Google’s Andy Rubin didn’t believe Android needed Java API licensing

Apr 25, 2012
12
Google’s Andy Rubin didn’t believe Android needed Java API licensing

Google's Android chief Andy Rubin has just wrapped up his three days of testimony in the Oracle trial over the copyright issues in Android. The testimony today mainly covered issues regarding Java API licensing requirements from Sun Microsystems, which Rubin said he was unaware of, saying, "We did not believe that we needed a license from Sun."

Google's counsel Robert Van Nest first guided Rubin to talk about how the Android team began development on the new mobile operating system. Rubin said that when negotiations ended with Sun Microsystems in 2006, the Android team went ahead to build the new mobile OS on its own, writing the code themselves. Although the code is constantly evolving, Rubin says that there are some 15 million lines of source code and many thousands of independent files that make up Android.

Some Linux was also thrown in along with contributions from partnering companies, such as the media framework from Packet Video for decoding video files on Android. All in all it took about three years before Android 1.0 was released in 2008. An Android SDK released in 2007 was just enough for third-party developers to write apps for the platform but not enough for a smartphone.

That SDK allowed developers to see the APIs used in the platform, including the Java APIs in question in this case. Rubin insisted that it was available for anyone to see as early as October 2007.

On cross examination, Oracle counsel David Boies asked Rubin if there were any records of Sun praising Google's use of Java for Android after the SDK was released. Rubin replied that there were a few but there were no written records to confirm these comments. A blog post praising Google by Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz came after the Android announcement but before the SDK was released.

Rubin was then asked whether Android applications are written primarily in Java to which he replied that writing Android apps does require Java and that one reason for this was to support legacy apps from third-party partners, such as Electronic Arts games.

Rubin also talked about the open-source project Apache Harmony as a comparison to Google's use of Java APIs on an open-source platform. He explained that there were other companies trying to build on the open source project, adding that the Apache Software Foundation has their own version of an open source license. But Boies later retorted that the Apache Software Foundation was non-profit.

When asked by Google's Van Nest as to whether Rubin was aware at the time that Google needed a license to use the Java APIs, Rubin said, "We did not believe that we needed a license from Sun." He also said that he was not aware of any violations in regards to Android and its use of Java APIs until the beginning of the lawsuit.

[via ZDNet]


Must Read Bits & Bytes