back to article Larry Page has painful day on stand in Oracle Java case

Google CEO Larry Page has had an uncomfortable day in court facing allegations that he knew the company was infringing on Java's intellectual property when Android was being developed. One of Oracle's prime exhibits on the third day of the Oracle-Google patent trial was an email from Google engineer Tim Lindholm, who had been …


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  1. cosmo the enlightened


    The world's biggest data miner being mined for data! Oh the irony.

    Perhaps he should go back to the office and google this employee who was carrying out a major strategic review of platform independence.

    1. asdf

      Re: Aha!

      Hmm was the thinking they wanted to license Java SE for Android? Java ME is such a pile of sh_t rejected by the market place that they surely weren't wanting to license that.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. asdf

        Re: Aha!

        Yes Java ME does do well in the feature phone space still (dumb phones) how much longer is that market going to be around? My guess is if Oracle and Sun before it weren't being so stubborn about artificially segmenting things for their own marketing that Google would have already dropped a ton of cash on them.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    much ado about nothing

    The Lindholm email is irrelevant. It's from 2010. Well after Oracle started legal action.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: much ado about nothing

      So after oracle started suing them for not taking a license, google asked lindholm to review the options. He concluded that they needed to license the software. And that's irrelevant how exactly?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: much ado about nothing

        Does Lindholm say they need to license the tech because they are infringing or because its better than what they have?

        Context alters meaning.

      2. Wombling_Free

        Re: much ado about nothing

        "And that's irrelevant how exactly?"

        Sergy's name was misspelled. CASE DISMISSED!

        It's usually grounds for dismissal of cases in Austfailia, anyway...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: much ado about nothing

        It's irrelevant because Firstly, Oracle are attempting to use this email to demonstrate that Google knew (back in 2003-ish) that they needed a licence but went ahead and built Android without it anyway. Secondly, when you know the email is about reviewing options post legal threat, the option to simply pay up is reasonable but not probitive.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: much ado about nothing

          Other stuff I've read this morning suggests that this email was written shortly *before* oracle sued. Also, this is one of 10 emails oracle presented, covering a period of 5 years, and all saying pretty much the same thing: basically that they know they need a license, sun/oracle will give them one on condition that they maintain control over java, they're not happy with that so they'll go ahead and use it anyway and see what happens.

          First indications are that google are pretty much screwed from this angle, the counter-evidence they provided was pretty lame. Doesn't mean they'll lose the case though - oracle really messed up the patent side and have to rely on winning on copyright from what I've seen. The copyright worthiness of APIs hasn't really been proven, so this part of the case might collapse too.

    2. tom dial Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: much ado about nothing

      Additionally, Mr. Lindholm is not a lawyer, as far as I could find, and his apparent opinion about licensing Java may be entirely without relevance or merit.

    3. hexx

      it's not just that email

      check Florian's article here:

      just scroll down to numbered list, there are 10 other instances of this dating back to 2005

      1. gort

        Re: it's not just that email

        LOL at the bottom of Muller's blog post: "I would like to inform you that Oracle has very recently become a consulting client of mine. We intend to work together for the long haul on mostly competition-related topics including, for one example, FRAND licensing terms." Oh what a surprise. Coincidentally he has been making ridiculously overblown and wrong predictions in Oracle's favour every step of the way during the pretrial.

        1. The First Dave

          Re: it's not just that email

          The thing about the law though, is that it is fundamentally about facts, not opinions, so if Florien publishes a load of facts, then gives his opinion, you are free to ignore the latter.

          1. Paul Shirley

            Re: it's not just that email

            Facts without context are little better than opinion. Facts stripped of context are often deliberate lies.

      2. Paul Shirley

        Re: you do know Florians working for Oracle?

        Just make sure you read right to the end where Florian finally admits to working for Oracle since before the case started...

        Still, got to admit he's done a better job presenting emails out of context than he obviously did advising Oracle on whether to push the patent MAD button.

        Google already stated in court that they *wanted* to licence Java to save time and money. What we really see here is the reason Google decided to cleanroom the VM and substantial parts of the libraries, because they knew they couldn't just use Suns Java.

        That's going to come back and hurt Oracle because it's also the justification for fragmenting Java, if they can't licence, can't call it Java then there's little reason to actually make it behave like a full implementation of Java. Hard for Oracle to now claim Android damaged Java by not being fully Java compliant if the benefits of compliance weren't available.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe Google should have based their system on Philip K Dick's other story, "Minority Report".

    Google users are already - essentialy - Precogs, surely Mr Page could see this coming...

    1. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Oops

      Philip K Dick's other story?

      I thought for a minute you meant he should have bought special replay rings containing memories of crimes and misdemeanour's recorded by specialists. Couldn't see how it would help though.

      1. Gazareth

        Re: Oops

        No, no, it's the biography of Robert Downey Jr. he did.

        Still don't see the relevance though.

      2. Magnus_Pym

        Re: Oops

        Oops indeed. I was thinking of Ringtime by Thomas M. Dicsh. I read an exerpt in OMNI magazine years ago. I always thought it was Philip K. Dick. Dicsh - Dick quite close maybe.

        Still Dick did write a hell of a lot of 'other' stories

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: Oops

      Philip K Dick's other story????

      Do Android users dream of electric fanbois sheep

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes you really wonder...

    Why Sun has rejected Google's partnership, especially if you take into consideration that Sun needed the money. I can't help think that Google tried to setup a deal which would left Sun with a lot of uncertainties and can't help wonder if Sun knew up front that they shouldn't put too much trust in Google.

    The reason I wonder is because Sun has always been a very lenient company who wasn't afraid to go out of their ways to provide a better product (whether such decisions were for the better of worse isn't really relevant here).

    1. John G Imrie

      Re: Makes you really wonder...

      Sun has always been a very lenient company who wasn't afraid to go out of their ways to provide a better product

      Sun welcomed Android into the market place and had no problems with Google using Apache's Harmony class libraries. In fact Sun's then SCO has been deposed and said in his deposition that Sun has no problem with Android. he is on Google's witness list and is expected to state all this under oath in open court.

      It was only after Sun was bought by Oracle that the problems started.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle NotOpenWorld

    Oracle only wanted Sun for two reasons: 1) Java: To determine the future roadmap for Java to ensure that the Apache guys didn't eat WebLogic, to ensure that Java was an Oracle first technology, and patent cash. 2) MySQL: To ensure that MySQL did not become a serious challenger to Oracle DB for the enterprise market.... The hardware was incidental. They actually tried, as the SEC filings show, to punt Sun's hardware businesses to HP, but HP didn't want it (at least not at the price Oracle wanted). They bought Sun as a defensive play to ensure open software stayed below enterprise grade.

  6. AceRimmer1980

    But Chewbacca lives on Kashyyyk


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But Chewbacca lives on Kashyyyk

      Your... error...doesn...not...make...sense!


  7. wowfood

    I'm honestly still surprised they allowed Oracle to buy sun, I mean, mySQL and OracleDB are pretty much the two largest databases on the web, and off. Any other circumstances somebody would have called foul play somewhere along the line. And it doesn't help much either when one is open source and free and the other is insanely expensive.

    Sun actively developed mySQL. I can't help wonder if Oracle bought it so they could cannibalise the code and legally put it into their own DB, and then do the minimum work to keep mySQL running while still focusing in on their proprietory version.

    I'm actually wondering if any other open source databases have caught up to / overtaken mySQL yet. (if you know please tell me >.>)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Are you for real or purposely playing dumb?

      mySQL is so far behind Oracle from a functionality perspective there is no point considering what Oracle could use from it. Remember also that Oracle have owned and actively developed the innodb storage engine for several years before the Sun takeover. The assumption that Sun was bought so Oracle could take code from mySQL to put into Oracle is just plain dumb.

      Since the Oracle takeover, lots of really important features have been added to mySQL. It is now faster and more secure than it has ever been. This may well have happened without the takeover, but is certainly shows a certain level of commitment by Oracle, for whatever reason. It might help if you read up on the subject before you start spouting bullshit.

      As for other open source databases having "caught up", once again, have you never used Google to find information. PostgreSQL as been way ahead of mySQL in terms of functionality for ever. Yes, mySQL has been more popular, but it has certainly not been the best open source database ( depending on your criteria). If you had spent more time reading and less time making up crap conspiracy theories you would know this...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        ID Ten Tee?


        Wowfood may well have been wrong and you are perfectly entitled to correct him/her, but do you have to be such an arse about it? Seriously?

        And if you're going to be an arse, at least be brave enough to put your name to it.

  8. lostinspace

    I really don't understand why MySQL is so popular. A a friend refers to it accurately as MyFirstDatabase. With InnoDB it just about scrapes into being a proper database, but for years with MyIASM tables it was orders of magnitiude away from competing with Oracle, certainly for high end transactional storage.

    1. rtli-

      Ah, but remember -- you don't need transactions if your data is just worthless facebook posts or tweets.

    2. CD001

      I really don't understand why MySQL is so popular.

      Four reasons:

      1: it's fast enough and reliable enough for the web; where speed and uptime are perhaps more important than relational integrity which can be farmed off to the application layer (I'm not saying it's as good but that's what you have to do if you're using MyISAM tables)

      2: it's open source and plays nicely with *nix/FreeBSD (again, important on the web); you don't need to be an Oracle certified engineer to install and monkey about with it or fork out for an Oracle support contract

      3: historically MySQL had better tools supporting it than say PostGRES, making it easier to maintain

      4: MySQL has always had better marketing than PostGRES

      ... basically, for the web, MySQL is good enough.

      1. Philip Lewis


        "... basically, for the web, MySQL is good enough."

        Which pretty much sums it up. "the web" is the playground of the incompetent led by the deluded providing crap for the masses (or something like that). In any case, MySQL is so far from being even remotely competent as a database that only people with no clue could be dumb enough to say so.

        "good enough" translates as "we don't care if you request ever succeeds, or fails, or even if it is delivered". For Facebook and the rest of the mega presences on the web, I am sure that MySQL (and NoSQL, Haddop and all the rest of the non-databases are/) is a completely adequate 1960s level file management system. I would not trust it for my business (and I don't) because I do not think I can sustain thousands of ACID tps with MySQL, not now and not ever. I might of course be wrong, but I doubt it.

        1. Steve Knox

          Re: Optional

          "the web" is the playground of the incompetent led by the deluded providing crap for the masses (or something like that).

          Remind me again where I'm reading this?

        2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: Optional

          No… It’s horses for courses, "good enough" translates as "good enough for the purpose for which it is intended”

          I think you are ignoring the nature of communications between a web page and the DB.

          Sometimes I laugh at the way this so-called “new” web technology has developed, 30 when green screen technology was at the leading edge, all communications with the DB was asynchronous, a significant portion of the update code written would be to check that the data you waned to update had not been updated by someone else.

          Then came along OLE and DDE, and before too long after that ms-access type databases. Suddenly we had synchronous communications with the database, somebody else would update data and you would also see it change on your screen.

          Then came along the web, and what happened then, we’re back to asynchronous communications with the DB, except instead of relying on dedicated ‘hard’ networks we are relying on HTTP and the internet to get the data packets to the servers to update the database. So its not that mySQL care’s if you request ever succeeds, fails, or is even delivered, that’s the responsibility of the communication protocol.

          Like you I wouldn’t trust mySQL to deal with “thousands of ACID tps”, but then I don’t think it was ever designed for that, mySQL is still essentially a single server system, great as a back end for PHPBB on a website or a low volume transaction system but that’s about it.

          And don’t dis the 60’s technology either, having worked with nearly all the important databases over the past 25 or so years, I would contend that IBM’s IMS would beat all the other DBs in terms of speed, transaction volumes and functionality, except for one area, it requires a lot more programming effort to use.

          1. Vic

            Re: Optional

            > mySQL is still essentially a single server system, great as a back

            > end for PHPBB on a website or a low volume transaction system but that’s about it.

            Errr - a number of big players use it. Farcebook does, IIRC...

            MySQL has its issues, but your statement above really isn't true.


  9. Tim Parker

    Interesting take...

    ...this has to be one of the most slanted views of the trial i've seen so far. I'd be intrigued to hear your take on the first couple of days Ian.

    1. Cazzo Enorme

      Re: Interesting take...

      This view seems slanted to you? Let me guess, you get your view from that source of unbiased and objective called Groklaw?

      1. Tim Parker

        Re: Interesting take...

        "Let me guess, you get your view from that source of unbiased and objective called Groklaw?"

        I take the information on Groklaw, as anywhere, with a suitable pinch/bucket of salt and concentrate on the more factual stuff on it (legislation discussion, transcripts etc).

        I also look at the issues, the old Sun and Oracle announcements, the licenses, JCP discussions and coverage and my own opinions as a software developer using similar technology for quite a while.

        My particular beef with this is the almost complete lack of context and comparison - hence the request for Ian's take on the first couple of days.

      2. Carl

        Re: Interesting take...

        I think you will find, in terms of Groklaw's predictions versus the likes of Florian Meuller's, that Groklaw are currently about 5-0 up and cruising. They also combine their editorial with careful record keeping so you can go to the facts and check for yourself.

        Believe corporate shills if you want, it's a free country. Currently.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Cazzo Enorme - Re: Interesting take...

        That unbiased and objective called Groklaw has a huge (or Enorme how you like to call it) collection of legal documents as presented in courts of justice to back their analysis and or predictions. How many of these documents do you find referenced and listed on your preferred websites ? Oh, and in case you don't know, it is the very same Groklaw who sided with Apple in their dispute with Psystar.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sun CEO fully approved use of Java on Android

    "I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform, Android. Congratulations!"

  11. Carl

    That's great, except...

    Lindholm isn't a lawyer.

    Much less an intellectual property lawyer.

    So with all due respect his opinion, as well as being beyond his remit, isn't worth sh1t.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: That's great, except...

      First thing I thought when I read that.

      As a techie I've been asked to look at various software options for various jobs and have often made a cursory examination of licences as part of that. I wouldn't have expected my email reports to have to stand up in court - I have always assumed it would be taken as me giving my inexpert and unbinding opinion that we might need to potentially licence something.

      I feel a bit sorry for Lindholm. I bet he's wishing he'd added a few more disclaimers like "I'm no legal expert but licensing might be required" :-(

  12. Paul Shirley

    better to just look dumb than prove it

    Google told Oracle/BS&F they needed to talk to Andy Rubin about Android at every stage so far. BS&F pressed on with talking to Larry Page and failed to get the answers they wanted, at every stage.

    Whether you believe Larry is playing dumb or really doesn't remember and/or wasn't deeply involved, he's stayed consistent. Unlike Larry Ellison who contradicted his own deposition testimony on the stand at least twice.

    Of course he's going to look uncomfortable saying 'I don't recall' in front of a jury so often, it doesn't look good. However it's done the job, David Boies seems to have used his time trying to introduce evidence to the case based on Pages answers - and largely failed because the answers weren't forthcoming. At least one report suggests David Boies was looking exasperated at times, the stonewalling was working too well.

    At least its Oracles time they wasted ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Paul Shirley - Re: better to just look dumb than prove it

      Let's not forget that Larry Page had to face BS&F, the most wicked and the deadliest lawyers on this side of the solar system. When you are in their presence, every breath you take can and will be used to prove you were directly involved in each and every mass murder incident that happened in the last two hundred years. It was this team who helped SCO to drag their feet in court for almost a decade even though their case was rubbish.

  13. John Latham

    Florian bashing

    What's with all the vaguely ad-hominem bashing of Florian Mueller? He puts the disclaimer at the end of his analysis so you can decide for yourself.

    I'm far from current, but hasn't he been fighting the good fight against software patents for many years now?

    1. KjetilS

      Re: Florian bashing

      "I'm far from current, but hasn't he been fighting the good fight against software patents for many years now?"

      Nope. He has repeatedly given statements in support of Microsoft, Apple and Oracle, and has almost without exception been proven wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Florian bashing

      Pardon! Florian has been causing trouble for open source as a paid troll for years.

      I lay partially at his hands the death of the linux on IPaq effort which begat opie and gpe.

      He regular as clockwork trolled the mailing lists for that in a pain in the arse way until all the real developers gave up responding to it. At the time it was a real win CE beater in the making and could have got the jump on what is android now by many years given the development of a suitable phone based hardware platform for it (and it was arm based to boot). I'd love to know when his paid relationship with microsoft began, and if that was his first flourish of success derailing a healthy open source project.

      Since then, he's been outed as a paid troll for microsoft while advising clients to pay the linux tax (to SCO, another case he trolled deeply for), and others, and now oracle.

      His unbiased opinion of facts is worth about as much as a used mars bar on the floor of euston station for a day...

      Please cut off the supply of quoting oxygen which is causing the hot air to emit from florian.

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: Florian bashing

      If he'd admitted it 2 years ago when the Reg and other havens of lazy journalism were repeating his assertions verbatim, maybe his BS wouldn't have been taken so seriously.

      Now the case is in court and influencing public opinion no longer helps Oracle he finally comes clean?

      BTW if you'd watched Florians non stop spewing of biased. employer friendly PR you'd understand the 'ad hominem' attacks have foundation. He's an unreliable source and his motives are widely questioned.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @John Latham - Re: Florian bashing

      Nope, he personally took pride in seriously hampering the advancement of the LiMux project. As usual, he failed and the project could go on.

    5. Fatman

      Re: Florian bashing

      Every time I see his (Florian's) name mentioned; I am reminded of what he, Rush Limbaugh and the `Hindenburg` have in common.

      For a hint, see the icon.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A more helpful analysis:

    Rather than the conjecture and speculation currently being posted.

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