This is news that may seem trivial, but which could have a deeper impact than it seems. Google has announced that Android N – the next major version of the mobile OS of the firm – forsake its own Java API in favor of open source Oracle API based on OpenJDK. For reasons as much as legal order technique.
Over the years, Google has created its own implementation of the API (application programming interface) Java to facilitate the work of developers. If the implementation is specific to Google, the API used belong in contrast to Oracle, which bought Sun Microsystems in 2010, and are present in the JDK (Java Developement Kit). Google has just announced that the source code for Android AOSP N has been revised in order to implement the API present in OpenJDK, the open source version of Oracle JDK, already partly used by Google with Android.
A decision to ease the work of developers
Officially, Google announced that this change will facilitate the lives of developers with a single API common ground: that of OpenJDK. Google also plans to share the source code of their implementation of OpenJDK within Android. Google also wants to have a greater impact on the development of OpenJDK by offering features that could be used for all developers using this development environment, not just Android.
The legal battle resurfaces
Unofficially, the reason might lie elsewhere. There is indeed a legal battle between Google and Oracle since 2010 because following the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle claimed Google pay one billion dollars in damages. At issue: the use of JDK API by Google. But the Mountain View giant, APIs can not be protected by copyright. Unfortunately, in 2014, a US judge ruled that Oracle API could be protected by patents, so raped by Google. The case is still not closed, since the Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court. The verdict is eagerly awaited by the industry, the impact can be huge on the free use or not of the API. Using the API OpenJDK, Google is sure not to violate patents.
Anyway, Android N therefore totally forsake the Oracle JDK API API to devote to OpenJDK. Developers should find their account, as lawyers from Google.
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