Larry Ellison stumped on Java question

Oracle boss Larry Ellison was backed into a corner in court and had to admit that he didn’t know that Java was free software.

Making a star appearance in the US District Court in San Francisco courtroom 8, the Oracle CEO was quizzed by Google’s lead attorney, Robert Van Nest, if the Java language was free.

According to CNet, Ellison was a little slow in his response and Judge William Alsup pushed him to answer with a yes or no.

Ellison resisted and growled “I don’t know”.

To be fair to Ellison, Java is free, but it also has a set of licences that are required for specific use cases, but we would have thought that he did know what was what.

Google claims that 15 million lines of code in its Android smartphone software contains only the parts of Java that are freely available and not restricted by licensing or copyright.

The search engine forked from the standard Java implementation to ensure that Android provided a differentiated platform for app developers.

Sun, which Ellison bought, developed Java and the Java Community Process.

Oracle disputes Google’s claim that Android doesn’t use any Java code. The company used documentation and developer tools that would legally require a licence from Oracle.

Google says the 37 APIs in Android that Oracle has identified as infringing on its intellectual property are not subject to copyright.