I will admit it, I love “free” software. After all there is so much software out there, you should be able to find some software that works reasonably well for a reasonable price. Now with all software, you have to get some support from time to time, so it makes sense to get some software with a strong community of users behind it, so that if it doesn’t work well, you have some support. Or if you are going to be a beta site, work with a company that answers it’s emails.
So it is with some concern that I see that Oracle (a large computer company) is suing Google over copyrights regarding a programming language that was allegedly free and open software (Java).
That said, I was never a fan of Java (the programming language), because I didn’t understand the weird way that Sun (now wholly owned by Oracle, which makes database systems) licensed the source code, while it was “open source” under the gnu public license, Oracle claims that the code was improperly used by Google in the free and open source Android operating system.
Actually the Android operating system is really a Linux system with almost everything else running in highly optimized open source pseudo-Java virtual machine. I say pseudo-Java because the code that was being run was not technically Java, but something else. This was to avoid infringing on other vague patents that people had about the optimizations of code for use on various devices that could be construed to include all phones.
So the problem is, if Google can be sued for giving away software that it developed based on other open source and allegedly “free” software, can anyone use any “free” software? Because if Google loses Oracle’s lawsuit against Google, than everyone can be sued if they ever used any “free” software, because if Google can’t figure out how to use allegedly open source software to work against the API’s for to make a compatible alternative free system, than I don’t know who can.
And that is something we should all wonder, if Google can’t give away software for free, that it developed based on publicly published, free specifications, under a license that was allegedly free, because somewhere along the supply chain there is some piece of code that might be similar to other publicly published code, than who really owns the software you develop?
The funny part about this whole thing is the C++ programmers who had eschewed Java are now justified, as Java is, a single company’s programming language that is not really unencumbered, as it has been from the beginning.
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