Google’s legal spat with Oracle is now underway, with the two Silicon Valley powerhouses battling over an idea rather than a patent violation. At the core of the dispute is the matter of whether or not a company can legally copyright a computer programming language, especially Java, which has been integral to the open-source community for years.
Kicking off the court case yesterday, Oracle had time only for opening statements, which focused on Google’s early knowledge that they’d likely need a licensing deal to utilize Java within their Android framework. It’s not a good sign for Google just a day into this monumental court battle, which could redefine the way open-source code can be used by software developers in the future.
Google is expected to defend its decision to include Java in Android’s framework by pointing out that it hand-picked portions of the open-source code that are free and in the public domain. Google is all about open web standards, arguing that the protection of a programming language does not extend to the method of operation or system. But Oracle wants the fundamental “idea” of the programming language to be reconsidered here, placing protection around the “detailed vocabulary and expression” of the language as original and creative.
While Google offers the Android OS for free to its developer community, Oracle is still after Google’s broader business model of search advertising revenue, which is interlaced within their widespread mobile platform.
Google to bundle MIPS support at native Android level
This could be a rough road for Google, but they remain dedicated to the developer community with plans to boost support for Android devices with MIPS architecture. Nearly 2 million MIPS-based Android tablets have shipped to date, mainly low cost systems from China, and Google has taken notice of the growth. The native Android developers’ kit is expected to start bundling a GNU compiler for MIPS within weeks, with full support bundled for the MIPS application binary interface (ABI) in all Android code and libraries. It’s a much-needed boost for MIPS Technologies, which has been struggling to compete with ARM.