Java poppa Gosling dubs Oracle 'duplicitous' over handling of Java

Former Sun honcho also predicts Oracle will triumph in lawsuit over Google's use of Java in Android

Java poppa Gosling dubs Oracle 'duplicitous' over handling of Java

James Gosling, the father of Java, has a bone to pick with Oracle -- and he hasn't been timid in letting the world know. In a recent interview with Basement Coders, Gosling went off on the company over its failure to make Java an open source language and its handling of the open source technologies it acquired with Sun. For good measure, he gets in some jabs at Google and Microsoft.

Gosling, who has launched a t-shirt campaign to "free Java," used his interview time with Basement Coders to reiterate his accusation that Oracle flip-flopped on its 2007 pledge to create an independent Java foundation, now that it controls the patents to the language. "I don't know how to say it other than to say they [Oracle] were lying, duplicitous shits three years ago, and by their turnaround, they're basically admitting that," Gosling said in the interview. "I have no illusions about Oracle actually living up to its word because this is Oracle we're talking about."

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For Oracle, he said, it's all about the money, which is why he opined that the company's lawyer's eyes lit up when they learned Oracle was pursuing Sun: It meant an opportunity to cash in on Java the way Sun cashed in on Microsoft's use of its technologies in .Net.

"Microsoft .Net just smears over a huge pile of Sun patents. When they did the .Net design, they basically cut and pasted from the Java spec.... As part of the various court cases, we ended up with this rather odd patent deal that involved them paying us fairly [large] amounts of money," he said. "And I'm sure that [in anticipation of Oracle's acquisition of Sun], the lawyers looked at the Microsoft numbers and said, 'Yeah I want that from Google.'"

Oracle likely will prove victorious in its lawsuit against Google, Gosling said, noting that finding third-party experts to compare the Java code to the Android code wouldn't be particularly difficult. "This is one of the reasons that hardware developers often don't open source their drivers," Gosling say."[If they do], other hardware vendors will look at it and go, 'Oh, well, your hardware must stomp on this patent device.'"

Gosling remains hopeful that Oracle will, in fact, embrace "responsible stewardship" of Java, though for that to happen, he said the Java community needs to continue pressuring the company. He admitted that creating an independent Java foundation may not necessarily be the be-all, end-all solution. "The computer industry has a history of foundations and some of them work out well. I think the average one just turns into a political nightmare -- things like the [OpenSolaris Foundation] that were just not good."

There's plenty more to glean from the interview, including Gosling's thoughts on open source ("In the enterprise world, open source is working really well. The place where [open source] falls apart, though, is for desktop software"), NoSQL, and the cloud. You can listen to it in its entirety (note: audio is low-quality) or read the transcription at the Basement site.

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This story, "Java poppa Gosling dubs Oracle 'duplicitous' over handling of Java" was originally published by InfoWorld.