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After nine years of fighting, will Google abandon Java because of Oracle?

via:博客园     time:2019/1/31 0:02:22     readed:364


This article is from the public number of Wechat: CSDN (ID: CSDN news), author: Tu Min, source of the title: nordicapis.com

In the past nine years, Google has battled Oracle, the software giant, for 300 rounds over whether it can reasonably use Java in Android, the world's largest operating system, but it has not been finalized.

This means that Google has filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Java copyright issues with Oracle. If the Supreme Court accepts the case, Google may still have the possibility of overturning Oracle, but if the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, Google can only enforce the ruling of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in March last year that Google's use of Java to develop Android system did infringe Oracle's copyright, requiring compensation of 8.8 billion yuan. US dollars.

Looking back at normal cases, why did this seemingly partial code event evolve into what it is today? What impact will Oracle's victory have? Will it eventually lead to Google abandoning Java? Where should software developers around the world go?

Android, the world's largest operating system: too big a tree brings strong winds

To mention the root cause of this incident, we have to start with Google's Android system.

Since the 21st century, the major technological giants have secretly made great efforts to prepare for a new era of mobile Internet, including Google. In 2005, after the low-key acquisition of Android, a 22-month-old high-tech company, and its team, Google is eager to take this opportunity to break the market structure of Symbian-dominated mobile operating system and seize the first opportunity in the field of smartphones on the mobile Internet. However, under the beautiful vision, how can we break through the routine and create a more splendid operating system ecosystem?

Of course, the first factor is the need for many developers and users, which requires Google to choose a mature and promising programming language as the basis.

Nine-year Debate between Google and Oracle

In 2009, Oracle, the pure software pioneer, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion and took over ownership of Java. However, the next year, August 2010, Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google in a paper file, claiming that Android, which quickly occupied the mobile operating market, violated seven Java copyrights and patents and demanded compensation of $2.6 billion. Although Annette Hurst, an Oracle lawyer, has responded positively, Oracle's acquisition of Sun was not intended to launch a copyright lawsuit against Google. But in the second year of the acquisition, litigation was urgently filed, which inevitably led to some speculation in the industry.

Oracle insists that Google knows that the Java API is copyrighted and intentionally does so in order to enable traditional Java programmers to make a good transition to the Android platform and bring rich applications to the Android ecosystem.

At the same time, Android will succeed by relying on the big tree of Java, which brings great commercial value to Google. In short, without Java, Android would not have its place today.

On the other hand, Google has always emphasized that for open source Java, the free use of APIs is a normal practice in the industry, implying that it does not know that Java APIs are copyrighted.

However, to Google's disadvantage, Oracle collected an intra-enterprise email from Android's father, Andy Rubin, in the subsequent game, which mentioned that Google had tried to find alternatives outside of Java for Android and Chrome, but those alternatives were bad, so it needed to negotiate Java's authorization. This means that Google privately knows that java. Lang is protected by copyright.

In this adverse situation, in March 2011, Google hired James Gosling, the founder of Java, as its platform. Since then, Java infringement between Google and Oracle has become more and more serious:

  • In September 2011, the first out-of-court settlement between Google and Oracle CEO failed.

  • In March 2012, Oracle did not accept Google's $2.8 million compensation plan.

  • In May 2012, the jury found that Google used nine lines of Java code for scope checks to infringe upon it. The code was as follows:


  • In the same month, Judge William Alsup overturned the jury's view that Google was infringing, saying that the API should not be protected by copyright. Subsequently, the Northern District Court of California ruled that the Android system did not infringe patents, that the Java API did not have copyright, and that Google won a short victory.

  • In October 2012, Oracle complained about the verdict and appealed to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeal.

  • In April 2014, the U.S. Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the API was protected by copyright and that Google infringed upon it with compensation. Oracle won.

  • In October 2014, Google appealed its ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court for intervention.

  • In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Google's appeal in the software copyright case and upheld its original judgment.

  • In October 2015, the case was returned to the U.S. District Court for trial again by Judge William Alsup.

  • In April 2016, the out-of-court reconciliation meeting between the two sides failed again.

  • In May 2016, the San Francisco Federal Court reviewed the case.

  • In March 2018, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Google violated Oracle's copyright.

  • In August 2018, Google filed an appeal, but the U.S. Federal Court of Appeal refused to reopen the case.

Java Infringement Case Upgraded to API Copyright Competition in the Industry

The hour has come, and as the article begins, Google is putting its last hope in the Supreme Court. But whether it is accepted or not by the Supreme Court, it will be a copyright theory about API.

Meanwhile, Kent Walker believes that:

With the popularity of smartphone applications, we tend to overlook the difficulty for developers to create applications on various platforms. In 2008, Google released an open source Android platform that changed that. It helps developers overcome the challenges of smaller processors, limited memory and shorter battery life, while providing innovative features and functions for Smartphone development. The ultimate win-win situation is that developers can build new applications more easily, manufacturers can create excellent new devices, and the resulting competition can enable consumers to enjoy both lower prices and more choices.

But after the acquisition of Java in 2010, Oracle sued Google for using these software interfaces in an attempt to profit from changing software development rules afterwards. Oracle's lawsuit claims that it has the right to control the software interface, the cornerstone of software development, and thus to lock in the developer community that invests in learning the free and open Java language.

The San Francisco court initially ruled that the software interface was not copyrighted in this case, but that decision was later rejected. The jury agreed that Google's use of interfaces was legitimate and reasonable, but the decision was also rejected. Unless the Supreme Court corrects these two vetoes, this case will end the traditional ability of developers to freely use existing software interfaces to build new generation computer programs for consumers. Just as we all learn to use keyboard shortcuts, developers have learned to use many standard interfaces related to different programming languages. If these two vetoes are not revoked, these positions will effectively lock developers onto a single copyright owner platform, as if keyboard shortcuts were used intelligently on a type of computer.

Google won or might give up. What if Oracle won?

There are still great uncertainties about the final outcome of the event. In Google's view, unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the current ruling of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal will have a disruptive impact on the software industry. But in fact, since the fight with Oracle, Google seems to have done a good job of losing the lawsuit at the same time:

  • In 2016, Google announced the adoption of OpenJDK in Android.

  • At the 2017 Google I/O conference, Google announced Kotlin as the official Android-supported development language.

  • In the past, there have been rumors that Google's secret Fuchsia system will unify Android and Chrome OS systems in the future, and from the Fuchsia project's previous submission records, it may support Java.


And for Oracle, if this case wins, what will it ultimately reap?

Where do developers go?

However, for the vast majority of Android developers, the lawsuit between Google and Oracle makes it unrealistic for them to abandon Java, which is mature and has huge technical support.

And now, in fact, it is not just the business dispute between Google and Oracle, but the standardization of the entire software industry. If the final decision of the Federal Circuit Court is supported by the Supreme Court in this case, which means that the API is protected by copyright, then it may force a great change in the way the software industry develops.

In the past, software developers could develop directly on the basis of established software platforms and standard functions, thus ensuring compatibility between their new products and existing products. Sometimes, such compatible software is packaged into open source libraries for free use by others, and can be bundled with other programs to generate larger packages. At that time, developers generally believed that API was not protected by copyright, and enterprises did not worry about whether the third-party API library was introduced into their own projects.

Now, if the ruling of the Federal Circuit Court really starts to be enforced, it may lead to many API software introducing third parties being sued for copyright infringement overnight. In this regard, whether the Supreme Court of the United States will eventually accept the case is not yet known. If accepted, it is expected that there will be news this autumn.

In view of this situation, the netizens on Hacker News also launched a heated discussion.Https://news.ycombinator.com/item?Id=18993953):

Int_19h: Given Oracle's previous success in court, people should at least accept the possibility that the law really allows the API to be protected by copyright. But if so, the law urgently needs to modify the nature of APIs, at least from a common point of view, the issue of interoperability transcends everything else. If enterprises protect the copyright of API for their own private business interests and prevent competitors from using their API, then this is very unfavorable for the whole industry.

Toyg: Oracle is actually not short of money. The reason they do this is to transition long-suffering customers from local products to cloud products. But now many people don't believe them. You can trade with a crocodile that appears once a year, but when you use SaaS, you're basically walking around the crocodile, hoping it won't bite you at a higher price without a day's notice. In this case, it would be worthwhile for Google to pay taxes on Android.

Nradov: Platforms that control the mainstream have great advantages. Even if Oracle doesn't get much direct revenue from Java, they can use it to stop competitors. From a moral point of view, Google destroyed the Java ecosystem in 2005, rather than negotiating copyright issues with Sun, and their actions were unreasonable. But I still hope Google can win.

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This article is from the public number of Wechat: CSDN (ID: CSDN news), author: Tu Min, source of the title: nordicapis.com

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