updated 02:05 pm EDT, Mon April 30, 2012
Java vet docks Google for tactics with Java
Java pioneer James Gosling has criticized Google for the tactics it used in going without a Java license for Android. He argued that, despite former Sun chief Jonathan Schwartz saying Sun couldn't sue Google, the decision to skip a license still hurt the company. Google "totally slimed" Sun, and even Schwartz was tolerating the action rather than endorsing it.
"He just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade, which annoyed a lot of folks at Sun," Gosling said of the executive.
Gosling had at one point worked with Google but left the company after just months.
The statements came just days before closing arguments in the first phase of Oracle's lawsuit trial, which will rule on whether or not Google violated copyrights. Oracle directly touched on Gosling's points and told the jury during arguments from lawyer Mike Jacobs that Google "knows better" than to think a blog post from the CEO constituted company policy. Sun co-founder Scott McNealy had stressed that Sun's blog was personal opinion.
Google's defending attorney, Robert Van Nest, objected and called attention to Schwartz specifically saying Sun didn't have legal grounds to sue in the days before it was bought by Oracle. The e-mail talking about having to possibly take a license wasn't related to the case and was used out of context, the lawyer said.
Either side tried to inflate their view of the possible copyright violation. Oracle insisted that Google had worked in a "dirty room" copying code, in many cases from workers like Tim Lindholm who had been at Sun. Google insisted that it had created a "clean room" to code without violating others' technology. Only nine lines of code had been used, and they were no longer in Android as of 4.0, Van Nest said.
Jury deliberations begin this week and could be more vital than the rest of the case for Google. If jurors find Google having violated copyright, it will face damages and the possibility of a ban regardless of whether or not the rest of the case finds it innocent. Damages could be relatively minor at the tens of millions of dollars, but Google may have to agree to an unfavorable royalty to keep using its OS until the Sun/Oracle patents expire. [via Dan Levine as well as Ginny LaRoe and CNET]