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Google's 'copied Java code' disowned by Apache

Dis-Harmony from Oracle's Android suit

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When Oracle sued Google over Android, many assumed the database giant would target code Google lifted from the Apache Foundation's open source Java incarnation, Project Harmony. But Oracle just pinpointed six pages of Google code, claiming they were "directly copied" from copyrighted Oracle material, and according to Apache, this code is not part of Harmony.

"Recent reports on various blogs have attributed to the ASF a number of the source files identified by Oracle as ones that they believe infringe on their copyrights," the Foundation says in a Friday blog post. "Even though the code in question has an Apache license, it is not part of Harmony."

On Wednesday, Oracle unloaded a new court filing in which it specifically claims that Android's class libraries and documentation infringe on its copyrights, and that approximately one-third of Android's API packages are "derivative" of Oracle's copyrighted Java API packages. With its filing, the database giant claims that in some instances Google directly copied Oracle code, and it includes code samples in an attempt to prove its point (see next page).

Suit watchers continue to argue over how similar the code samples really are. And many mistakenly assume that the code came from Harmony.

As Google pointed out in its answer to Oracle's suit, Android's Dalvik virtual machine uses a subset of Harmony. "The core class libraries of the Dalvik VM incorporate a subset of Apache Harmony, a clean room, open source implementation of Java from the Apache Software Foundation," Google's court filing reads. But it also points out that other parts of Android, including portions of Dalvik, were independently developed. And Apache makes it clear that the code in Oracle's filing is not from Harmony.

"The code in question has an header that mentions Apache, and perhaps that is the source of the confusion," its blog post says. "The code itself is using a license that is named after our foundation, is in fact the license that we ourselves use. Many others use it too, as the license was explicitly designed to allow such uses."

But Project Harmony may still provide a window into Oracle's strategy. It would seem that Oracle is hoping to hit Google through the Java Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs), those closed-source Java bits at the heart of a long-running dispute between Sun/Oracle and Apache.

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