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If Oracle publishes software under the GPL (v2 or v3), the recipients receive patent protection sufficient to allow the things described in the four freedoms, which includes forking.
So Google could have used OpenJDK as a starting point for Dalvik, and they wouldn't be having this patent problem. AFAICT.
Posted Aug 18, 2010 2:35 UTC (Wed) by foom (subscriber, #14868)
Posted Aug 18, 2010 6:10 UTC (Wed) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454)
The GPLv2 does bound Oracle. Namely, it can not rescind the permissions it gave to others as part of a software license. This is basic legal theory, you can not tell others you can do foo, if bar then change your mind once others have expended resources reaching bar (at least, not in a legal document). Otherwise, no license would be worth the words used in it.
The only thing Oracle can do is define new conditions for new software releases, or relax conditions on old software releases. They are not allowed to add restrictions on old software releases people already licensed under specific terms (and the GPL is worded in such a way the license can be transmitted from user to user and from version to derivatives).
Oracle *is* bound by the GPL
Posted Aug 18, 2010 23:55 UTC (Wed) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
They gave people a copy of the OpenJDK source code with a legal document which has a load of paragraphs that start with "You may...".
If you're right, then you've only proved that they didn't have to give you that legal document. That doesn't change the fact that they *did* give you that legal document, and so, Oracle is bound by that legal document.
field of use restrictions
Posted Aug 18, 2010 21:17 UTC (Wed) by SilverWave (guest, #55000)
"It's Oracle upset that Google has routed around their lucrative Java Mobile licensing by out developing them. If you were unaware, Sun's official Java test suite comes with field of use restrictions that keep it limited to the desktop space. If you certified your open source Java JVM to comply, you can't use it on servers or mobile devices (or anything else for that matter like TV set top boxes). For anything else you have to pay Oracle a license fee. It's these field of use restrictions (among other reasons) that has kept the Harmony project from certifying their project as "Official Java"."
Posted Aug 18, 2010 22:00 UTC (Wed) by mjw (subscriber, #16740)
That said, it is still a big problem if you care about freedom, java and the JCK and it is a long and somewhat sad story: http://gnu.wildebeest.org/blog/mjw/2007/04/21/openjck/
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