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Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj
Monday, April 23 2012 @ 11:58 AM EDT

Oracle has some exhibits that were entered last week in the Oracle v. Google trial, and they've put some of them up on their website. One of them has a link in an email from 2006, and so I followed it, and you can too. You'll find the link on page 32 of this collection [PDF] of Oracle exhibits.

Lo and behold, it takes you to then-Sun employee Tim Bray's blog back on the day that Sun released Java under the GPL. I wonder if Oracle followed that link, because if I were Oracle, it's the last thing I'd want the public or the jury to see. Bray explains the choice of the GPL by Sun and says that he not only expects forks, he approves of them. Let me show you.

Jump To Comments

The article is titled "Java is Free." It's significant, because he was then viewed as the prime inside mover behind Sun's decision. And here are a couple of relevant snips:
When I took the job at Sun in early 2004, I had a long talk with John Fowler, about this blog among other things. John said: “You might end up happier if you don’t blog about open-sourcing Java.” That was then. Today’s story is simple: Unmodified GPL2 for our SE, ME, and EE code. GPL2 + Classpath exception for the SE libraries. Javac and HotSpot and JavaHelp code drops today. The libraries to follow, with pain expected fighting through the encumbrances....


The FAQs argue that the risk of forking under the GPL is low; the Free Software and OSS communities don’t want to; and given the massive installed base of compatible Java, nobody seems likely to try a repeat of the Microsoft shenanigans that we went to court over.

But I think there’ll be lots of forks, and I approve. I suspect that basement hackers and university CompSci departments and other unexpected parties will take the Java source, hack groovy improvements into it, compile it, and want to give it to the world. They’ll discover that getting their creation blessed as “Java” requires running the TCK/trademark gauntlet, which isn’t groovy at all. So they’ll think of a clever name for it and publish anyhow.

Which is terrific. I see no downside, and I see huge upside in that the Java mainstream can watch this kind of stuff and (because of the GPL) adopt it if it’s good, and make things better for everybody.

Remember: However many forks there are, it ain’t Java unless it’s called “Java” or has the coffee-cup on it. If it has the name and cup, it is Java and it’s compatible. And Sun will absolutely enforce that in court if we have to. We have in the past and we will again.

And yet, now, Oracle, the new owner, steps up and says, if you fork, you have damaged us and have to pay. That's a sharp turn indeed. And yet forks, according to Tim Bray, would be "terrific". As I mentioned in our day one coverage, James Gosling, the inventor of Java then also at Sun, said something similar that same day:
Q: How do you think this move will affect other open-source implementations of the Java programming language -- for example, Apache Harmony or GNU Classpath?

Gosling: It's hard to know. They'll certainly be able to mine our source for stuff to incorporate into their projects.

What in the world is Oracle thinking, putting this exhibit with a link to Tim Bray's words up on its website, and worse, showing it to the jury? And did you notice that Bray said that Sun's declared intent was to open the libraries completely too? Now Oracle is acting like that never happened and nobody had the right to rely on this declaration, or any of the others, to the point that it wishes to sue over APIs.

But OpenJDK, I'm told, includes the APIs. You can confirm that on this Fedora page. Did you notice this sentence?

Install all the OpenJDK 6 packages, including the API documentation, by using the wildcard java-1.6.0-openjdk*.
So are they not GPLd already? I mean, if you can build the API specifications from the GPLed source code in OpenJDK using JavaDoc, it's entirely possible this has already happened. Here is what a Java guy told me:
Let's take a sample from the first library listed, java.awt.font, and go inspect

The source is at

Lines 1-24 show it is GPLv2 licensed
Line 36-65 are the API documentation narrative

JavaDoc will extract that text, put it at the top of the page, then grab all the remaining function declarations (like at lines 67-71), list them and document them using the embedded documentation (such as at lines 73-77 or 84-103).

If you use OpenJDK, you get full, GPL-licensed-by-Oracle API documentation included which you can extract and print using JavaDoc, also part of OpenJDK.

If so, would the structure or arrangement of them matter at all? Arranging GPL'd elements doesn't lift the GPL off of the elements, no matter how much "creativity" you come up with. The GPL is forever and ever, amen.

Oracle might argue that Google didn't do it that way, and of course I'd like it if Google had used the GPL code, but Sun arranged things in such a way that I think Google would have gotten sued anyway, because if this is about money, they'd still be a target, and as you recall, it began about patents in the center ring. But if the APIs are out there in the wild, so to speak, already, what in the world is this petty litigation about? More significantly, if Oracle were to win the battle over whether APIs are copyrightable and protectible, think of what the GPL might mean for Oracle. I wonder if they are fighting against their own interests, and just don't realize it yet. I've yet to meet a mainstream, proprietary thinker who understands how the GPL works.

Google told the court on Friday that it's about Oracle deciding to close off the openness after the fact. Good luck with closing down GPLd code. But in any case, my point is that promises were made that it seems Oracle would like to not honor. But to *sue* after it's you, not the alleged infringer, that changed the deal in midstream, well, as Judge Alsup likes to say, that's another kettle of fish.

I notice a couple of other things in the emails Oracle submitted as evidence. One is where Andy Rubin mentions trying to do the right thing. Look on page 3, in a 2005 memo outlining Google's plans regarding its acquisition of Android, to do what eventually came to be today's Android. The memo explicitly states that Google did not think it needed a license from Sun. Nonetheless, it wanted Sun's blessing and it wanted to call the result Java, if possible:


  • Google would like to work with Sun to conceive of and agree to a license that enables Google to release to the Open Source community, under a license of it's own choosing, it's internally developed CLDC based JVM. Google would like to achieve this goal with Sun's blessing and cooperation.

  • Google does not foresee the necessity to license or redistribute any software from Sun.

  • Google desires to be able to call the resulting work Java.
So they never thought they needed a license to use any of Sun's software. And there was no concept of paying for patents. You get that automatically, as I understand it, when you pass the TCK and can call your product Java. So there would never have been any separate payment for patents, if they could have worked out a deal, I don't think. And I think this means the experts are incorrect in describing this negotiation process as being about how much Google might have had to pay for patents had they agreed on terms. They'd pay for the TCK process, and there is no guesswork about what that would have cost. If I've understood it right, there wouldn't have been any additional payments for patent royalties.

What did they need? They wanted to call it Java, and that meant they'd have to pay for a TCK license. And they were happy to do that:


  • Google needs a TCK license.

  • We propose the Android product must pass the TCK on reference design before release to open source community. OEM licensees must pass TCK again on shipping product.

  • OEM pays standard Java royalty to be negotiated by OEM and Sun.
Further into the exhibits, on page 9, there is a Google memo on monetization, all about how the joint Sun-Google project would be good for Sun. This clearly was not viewed as a rip-off opportunity, but a way to make sure Java survived if Sun went under, which the exhibits clearly indicate Google anticipated. It even wondered if Sun would agree to establishing a Java Foundation. You'll find that on page 28 of the exhibit. The summary at the end, on page 14 of the exhibit, says:
Google is happy to work with Sun to give them a time to market advantage in evolving these product areas. If Sun can take advantage of this window they have an opportunity to deliver first to market best in class products all across the value chain.
The idea was that both companies would develop the handset, and both would be free to "monetize the platform". Their preference was to take a TCK license, and then be free to call the result Java. But, negotiations broke down. According to the 2005 email from Tim Lindholm to Andy Rubin after one negotiation with Sun, found on page 17 of the exhibit, Lindholm expressed that he didn't think Sun really wanted to do the deal with Google, for fear of losing its existent client base, that they were just "running out the clock", waiting for Google "to get exasperated", which in time they did. And he thought if Sun were going to do an entirely open source handset, they'd probably want to do it alone.

Significantly Lindholm wrote this back in 2005 in response to a report from Andy Rubin about Sun's position at the meeting, how he saw it:

They want to explore partnering to open source their vm. I think they want to do this so they can control the license and also make sure they ship IPR that they can chase people with.
Even more significant, given all the emphasis on the "they all suck" Lindholm email, I see one from 2005 where he writes to Andy Rubin, on page 15 of the exhibit, that he actually has no opinion on whether or not Google could do an independent implementation:
I have no basis for an opinion of whether Google could do an independent implementation, but even if we were to do one today's spec licenses do grant a fair bit of latitude in downstream licensing.
That's 2005. In 2010, he studied the situation and thought none of them were good choices, but by then Android was already done and out there in the market, so I think this email clearly demonstrates that the "they all suck" email wasn't in the context that Oracle is trying to use it for. It certainly isn't evidence of a "who cares about IP" attitude. Quite the contrary. It demonstrates that Google always knew it could go the independent route, if Sun wouldn't agree to work with them. Of course it would be much, much harder once the product was finished to suddenly change, but back in 2005, they could do whatever they felt like doing. And that is what they ended up deciding to do when the Sun deal fell through.

And on page 19, Rubin sends an email in advance of another meeting with Sun that says:

I know I don't need to say this, but of course we want to treat Sun with respect with an eye toward working with them on a long term basis.
So, Google was sincere in wanting to work with Sun. Sun? Apparently it had a more complicated position.

But reading the exhibits, you see that an independent implementation was always viewed as possible by Google, Lindholm even mentioning one possibility, just not ideal. In fact, apparently someone in 2010 told Safra Katz of Oracle that maybe Google would just use something else, and this apparently seemed to disturb her, as on page 7 it says the "threat" to move off Java "hit her hard". Of course Google has the technical ability to do pretty much whatever it wants to take on. They're designing driverless cars and how to mine asteroids. I mean. Really. Replacing Java would be annoying but not impossible.

But part of what Google was trying to make happen in 2009, as you can see on page 30, was getting Sun to "get Java more fully open sourced" which, by then was seen as urgent in that they thought Sun was "going to fail sometime soon." Why did Google care? Because, as one email that year in the same thread pointed out, Google was already highly invested in Java:

Google is heavily invested in Java. We use it in our internal infrastructure (Ads) and external tools (Google Web Toolkit).
That's why Google considered just buying the rights to Java from Sun (patents, copyrights) and then set up a foundation to own it all and get Sun to open source all of the tests for compliance. The alternative it foresaw was that either IBM or Oracle would buy rights to Java and then lock it down or "entangle it in more Patents/IP". Foresightful.

Oracle has more exhibits collected here, but I haven't gotten hold of that one yet. We can read them together. But I can't help but wonder if they are as damaging to Oracle as the ones we have just now looked over.

[Update, Friday, April 27: I've been thinking about the case, today being the day that all the evidence is complete in the copyright phase of this trial, and while I know one can't predict juries, I can say that I think Oracle presented a very weak case. I think they thought the Lindholm email would be their winning piece, and they built their strategy around that email -- a simple vision of good versus evil, a vision of Google as thief, knowingly ripping off Oracle. But the evidence didn't support that, not even the Lindholm email, once it was placed in context. Sometimes you can simplify too much, especially if you don't understand the tech, and given the perforance of Oracle's expert, I think there's a real possibility they didn't.]


Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj | 133 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:07 PM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groovy :-)
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT
"hack groovy improvements into it"

And somebody did just that:

Not sure of the timestamps for this stuff, so this might have been initially
released before this blog post.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Groovy :-) - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:28 PM EDT
  • Groovy :-) - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:34 PM EDT
  • Groovy :-) - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 03:02 PM EDT
    • Groovy :-) - Authored by: Tyro on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 04:59 PM EDT
Corrections thread
Authored by: nsomos on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:19 PM EDT
Please post any corrections to this article here.
A summary in the title may be helpful.

Don't bother posting any corrections to Oracles legal
strategy or reasoning in this thread. My guess is they
are beyond hope.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Equitable Estoppel - the ultimate trump card?
Authored by: OmniGeek on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:28 PM EDT
Consider the following sequence of events:

1. Sun gives assurances to all and sundry that independent implementations are
"groovy," and their only sticking point is the Java name and
trademark. (The GPL release of much Java stuff is inline with these

2. Apache, Google, and others develop independent implementations, and it can be
reasonably argued that thy relied on Sun's assertions in so doing.

3. Oracle buys Sun, becoming heir to the rights to -- and responsibilities from
-- the Java copyrights and patents. Sun's promises WRT Java are binding on
Oracle, as sucessor-in-interest.

4. Oracle sues Google for patent and copyright infringement for making an
independent implementation as in 2) above.

This non-lawyer sees a real likelihood that Google is immune from ANY damages
arising from their independent implementation, based on a defense of equitable
estoppel. Oracle, as the successor in interest to Sun, is prevented by equitable
estoppel from penalizing parties who relied in good faith on Sun's promise that
independent implementation was accepted, nay, vigorously encouraged.

This applies even if 1) Oracle's patents remain valid and are found to apply to
Google's implementation, and/or 2) Oracle's extreme theory of expansive
copyright protection is allowed to live past the dawn.

My strength is as the strength of ten men, for I am wired to the eyeballs on

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Thread
Authored by: artp on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:33 PM EDT
Divergent thought appreciated.

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:34 PM EDT
Well, here's the problem: dalvik is not a fork of Java. It is a brand new
implementation. Sure, it includes some things from java, but it's not really
significant parts.

AIUI, the patent grant that comes with open source Java only applies to forks.
Google wouldn't have had so much problems if they actually had forked Java,
instead of starting from scratch (which they did because they didn't want GPLed

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks Thread
Authored by: artp on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:35 PM EDT
URLs appreciated on this thread. They scroll off and go to
college so soon, before you had a chance to get to know them.
They keep changing so fast....

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes Goes Here
Authored by: artp on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:36 PM EDT
See the "Comes v MS" link above for details.

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle might just as well give up now
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:41 PM EDT
With nuclear landmines like this around, Oracle should just give up now. Both
sides will have at least one person looking at Groklaw to see what turns up and
seeing this makes the copyright claim unwinnable for Oracle. Their best bet
(although it might be intolerable for Larry's ego) would be to agree to the
lawsuit being dismissed with prejudice to avoid further legal costs.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reflection Mechanism on openJDK binary only under GPL+CE
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:49 PM EDT
PJ, you give an excellent example where you extract the API from using the javaDoc tool over openJDK source
and note that at the very least the output HTML is under GPL (possibly hopefully
it is non-copywritable). Are you aware you could also extract the same API from
the openJDK binary without using any source-code. Java has an runtime
introspection tool available called Reflection that allows any java program to
load the compiled class fontFontRenderContext and list all its available
methods, superclasses (the API). The GPL and Classpath Exception on openJDK
grant right to run our own programs and publish the output without any further
license from Oracle. Note it is not possible to get any implementation
souce-code this way only the API.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One argument I haven't seen yet.
Authored by: GrueMaster on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 12:58 PM EDT
A lot of the arguing is around the use of JavaSE on Mobile devices. At the time
that the variant Javas were developed, mobile devices (other than laptops)
didn't exist with enough horse power to run that version. Evolution of scale
has since changed that.

The version of Java that runs on Android phones is indeed similar to Java SE.
Today's smartphones are fully capable of this, and in processor speed
comparisons, not too far from Laptops of 3-4 years ago. I work on Ubuntu Linux
on Arm every day, using development boards running the same cpu's as most
smartphones. In my testing, I have found them to be very fast in most cases,
and very comparable to today's low-end laptops from Intel/AMD with far less
power consumption. This includes running Java (both Openjvm and Oracle's JVM).
The cell phones that ran Java ME would never be able to perform to this level.

So, another question arises from this: How do you define a "mobile"
device? If it includes any device that can be used for computing on the go
(i.e. not sitting on a desk), then doesn't that include all Laptop computers?
If it only includes Android devices, then consider the Toshiba AC100 netbook.
It uses the same processor as the Motorola Atrix and the Asus Transformer
tablet. What category does that sit in?

If it is limited to devices based on Arm cpu architecture, then will this apply
to servers as well? I have been working on Ubuntu on Arm servers for almost a
year, and indeed HP and other vendors have publicly announced high density rack
servers based on the same processors found in today's smart phones.

So, where do we draw the lines?

You've entered a dark place. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue!

[ Reply to This | # ]

'720 Patent dropped with prejudice or not?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 01:01 PM EDT
03/09/2012 - 777 - Statement re 726 Order, 757 Order Oracle Statement Regarding Patent Reexaminations by Oracle America, Inc.

Oracle’s highest priority is to bring this case to trial as soon as possible, and within the time period recently suggested by the Court (mid-April to mid-June, 2012). Accordingly, if the case goes to trial this spring, Oracle will withdraw from the litigation with prejudice each claim of the ’720, ’205, and ’702 patents asserted against Google that remains rejected at the time of trial, and proceed with the copyright case, the ’520 patent, the ’104 patent, and any asserted claims of the other three patents that are confirmed by the PTO.

03/13/2012 - 786 - ORDER SETTING TRIAL DATE OF APRIL 16, 2012 re 675 Order. Signed by Judge Alsup on March 13, 2012.

In reliance on Oracle’s withdrawal with prejudice of the ’720, ’205, and ’702 patents, given the final rejections by the PTO examiner, and having twice admonished counsel to reserve mid-April to mid-June 2012 for the trial of this case, this order now sets April 16 as the first day of trial, which will be devoted to jury selection and opening statements.

So, dropped with prejudice or not?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oh this is such a nice post
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 01:04 PM EDT
What a lovely way to end my afternoon! I just love a fiasco
when it's the bad guy who messes up. Thank you PJ. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

What have we done!!!
Authored by: Ian Al on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 01:10 PM EDT
Don't let them stick a fork in. Put a sTCKae through its heart!

Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 02:04 PM EDT
I put a link in my comment to "Judge to decide
Copyrightability of 37API's) with some of Tim Bray's quotes
from InfoQ back then, PJ. Apparently Tim Bray was attempting
to explain what Sun's plans were at the time to the developer
community. Having finally recognized that if Java was to have
a future it needed to be Opened Up under an Open Source
license and at that time were working on unifying JavaME,
JavaSE and Java EE as Java One Project (abandoned, but Oracle
is still promising JavaME and SE will be ONE at least by JS8,
so they could truly claim to be a "Write Once, Run Anywhere"
solution. They knew that JavaME was an untenable solution for
end users including Governments and Enterprise (Linux
Friendly) with it's inability to run more than one application
per instance of the Java VM.

AND..... they knew the best place to find a solution to make
all Java ONE, would come from the FOSS community!

But sometime (and it certainly wasn't from Johnathan Schwartz)
after Sun had publically announced their approval of Google
completing Android using the Java language, something went
terribly wrong with these plans or they were just using them
as "Come Ons" to sell Enterprise and Governments on Java then.
Since Java (by way of Google's Android mobile implementation
had better security and could now run multiple applications in
one VM runtime instance. What better way to show their support
for FOSS than to and let the World know (mainly in hopes for
expanded interest by Governments and Enterprise (Linux
Friendly Java)!

I'm not sure if Sun or Oracle killed the Java One project, but
Tim Bray was a big reason for any gains Java has made, but now
is about to lose. If Oracle successfully gets the jury into
their corner, they have this Judge to go through and this is a
judge that wants to make the right decisions the first time,
so that even if it is appealed, they'll stand!

Here's that link again on Tim Bray's InfoQ Linux Community
Friendly conversations (read the comments by developers):

I still find it interesting that Sun publically introduced
JavaFX API's running on an Android device, if they were so
against Google making Android. Now Oracle's plans are
beginning to come to light with Java. Cripple Android and if
they can't do that, make it so their new Java Replacements are
the the first truly "Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA)" Java
application platforms on the planet. By stealing Adobe's cross
platform proliferation tactic in writing AIR to encapsulate
the APP and JVM into any platform compliant FLASH Replacement!'s the old Trojan Horse ploy Sun was possibly using by
Open Sourcing Java and then only later exposing restrictions
to keep control of the Java Platform. By writing a better
compiler tool that can compile Apps and the JVM into platform
native compliant applications running on iOS, Android,
Windows, Linux, Macs, etc!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tim Bray's page archived at WebCite
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 02:22 PM EDT


Archived copy at WebCitation

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 03:22 PM EDT
This a repost of the a Tim Bray quote I consider evidence
that Sun (or at least Tim Bray) did not ever intend to have
either other contributors to Java or Sun (Oracle) themselves
to ever go after anyone. That must have changed only when
Oracle were reported Googly Eyed over the prospect of buying

""We have to ensure that users of Java don't have to worry
about getting claims that by using Java they're infringing a
patent held by any of the contributors to Java (including
Sun); so we have to prevent anyone, whether by accident or
on purpose, from contributing code to Java and then being
able to launch claims against people who use it.""

[ Reply to This | # ]

Q on Tim Bray's blog and the Jury
Authored by: hAckz0r on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 03:32 PM EDT
One major problem remains in my mind with regards to this blog message. The Jury is not allowed to peruse the Web and just look up links found in an email, even if that email is previously given as evidence for the case. Google on the other hand can not just enter the website as new evidence in one of those 'Perry Mason Moments' either. How is this historical blog message ever going to affect the case outcome? I want it to, but I don't see how it will change anything unless the Jury knows about it. (IANAL, which should be obvious by the question)

DRM - As a "solution", it solves the wrong problem; As a "technology" its only 'logically' infeasible.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A hope
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 04:06 PM EDT

Ya know what would be really, really sweet?

    If - prior to the start of the patent infringement phase - the USPTO officialy completely closed the outstanding patent as invalid!
That would be totally sweet. With Oracle's desire to have the Jury informed that the "unofficially invalidated patent" is valid - that would have to change just as they were about to start on their argument for that.


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • A hope - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 05:10 PM EDT
Good? API Analogy
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 04:39 PM EDT
I think I've final come up with a good analogy of what an API is.

In a restaurant, you have a menu (API specification), recipes (API
implementation) and an order (a program.) So what is an API?

Well if you order a hamburger, you could get all sorts of slight variations of
the same thing. So the API must be the idea of the hamburger.

It's so hard to define what an API is, because it isn't anything, but an
abstract idea.

So far it's the best I've come up with. I never realized it was so hard to
explain what an API is.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can estoppel be the answer to the copyright and patent issues.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 04:43 PM EDT

It would seem that the Judge Alsup could avoid *all* the thorny patent and copyright issues by reasoning thusly:

1. It is clear from the facts of the case that Sun (if not Oracle) both promoted, and encouraged use of Java as open, and also publicly praised and encouraged those doing so, including independent implementations of the core software supporting the Java language. The only signficant restriction involved use of the TCK which was required only in order prove compatibitly sufficient to brand the result as a "Java" trademarked product.

2. However, the public record is also clear that Sun was willing to allow, and at least sometimes (as with Harmony and Classpath), welcoming of implementations which did *not* take advantage of TCK testing, as long as the product was not called "Java" or branded with Java trademarks.

3. The recent claims of copyright infringement based on the APIs is counter to accepted industry practices and conventions, and marks a clear change of course and policy on behalf of Oracle subsequent to its acquistion of Sun.

4. However, the fact they encouraged use of the Java language and associated tools other than the TCK precludes them from now asserting claims for infringement against all current pre-existing implementations.

5. If Oracle now wants to try to claw back what they have previously promoted as open and free, and to change the rules under which it can be used based on whatever new theories of ownership/copyright, they are free to do so by making a clear and unequivocal pronouncement to that effect.

6. The court will not make a ruling on whether or not the APIs are or are not copyrightable by law. Also, the court will not rule on the patent validity currently under review ty the USPTO.

7. However, in any case, Oracle (or any successor) are hereby estopped from infringement claims against projects and software pre-dating that announcement.

[ Reply to This | # ]

On APIs and proprietariness
Authored by: celtic_hackr on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 05:18 PM EDT
A news article on the sidebar just made me think of something.

If Oracle wins on the Java API, the software industry is effectively over.
Here's why, I have some very, very old programming books. They include the API
to the Intel 80x86 CPU. This API was written by Intel. Intel invented it and
every Desktop system today uses it. If Oracle wins Intel can force every writer
of every language and every CPU maker to license from them.

Because every language has to eventually call down to the Intel 80x86 API.
Except RISC based chips. But virtually every RISC based chip has some means of
handling 80x86 code. So those all need a license. Intel is going to be a very,
very wealthy company. I'd better go stock up on some of it.

Also, if Oracle wins, they are going to have to license from UC Berkeley, for
their use of Berkeley's version of Pascal, and AT&T for the use of C APIs.
They borrowed a lot from C. It's just a derivative work of C and Pascal, with
very little creative input. IIRC.

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GPL2 + Classpath exception for the SE libraries
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Monday, April 23 2012 @ 05:38 PM EDT
I notice that Bray was not calling for a clean GPLv2 for libraries but rather
"GPL2 + Classpath exception for the SE libraries".

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

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What did the Judge's instruction mean?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 12:19 AM EDT
PJ> What in the world is Oracle thinking, putting this exhibit
> with a link to Tim Bray's words up on its website, and worse,
> showing it to the jury?

My first reaction was - the jury can't see it because they were
told not to do outside research, not to look stuff up on the web.
So do they have to file a question to the Court, asking
Please Sir, what's on the other end of this link?

Assuming they think that link is any more important than the
many (in)advertently scattered thru the evidence they've been given.

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The Java SE6 TCK License and the GPL
Authored by: Ian Al on Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 02:50 AM EDT

2.1 License Grant for the TCK.

(a) Limited Grant. Subject to and conditioned upon its Licensee Implementation being substantially derived from OpenJDK Code and, if such Implementation has or is to be distributed to a third party, its being distributed under the GPL License, Oracle hereby grants to Licensee, to the extent of Oracle's Intellectual Property Rights in the TCK, a worldwide, personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited license to use the TCK internally and solely for the purpose of developing and testing Licensee Implementation. No license is granted for any other purpose, including any of the activities described in Section 2.1(b).

(b) Additional Limitations. Licensee may not:

(i) sublicense, distribute or otherwise make the TCK(s) available to any third party, except that Licensee may share comments, questions or particular results concerning Licensee's use of the TCK (including relevant excerpts of the TCK itself) with other licensees bound by an OpenJDK Community TCK License Agreement v1.x, and under the terms thereof, provided that any Confidential Information disclosed by Licensee to another such licensee shall still be subject to Section 5 of the recipient's OpenJDK TCK License Agreement;

(ii) create derivative works of the TCK(s);

(iii) distribute a Licensee Implementation under any license other than a GPL License, except that Licensee may provide a Licensee Implementation to Oracle under the terms of a Oracle Contributor Agreement;

(iv) test a third party’s Licensee Implementation or other work; or

(v) make claims of comparative compatibility (for example, a claim either that the Licensee Implementation is “90% compatible” or that the Licensee Implementation is “more compatible” than another implementation).

2.2 Proprietary Rights Notices. Licensee shall not remove any copyright notices, trademark notices or other proprietary legends of Oracle or its suppliers contained on or in the TCK, and shall incorporate such notices in all copies of any TCK. Licensee shall comply with all reasonable requests by Oracle to include additional copyright or other proprietary rights notices of Oracle or third parties from time to time.

2.3 Branding. No right, title, or interest in or to any trademarks, service marks, or trade names of Oracle or Oracle’s licensors are granted hereunder. Such rights, if any, concerning a Compatible Licensee Implementation may be obtained pursuant to a Trademark License with Oracle. Java, and Java-related logos, marks and names are trademarks or registered trademarks of Oracle America, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

I'm sorry to post so much of the TCK license for Java SE6, but each time I got the scissors out, I saw something educational in the text.

We don't know if this licence is anything like any licence being sold by Sun.

The licence says that you can obtain the TCK and run it on your own implementation of the Java V6 API Specification as long as your independent implementation is ' substantially derived from OpenJDK Code'.

If you pass the test, the licence gives you 'no right, title, or interest in or to any trademarks, service marks, or trade names of Oracle or Oracle’s licensors'.

If you pass the test, the licence gives you no right to ' make claims of comparative compatibility (for example, a claim either that the Licensee Implementation is “90% compatible” or that the Licensee Implementation is “more compatible” than another implementation)'. I suppose you are allowed to say that your implementation passes the TCK, but that right is not explicitly awarded.

2.4 No Other Grant. This Agreement does not grant to Licensee any right or license, under any Intellectual Property Rights of Oracle or otherwise, except as expressly provided in this Section 2.0, and no other right or license is to be implied by or inferred from any provision of this Agreement or by the conduct of the parties.
That would include Oracle copyrights in the Java Language Specification and the Java API Specification. Note that passing or failing the TCK does not award any rights with respect to any other IP owned by Oracle.

0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".
So any document (a non-program work) with the GPL has a licence to make and distribute a verbatim copy of the non-program work complete with copyright markings and a copy of the GPL. It only licences distribution to changes to the program and not any other part of the document.

The document remains the copyright of the originator. Any editing of the document is an unauthorised copy. It does not matter whether you derive your unauthorised copy by using the rich information available within the Java programming system or by using a decompiler written in C on the proprietary Sun implementation of the API, any documentary output is a derivation of Oracle copyright documents.

Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

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Sun's Tim Bray on the Day Sun Released Java Under GPL -- "There Will be Lots of Forks and I Approve" ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 07:35 AM EDT
Time for Oracle to get a good smackdown! Maybe it'll shake Larry Ellison out of
his ivory tower.

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