of Open Source software? I know many people shy away from GPL and other Open Source code because of this - they would rather pay money for proprietary/licensed/indemnified software, than risk a legal black hole.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      That's not backstabbing

      It's a statement of fact. The OHA must have understood the busines context when they entered into the agreements.

    5. Vic

      Re: Commitment to partners?

      > Wow - way to backstab your business partners!

      Not so. This is simply a "safety in numbers" defence.

      Google's statement here boils down to "we didn't do this - and it's up to you to find out which of your customers actually did".

      It's a neat trick, because it means that even if Oracle were to be successful in their suit (and not this one - a suit against someone else), any victory would be entirely Pyrrhic.

      Of course, it's just one defence of many in Google's filing. I suspect there is a pitched battle ahead of us - and I don't rate Oracle's chances that much. Google will undoubtedly take some pain - I think they will consider that a bargain price for what they will achieve.


    6. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      However the biggest question is....

      Did Oracle remove the space between "if" and "(" from google code ?

      Or is google saying we put it but Oracle removed it.

      Or is Oracle saying that we had it but google deleted it.

      It's all very confusing.



      ps: (The current code is following "if(" instead of "if ").

      paris, coz she doesn't like a space between if and butt, either.

  2. Anton Ivanov

    Rule No 1 of the Software Club is

    Rule No 1 of the Software Club is that you never ever offload responsibility to customers on a product you support or develop.

    If you do, that customer will never come again. Oracle has just managed to achieve the goal of its lawsuit even before the lawyers have started their arguments. All it needs is to take this PR, get the BIG RED HIGHLIGHTER and send it to every handset manufacturing company out there.

    Oh, well, I guess I will stick to Nokia then. It may be designed by a matrix talkitechecture product committee, it is UE may be utter crap, it may be anything but innovative, but its ecosystem - sofware, accessories, etc will be there in 2 years time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      They might be there but still nobody will want them

    2. Bill B
      Thumb Up

      my reaction as well

      I think Google have just painted a large red target on Android and sent a messge to every IP owner saying "Come and get me".

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Welcome to the 21st century

      Nokia user! I guess the BB of the early minimum, the iPhone of the late 00s and the android of today have all passed you by ..

      Give your phone to the third world and move forward

    4. MinionZero

      @Welcome to "Software Club"

      Rule No 1 of the Software Club is that you never talk about the Software Club! ;)

  3. pAnoNymous

    not the same

    similar but not the same. there's only so many ways to do something in code. it's not hard to find something similar in thousands of lines of code. to the untrained eye they don't even seem to do the same thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You must be having a laugh

      The example is SO obviously copied that it's barely worth discussing.

      The only change that's been made is to anonymise the constructor parameters from something meaningful to "Set1" etc. presumably so that the public API looked a bit different to the casual observer.

      The biggest giveaway (other than almost all the lines and formatting being identical) is that the original class has a mistake in the naming of "isImmutable" - it's member and the standard in play here appears to prefix members with "m". This mistake has been carried through to the Android version.

      The argument that there are only so many ways to do something might have some merit sometimes but certainly not here. Either you didn't look at the code or you don't know how to read code.

    2. Marvin the Martian
      Paris Hilton

      I'd run that code past TheDailyWTF

      It seems the android version is a bit more sane --- no "mCriticalityIndicator = CriticalityIndicator" and other obvious typo/bug-creators.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        There is no "mCriticalityIndicator = criticalityIndicator" because the Android version uses "flag" instead of "criticalityIndicator" as the variable name. The "m-" version is just the stored copy of the passed in variable, therefore the Sun/Oracle code makes sense.

        Without looking at the function signature, can you tell me what the difference between "flag" and "flag1" is?

        What about "criticalityIndicator" and "generatedByPolicyMapping"? (much easier this time, no?)

  4. Nick Kew

    Not us, guv? Weego

    That last paragraph - are you sure?

    Sounds like a valiant attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the growth market of our times. Will Nokia/Intel finally get their act together and claim the field for meego now?

    1. asdf

      meego is for facebook loving teen girls

      Meego is the most lego tinker toy linux I have ever seen. The UI blows chunks. The only good thing about it all is the very fast boot time.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        You think MeeGo's UI is girly... So that's the kind of argument the fandroids have been reduced to...

  5. Kanhef

    Seems fairly obvious

    The arguments to PolicyNodeImpl() are anonymized (bad code style) and its visibility is changed, the assignment of isImmutable was moved, and braces are added to if statements (good code style), but otherwise the code is identical, so someone clearly copied it. I'm sure there's a version control system somewhere that can identify who did it.

    That said, I'd still like to have the original code as well, to see how much "adjusting" Oracle did for their presentation of it.

    1. vic 4

      Android Version;a=blob;f=support/src/test/java/org/apache/harmony/security/tests/support/cert/

      Interestingly it only seems to be used by tests, so I would not expect it to ever be deployed on any android device. Also the code has the following comment, if this is wrong one whoever added it is to blame. The original file is GPL'd, so there is a violation if the code really wasn't licensed, however it is ONE file, as supporting evidence to Oracles claim it's hardly even considering.

      "Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership."

      Notice file is at;a=blob_plain;f=NOTICE;hb=HEAD

  6. kdekooter

    Sue them both for bad programming practices!

    Both pieces of code have a bad smell. Naming variables set, set1 and mParent is bad practice of which no programmer should be proud.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Bad Variable Names

      I've read somewhere (sorry, I forget where) that variables names like set, set1, mParent etc are classic signs of source code obtained through decompilation. Since the decompiler knows the data type (e.g., Set), it names the instance variable accordingly (i.e., set, set1, set2, ...). For Booleans, it would appear to use flag, flag1, flag2, ...

      This alone may be seen as not damning enough, but consider the fact that braces have been added around the if statements. Why is this important? Well, using braces is _good_ programming style. But using crap variables names is _bad_ programming style.

      If Google coders are writing code with braces around if statements, then they should also be using meaningful variable names (since the latter is typically more important than the former from a readability/maintainability perspective).

      As such, I would suggest that the Android code snippet was automatically generated by a decompiler (it is trivial to add braces, but not trivial to come up with meaningful variable names).

  7. Kanhef

    amend that

    Managed to dig up the code in question. While it's still obviously copied, Oracle is indeed being somewhat disingenuous, as they use generics while the Android code does not.

    1. Ian Yates


      I think they're claiming that the copied code was from an earlier version, before the generics.

      There's a blog around somewhere where the guy linked to both files being discussed.

      This sounds a little like Google is clutching at straws - from what I've seen, Oracle haven't changed much at all...

      The Google code looks very much like decompiled code, from the argument names. But I may be wrong.

      Disclaimer: Android user

  8. Anonymous Coward

    A big Oracle mistake here

    "Additionally, it modified the technology so it is not compliant with Java's central design principle to 'write once and run anywhere.' Google's infringement and fragmentation of Java code not only damages Oracle, it clearly harms consumers, developers and device manufacturers,"

    This is only true if and only if Google calls Dalvik a Java implementation, and as far as I know they are beign very careful not to do it. Oracle argument is fallacious and tries to mix two very different things:

    1- When language A is a superset or subset of B, you can then recompile source from A wth B'c compiler or viceversa. Saving for platform differences, which you can avoid if you are careful enough, that would give some merit to the argument. You can usually compile C code with a C++ compiler. Can you take a Dalvik program and compile it under Java or viceversa? Mmmmm.....

    2- It is usual for languages and VM's to evolve. Following Oracle's argument, Sun should have licensed everything back from the first LISP garbage collector.

    This software patent thing is so deeply flawed. Can we civilized europeans at least stay away from it? Are software or algorithm patents enforceable outside the US of A?

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: A big Oracle blah blah blah

      Actually, Oracle are trying to cover all cases with the lawsuit. First, they claim that Dalvik violates Java's license by not conforming to the license, to which Google is expected to reply with "Dalvik is not Java". Second, Oracle then claims that, since Dalvik is not Java, but is clearly derived from it, then it violates intellectual property rights.

      They could have gone in reverse and accuse Dalvik of violating their IP rights by being a Java derivative, to which Google would have been expected to respond with "Dalvik is a Java implementation, which is why it derives from Java" To this, Oracle would then come back with "then it violates the license, since it does not conform to the specificiations."

      The first attempt makes more sense, and so they went with it.

      Honestly, I think Google is in trouble here, and Oracle will not relent easily. Moreover, Google is not making things better for itself by alienating its partners with comments like "not our problem, they did it!"


    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      @AC Nope...

      There must be a reason you posted your comment as an AC. ;-)

      Understanding the law isn't one of your strengths now is it? :-)

      Google can call their version of Java 'Tim' for all anyone cares, but its still a derivative of Java.

      Clearly not a clean room version either.

      Oracle is correct in their assertions. Note this doesn't mean Oracle will win, or that they have a slam dunk of a case. The law is intentionally more confusing and ambiguous so that each case is decided on their merits and arguments raised in courts.

      Oracle is correct that Google did in fact copy code. They have their smoking gun.

      1. Vic

        @Gumby Nope...

        > Understanding the law isn't one of your strengths now is it?

        Is it yours?

        > Google can call their version of Java 'Tim' for all anyone cares, but its still a derivative of Java.

        That is completely wrong in every respect. Dalvik is *not* Java. Java is not appropriate for the platform, so Google used something else.

        The closest it comes to Java is that some of the application code running on it will initially be coded in the Java language - but all the patents Oracle has asserted read on the JVM, not the Java language. Although both language and VM use the word "Java" in their names, these are most assuredly not the same thing.

        > Oracle is correct that Google did in fact copy code.

        Oracle has, to date, come up with one file in a test directory that they claim is close to a file that they themselves distributed under GPLv2 with ClassPath Exception. I can see three reasons why that would constitute lawful redistribution - two of which are sure to work, the other one being a "probably".


    3. Anonymous Coward

      It's the other way around

      The mistake for Oracle would be to do an Obama and be wishy-washy in attacking Google and defending their IP. Throwing the kitchen sink at Google is the way to go for Oracle. Google is a big bully and what you have to do with bullies is to hit them so hard they'll learn not to mess with you. In this case Google got what they didn't expect. They knew that Sun was a pushover but they didn't plan a fight with another bully like Oracle. It'll be fun to watch.

  9. James Anderson


    Oops. Didnt google sell a "google" branded Android phone at the Google shop?

    Looks like it just passed responsibility to itself. They could try googling "better lawers".

    1. Arctic fox

      Yes, now what was it called.......

      ......something beginning with N was it not - some kind of trailblazer that Google are inordinately proud of - gave to a whole gang of devs or something?

  10. dave 46


    HTC, Samsung and the rest just readjusted their pants.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    THat wasn't how I read it

    I was reading it as Google saying, you aren't just taking us on, you are taking on the OHA members too, just to give Oracle pause for thought.

    PLUS, Google has to present EVERY defence option at this stage, or they can't use it later, hence a shedload of slightly bizarre looking defence options

  12. The Other Steve

    A big boy did it and ran away

    Some really excellent arguments from Google there, I particularly like the one where they state that the code doesn't look quite as similar if you leave the copyright headers on.

    But remember kids, it's OK to be an IP thief if you open source.

    1. asdf

      google biz model

      Don't lump the whole open source ecosystems with Google. Google is a giant advertising company that found a loophole in GPL v2 that allowed it to make billions (the whole software as a service doesn't require source code release). Hardly a good example of a company that plays nice in the open source ecosystem.

  13. dotdavid

    Seriously, what the...

    Google's "don't be evil" motto evidently doesn't apply to its Android business partners.

    I always wondered why they didn't come out quickly and say they'd help defend HTC et al against patent claims but figured they were keeping quiet for strategic reasons and would ride to the rescue when it made best legal sense to. Turns out they were actually keeping quiet because they never intended to help defend their business partners at all.

    I can't believe how stupid this is. I always thought Google at least had the moral high ground here, but these weasily statements are unexcusable. As previous commenters say, this might actually really hurt Android.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Flash Gordon To The Rescue !

    And save us from Ming The Merciless or he will extortionate contracts and slimy salesmen.

    If you see his imperial cruiser approaching then run for your lives.

  15. Dan 55 Silver badge

    What about the Nexus One?

    Developed by Google if I recall correctly.

  16. Kanhef

    and furthermore

    Looking at the *rest* of the file, they doesn't look nearly as similar. The Android code is a good bit uglier by not using generics or for:each constructs, return statements on void methods, hardcoded constants.

    1. Robert Lougher

      No, they're identical

      As has been pointed out umpteen times, the Android file is obviously the result of decompiling the Sun class :

      - The class file contains the names of member variables but not locals. Hence the names and ordering of the private variables are the same, but the method arguments have been changed to "boolean flag", etc.

      - Java implements generics via type erasure. The type arguments are removed by the compiler and are not stored in the class file. Which is again why the generics inforation is missing from the Android version.

      - for/while loops, etc. are translated into compares and branches in the class file. A decompiler doesn't know what they were originally, and will convert them all to the same generic while loop.

      - References to constants are replaced by the constants themselves when compiling. Hence the use of hard-coded constants in the Android version.

      To somebody who knows the class file format, the two files are identical in every way.

      1. Penti


        It's obviously somewhat based on the reference implementation of Java (Hotspot) but that's legal since it's the reference version which licensees are aloud to create their own class libraries and JVM from, which is what IBM did with Harmony/J9, wrote their own version/implementation, they are also a company that developed much of the reference implementation! Hotspot is GPL though, but even so IBM would have no problem analyzing the reference implementation since they have their own licenses rules for the code, binary and java itself. It's obviously legal, not needed and not anything Google did. Without IBM you don't have Java. Without all the other partners contributing to Hotspot and JCP you wouldn't either. Obviously JCP is set up so you are actually allowed to implement your own version of Java, based on the reference or otherwise. Anything that passes the TCK is certified Java (Android isn't). Java isn't in the hands of just one company. It isn't the IPR of Oracle. And Android just uses third party class libraries originally from IBM. One of the biggest contributers to Java.

        1. Vic


          > Obviously JCP is set up so you are actually allowed to implement your own version of Java,

          Not so.

          This is what's behind Apache's recent problems - they cannot certify as Java because of the field-of-use restrictions that Oracle maintains on the TCK - which restrictions Oracle agreed were unacceptable when it was Sun doing the restricting.

          > Java isn't in the hands of just one company. It isn't the IPR of Oracle.

          Yes, it is. And Oracle currently seems to want to exercise those rights to the detriment of the JCP. This is probably a mistake.


  17. [Yamthief]

    Open Handset Alliance

    Google need to watch who's toes their stepping on. "Android isn't developed by Google. It's developed by the Open Handset Alliance". I'm with @Ralph 5, they're passing the blame on to all of the other manufacturers and developers in the OHA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ....nonethless Android is developed by the OHA not Google. As to passing blame, that's exact right down to timestamp and the individual developer responsible.

  18. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Pretty novel interpretation of copyright law, if you ask me...

    Quite apart from whether actual copyright infringement has occurred, which, given Larry's constant testosterone problems, may quite well not be the case, I have never heard of a plagiarist attempting to shove off the responsibility of his copying to his readers...

    Or am I misunderstanding something?

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      No misunderstanding...

      There's a couple of things that we're seeing in the news blips...

      1) Google - if we copied it, we did so under fair use.

      2) Google - its not just Google, but the OHA.

      Both of these could qualify again as 'affirmative defenses'. That is... if what Oracle says is true, we're still not guilty of anything.

      The first is the misapplication of the copyright law. Enough people have looked at the code and real developers are convinced that its a copy of Oracle/Sun's code.

      The second is that Google is attempting to deflect the code breach by saying that there are others involved and it wasn't them, thus the burden of proof that the offending code came from Google is being laid on Oracle's doorstep because Oracle is suing Google and not the other OHA members.

      What Google is attempting to do is a bit of misdirection and 'smoke and mirrors'. They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar...

  19. DrXym

    What is PolicyNodeImpl even used for?

    A browse through the source suggests PolicyNodeImpl is an implementation of a node for holding a bunch of certificates in a tree as part of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKIX). It's role is hardly earth shattering - it has methods for getting it's parent node, it's child nodes, and a few methods for getting things associated with the node. It is by any definition a trivial class. If a programmer were tasked to implement PolicyNode (the public interface that the Impl implements), it might take them an hour or two at most.

    Why the Sun & Android version look similar is anyone's guess. My hunch is someone either appropriated the GPL'd version or decompiled the class and stuck it in. Either is likely. What I want to know is if this is an isolated case, or if there is more. For example, what about the rest of PKIX, is that tainted or just inexplicably this one file?

    If that's all there is, then I think the copyright argument is quite weak. Even if it is proven to be copyright Sun, the class is trivial, the source of it is open source, and this is one file amongst tens of thousands.

    1. vic 4

      And it is a used as a test class

      By the looks of it, so is never deployed so there should not be any android phones out there with a derivative of the GPL'd code on them.

    2. Simon 11

      A title

      Doesnt this give Oracle proof of wrong doing, which allows them to sue Google and hence use discovery processes to gain access to the full source code, in order to see how much wrong doing there has been for this project?

      1. dogged

        Since Android is open-sourced

        why would they need discovery processes?

  20. Magnus_Pym

    Google stalking horse?

    I wonder if Google haven't deliberately set up the Android framework to break the software patents system. They could be setting a trap for Oracle and anyone else who is foolish enough to venture down this road. What they are saying here is:

    'Our code is similar, so what?'

    but more importantly:

    'if you find us guilty all our partners are guilty (which includes almost everybody)'

    'You must also sue all the open-sourcers who contributed (but only to those specific lines)

    The litigant (or patent troll) can't pick and choose who to sue. If you don't sue all those who allegedly infringe you are not 'defending your patent' and the patent is void. This is not a smoke screen but a legal fog-bank that Oracle could wander into and be lost forever. Google can keep appealing on these sorts of grounds for ever. This would be very expensive for Oracle to keep in court and if they give up the patent is lost.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      @Magnus Huh?

      What you wrote doesn't make a lot of sense. Google also has their patents pool and of course if you're following their other legal issues on wi-fi slurping... they are also in deep do do because they filed for a patent which they claimed was a mistake.

      Google is attempting to misdirect and deflect the attention from them.

      Yes they are attempting to say that they didn't 'develop' the code in a vacuum, so the offending code could have come from someone else. (BS excuse, but we're not at trial yet.)

      Does Oracle have to sue everyone at the same time? No. They can pick and choose who they want to sue and when. Suing Google first is the clear cut winner. If /when Oracle wins, they have case history to go after HTC and Motorola. And more than likely they will settle outside of a lawsuit.

      Does Google want to get rid of software patents and overhaul the 'business process' patents?

      Not when it suits them to keep it in place.

      Oracle is no patent troll.

      Sorry but your post is so patently wrong, I wonder what you've been smoking and if you're willing to share?

      1. Magnus_Pym

        I know...

        ... it's not a very good argument. but I still think it could be read in that way.

        "Does Oracle have to sue everyone at the same time? No. They can pick and choose who they want to sue and when. Suing Google first is the clear cut winner. If /when Oracle wins, they have case history to go after HTC and Motorola. And more than likely they will settle outside of a lawsuit."

        Most cases are a big fish against small fry and settled out of court as this is becuase.

        a) The defendant has been chosen because they are rich enough to pay royalties but not rich enough to pay legal fees.

        b) it's secret. No one knows if any money actually changes hands of if it was all just to put the frighteners on everybody else.

        c) It doesn't set a precedent (i.e. all the other potential infringers aren't automatically guilty and therefore must pay royalties too).

        Oracle is a rich company but Google has almost no overheads and an enormous continuing revenue stream. No way is Google going to settle out of court because they know that, as you said, 'Oracle will then go after HTC and Motorola'. And all the others. Which means that these guys cannot afford to sit around and wait for the shit to hit the fan. They have to start acting now. Against Oracle - all of them.

        If Google wins then it sets a different precedent - 'Don't try to sue Google' This weakens all the threats against Linux et al. including Microsoft's. These guys may have to line up against Google.

        1. Simon 11


          No, it really isnt a good argument.

          Google has a history of doing whatever they want to do, regardless of whether it is morally, ethically or legally right to do so, though they do try to stay mostly in the grey regions. This is just another example of this sort of culture.

          Google has no intention of destroying the patent system. If they could, I am sure they would hold patents on people breathing, in order to get the royalties such patents generate. Remember, they are a company that invests in pretty much anything and everything, especially if it can be linked to making money.

          To say Google has almost no overheads is living in the past. These days they are a massive global organisation that has plenty of overheads.

          This suit is going to be long, expensive and bloody, as both sides have very deep pockets and the litigant has a real grievance.

    2. Vic

      Defending patents...

      > If you don't sue all those who allegedly infringe you are not

      > 'defending your patent' and the patent is void.

      You're thinking of trademarks,

      Laches are rather more complicated under US patent law.

      Let's hope Willets[1] doesn't get his way and import all that nonsense over here.


      [1] For a man with two brains, why does he never seem to use either of them?

  21. TwoWolves

    Grow up, the lot of you [two]

    Looks like both these companies are behaving like fools. Can you imagine the benefit if you could compile Java code for Android to all concerned?

    Besides where will this end? There are only so many ways simple algorithms can be expressed anyway. Can Google really not afford a few patent costs?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    So who owns "public static void main()"?

    And are they getting rich of it?

  23. Paul Shirley

    what Oracle doctored

    "Google's infringement and fragmentation of Java code not only damages Oracle..."

    That's certainly true but doesn't make it something Oracle can successfully sue over. Even in the US where you can sue over anything, companies can't sue just because their business model has been made irrelevant, they have to find deliberate interference and leap through a lot of hoops.

    And that code Oracle doctored? There's a strong indication they removed the copyright attribution on *their* version - because leaving the GPL copyright notice on it completely invalidates their case. Yes, Sun released that version under GPL, Google have fulfilled all their GPL obligations over the 3 months time slot the code was actually in the project and Oracle are screwed.

    It really is another SCO, lie about the evidence, lie about the license, lie about the law. And lose.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      Shirley you jest!

      Sorry for the bad joke at your expense.

      Fortunately you're wrong.

      First, in the US you can't sue anyone over anything. It has to pass a sniff test otherwise the lawyer bringing the lawsuit can be disbarred.

      Removing the copyright notice which is a comment isn't doctoring the code.

      The issue is exposing the similarities to show that the code was indeed copied. Oracle admits to reformatting the code to help highlight the similarities.

      The code snippets shown are clear enough to the developer community here that the code was indeed copied. (We are probably a good jury of peers.)

      Were your assertions correct, then Google would have had grounds to dismiss this case instead of continuing to raise affirmative defenses.

      Sorry sad but true, Google screwed themselves once again.

      Wi-fi snooping?

      Android skirting Java ME licensing?

      Letting Eric Schmidt speak in public?

      Whatever happened to the 'three strikes' rule?

      1. Magnus_Pym


        "First, in the US you can't sue anyone over anything. It has to pass a sniff test otherwise the lawyer bringing the lawsuit can be disbarred."

        That's the theory. I don't think it's working in practise though.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          Re: Sniff Test.

          Actually in practice it holds true. Unfortunately the law is vague enough and under tort law, you end up having to go to court to prove/disprove the assertions raised.

          But if a case goes forward and clearly it was bogus, the plaintiff's lawyer will face sanctions up to and including disbarment.

          Of course there's a defense about this. A plaintiff's lawyer takes what his plaintiff says at face value. So if the lawyer assumes the plaintiff is telling the truth, and its enough to take a case forward... the lawyer is ok.

          Its a misconception that one can sue anyone for anything.

          What we dont have but the UK has is a law that says that the loser pays court costs. That is what stops a lot of frivolous lawsuits.

      2. ratfox

        SURELY you jest

        > First, in the US you can't sue anyone over anything. It has to pass a sniff test otherwise the lawyer > bringing the lawsuit can be disbarred.

        WA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ...

        Good to know you cannot sue for improper reasons in US... And that only cases that are legitimate are brought to court... *pffffrt* WA HA HA HA HA HA... sniff...

        And you owe me a new keyboard!

      3. Vic

        Someone is jesting :-(

        > First, in the US you can't sue anyone over anything. It has to pass

        > a sniff test otherwise the lawyer bringing the lawsuit can be disbarred.

        Prior to Iqbal, that was a very low bar indeed. Even now, it's little more than "would the world's most stupid man believe this for a fraction of a second, if we medicated him highly enough?"

        > Removing the copyright notice which is a comment isn't doctoring the code.

        Yes it is. It's a clear attempt to disguise the fact that this was distributed - both by Google and by Oracle - under GPLv2.


      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No joking, please!

        The copyright notice (conveniently) removed by Oracle gave Google the right to copy the code and use it however they might fancy as long as they respect GPL. If I'm not mistaking, SCO did the same when they accused Linux world for copying their code but that code was under BSD license so Linux was using it properly. By the way look at the lawyers hired by Oracle, David Boies was the one who represented SCO vs. the Linux world.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "companies can't sue just because their business model has been made irrelevant"

      Ah, but they can try! ;)

    3. vic 4

      GPL copyright notice

      The android version has a Apache license on it

      1. Vic

        Re: GPL + ClassPath Exception copyright notice

        > The android version has a Apache license on it

        Now all that's needed is for someone to prove that that is an unlawful action.

        The ClassPath Exception is *very* permissive...


    4. Robert Lougher

      Ignorance is bliss

      Ah, in what way have they fulfilled the GPL? They put an Apache license on a GPL'ed file. They can't do that. Just because code is open-source doesn't mean you can rip it off and do what you like with it. Do you know anything about the GPL or open-source software?

      And they doctored the source because the file in Android has been derived from decompiling the class file. Hence the anonymous arguments (e.g. flag, etc.), lack of generics (Java uses type erasure, generics stuff is not in the classfile), and the difference in for/while loops.

      1. Vic

        Be careful with the word "ignorance"...

        > Ah, in what way have they fulfilled the GPL?

        I'm not claiming they have.

        But the file in question is licenced under GPLv2 *** with Classpath Exception ***.

        That exception is important. It is worth reading what it says before alleging ignorance in others. One especially important phrase is :-

        "to copy and distribute the resulting executable under terms of your choice"[1]

        (referring to an object derived from the GPL + CE code).

        "Terms of your choice" is a very powerful phrase.

        > They put an Apache license on a GPL'ed file.

        They put the Apache licence on something derived from a binary which was derived from a GPL+CE source file.

        Now read the Classpath Exception to see why that is perfectly permissible.

        > They can't do that.

        They can. It is expressly permitted by the licence.

        What they cannot do is to take the *original* source and slap a different licence on it. And they didn't.

        > Just because code is open-source doesn't mean you

        > can rip it off and do what you like with it.

        Correct. Isn't it good that that hasn't happened?

        > Do you know anything about the GPL or open-source software?

        Yes, quite a bit, actually. And I know what the Classpath Exception says.


        [1] The CE can be found at . I strongly suggest reading it before making claims about what can be done with compiled objects derived under that exception.

        1. Robert Lougher

          Nice try

          I've been part of the GNU Classpath community for many, many years (I write JamVM) so I'm well aware of the GNU Classpath exception that Sun adopted when releasing OpenJDK.

          I agree, distributing a source file derived from a decompiled class file complicates things. However, you are being extremely disingenuous quoting the Classpath exception. The intention of the exception is to enable software to be used with OpenJDK/GNU Classpath without it becoming subject to the GPL itself (in a similar way to the LGPL).

          "As a special exception, the copyright holders of this library give you

          permission to link this library with independent modules to produce an

          executable, regardless of the license terms of these independent modules,

          and to copy and distribute the resulting executable under terms of your

          choice, provided that you also meet, for each linked independent module,

          the terms and conditions of the license of that module. An independent

          module is a module which is not derived from or based on this library. If

          you modify this library, you may extend this exception to your version of

          the library, but you are not obligated to do so. If you do not wish to do

          so, delete this exception statement from your version."

          In no way is the decompiled class file an executable, and in no way is decompiling linking to produce an executable.

          1. Vic

            That's your opinion...

            > you are being extremely disingenuous quoting the Classpath exception

            Not at all.

            I'm quoting what the Classpath Exception says.

            A compiled file is an executable, and thus subject to that exception.

            A decompiled version of that executable is thus subject to the licence attached to the executable - which may well not be the licence of the original source.

            That might or might not be how the exception was meant to work - but that doesn't matter. The licence specifically and expressly permits such manipulation, whether it meant to or not.

            Thus Google are actually in with quite a strong defence here. I don't know whether or not they deserve it - but we're not arguing morality here, we're arguing the specifics of the licence.


  24. Wang N Staines

    Oh dear

    Google is your fair weather friend, indeed.

  25. The Other Steve

    Ah, but then again

    "And that code Oracle doctored? There's a strong indication they removed the copyright attribution on *their* version - because leaving the GPL copyright notice on it completely invalidates their case. Yes, Sun released that version under GPL"

    Were that to turn out to be the case then Google would still be fucked, because they released their version under a different licence and under the GPL that is strictly verboten, IIRC.

    1. Vic

      Re: Ah, but then again

      > they released their version under a different licence

      That's one of the things that Oracle will need to prove, should they go for that approach. Remember that this is not a file that will ever make it into a handset...


    2. sprouty76


      Releasing GPL'd code under an Apache License isn't Patent Infringement. Oracle would have to sue for infringing the terms of the GPL copyright.



        Code under the GPL is protected from patent. If you remove the license, it's not just open to copyright infringment, but now that patent protection is lost. Possibly that's the logic?

        1. Vic

          Re: But...

          > Code under the GPL is protected from patent.

          Not entirely.

          GPLv2 only has an implicit patent grant from the code originator - that's one of the drivers for GPLv3, which has an explicit grant. It would be possible - if completely crazy - for Oracle to claim to release under GPLv2, but withhold a necessary patent licence such that no downstream users can redistribute (per Section 7). But that would destroy Oracle's reputation entirely, destroy Java entirely, and leave Oracle in the firing line for all sorts of legal difficulties. It would be absolute madness.

          > If you remove the license, it's not just open to copyright infringment,

          > but now that patent protection is lost. Possibly that's the logic?

          That logic is flawed; the Classpath Exception does more than permit you to ascribe your own licence to the resultant Derived Work, it allows you to distribute under "the terms of your choice". Thus if a patent right was distributed by the GPLv2 grant, that same right could clearly be redistributed with whatever licence you choose for the CE-derived object. Indeed, it is quite possible that the Classpath exception makes the explicit patent grant that the GPLv2 omits - but you'd need to check with someone more intimately acquainted with the law in that area than I to be sure.


  26. Anonymous Coward

    Acutally it's a great tactic

    They can force Sun to waste a boatload of money on an unwinnable battle and still support the foundation monetarily if they get sued. Sun loses both ways. But then again, Sun are already which i mean tossers.

  27. WinHatter


    I was wondering how long it would take before Oracle gets shitty about Java crap.

  28. Jim Benn


    Fuck Software Patents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So say the fandroids...

      ...unless it's their beloved Google's patents

  29. stewski

    Most posts here are seriously dim

    Thanks to VIC on this thread for being informative.


    For the most part, posts on this thread are idiotic.

    Google assert that Andoid is developed by the OHA, cue comments like, "way to screw your business partners", and "MS never do this" etc.


    What part of the OHA do you not understand? Hardware manufacturers are increasingly interested in the software their hardware runs, and sometimes the standards they can use. HP bought palm for a reason you know, Nokia/Intel contributed and merged development into meego for a reason. The days of a Microsoft leaving the scraps for "partners" is over. I'm saying the "DOS ain't done till notes don't run" days are Gone!

    The OHA are big boys and all make money, they are not Google, the software is not only open to be just built by one and licensed to others, if there is a legal case its the OHA who will likely fight it, how is stating this, shafting partners?


    Amazing to me, is the idea that Oracle could be claiming copyright infringement against the the terms of GPL'd code. Will we see Larry visit the FSF to see how best to prosecute? I'd pay to see that.


    VIC suggests there are exception for the code samples, and his knowledge seems more convincing than idiotic - the code looks the same statements, therefore copyright infringement, those comments remind me of a bit of python: "she's a witch" "how can you tell?" "she looks like one"


    Beyond the frankly weird "copyright" red herring, is a complex argument about Patents for Java, derivation and implementations of VMs, syntax of language and Sun/Oracle licenses of such.

    Honestly I don't know what the heck is right here. I heard SUN Java was trying to be good to open source/open standards based development, I guess now Oracle are involved we can all.

    1. Fork and use as much free stuff from the SUN years whilst entirely ignoring Oracle as an entity or leader of such projects. Hence libreOffice, openJDK, Harmony, mySQL will no doubt/may have forked and many others.

    2. Avoid use of any technology they hold valid patents/license over, though in the case of Oracle that really has been a good idea for the last 20 years.

    3. Support any/all free/open mobile software that doesn't get caught up in the coming patent Armageddon, it's almost amusing how the big software companies are looking more likely to destroy each others business, just as Linux on a consumer screen (albeit not the desktop) is actually in danger of becoming reality.


    As for the early Apple troll, I don't think Apple are walking away from the current "patent absurdity" without trouble either, if I was as idiotic as that poster I'd be saying Go Motorola et al. I'm not saying that, just kicking back with a drink and watching the patent bombs drop all over the growing markets, and wondering if this outcome was imagined at "Gottschalk v. Benson". Still I'm in the UK in a patent bunker :-)

  30. Dave Coventry

    Stone Age

    If Kernighan and Ritchie (or whoever it was) had bothered to patent the 'for' loop and the 'while' loop among others, then programming would now be the sole preserve of the mega-corporates.

    Makes you wonder.

    Personally a pox on both their houses, and on software patents (and Microsoft, too)

  31. gimbal

    Needs more cow bell

    Sorry, I just momentarily got taken up with the comments criticizing the coding style, in code that we really might not be so sure of the original whereabouts of, at this point...

    Why, that code just needs more cow bell!

  32. Anonymous Coward

    GOOGLE Seems to have lost it way

    Google doesn't seem to be thinking right since it is facing attacks from all fronts Face book , Apple , microsoft and Oracle not to mention the TV networks and publishers.

    It seems to have lost it's MOJO. they cannot defend a case where majority of the functionality in java is decided by the JCP and third parties have written thousands of extensions and libraries.

    Can they not just say Java is built by the community and oracle only has rights to certify something as JAVA standards compliant but cannot control the JAVA language itself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      They've gone from underdog to useful to creepy and now they are finally Googzilla.

  33. mt1

    Google slopy shoulders

    With comments like this google may well have started the beginning of the end of android as a viable commercial device, you can guarantee phone manufacturers will drop it like a bad cold if there is any sign of validity of oracles claims now

  34. Tron Silver badge


    Almost everything in tech is covered by so many patents that putting something on the market will inevitably lead to you being sued, if only by trolls.

    Maybe Google looked at the risk issue with Linux (one of the reasons many folk don't use it, fearing they could be the target of litigation as there is no central, rich corporate to sue-the users are more attractive targets) and decided to go with safety in numbers. The OHA reads like a who's who of several sections of the industry.

    Oracle would like to get a big chunk of money out of Google, but do they really want to try to sue that many people?

    In theory, this could be a way forward in tech that defeats the patent trolling blockade of new tech developments, on the basis that you can't sue everyone. Whilst it might seem to impact upon the little guy who comes up with an original idea, the little guy already has no chance of justice anyway because the cost of defending a patent against any single large corporate is too high.

    There may be implications all over the place if this goes to a ruling, but it may end, as these things usually do, in an out of court settlement.

  35. Rex Alfie Lee

    Apologies to the middlemen but...

    If Ora-kill hadn't begun this attack on what should be open source then Google wouldn't have spun this nasty web. Truth of this is that Oracle is very unlikely to go after the middler's because it doesn't pay them for their legals & the social & technical payback would leave Oracle hated with fury & probably dropped by many organisational users. That's not good business.

    Oracle started the dirty game but Google have responded in a way that makes them look just as bad. I hope this goes on for a long time & most of all I hope Larry loses his boat.

    Ed: We need a Larry Ellison icon, both angel & devil...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Too much effort.

      Don't bother with the angel bit...

  36. E 2

    Serving notice

    Know that I, E2, have patented the use of square brackets ([]) to calculate offsets from a base address in computer memory and also in matrices in mathematics. Also patented the number 2. Also patented the process of turning text descriptions of CPU & GPU instructions into binary CPU & GPU instructions.

    I have been able to do this because I thought of filing the patent before you did.

    You will all receive bills for your infringement of my patents shortly.

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