Gemalto leaps into anti-Android fray
Java as a little OS, we own that!
Security chip maker Gemalto has launched its own attack on Android, claiming to own patents essential to the use of Java as a mobile OS.
The suit, filed in patent-friendly Texas, accuses Google, HTC, Motorola and Samsung of infringing Gemalto's patents which, according to the company, cover techniques essential to the use of a high-level language such as Java on a device with limited resources.
Gemalto claims it discovered - and patented - those techniques while developing JavaCard. JavaCard is a hugely successful operating system which runs on SIM and credit cards, enabling card developers to program in Java rather than the assembly code (or, at best, C), which they were previously required to learn.
Programming smart cards is arcane, but improved enormously in the 1990s as JavaCard became widely adopted and the industry braced itself for an explosion of applications embedded in SIM Cards. That explosion never happened, partly because network operators (who control the SIM) didn't want to pay for it, but also because even if it is programmed in Java, there's a limit to what a SIM can do.
But that didn't stop the industry spending a fortune working out how to squeeze Java into the chips in a credit card - and Gemalto has obviously realised (or been reminded) that Google is using similar techniques to get Android running.
Gemalto will have to join the lengthy sue-queue of those filing suits over Android. It looks like the long line should keep patent lawyers busy for the next decade at least. ®
So, some company wants instruments of the state (patents) to be applied to a successful company so that they can make money too? Looking at what Java Card is supposed to be, it looks like a cut-down version of Java that runs on what we used to call microcomputers a couple of decades ago. Strangely enough, high-level languages used to run on those microcomputers as well. Things like Lisp, complete with garbage collection - a major feature of many high-level languages - were available not only in the 1980s, but even further back on comparable (but obviously more expensive) hardware.
Once again, patents prove to be the instrument of choice for companies wanting their own specially tailored government bail-out over and over again.
So if she weighs the same as a duck.....
She's made of wood?
The logic here is pythonesque.
The smart-phone is not really a phone, it is a general use micro computer with telephone hardware welded to it's innards. The cell phone hardware could be put on a PCMCIA card and run from a laptop, a palmtop, or a netbook. The physical size of the computer matters not, yet Gemalto seems to be of the opinion that they are the only ones allowed to run Java in this device-space.
Would they agree that XP & Linux both are capable of running on a machine with a 1GHz processor, a 16 GB HD and 512MB or RAM? Would they then not also agree that Java runs on either XP or Linux?
What they have is a way to run Java on devices that otherwise could not. I don't think that this applies here. Get out of the way, there's people here who have real work to do.
Wouldn't Google have been better off making Android from the beginning into a proper Linux OS? Based on all the good (and truly free) stuff that is around - all those userland tools, maybe a customised or shrunken down version of XOrg? This way we would have had a truly free OS - and there wouldn't have been any need for these silly law suits. All they had to do was keep proprietary some of the GSM or 3G bits if they wanted to stop people from messing where they shouldn't.