Google backs out of JavaOne conference

Company cites Oracle's litigation over Android as a lawsuit 'against open source'

Citing concerns about Oracle's lawsuit against it, Google said Friday it cannot participate in the upcoming JavaOne conference. The Oracle-sponsored JavaOne conference, formerly a Sun Microsystems event, is being held in San Francisco the week of September 19. Oracle is suing Google over alleged misuse of Java patents in the Android mobile platform. In a blog post, a Google official lamented the situation.

"We wish that we could [present at the show], but Oracle's recent lawsuit against Google and open source has made it impossible for us to freely share our thoughts about the future of Java and open source generally. This is a painful realization for us, as we've participated in every JavaOne since 2004, and I personally have spoken at all but the first in 1996," said Joshua Bloch of the Google Open Source Programs Office.

[ See why Neil McAllister says Oracle was right to sue Google. | Meanwhile, a JavaOne alternative is being planned for next year. | Stay up to date on open source developments with the Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]

"Like many of you, every year we look forward to the workshops, conferences, and events related to open source software. In our view, these are among the best ways we can engage the community, by sharing our experiences and learning from yours. So we're sad to announce that we won't be able to present at JavaOne this year," Bloch said. Google, Bloch added, looks forward to presenting at other venues soon. Google is proud to participate in the open source Java community, he said.

A quick look at the JavaOne conference schedule reveals some sessions that were to be conducted by Google, including one entitled "Cloud Cover: Testing Techniques for Google App Engine," presented by Google software engineer Max Ross. Google also was to participate in a panel session entitled "Taking Java to the Sky: Cloud Computing 2010 Expert Panel," as well as another session, "High-Performance Java Servers at Google," featuring Google software engineer Dhanji Prasanna.

Another session, "GUI Animation Rules," was set to be presented by Google UI toolkit engineers Chet Haase and Romain Guy. Google also was scheduled to conduct a session called "Weaving a Tangled Web: Threading Best Practices at Google." It was to feature Google senior software engineer Jeremy Manson.

Google's pulling out of JavaOne indicates it and Oracle are not making much progress in their dispute, said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. He cited a possibility of fragmentation for Java: "It signals more serious rifts and risks for fragmenting Java. I wouldn't be surprised to see Google rebrand the Java-like language it uses for Android and stop trying to make it conform to Java at some point."

"I have noticed that this is positioned by Google as a battle between Oracle and open source, but I am not sure that is the right way to frame this at all," Hilwa said. "I have never understood why is it somehow more holy to monetize software through advertising, services, devices, or anything else, rather than from a direct for-fee license to use it. I can understand if a company is a nonprofit, but that is not what we have here. We have two megaprofitable companies with significant investment in software [intellectual property]."

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