Google’s next android version, which is yet to be named officially, will replace its implementation of Java APIs with the open source version of Oracle’s Java Development Kit (JDK) called OpenJDK, the search giant confirmed to The Tech Portal in a statement.
So far, the company was using Oracle’s proprietary Java APIs, which led to a still ongoing legal battle between the two (more on that in a moment! ).
The news surfaced last month after a “mysterious Android codebase commit” was submitted to Hacker News. And now, Google has confirmed the news to us and said,
In our upcoming release of Android, we plan to move Android’s Java language libraries to an OpenJDK-based approach, creating a common code base for developers to build apps and services.
Google has long worked with and contributed to the OpenJDK community, and we look forward to making even more contributions to the OpenJDK project in the future.
So, how will you and I as users be affected by the change? Not much, because the change is largely aimed at the developers as by using OpenJDK, Google aims to simplify the code and introduce a common codebase for its Java API libraries, as opposed to multiple codebases.
This, according to the company, will make the job of developers quite easy and also goes with the image of Android “as an open-source platform built upon the collaboration of the open-source community”.
However, there is a bit of flashback story here involving a considerably long history of a legal battle between Google and Oracle. Oracle, which acquired Sun in 2010, sued Google for copyright and patent infringement for using Java APIs without permission and demanded $1 billion in damages. Google argued that Java APIs could not be copyrighted as they were essential for software development, innovation, and collaboration.
This was agreed upon by a jury court in 2012. But that decision was partially reversed in May 2014 by the US court of appeals which said that Java APIs can be copyrighted as “a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection.”
Google, then appealed to the Supreme Court which was rejected in June this year. As a result, the issue has again been moved to a smaller appellate court for the final judgment.
Although the outcome of the legal battle is still awaited, odds seem to be in favor of Oracle and it won’t be easy for Google to come out of this spot. And an imminent defeat in this court battle could well have been the reason behind Google going on a defensive mode and deciding to move to open source JDK for its future android versions.