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Oracle's Newest Move To Undermine Android 342

GMGruman writes "Oracle's decision to shift focus from the Harmony Java open source project to OpenJDK seems innocuous enough — but InfoWorld's Josh Fruhlinger explains it's part of an effort to derail Google's mobile Android OS by gutting the open source project that Android has been driven by. IBM has signed on, apparently in return for getting the Java Community Process reactivated, leaving Google in a bind."
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Oracle's Newest Move To Undermine Android

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  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @03:33PM (#33874906)

    Forgive the layman here, but why can't Android simply switch Java platforms as well? Open is Open, no?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @03:41PM (#33875028)

    avoid the fees B.S. and just ship the 100 meg java SDK with android and be done with it. it even has a patent cross licensing clause. yes its bloated. yes developers might not use any of its features. who the fuck cares ? just ship the damn thing and keep the JVM compatible. if a nokia dumbphone from 5 years ago can ship with j2me so can an android smartphone.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @03:43PM (#33875060) Journal

    We already know that Dalvik VM itself isn't like JVM. It can be mapped one-to-one (at least going from JVM bytecode to Dalvik bytecode), but the basic architecture is different.

    Android also has its own rich class library, while retaining some stock fundamental Java classes. Of those some are inherently implemented mostly by the VM (Object, String...), so presumably they are also Dalvik-specific, while others have Java implementation - collections, for example. I assume the latter is what is taken from Harmony. The obvious question, then, is - how much code is that? Somehow, I suspect that it's not all that big, and so Google could just take over those bits it needs - rather than Harmony as a whole - without having to contribute significant resources to it.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JonySuede ( 1908576 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @03:55PM (#33875234) Journal

    It just happens to share Java's grammar.

    and a good percentage of the java class library too

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jfruhlinger ( 470035 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:02PM (#33875348) Homepage

    Google collects a license fee from Java ME installs. Android isn't a Java ME implmenetation, obviously, and you can argue that Android is hindering the adoption of Java ME in the next generation smartphone world by absorbing the energies of the huge pool of Java programmers who might want to do mobile development. (You could also argue that Java ME was failing to catch on quite well on its own before Android showed up due to its own limitations.)

    If you're interested in the background, here's an article I wrote about it a couple of months ago []. (I'm the guy who wrote the article that got slashdotted, for what it's worth.)

  • A Chess match. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Roskolnikov ( 68772 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:05PM (#33875376)

    Sergey vs. Larry.

  • Re:No Duh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:08PM (#33875424)

    Did Sun ever really support Harmony?

    Actually no. I don't think so. But the summary gave the appearance, so I just gave it some latitude.

    Either way, making a deal with another company to ensure that all their developers stop working on a project is going farther than to "discontinue supporting" it.

    Except that IBM has said that they have no plans to stop supporting Harmony. Of course the exact words were " IBM will continue working on Harmony, but its main efforts will be directed toward OpenJDK, Smith said.".

    This make sense because it gives more credence to the JCP and IBM's invitation can be seen as the JCP slowing turning into a independent body governing Java.

    Also, I think you did mean to spoil a good conspiracy. Shame on you.

    Guilty as charged ;)

  • by John Whitley ( 6067 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:23PM (#33875642) Homepage

    Google is famous for building a piece of cool software to version .8 or so and then releasing it under open source and letting everyone else finish the work.

    I call your bluff: Show source control logs that demonstrate that any significant Google open source release (of which there are many) has more than a trivial percentage of non-Google contributions. For full credit, you must show that these non-Google contributors were somehow not working in their self interest by contributing to the project.

    On that latter point... Last I checked, "open source volunteer sweatshop" was still equal to the empty set. I.e. no one is forced to contribute to any particular piece of open source code. The deal for all OSS projects is essentially the same: "hey, I made something cool, come help out if you like!" Whether "I" is a corporation or one or more independent volunteers is irrelevant. Any external contributors to a project do so for their own reasons, reasons which have been extensively discussed elsewhere.

  • Re:No Duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:29PM (#33875722)

    Did Sun ever really support Harmony?

    No, IBM did.

    This article is largely about Oracle offering IBM concessions regarding the management JCP process so that IBM would drop involvement with Harmony in favor of dedicating resources to OpenJDK and the Java Community Process.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jfruhlinger ( 470035 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:58PM (#33876066) Homepage

    Yes! I have many secret identities!

  • by mldi ( 1598123 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @05:35PM (#33876512)

    I'm not an expert on Android internals or anything, but I think this story is being significantly overblown.

    Seriously understated... The problem with Oracle and Google is simply licensing. If Google had licensed Java like every other company doing a port like Android perhaps Sun would still be a viable company today. Perhaps it is unfortunate that Sun did not want to litigate, but you can't expect Oracle to drop the same ball.

    ...except that it's not a "port", and any company that licensed Java VM has used a Java VM that was licensable. Google isn't using one of those VMs. Nobody dropped the ball here. It's just another frivolous lawsuit trying to ride the coattails of somebody else's success.

  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:01PM (#33876784)

    No it should never have had a VM in it there is no need for it. Apple got it right by going 100% native, a jvm on a phone serves no purpose other than to burn precious processor cycles and battery life.

  • Re:Rough times (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ooshna ( 1654125 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @06:15PM (#33876914)
    Yes the Wii is targeted as casual gamers and kids go look at the game selection. Everything about it screams casual gamer. So you used to play games on the original Nintendo and can play mega man with your eyes closed that doesn't mean anything now 20 years after the fact.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zuperduperman ( 1206922 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @07:15PM (#33877520)

    Well, they're kind of caught in a pincer move here. If Google admits Dalvik is a JVM then they get sued for breaking Java the same way Microsoft did. If they claim it isn't a JVM then they have no patent protection since the patent licenses covering the JVM only protect JVM implementors. So Google has to pick one of these evils. It turns out the first one is a non starter because there is all kinds of stuff they don't implement in Dalvik to make it a real JVM so they are stuck defending patents.

    However I am sure the court will still have a close and sceptical look at Dalvik nonetheless. Google is going to have to go to court and argue that they have this virtual machine which accepts no other language than JVM bytecode as its source input - and yet, this virtual machine is not a JVM! And then their reward for succeeding with this is to get sued for patent infringement which I think they will defend. At least half the patents will fall over, several more are nearly expired (FAT) so there are really only a couple of ones that are in play. Perhaps Google will just cop it and give Oracle some licensing money, hoping that the court will set a low value on these.

    To be honest, if I was Google I'd be implementing an alternative language that compiles directly to the dex format as fast as possible - partly to convince the court that Dalvik is not a JVM but also partly as a stick to wave at Oracle and tell them - even if you win you will LOSE because we will move Android away from Java and you'll be left with a few billion $ one time payout but a huge black eye and Java developers fleeing the platform to Google's new language.

  • Re:Rough times (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @09:36PM (#33878592)

    OS X is not "based on" BSD and even if it was Linux was not around when OS X was under development.

    OSX is the Mach/XNU Kernel, some FreeBSD and NetBSD subsystems, Darwin subsystem, and a proprietary UI.

    OSX is most certainly based on FreeBSD, among other things. Objective-C, and therefore Cocoa, absolutely require a libc system, and OSX uses FreeBSD's. What you call the "Darwin subsystem" is a stripped down FreeBSD userspace over a Mach-like kernel. OSX is no longer based on Mach/XNU code at all. They have their own implementation of a Mach-like kernel.

  • by psyclone ( 187154 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:08PM (#33878776)

    Seems like Python would be the obvious second language to be compiled to Dalvik bytecode.

    See this thread [] from back in 2008 before Android even shipped.

    Linked at the bottom of that thread are the Dalkvik VM docs [] (link updated to head).

    Also is a Stack Overflow post that links to many methods [] for Python and scripting languages to create Android apps. (Though some methods like Jython are still using Java.)

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