Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Oct 2010 20:07 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Legal Now, this is an interesting development in the ongoing war against Android. Oracle didn't just sue Google for allegedly infringing its Java patents; it also claimed copyright infringement. Oracle has amended its complaint, and, fair is fair, they've got the code to prove it: indeed, Android contains code that appears to be copied verbatim from Java - mind you, appears. However, the code in question comes straight from Apache's Harmony project, which raises the question - would a respected and long-established cornerstone of the open source world really accept tainted code in the first place?
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RE: What is the real issue here?
by fury on Fri 29th Oct 2010 13:34 UTC in reply to "What is the real issue here?"
fury
Member since:
2005-09-23

I believe the whole code theft thing is really a red herring considering Java is open source (or am I missing something?).


For one thing, code theft is still very much an issue with open source software. Open source software still has a software license that must be abided, and in this case, open source Java is GPL, which is one of the more restrictive open source licenses (technically we call it "free software").

Furthermore it is possible that this version of the code was lifted from a non-GPL implementation of Java. Even if it was the same code that was GPLed later, the terms of the decompiled copy still apply.

The real issue is whether or not it can be transferred to Harmony and then on to Google's Dalvik in such a fashion as it has been without violating the license.


No, because this code was not transferred in the typical way for source code. Instead it was generated from the machine code (well, Java byte code), which bypasses the need to have the source code to make a modified copy. Certainly if this class had been under a compatible license, it would not have been decompiled at all. Instead this is an attempt to get around whatever license applied at the time using freshman-level CS plagiarism.

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