Oracle vs. Google over Java

Oracle suing Google over its use of Java in Android should frighten any company that develops with Java.

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Google, java

Don't think that Oracle isn't aware of this. As Dan Kusnetzky, VP of Research Operations for The 451 Group, a prominent analyst firm, said, "This appears to be a warning shot across the bow of the whole industry. One could now question if Java will still be considered an open platform."

John Weatherby, Jr., executive director of the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI), an organization that promotes the use of open-source software in government, agreed with Kusnetzky. Weatherby remarked, "I would assume this is an initial step by Oracle to start laying out a perimeter in their new sandbox and to let everyone know that they do, in fact, own the Sun assets. If you wished to send that message throughout the industry, what better target to smack than Google?"

Many observers were shocked by Oracle's move. Jay Lyman, The 451 Group's open-source analyst said, "This is a surprising move." While Lyman expected that there was "a coming storm over software patents, I did not anticipate it would be initiated by Oracle."

Lyman is hopeful that there will be a quick resolution. But, since "Oracle is a founding member of the Linux Foundation and Google is a member, I'm frankly surprised this was not settled within that consortium."

Lyman's unsure what Oracle really hopes to net from its lawsuit. "I'm not sure the gains are going to be worth the gamble here for Oracle. We may see the full weight of the pro-FOSS, anti-software patent movement come down on Oracle. I've already seen references to 'SCOracle,' which is a linkage to SCO Group and its failed legal efforts and not what any vendor initiating legal action would possibly want."

Mark Webbink, Executive Director for the Center for Patent Innovations at New York Law School and former SVP at Red Hat, thinks the lawsuit is about the money. "I suspect this is about Oracle monetizing Java. Of course, when Larry Ellison's ego is involved, who knows. If it is about monetizing Java, it will be the second biggest mistake made with Java. The first was Sun failing to open source it early on and capture that market. Instead, they left the door open for Microsoft."

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