Android open source move could boost Java and aid in legal battles with Oracle

Google's upcoming 'Android N' mobile operating system will leverage OpenJDK APIs

Google's OpenJDK move could boost Java and aid in legal battles with Oracle

Google's planned mobile operating system, which has been referred to as Android N, will leverage OpenJDK APIs rather than Google's own Java implementation alone. The move has been praised as good for Java overall and might help the company in its ongoing legal battle with Oracle.

Oracle has griped that Android violates Java copyrights and patents. OpenJDK provides an accessible open source version of Java.

Google's brief statement on the matter, sent to InfoWorld on Monday, makes no mention of any legal issues, however.

"As an open-source platform, Android is built upon the collaboration of the open-source community. 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 said. "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."

Google's Java implementation has featured Apache Harmony libraries. Android itself has leveraged Java development, but has relied on the Dalvik runtime and now the Art alternative.

Tools vendor Codename One, which enables development of Apple iOS, Android, and Windows applications via Java, lauded the move but questioned Google's intentions. "This is amazing news and a huge step forward for Java," said Shai Almog, co-founder of Codename One, in a blog post. "It's still unclear if this is just another move or the inkling of a settlement between Google and Oracle, but I'm very hopeful that this is indeed a settlement."

Google's OpenJDK shift "could be the start of the long anticipated 'peace process' or at least a ceasefire between Google and Oracle," Almog said. "This could allow us all to align behind one Java version eventually (taking into consideration the slow Android update process). It could help bring Java back into vogue with some developers who considered the closed nature of Java problematic."

Future releases of Android will still be based on Google's own implementation but will use OpenJDK, Google explained in a published report.

Google could not be immediately reached for comment on the planned release date for Android N.

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