Registered: Sep, 2003
Re: Free As In Lawsuit
Posted: Aug 19, 2010 8:51 AM
> [Robert]: This attack could accomplish either; Dalvik is
> made to go away, or Oracle gets it through a free
> [Me]: Dalvik is open source under Apache 2. I can't
> imagine what Oracle would get from a separate license that
> they wouldn't get from Apache 2.
> [Robert]: Oracle's suit is that Dalvik is illegal, thus
> its license is irrelevant if Oracle wins or Google
> Just to see if I understand correctly: one day Oracle's
> top dogs said "we needs to gets us some Dalvik, which is
> released under Apache 2, but instead of using it under
> Apache 2 we're going to file a lawsuit"? Sorry, I just
> don't see it.
They said, "let's get this Dalvik *for ourselves* so we can make folks pay for it (even folks are only Google); it's built on our patents and copyrights; it's OURS, not Google's". Oracle contends that Dalvik is an illegal piece of software, fouling both patents and copyrights owned by Oracle/Sun. Oracle contends that Dalvik *cannot be* open source, since it fouls those *owned* things. From some history being resurrected these days, Sun thought so too; just never filed suit.
> To be honest, I don't see Oracle getting much out of
> stopping Android/Dalvik in its tracks either. From
> Oracle's point of view, I think their best outcome is a
> big payment from Google, either for a license from Oracle
> to Google or for the sale of Java.
Which could happen, but Google will have to admit that Oracle's patents and copyrights were violated. Whether Oracle then insists on ownership of Dalvik is an issue. The likelihood of Oracle selling java is 0. When this takeover was first reported, the sticking point was java; only later did the sticking point become MySql. Folks got flummoxed by Oracle over Oracle's insistence that it was going to be a *better* steward than Sun had been. Stallman, in particular, has been saying for years that java wasn't open source, only sorta kinda "free". Turns out he was exactly right. Oracle won't sell java just because java has become the application language of all things Oracle; they want that control.
IBM built a compliant java variant by creating their stuff in separate named packages, unlike M$, which simply modified code in the Sun packages. That's why M$ got hosed; Sun always said you could fork java, if you dared, but only if your forked classes were segregated, and you had to pay some money and time to be "certified compliant". IBM, being big enough, decided it was worth it; Apache with Harmony has had a more difficult time of it. They did the same thing to COBOL decades ago, so they have some history with forking "standardized" languages.
> From Google's point of view, their best outcome is that
> the patents in question are invalidated (allowing third
> party mobile phone vendors to continue to develop on
> Android without fear that Oracle will sue them);
And I expect that will happen, but it will take some time. If Oracle can get an injunction, then the situation changes. Their suit says to "impound and destroy" the offending software.
> second-best outcome is to design around the patents;
True, but that won't free them from prior use penalties.
> their third best outcome is paying Oracle money -- either
> to license the patents in question for Google and all
> third parties, or to buy Java. I suspect the outcome will
> be closer to what Google wants than what Oracle wants
> (some of the patents have prior art and I suspect they'll
> be invalidated, other patents will need to be designed