Time for Open Source Java Alliance

Oracle managers are clearly out of their minds. Rather then embrace huge potential Android brings to Java market thanks to Google they are trying to kill it again – the same way they killed it on Microsoft and Apple platform – by inserting themselves as “guides” on innovation. Turning Java from legacy to red-hot environment again was not an easy task.

After 4 month of Android development I have to complement Google on cleverness and quality of their work. There is more innovation in the way applications, security, and new technologies (voice, messaging, small factor UI) become practical than I have seen in all other technologies combined including iPhone (used it for 3 years), Linux on mobile (have 3 different devices), Java ME, etc.

The patents Google allegedly infringed on are laughable from technology perspective as they are not anywhere close to the core technologies. In short term I believe they can be easily bypassed (with actual benefit to the platform!) by minor changes to the VM and transforming engine that repackages Java byte code to the appropriate ARM level, or handle repackaging on the device itself. That would easily solve formal infringement issues but I do not know if it would matter for legal system.

There are few outcomes none of which seems to be good – licensing or forcing Oracles approval on the changes. Second option is even worse as in my mind Oracle stopped being technology company over decade ago. At this time it is holding company that buys and “milks” legacy products – with appropriate mind set and people.

One thing is clear – there is a need to create Java Open Source Alliance to replace Oracle dependency. It has to examine all Oracle patents and steer away in VM implementation that is based on patents that can be challenged by Oracle. That is the only way to keep momentum Android built in Java space and provide Oracle with expiration notice on their stronghold on Java technology. I would also strong backlash from Java community back at Oracle – I would really doubt any Java professional facing Oracle’s strategy that diminishes ones ability to make living would recommend or support their products.

Anatole Tartakovsky

3 thoughts on “Time for Open Source Java Alliance

  1. It would make a difference from a legal perspective if Android was reimplemented to avoid those patents, and I would be surprised if there weren’t engineers at Google at this very moment doing just that. In that case, two issues would remain: the possibility of past infringements, and the much more nebulous claim of copyright, which may well stand on shaky grounds given that Apache Harmony is an independent implementation. All this would be a pain and distraction, but it wouldn’t spell the death of Android.

  2. I would be very surprised if copyright claim materializes as both projects – Java and Android – are open source and do not include licensed ( ME and Enterprise) technologies. That would definitely spell death to Java as open source and not worth the risk. As far as code that is not in open source, Oracle would need to provide source that is in escrow for over 2 years and proof of direct copying of the commercial code – that would be really surprising as Google codebase is drastically different from ME/Enterprise stack in both design and implementation.

  3. Anatole,

    Based on some insider’s info I got, things are not that bad with Java. Oracle does stuff differently than Sun, but there is a hope that Oracle will help Java in the long run. Let’s wait for announcements at JavaOne in September.


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