Aug 20, 2019 Last Updated 20:48 PM EDT


New Android Version Will Ditch Oracle's Proprietary Java API

Dec 30, 2015 04:30 AM EST


Android N, the next generation of Android OS will implement a new Java API with OpenJDK, an open source version of Java API.

Google spokeperson told Venture Beat, that Android N will rely solely on OpnJDK. "As an open-source platform, Android is built upon the collaboration of the open-source community," said Google. "In our upcoming release of Android, we plan to move Android's Java language libraries to an OpenJDK-based approach, creating a common code base for developers to build apps and services. Google has long worked with and contributed to the OpenJDK community, and we look forward to making even more contributions to the OpenJDK project in the future."

The dispute between Oracle and Android had started since 2010, after Oracle acquired Sun Microsystem, the company that created Java. In August 2010, Oracle sued Google for copyright and patent infringement of its Java API. Oracle claimed that Android cannot use Java's APIs without permission. Google countered by declaring that APIs can't be copyrighted as they are essential to software development, collaboration, and innovation.

After a long battle in court, two years later the jury found that Google did not infringe on Oracle's patents and judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California agreed to Google opinion that APIs can't be copyrighted. However, in 2014 Federal Circuit reversed the decision in favor of Oracle to have Java APIs be copyrighted. Google then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case but declined and sending back the case to lower court, enabling Google to argue on fair use of copyrighted API.

Although Google has its own version of Java, Google needed API to enable developers writing programs for Android. API is a software component that required to build an application, so that programs and softwares can communicate with each other. Until Google decided to use open source version of Java on Tuesday, December 29, it relied on Oracle's Java API.

Business Insider reported that Google says it made the switch because Google was already starting to use OpenJDK alongside Oracle's Java APIs, and it is better for developers to have one standard. However, OpenJDK was not as complete as Oracle's Java API, and that is something Google promises to fix and Google has already started it.

Hacker News was the first to notice about some mysterious Android codebase committed to OpenJDK. The code commit shows changes were made in 8,902 files in Android OpenJDK source code. By the changes, Google improved the way developers building application for Android by simplifying the code and libraries.

However, the switch to open source Java API does not guarantee Oracle to lose its grip on the Java API. If Oracle wins the case, it will have more control over developers who used its proprietary Java API and services.

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