No Wonder Oracle Lost v Google. Oracle’s Lawyers Don’t Get FLOSS

“Google won a verdict that an unauthorized, commercial, competitive, harmful use of software in billions of products is fair use. No copyright expert would have ever predicted such a use would be considered fair. Before celebrating, developers should take a closer look. Not only will creators everywhere suffer from this decision if it remains intact, but the free software movement itself now faces substantial jeopardy.”
 
See Op-ed: Oracle attorney says Google’s court victory might kill the GPL
Whew! A lawyer emitting such foolish ignorant statements as a result of a loss in the heat of the moment is understandable but this is in public on the web.

First, Google didn’t make billions of copies of Oracle’s APIs, just one copy into the SDK which may have gone to a few thousand developers. SUN/Oracle made a particular implementation of those APIs available, but Google replaced that with their own. The issue shouldn’t have been fair use at all but the difference between an idea, the API, not copywriteable, and the implementation which is. Oracle fooled a court on that point but could not fool one on fair use. Oracle can’t tell the world we are free to use Java and the try to punish folks for doing so. That’s not fair.

The issue’s not about the GPL at all. No one can legally copy GPLed software and distribute it without compliance. That’s obvious to everyone except Oracle.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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24 Responses to No Wonder Oracle Lost v Google. Oracle’s Lawyers Don’t Get FLOSS

  1. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser is more messy than you can dream.
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/android-n-switches-to-openjdk-google-tells-oracle-it-is-protected-by-the-gpl/
    (I believe this is because it uses various Java bits derived from the Apache Foundation. You know. The foundation you all love so much, because it espouses OpenOffice rather than the LibreOffice that is somehow “far more free.”)
    Lets go look up Apache java.
    https://harmony.apache.org/
    Officially died 2011 due to no one putting any maintenance into it. Both harmony and Openoffice are suffering from the same problem. No requirement to give back equals almost no one giving back so a slow but sure degrade of code base. Libreoffice and openjdk under more restrictive license has more developers in fact submitting fixes.

    To start with, the “modified Linux kernel” bits are only licensed via GPLv2, which I suppose is at least in line with Torvald’s own thoughts.
    Interesting enough GPLv2 include the clauses mandating users right to replace. The right to modify clauses. So every android device where you cannot replace the firmware is breaking GPLv2 of the kernel. Android issue where users cannot update is breach of license GPLv2. GPL license infringement is a massive thing.

    These are the bits that you would love to rip off, but you can’t. Not unless you are HTC or Samsung or whoever, and even then you have to enter into high-level negotiations.
    Samsung and most ODMs got around this one very quickly. Why they are multi company construction. So one company part of them signs a deal with google and another part of them does installation customization. CyanogenMod support from Samsung did not change because they signed the Google agreement because the company that pays the samsung developers working on Cyanogen mod is not the same company that markets Samsung devices installs with Google android. Yes dealing with conglomerates means restrictive licensing basically does not work. Yes amazon could do the same thing roll out a sub company that signs the deal with google and obeys the google rules and still keep on making fireOS like nothing happened why because the company making fireos would not have signed the license.

    http://opengapps.org/
    Next is this Google Maps and Google Play Services is not quite a special as you would think. The ODM/OEM restriction is mostly a minor pain. Now lets say you don’t have a deal with google. Result is latter access to source but does this prevent you device from installing Google Maps and Google Play Services no it does not.

    It gets important to understand the term ODM and OEM.

    The original device maker(ODM) part of samsung that is one company has not had to sign the deal with google. The Android/Chromebook OEM part that makes those firmwares has had to. But there are more OEM inside Samsung making different firmwares for samsung phone hardware for different markets that are not bound by Google restrictions.

    microg is complaining about having to install google parts to use particular APIs and how google has attempted to use this very weak control to attempt to control Android.

    Now is it legal for a aosp/custom android firmware device shipper to android to include a icon for user to click to install the google applications after they have the device in their hand so removing the need for them to agree google OEM licensing yes it is.

    Reality the google OEM licensing without it is restricted license and restricted early access that is what hurts OEMs a bit but multi company constructed OEM are not effected at all.

    Funny enough big companies like Samsung that don’t just make phones were forced to push Google Andorid off into a sub-company because of the way Google Android OEM license was that horrible vague that you could say any kernel modification was forking it. So to prevent Samsung from having to double down on developers they have one company working on ASOP with other items using the Linux kernel and one company with a Google apps license.

    Replacing the part of choice involves being able to access the APIs. It seems that this is what microg are complaining about.
    Basically you still have not understood the issue Dr Loser. Microg started before google attempted in 2014 to use application preinstallation requirement licensing. Microg does not like the idea of being Dependant on a closed source implementation of anything to run programs.

    Preinstallation requirement of google is so limited in it effectiveness its not funny particularly when you wake up every application included in google preinstallation end users are free to install at no cost after they have device in their hands.

    Bigger issue is why has Google not mandated unlock-able boot-loaders and firmware replacement options as being GPLv2 kernel is in fact mandated to be conforming to the license. This is what is so stupid about google arguement against LGPL by using the Linux kernel the most of same set of problem causing restrictions applied anyhow that lots of android makers are not obeying.

    If google had wanted to get away from GPL they should have went Freebsd kernel or the like why did they not again lack of maintenance so lack of hardware support due to lack of drivers. Yes the side effect of having a license not restrictive enough. Its a really rare items without a LGPL or more restrictive license to prosper extremely well.

  2. KenM says:

    Why is Oracle suing Google over coffee?

  3. Dr Loser says:

    For bonus added fun, Dalvik was licensed under Apache 2.0. (I believe this is because it uses various Java bits derived from the Apache Foundation. You know. The foundation you all love so much, because it espouses OpenOffice rather than the LibreOffice that is somehow “far more free.”)
    I’m not entirely sure, but I think that the current Android Run Time (replacing Dalvik) has the same license.
    Well, considering that they both share the same set of opcodes, for tolerably obvious reasons, and presumably that set of opcodes falls under the same license unless it’s really a phonebook or something … at least this simplifies things.

    Must be a fun time, being a FLOSSie. All that talking to lawyers and marketroids and stuff.

  4. Dr Loser says:

    The licensing of Android has always been something that you lot conveniently skip over, hasn’t it?

    To start with, the “modified Linux kernel” bits are only licensed via GPLv2, which I suppose is at least in line with Torvald’s own thoughts.

    And then there’s the bits that make money. Like Google Maps and Google Play Services.

    These are the bits that you would love to rip off, but you can’t. Not unless you are HTC or Samsung or whoever, and even then you have to enter into high-level negotations.

    FLOSS this is not, script kiddies.

  5. Dr Loser says:

    Meaning you can look but you have no control to alter the implementation but there is nothing preventing groups like microg from replacing it.

    Well, sure, Fifi. Replacing the implementation of an entire OS has always been possible. Windows for Linux, Linux for Windows, whatever.

    Replacing the part of choice involves being able to access the APIs. It seems that this is what microg are complaining about.

    Then again, you wouldn’t know, because you didn’t read your cite until I insisted you do, did you, Fifi?

  6. Dr Loser says:

    Dr Loser the blackberry version of android/QNX hybrid is dieing a slow and painful death. Should send a clear warning to Microsoft about running ubuntu on windows.

    Gibberish. Pure gibberish. The two are not connected, and the second is not of any interest to anybody in any case.

  7. Dr Loser says:

    Phone books, instruction sets etc. are not copyrightable, so neither are APIs …

    I imagine you have a perfectly logical explanation for that not very obvious equivalence, Robert.

    Or is it just another of those “analogies” that you are so keen to defend?

  8. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “ou can thank Barry for murdering Scalia. Pillow over face, clean made sheets, and no autopsy because natural causes. Yep.”

    Take your Med’s Sonny.

  9. Deaf Spy wrote, “I can’t imagine how a developer would say that API’s should not be protected intellectually.”

    Phone books, instruction sets etc. are not copyrightable, so neither are APIs although Oracle did get a clueless judge and jury to accept that. It’s not law yet. The idea that Oracle could make Java FLOSS yet require expensive licensing for APIs is just silly. That’s like inviting guests to come to a party at your place and then having them arrested for opening the front door.

  10. Deaf Spy says:

    I am surprised by this decision. Turns out you can spend hundreds of hours designing an API, publish documentation on it, and then have everyone take it and re-implement it for his own use, and steal all the dev base you have…

    I can’t imagine how a developer would say that API’s should not be protected intellectually.

  11. JD says:

    Well, thanks to the Republicans, SCOTUS is split 4-4

    You can thank Barry for murdering Scalia. Pillow over face, clean made sheets, and no autopsy because natural causes. Yep.

  12. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser
    By the way, Fifi, I wasn’t claiming that Google API control thing myself. I was merely quoting Robert’s cite, which I read and analyzed carefully.
    If you quote something that is incorrect you are liable for it end of story. You need to be way more careful what you decide to quote.

    Dr Loser yes I have read the https://microg.org/ the look but don’t touch is refering to a open API with a proprietary implementation. Meaning you can look but you have no control to alter the implementation but there is nothing preventing groups like microg from replacing it.

    Proprietary operating system does have to mean API usage restrictions but it can. The way the microg site describes it is safe to quote. The way the orcale lawyer describes it is simply wrong.

    More and more libraries and APIs are only available on phones that run various Google apps pre-installed, effectively locking third-party apps to the Google ecosystem.
    Please note this carefully microg is reimplementing the libraries they are not having to reimplemented the API header files and they can in fact ship the API header files google in fact makes due to the license those are under. This is not like Wine implementing windows where the Microsoft header files are under a license that wine cannot ship so wine project has to make replacement copies.

    Proprietary operating system has different levels of teeth attempting to reimplemented based on what they have done.

    Dr Loser the blackberry version of android/QNX hybrid is dieing a slow and painful death. Should send a clear warning to Microsoft about running ubuntu on windows. What has happened is native code android applications happen to use Linux system calls QNX does not in fact have a full set so user is using application and it magically crashes for no apparent reason. Same issues come running Linux binaries on Freebsd or Solaris or vxworks.

    https://source.android.com/source/licenses.html Google gives 3 points you need to read for why android is not GNU/Linux

    1 LGPL (in simplified terms) requires either: shipping of source to the application; a written offer for source; or linking the LGPL-ed library dynamically and allowing users to manually upgrade or replace the library. Since Android software is typically shipped in the form of a static system image, complying with these requirements ends up restricting OEMs’ designs. (For instance, it’s difficult for a user to replace a library on read-only flash storage.)

    2 LGPL requires allowance of customer modification and reverse engineering for debugging those modifications. Most device makers do not want to have to be bound by these terms. So to minimize the burden on these companies, we minimize usage of LGPL software in userspace.

    3 Historically, LGPL libraries have been the source of a large number of compliance problems for downstream device makers and application developers. Educating engineers on these issues is difficult and slow-going, unfortunately. It’s critical to Android’s success that it be as easy as possible for device makers to comply with the licenses. Given the difficulties with complying with LGPL in the past, it is most prudent to simply not use LGPL libraries if we can avoid it.

    Get problem Dr Loser. LGPL include nice clause where LGPL libraries must be upgradeable. So if Android had been done LGPL license not apache the issue of upstreams not providing updates that Android suffers from would not exist.

    There’s no actual need for Gnu/Linux on an Android device at all.
    I would serous-ally reconsider this position. Google did what was simplest for the device makers with the least restriction on device makers leading to the current android security mess that now regulators will have to step in and clean up and will risk harder conditions on devices makers than LGPL would have applied.

  13. Dr Loser says:

    Disregarding Fifi’s endless babble and Walls’O’Gibberish, there’s an interesting question for all FLOSS advocates out there. To whit: is there an Android alternative to Google dominance?

    Well, possibly, there is. But you won’t like it.

    There’s no actual need for Gnu/Linux on an Android device at all. Dalvik, or whatever VM you choose, can run on practically anything. Gnu/Linux brings nothing significant to the table: it was simply the choice that Google made at the time.

    And it was almost certainly the right choice. Not because it was technically superior to the alternatives (eg FreeBSD). Simply because there was already a pre-existing culture of anti-M$ fanatics, as evidenced on this site, who would fall for anything just as long as it had a tenuous connection to FLOSS.

    (Recruiting software and hardware engineers was probably a more important goal. But recruiting Bleating Sheeple Losers must surely have factored into the decision.)

    Now, here’s the interesting question. Does anybody here have an objection to QNX?

    Because QNX is what the Blackberry version of Android is based upon.

  14. Dr Loser says:

    By the way, Fifi, I wasn’t claiming that Google API control thing myself. I was merely quoting Robert’s cite, which I read and analyzed carefully.

    You might care to try that every now and again, yourself. It helps keep one honest.

    Not that honesty is one of your more obvious virtues.

  15. Dr Loser says:

    Did not know where this keeps on coming from Dr Loser because it wrong.
    https://microg.org/
    Google does not prohibit coping of it APIs for competitive uses as the above link shows that google in fact does nothing about and in fact some of there staff …

    When was the last time you actually bothered to read one of your own cites, Fifi? Not this time, obviously. Let me quote:

    The linux-based open-source mobile operating system Android is not only the most popular mobile operating system in the world, it’s also on the way to become a proprietary operating system. How is that?

    and

    More and more libraries and APIs are only available on phones that run various Google apps pre-installed, effectively locking third-party apps to the Google ecosystem.

    and

    For these reasons Android is called a “look but don’t touch” kind of open.

    I’m not in the habit of producing attack-dog types of links, because I’m actually more interested in discussing the important issues behind FLOSS.

    But if I were interested in posting such links, Fifi, I have no need to bother.

    You’re so much better at being a self-defeating attack dog than I could ever be.

  16. oiaohm says:

    Google exerts control over its APIs. Google prohibits copying of its APIs for competitive uses.
    Did not know where this keeps on coming from Dr Loser because it wrong.
    https://microg.org/
    Google does not prohibit coping of it APIs for competitive uses as the above link shows that google in fact does nothing about and in fact some of there staff when new features

    –Google exerts control over its APIs.– This is true but since they are the maintainer that is expected.

    Google does prohibit coping their binaries that implement the closed section of the API without permission. If you check out the header files that detail the google closed source API you will find they are licensed under apache license. So the implementation is protected not the API itself. But somehow different authors are getting this wrong over and over again. So if you are not using google on-line services and you put the resources into reimplementing the google closed source api in your own code is fully legal due to the way everything is licensed no fair usage exception required.

    Your present logic, as regards Google, appears to apply equally as well to VMWare, as regards kernel drivers.
    VMWare drivers do have marking of using the macros included in Linux GPL licensed header files. Read Copy Update system of the Linux kernel in fact is the big problem. This means GPL license code is in fact inside VMWare final build of drivers. Oracle vs Google case don’t have this issue. Google fair usage claim win seams to allow decompiler usage to convert to source code then using that source code to make binary from the Oracle vs Google case this could have some very long term effects for closed source particularly.

    VMWare case could be another fair usage case or it might not be we have to wait and see.

    Dr Loser the mistake over implementation and API what is protected by google means I would not be trusting that sites write up to be written cleanly or correctly.

    Annette Hurst is an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who represented Oracle in the recent Oracle v. Google trial.
    Dr Loser now you missed this line did you. So the person writing the Arstechnica bit happens the lawyer who lost so some of it could be attempt to rally troops for appeal and the mistake suggest this because they should know better or they are giving incompetent representation what in Australia is a disbarring offense (USA can a lawyer be struck off for being incompetent???).

    So everything from the Arstechnica you are using Dr Loser has to be taken with a large grain of salt. Remember appeal options for Oracle are still open so I would not call this case over yet. Remember how long the IBM vs SCO case has taken when someone demands going though the complete appeal process. USA law is not like Australian law. Going to the media by Australia law can do in you future attempts at appeals due to attempting to bias jury USA law no such nice effect. Yes we could be still talking about both the Oracle vs Google and vmware case 10 years into the future if both sides are insanely stubborn.

  17. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Is this really what you want, Robert?

    All software innovation being reduced to nothing more than SaaS?

    It’s all good. Chuckle.”

    Yes it is Doctor. Robert Pogson has the IT equivalent of his cheap Chinese tractor to tinker with and an audience to impose it on. Beyond that he probably could care less.

  18. Dr Loser says:

    Google is an advertising company. It does not depend upon traditional software licensing and is therefore free to disregard the protections that traditional software licensing provides. Nonetheless, Google exerts control over its APIs. Google prohibits copying of its APIs for competitive uses. In fact, Google has in the past settled with the FTC over the manner in which it has restricted its APIs.

    My emphases.

    Next fatuous comment from Fifi, Pog, or any other of the Peanut Gallery, please.

  19. Dr Loser says:

    It is hard to see how GPL can survive such a result. In fact, it is hard to see how ownership of a copy of any software protected by copyright can survive this result. Software businesses now must accelerate their move to the cloud where everything can be controlled as a service rather than software. Consumers can expect to find decreasing options to own anything for themselves, decreasing options to control their data, decreasing options to protect their privacy.

    Is this really what you want, Robert?

    All software innovation being reduced to nothing more than SaaS?

    It’s all good. Chuckle.

  20. Dr Loser says:

    Your distinction between API and implementation is invidious and also opportunistic, Robert.

    In re invidious, you have several times (thousands, in fact) claimed that all software is just a bit-stream, and you can’t copyright a bit-stream. It’s digital, innit?

    In which case I fail to see how an API differs. An API, after all, is nothing more than a bit-stream.

    In re opportunistic — as far as I recall, your main and only objection to VMWare “hijacking” the Linux kernel API was that it is somehow “copyright.”

    Your present logic, as regards Google, appears to apply equally as well to VMWare, as regards kernel drivers.

    Do please explain the difference, O Janus of the North.

  21. Dr Loser says:

    As you know, decisions split 4-4 go back to the lower court for reconsideration…

    Really, Robert? I was under the impression that such decisions rendered by the Supreme Court in its capacity as the Appellate did no such thing. Under those circumstances, I believe that the original judgement still stands.

  22. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “As the Wiz points out this lawyer’s opinion seems particularly non-lawyerly. The case was not an attack on copyright, nor software, just Oracle’s insane relationship with FLOSS.”

    No Robert Pogson, This lawyers opinion was very much lawyer-ly. Whether you like it or not, his opinion remains a possible outcome of how this case could be taken.

    On other hand, your take on what the case was about is about as far from lawyer-ly as one can get.

  23. The Wiz wrote, “Legal mumbo-jumbo, perhaps, especially since software is licensed not owned. But if the judgement against Oracle holds”

    Well, thanks to the Republicans, SCOTUS is split 4-4 and we won’t know for at least a year. As you know, decisions split 4-4 go back to the lower court for reconsideration… That’s an infinite loop unless SCOTUS denies an appeal. They often take copyright cases because it’s an important constitutional law.

    As the Wiz points out this lawyer’s opinion seems particularly non-lawyerly. The case was not an attack on copyright, nor software, just Oracle’s insane relationship with FLOSS.

  24. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Perhaps you are right Robert Pogson. But, then again you have proven time and time again that your reason is more than compromised by your ideology. The fact remains that this lawyer doe not need to “get FOSS” – he only needs to get the law. While there is no guarantee that thios decision will set a precident, the implications. that he sees are rather interesting

    ” Software businesses now must accelerate their move to the cloud where everything can be controlled as a service rather than software. Consumers can expect to find decreasing options to own anything for themselves, decreasing options to control their data, decreasing options to protect their privacy.”

    Legal mumbo-jumbo, perhaps, especially since software is licensed not owned. But if the judgement against Oracle holds, all that would be needed would be for some aggrieved party to bring suit under the scenario this lawyer presents citing the “precedent” of Oracle vs. Google and our world will be much different.

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