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Google’s Chief Java Architect Admits That He May Have Copied Sun’s Code

The legal tussle between Google and Oracle has taken a strange twist as both seem equally responsible in the whole fiasco. Google didn’t really buy the license for using Java code whereas Oracle has been meddling with the Android platform and apparently, decided to get money out of Google a little too late. Now, Google’s chief Java Architect, Joshua Bloch has admitted that he may have copied some of the code used in Android.


Bloch’s testimony is very significant, particularly because  Oracle has been alleging all along that the chief reason that it was suing Google was because Google copied parts of Java code without getting a license for it.

Before joining Google, Bloch has been working at Sun for eight years. Oracle brought up the issue that nine lines of code, specifically, have been copied by Google right from Sun’s code. These lines of code deal with a specific method called rangeCheck. The twist is that Bloch was the actual author of this method and wrote it as far back as 1997. Sun, however, claimed right to it by 2004.

For Google’s Android platform, Bloch wrote a file in which the exact same code was written. According to Bloch, he wrote this piece of code in 2007 and said that ‘the same order and same name is a strong indicator that it is likely that I did’ copy the code.

These copied lines of codes are no longer a part of Android 4.0. Also, it seems that Google wasn’t very well aware of the whole thing until Oracle brought it up. According to Bloch, he has been a part of Sun and then he went on to work on Android, yet nobody at Google spoke to him as to whether or not it was appropriate.

Upon the question of accessing copyright Sun or Java code, Bloch said that ‘under the circumstances I wrote the code, yes, I’m perfectly willing to believe it. “If I did, it was a mistake and I’m sorry I did it.’

Image courtesy Bob Lee.

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