So, now it looks like Oracle's new business model for actually making money out of their investment in Sun is to become a patent troll. They seem to be going out of their way to make themselves pariahs in the Open Source world, as hated as SCO. Personally, I was always sceptical of their ability or intention to act well. They are simply not an organization that is geared to operating in this milieu. And there are plenty of people who should be at least a bit scared by this development, as Steven J Vaughan-Nichols points out.
I spent a year or two writing Java, and I get a bit impatient with people who like to rag on it. Their information is often out of date and ill-informed, in my experience. But anyone who now bases a major application, especially one which they sell, on Java would need to be very careful about how they proceed. And that involves a world of trouble and disputation. Surely it would be much simpler for any new project simply to say "OK, we'll use other technology, where there is less risk of running foul of patent lawsuits." That would be my reaction.
Incidentally, this is similar to the reasoning that led me to get involved with Postgres years ago. The company I was working for looked at shipping MySQL as a reference database with their product, and we were not interested in paying for a commercial license. Some people said we could, some said we couldn't. Our take was that we didn't want the hassle. Unless it was beyond dispute, we'd look elsewhere, and the next place we looked, naturally, was Postgres. By the time we decided against using Postgres, because there was then no Windows port, it was too late - I was hooked
People have such short memories. It was just this sort of action which the EU commission called out. They were shouted down, in large measure by the "Obama" DoJ. He's such a Socialist.<br />
From what I've read though, there is not (yet) any implied threat in Oracle's action against those who simply code java applications against the Sun jdk's. Open jdk and IBM's may be less safe. And, remember, Sun never published a spec for java7, only a reference jdk. They could well have been headed in the same direction.<br />
Given Larry's "commitment" to java in the Oracle applications, trying to silo java to Oracle isn't going to happen. Not even the "Obama" DoJ could let that pass. <br />
I suspect the case will come down to this: if an implementer builds a jvm (by whatever name) to a public spec, can the spec publisher then claim any infringement, patent or copyright? Shouldn't, of course.
Please take your anti-Obama crusade elsewhere. He's not a socialist. And if he were it would be irrelevant. I'm more of a socialist than Obama (visiting http://www.dunstan.org.au might give you a clue why). Why on earth a socialist would want to support Oracle is utterly beyond me. It makes as much sense as the Chewbacca defense.<br />
And this is historical revisionism anyway. The EU was much more concerned about MySQL than they were with Java. And if they were shouted down by anyone they must be a lot weaker than anyone gives them credit for.
Apparently the law suit does not target Java as a language but it targets Google's implementation of the JVM which is a different thing.<br />
But I do agree that Oracle is not keen on supporting OpenSource (see OpenSolaris). I think if IBM had baught Sun that would have been the better solution for the "Java world"<br />
I think Java is strong enough on "its own" so that Oracle will not be able to kill the momentum behind it. If they really go crazy, I'm sure really free JVMs will show up
Yes, but my point was that if you're developing a product you don't want to have to be bothered with such nuances. It's just easier and safer to say "Ok, we'll use something else and avoid any possible issue."
Hmm. The only issue I see with Java is the availability of a JVM to run "my" program. <br />
I don't see that as a problem given the availability of OpenJDK. And I doubt that Oracle will start charging for the "Sun" JDK they would basically kill the whole Java community with that. <br />
But I do agree that this can actually cause some concerns for those who are actively using Java. <br />
It might actually backfire on Oracle if developers and solution providers stop using Java.
Right. Sun did promise not to assert patent rights over JVMs that complied with their fairly rigid standards. Oracle is probably bound by that. But as soon as any JVM fails those tests Oracle can come down on them like a ton of bricks. The license is irrelevant, AIUI.
Since before Sun put itself up for sale, many were questioning the purposeful lack of a java7 spec, only the "promise" of an "open" jdk7. This tack by Oracle, while perhaps not exactly the same thing, is cut from the same cloth.<br />
Which raises the pertinent question: if one builds a jvm/jdk from the public spec (pre-7, obviously), then an implementation which follows the spec can't be sued for either copyright or patent infringement. There's a legal term (making it illegal) for bringing such suits, but it escapes me now.<br />
And Dalvik doesn't call itself java, which I gather, from memory, Google did to avoid having to jump through the compliance hoops. (Aside: a quote from the Wikipedia, "Unlike most virtual machines and true Java VMs which are stack machines, the Dalvik VM is a register-based architecture.") From reading the titles of the patents, I fully expect that they'll fail either as obvious to "an experienced practitioner" or to prior art. Groklaw will be following this case, if you're interested in that sort of thing.<br />
Now, if the next C++ can be had with single inheritance and garbage collection, or the current one with some appropriate library (I know, you don't have to have multiple inheritance), then java, given its C-based syntax could well fade.<br />
Robert, I think you are right on with several of your comments --- that a simplified C++ could very well challenge Java, and that the JVM is less and less important. This post explains several ways in which Sun closed off Java from a wider audience.