Ghost of Sun's Schwartz chides Oracle's Google lawsuit

Android first seen as endorsement of Java

Oracle’s recent patent infringement lawsuit against Google around the way its Android operating system uses Java is contradictory to the apparent joy of former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz in a blog post three years ago still hosted by Oracle.

Earlier this month, Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google charging that its Android phone software infringes patents and copyrights related to Java.

A few days later Google responded by calling the lawsuit “baseless” and an attack on the open source Java community.

Oracle’s move is in stark contrast to Sun’s feeling towards Google when Android was first announced.

In November 2007, Jonathan Schwartz wrote on his blog “Congratulations Google, Red Hat and the Java Community!” praising Google’s use of Java in Android.

“I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform, Android. Congratulations!,” Schwartz wrote.

Ironically, the blog continues to be hosted by Oracle. The URL http://blogs.sun.com now links to Oracle blogs.

Schwartz also expressed delight at Android as a “Java based platform” which it will support with developer tools.

Oracle’s complaint centres around the Dalvik virtual machine used in Android being able to support Java, but not being an officially sanctioned JVM.

“The Java platform has come a long way - we're on the vast majority of mobile devices in the marketplace today,” Schwartz wrote.

“And needless to say, Google and the Open Handset Alliance just strapped another set of rockets to the community's momentum. Today is an incredible day for the open source community, and a massive endorsement of two of the industry's most prolific free software communities, Java and Linux.”

Some commentators have even gone so far as to suggest Schwartz shopped Sun with a big "Sue Google" sign, but none of the key Sun people, including Java’s father James Gosling, have lent any support to such a claim.

At the time Schwartz even congratulated competitor Red Hat for its support for the OpenJDK project.

“With friends like Google and Red Hat, it sure seems like the momentum behind Java's on the rise...,” he wrote.

Other Oracle Java developers have been critical of Google’s Android direction with one, Hinkmond Wong, writing on his blog Android is guilty of fragmenting Java for not using an official Java ME implementation.

“You would think that Android would learn from the experiences of Java ME technology. But, nooooo... Android likes to make lots of mistakes including fracturing their partners who are shunning their devices and seeking out rival apps and services,” Wong wrote back in May.

On the day Oracle sued Google Wong wrote: “Imagine the look when some people at that certain company open up the newspaper tomorrow morning. Grab some popcorn. This one is going to be fun...”

Rodney Gedda is Editor of TechWorld Australia. Follow Rodney on Twitter at @rodneygedda. Rodney's e-mail address is rodney_gedda@idg.com.au. Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter at @Techworld_AU.

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