What Does Oracle v. Google Mean to You?

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What Does Oracle v. Google Mean to You?

Oracle is after Google (again); and so it seems that the discussion is open again. What does this case mean for developers?

· Java Zone ·
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I remember feeling a great disturbance in the force back in 2010 when Oracle acquired Sun. I remember the groans and complaints of friends and colleagues, none of whom really developed software professionally. The fact that there was such pathos around an event that didn't affect these people's daily lives was odd. But it made sense. I myself felt a sense of worry for what the acquisition would mean for my favorite language.

You likely know that there is a(nother) Oracle v. Google lawsuit in court right now. That again, Oracle is claiming copyright infringement from Google on several APIs used in Android. And maybe that in 2012 the US Court of Appeals set precedence for the "copyrightability" of APIs; not necessarily single elements of an API, but at least the "overall structure of... API packages," which they deemed "creative, original, and '[resembling] a taxonomy.'"

Recently in the trial, former Googler and Android programmer Dan Bornstein had to whiteboard a simple example of what an API was and how it functioned, had to explain how an API was different from application code. Meaning that people who don't grasp the basic fundamentals of what APIs do for us are judging whether or not they have been used "appropriately" by Google.

There are a lot of opinions out there already on how this trial is going to end, and what effects its verdict will have. In "Oracle v. Google, and the end of programming as we know it," Steven J. Vaughan-Nicols writes "If programmers made up the jury, Oracle wouldn’t stand a chance." Programmer Jim Jagielski (@jimjag) tweeted today "The #googacle case has the potential of destroying *all* development/innovation, not just *open* development." Needless to say, it's a heated issue in the developer world.

You may have already discussed it during Oracle v. Google trials in the past—but it seems as if the discussion isn't done yet. So, what does Oracle v. Google mean to you?

(@sarahjeong is doing a great job live-tweeting the trial; you should check it out.)

android, api, google, open source, oracle

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