Sun luminaries range themselves against Google
Founder Scott McNealy and 'father of Java' James Gosling claim the search giant should have licensed Sun's software
Published: 30 April, 2012
Last week saw Sun's former CEO Jonathan Schwartz standing up for Google in its courtroom battle with Sun's new owner Oracle. However, other former Sun luminaries took the opposite stance, with founder Scott McNealy and 'father of Java' James Gosling both condemning the search giant's behavior over Java content in Android.
Gosling, who left Oracle in April 2010, has not hesitated to criticize Oracle's management of his creation in the past, but at the weekend he said Sun was "wronged" by Google and that Oracle is right to sue for copyright and IPR infringement.
Gosling was not testifying in court, but wrote on his personal blog that "Google totally slimed Sun". Previously he had not taken sides, merely commenting, when the lawsuits were first filed: "Not a big surprise. During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer's eyes sparkle. Filing patent suits was never in Sun's genetic code. Alas...." But he took the line that the suits were not so much about patent rights and wrongs as "ego, money and power".
As reported by CNet, he added on his latest post: "Just because Sun didn't have patent suits in our genetic code doesn't mean we didn't feel wronged. While I have differences with Oracle, in this case they are in the right. Google totally slimed Sun. We were all really disturbed, even Jonathan [Schwartz]: he just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade."
In his testimony, Schwartz had taken the line that it was better to get Google on board for Java, even with its own implementation, than to see it use Windows instead. While Sun would have liked Google to license its technologies and use its virtual machine, he argued, it was fully aware of the search firm's plans and the reason it took its own Java path with its Dalvik JVM.
His predecessor as Sun CEO, founder Scott McNealy, took a very different line in his own court testimony, calling his long time ally, Oracle chief Larry Ellison, a "national economic hero". He testified that companies needed a licence to use Sun's Java APIs, the heart of the case against Google, which argues they are not copyrightable and that, anyway, it created a 'clean room' implementation of Java.
McNealy said Sun licensed its APIs and compared them to 'architectural drawings', while Schwartz argued that companies could use Java without a licence as long as they did not use the Java logo or claim to be 'Java compatible'.
Lawyers tried to undermine the credibility of both former CEOs. Google attorney Robert Van Nest suggested to McNealy that he was a "close personal friend" of Ellison and had made "a great deal of money" when Oracle bought Sun. McNealy retorted: "I cashed out. I think the money had already been made." Meanwhile Oracle representative Michael Jacobs asked Schwartz whether he had not been "fired on day one" when Oracle took over Sun. "I believe I resigned," Schwartz said. "They already had a CEO."