Google moves to open source Java

microsoft-open-sourceSearch engine Google has rewarded Oracle for its intense legal interest in Android by abandoning all elements of Larry Ellison’s Java operating system from the mobile operating system.

Ellison’s mighty briefs have been trying to squeeze cash out of Google by claiming elements of the Andriod operating system use its Java Operating System without permission. Now it seems that Google has decided it is not worth the fight and is going to use something different instead.

Instead it is going to use OpenJDK which is an open source version of Oracle’s Java Development Kit.  Android N will rely solely on OpenJDK, rather Android’s own implementation of the Java APIs.

The plan is to move Android’s Java language libraries to an OpenJDK-based approach, creating a common code base for developers to build apps and services. It will start making more contributions to the OpenJDK project.

So far 8902 files have been changed, and Google says that it will simplify the code on which they build apps — a common codebase for these Java API libraries, as opposed to multiple codebases.  But it is not just for developers, otherwise Google would have made the complete switch to OpenJDK ages ago.

Google said that the reason was  the release of  Java 8 last year and the introduction of new language features such as Iambdas.  But there is also the small matter of Ellison’s mighty briefs.

Google has decided to protect itself with regards to future Android versions in the event it loses the current legal battles between Oracle and Google.

After acquiring Sun in January 2010, Oracle sued Google for copyright and patent infringement in August 2010, arguing that Android cannot use Java’s APIs without permission. Google countered by declaring that APIs can’t be copyrighted as they are essential to software development, collaboration, and innovation.

In 2012 a jury agreed with Google and said that Java’s APIs can’t be copyrighted. In May 2014, the Federal Circuit partially reversed the district court decision, ruling in Oracle’s favour: Java’s APIs can be copyrighted, but Google could argue that it made fair use of Oracle’s copyrighted APIs.

It is also not clear what will happen to Java if it is not the prime focus of Android. While Google walking away is not exactly going to kill it off, it will weaken the widescale adoption of an OS which many developers are already considering abandoning since Oracle took it over.