Mid way through last year, Oracle decided to pick a fight with Google over its use of Java on the Android platform; particularly, its Dalvik virtual machine, which it claimed violated patents it now owned through its acquisition of Sun. While this didn’t particiularly do much for its standing in the community, not much yet has come of it while lawyers wrestle with the case.
Today it turned out that Google and some of its Android partners (including Motorola, LG, and Samsung) may be in even bigger trouble. It is claimed by a notable IP expert that there are another 37 or so files open-sourced by Google and subsequently made available for free by other phone manufacturers which definitely should not have been there.
Now I’m no lawyer, but I should imagine the relative insignificance of these files won’t matter to Oracle. Most of them are part of an obscure audio driver that were put there accidentally (they’re not actually used). The rest are unit tests that were apparently decompiled from Sun tests. It also probably won’t matter to Oracle that the files were removed from the repository on October 30th last year and January 14th this year respectively. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say there’s no issue here at all (once the cat’s out of the bag it’s very difficult to put it back in), it looks like Oracle will continue the suit and make a big deal out of this – at least in developer terms – fairly minor issue; the community reaction to this so far is that at worst there should be a takedown request for these files.