THE FIGHT against Oracle might become a little tougher for Google than previously thought, as Android's source code still contains copyright and distribution warnings by Sun Microsystems.
Last year Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google alleging patent and copyright infringement regarding Java. Oracle's complaint charged that Google's Android operating system "directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property".
Trawling through the code, Florian Mueller found six files in a directory that displayed the same pattern of direct copying as presented in Oracle's Exhibit J. Mueller says these files form part of Android 2.2 and the upcoming Android 3.0 operating system.
Mueller found that the original version of PolicyNodeImpl.java, a redacted version of which was presented by Oracle as Exhibit J, contained the comment "PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL". While this had been removed in Java 6.0 and replaced with a GPL 2 header, Mueller claims the code could not have been legally relicensed under the Apache license by anyone other than Sun or Oracle.
Aside from the six files, Mueller also found 37 files that had been commented with "PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL" by Sun Microsystems and a copyright notice file that says "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE!".
At the very least these revelations are embarrassing for Google, which has yet to file a countersuit against Oracle. Google's silence on the matter has led to murmurings by closed source partisans like Mueller and other friends of Larry Ellison that the firm might have to work hard to find a way of wriggling out of Oracle's lawsuit.
While Oracle wants to show that it is merely protecting its own intellectual property by taking this action against Google, it is highly unlikely that either Sun or Oracle would have turned down receiving a small fee for every installation of Android.
This development might eventually slow down the army of Android devices that is set to capture the smartphone and tablet markets, but once Oracle's lawsuit wends its way through the US court system in about five to ten years, the issue might be rather moot, one way or another. µ
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