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

That said, "As for Java, my gut feeling is that developers will continue to develop with the language that they already know or which is their favorite language. To many this is Java. Most enterprise customers are already paying Oracle for their software licenses. If Oracle monetizes Java more aggressively, then paying for a Java license too won't change much. They already pay Oracle a lot, and they already don't like it," concluded Ingo.

James Bottomley, a Novell distinguished engineer and a Linux Foundation director isn't too worried about the lawsuit. "At the moment it looks to be Oracle trying to monetize the Sun acquisition by going after a tempting target. Since Google deliberately chose a clean-room reverse engineered JVM, this action doesn't threaten the implicit patent grant of Gnu General Public License(GPLv2) or the explicit, but rather circumscribed, direct [patent] grant by Sun."

"It's sad they chose to go after Android, but Google has the resources to defend against this," said Bottomley. There is a broader issue here though with open-source licenses. Bottomley added, "I think this also illustrates the consequences of an important dilemma facing mobile users: Google chose to develop the Dalvik JVM as a clean-room reverse engineering project deliberately because they were averse to using the GPL."

"Now, Bottomley continued, "unfortunately, the implicit patent grant in the GPL isn't available to them, nor will the community rally around them in the way it would if a GPL-derived JVM were attacked in this way."

So, as far as Bottomley is concerned, "Until there's evidence of any threat against the GPL licensed JVMs in common use, I think this is just a fight between two corporations … although, obviously, I'll be taking a watching brief just in case."

This wait-and-see attitude seems to be the most common position of Java programmers. Oh sure, there are some who are swearing they won't ever use Java, or any Oracle product again, but most are just holding their breath to see if Oracle goes after anyone else besides Google. Until they do, it's going to be development as usual.

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