> Google's already excluding all GPL code from userspace, and android developers are happy to go along with it.
In practice, that remains to be determined in a court of law -- the Oracle case. What happens if Oracle wins? Google would have to pay penalties for past shipments, sure, but that doesn't resolve the future shipment problem.
What happens if they can't agree on a solution for future shipments? Google would have two alternatives, either quit shipping something they're doing 700K activations a day of, or suddenly reverse course on a GPLed userspace and keep shipping. Of course they /might/ have a third option lined up too, an independent replacement. But that would be a compatibility nightmare.
What I've been hoping for all along is pretty much just this scenario. There's a large enough Android ecosystem out there that any way this scenario plays out would set the whole tech world ringing with the implications. Would google and the rest of the ecosystem simply quit shipping? OUCH! Or would they bite the bullet and gamble that whatever the anti-GPL case was before, Android's too big to stop now just because it ends up being GPLed userspace? How much of the ecosystem would stay with them if they did?
Of course, that would put the ball back in Oracle's court as well, effectively calling their bluff on their GPLed Java. The risk is a toppling of the entire copyleft ecosystem and community, but imagine what a reputation the GPL would have if it survived THAT, regardless of how the rest of it plays out, Oracle trying to reverse course on Java's GPLing, OR challenging its patent provisions so that bit gets settled, OR folding and allowing Google to continue shipping, of course with rather zealous enforcement of the GPL provisions from someone with the money to do so, in an attempt to discourage everyone else from taking that same out.
That's still an unlikely scenario, but the first part of it, Google continuing to build Android shipments to the point where it /might/ be practical to force a GPLed userspace, and have people actually accept it, has certainly happened. Thus, the odds are far better than they were when that whole feud started.
And if Oracle /did/ choose the patent challenge route, it could very easily result in the whole tech world "going patent nuclear", thus very possibly settling the patent wars once and for all once all the dust settles, as well. Even if it didn't result in the patent world "going nuke", it should at least resolve the patent issues one way or another for the GPLv2, thus resolving all sorts of GPL community issues in that regard. If the GPLv2's patent provisions such as they are hold, it's solve a lot of Linux patent issues, and if they don't, well, the predictions leading to the GPLv3 would have been demonstrated to be true, and the GPLv2 licensed Linus kernel will end up being far closer license-wise to the BSDs than it is now, at least for anyone with patents.
So, yeah, while Google has to date taken a hard line on a GPLed Android userspace, that could yet change. I guess we'll see how this Oracle/Google case plays out at the trial court level at least, pretty quickly, now. There will certainly be appeals and it's likely to play out for years either way, just as SCO did, but the Android ecosystem and even the larger mobile computing ecosystem is I think way bigger already than the entire Linux ecosystem was when SCO started, and the waves could thus be MUCH MUCH bigger... either way!