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Oracle's Suit Against Google Threatens Open Source Movement

Google's attorneys are busy this week as it also prepares to defend the company against a suit filed by Oracle that claims that Google's Android operating system for smartphones and other mobile devices is illegally using ideas and code from Java, which was developed by Sun Microsystems. Oracle bought Sun in January.

Steve Lohr reports that while "open source" software like Java once represented a "communal idealism" among the geek class, the suit is further evidence of its having become a weapon in corporate warfare among the huge technology companies. Google sees the suit as a move by Oracle to re-establish corporate control of Java; its general counsel claims Oracle is "trying to put the genie back in the bottle."

"It's not so much good companies and bad companies in this kind of situation," says Douglas Lea, a computer scientist at the State University of New York at Oswego. "These companies compete viciously and have different interests. And in this case, you have two corporations that champion different forms of open source." For the good of open-source, he hopes peace is on the horizon because "it's really hard to predict the consequences of big companies being nasty to each other."



Read the whole story at New York Times »

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