updated 10:40 am EST, Fri January 21, 2011
Discovery shows Android may have copied more Java
Oracle's claims that Google copied Sun's Java code without permission in Android may have gained fuel on Friday. A separate search by Florian Mueller of the code (ZIP) has found more files than Oracle itself cited that appear to lift code directly. Among them, six files attached to Android 2.2 and 3.0 appear to have been extracted from Sun's Java source code using a decompiler and simply grafted into the just-in-time Dalvik engine Android uses at its root.
About 37 files were even marked as "proprietary/confidential" Sun files, and a separate file included in the code served as a copyright notice from Sun urging users not to distribute the material. Google has since claimed that Oracle was hiding code to make it look like more copying was involved, but Mueller noted that even open-sourced, GPL 2 parts code could have violated Sun (and now Oracle) rights after the latter's code was distributed without its consent. He suggested that Oracle not only had a case but may have been conservative in presenting its evidence.
"It seems to me that Oracle has not even presented the tip of the iceberg in its amended complaint," Mueller said. "The discovery process could be very fruitful for Oracle, and may become dreadful for Google."
While Google has accused Oracle of being opportunistic and arguing for proprietary Java code rights only after it bought Sun and could profit from licensing, the discoveries could have significant ramifications for Android. Google has regularly tried to claim the high ground over Apple by touting Android's openness. The findings nonetheless imply that it took code it either knew was closed-source or that was improperly taken when while open.