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Ok, I don't get it. What does "Oracle owns Java" mean?

Google is definitely using Java in Google App Engine, does that mean that Google have to pay Oracle for doing so?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Sun Microsystems created Java. Oracle bought Sun, and thus they became the owners of Java. Java (JVM and JDK) is open source, and you are free to use it. This is under the GPL though, and if they do any changes to the actual JVM or JDK, they will have to release those changes. I'm not aware how App Engine works, and why Google would be in trouble, if they are.

If you create a program in Java, you don't have to release it as open source (or the GPL, more specifically), as long as you don't use GPL'ed code, which you won't if you didn't add that yourself.

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Heys I would like to ask why is your last paragraph true. from what I know anything that uses GPL stuff should be GPLed? –  Pacerier May 15 '11 at 17:08
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@Pacerier: Software created from a GPL'ed program isn't automatically under the GPL in case no GPL'ed code gets added into the program. You can use a GPL'ed editor for creating closed source software, or a GPL'ed compiler etc. as long as no GPL'ed code gets added by that program. –  Anto May 15 '11 at 17:15
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@Anto: That's not true under any version of the GPL to date. If you publish the code at all, you have to also make the source code available. There's no requirement, however, that you publish the code at all. –  Jerry Coffin May 15 '11 at 20:43
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Google's legal fight has nothing to do with App Engine. It has to do with the JVM-like thing that they created called Dalvik, that is used on Android phones. Oracle doesn't like Dalvik, and thinks that it infringes patents that Oracle owns, which are used in the JVM. (I think they're also making copyright claims about Dalvik now too.) This is what Oracle is suing Google about. –  Ken Bloom May 15 '11 at 21:50
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@cyclops But under the AGPL you only have to release if network users access the code. Jerry's original statement (there is no version of the GPL that requires you to release your code if you alter it) is correct. I could take a AGPL app, change in, run it privately just for me, and not have to release it. Anto's original statement is just wrong. –  James May 16 '11 at 7:22
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You use Java. Are YOU paying Oracle to use Java? The JDK and JRE are still free for anyone to download and use. Google, I believe would be following the same principle and would not be required to pay Oracle.

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Just because someone owns something including the copyright doesn't mean they have to charge people to use it. In this case Oracle (via Sun) owns it, but doesn't charge you to use it.

However, if Google were to go try and copyright Java or sell it as its own product, that would be a whole other story.

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