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Google’s not a thief: Oracle code not in Android OS

Google says that, above all else, it will do no evil. We’ve seen it tread into some gray waters already (as evidenced by cases like Google Books and the scanning and logging of WiFi networks), but the search engine giant has now been accused of being an outright thief. Well, a virtual thief.

Florian Mueuller calls himself an “intellectual property activist,” and the FOSSpatents blogger apparently did some digging around in the Android 2.2 Froyo and Android 3.0 Gingerbread code. In his digging around, he found that there were at least six files that were taken directly from the Java source code, in addition to 37 files that had “proprietary/confidential” slathered on them.

As least, that’s the accusation that’s been making its way around the Internet by news sites and bloggers, adding fuel to the fire between Oracle (which owns Sun, which is responsible for Java) and Google. However, it has now come to light that Google may not have actually done any wrongdoing. It may have just been fine with the level of “borrowing” on the part of the Android developers.

Expert developer Ed Burnette says that those files may have been “borrowed,” but they were simply a part of the usual testing process and they were deleted before Android was sent out to consumers:

There are two sets of files in question. The first set of 7 (PolicyNodeImpl.java, AclEntryImpl.java, AclImpl.java, GroupImpl.java, OwnerImpl.java, PermissionImpl.java, and PrincipalImpl.java) are in the unit test area of the source code tree. As any programmer will tell you, you don’t ship your unit tests with your product. Unit tests are tools used internally to ensure the quality of the software before you ship it.

The second set of 37 files is actually zipped up into one file called MMAPI.zip and tucked away in a directory used for native code audio drivers for one particular type of chip set. Florian really had to go digging for this one. I double-checked the make files and it’s clear this file is not shipped with Android either. Somebody uploaded it by mistake and it should simply be deleted.

So, what does this mean at the end of the day? Google’s in the clear and new CEO Larry Page (who just replaced Eric Schmidt) likely won’t have any new checks to sign for Oracle… at least, not in relation to this finding by Mueuller. There are other outstanding lawsuits between the two parties, after all, and Florian may have been trying to add some fuel to the fire while gaining publicity.

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  • Another Fandroid Lie debunked

    Boy your right on with this STORY…

    NOT!!!!

    Tons on code stolen from oracle in android, what a retard you are!

  • BWWeb

    Funny. Google your good.i

  • Jimmy Dingo

    If Florian is really the culprit, trying to make something from nothing, or a lack of further investigating on his part, then he should bare the financial burden for his laziness. I imagine Google or the manufacturers, or even Michael here having to complete Florian’s work had time and expenses involved. That should be an easy decision for even our judge’s involved. A fair and simple solution for all parties, and purhaps reduce the ambulance chasing carried over from the legal profession.

  • CharleyFarley

    Well Joe Hilton luckily the laws in the country don’t revolve around your opinion! Second off, learn about what actually happened before you ramble off scolding billion dollar companies. You sound ridiculous lol.

  • ceriko

    That’s good news for Android ! I Also think all this was just to create a buzz around the “discoverer”.

  • http://www.iowashottest.com Joe Hilton

    Well in my opinion no one had any right to go searching through the source code and take ANY confidential files. That is in my opinion and many others AGAINST THE LAW! Also maybe someone should think about securing their source code a little bit more and make it a little harder to get, like impossible!