Two former Sun Microsystems CEOs — the one who helped found it and the one who oversaw its sale to Oracle — presented opposing views of how Sun saw its Java platform during the Oracle-Google trial today.
Of the two, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s last CEO, spent the most time on the witness stand. Called by lawyers for Google, he bolstered Google’s argument that it was free to use parts of Java as it assembled its Android mobile operating system.
Scott McNealy, called by Oracle, said it was Sun’s practice to let other companies use Java, but only with a commercial license, the primary requirement of which was that the licensee ensure that Java remain compatible.
While numerous other phones from the likes of Nokia, Research In Motion and Motorola were compatible with Java applications, those on Android weren’t. Compatibility is one of the main points over which Oracle has been arguing with Google. Oracle contends that not only did Google violate its patents and copyrights, but it then went on to build its own incompatible version of Java, fracturing one of the oldest premises of Java’s existence: Write once, run anywhere.
Schwartz said he had hoped that Google would take out a commercial license, but in the end, he said, according to a report on CNet News, Sun opted “to grit our teeth” and support it as part of the Java community. He said that he opted not to sue Google over the issue.
Oracle also presented as evidence an email from Schwartz, describing Google as having taken Java “without attribution or contribution,” and then went on: “This is why I love scroogle,” referring to a now-defunct Web-search service that served up Google-like search results anonymously.