Java developers' reaction to Oracle, Google lawsuit

Java and Android developers shouldn't lose sleep over this, say some experts. Others disagree.

By , ITworld |  Development, Google, java

What do the programmers and companies that depend on the Java software family make of Oracle suing Google? To find out, we asked them.

[ The Five Winners of Oracle suing Google ]

The lawyers and analysts all see potential trouble ahead for Java developers and ISVs coming from Oracle suing Google, but what do they think? I looked around the Web and asked several of them for their thoughts on what Oracle/Google will mean for Java and their own work.

Charles Nutter, a JRuby developer, whose also a former Sun Java developer, recently wrote in Dzone, the popular programmer site, that the "collection of patents specified by the suit seems pretty laughable to me. If I were Google, I wouldn't be particularly worried about showing prior art for the patents in question or demonstrating how Android/Dalvik don't actually violate them."

But, as Nutter noted, no matter the lawsuit's result, "It's obviously not great to have two Java heavyweights bickering like schoolchildren, and it would be positively devastating if Android were obliterated because of this. But I think the real damage will be in how the developer community perceives Java, rather than in any lasting impact on the platform itself."

He also believes that "Nothing in this suit would apply to any of the three mainstream Java Virtual Machines (JVM) that 99% of the world's Java runs on. Hotspot and Jrockit are both owned by Oracle, and J9 [one of IBM's Java implementations] is subject to the Java specification's patent grant for compliant implementations. … And so 99% of the world's use of Java is in the clear." At the same time though, Nutter conceded that "This certainly does some damage to the notion of open-source Java implementations, but only those that are not (or can not be) compliant with the specification." And, that isn't at all easy to do.

Still, Nutter thinks that whether you're a Java or an Android developer, you shouldn't "lose sleep over this."

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