Google's Java chief subtly calls for detente with Oracle on Android?Submitted by Josh Fruhlinger on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 00:51.
Much hand-wringing from Google's chief Java architect Josh Bloch spent a good chunk of a speech at Red Hat's Middleware 2020 conference wailing about Java's last few years drifting along. It's a speech that made quite a splash, for obvious reasons, and contains many familiar gripes about the platform: new releases are taking too long to come out; the JCP's future is murky. Yet the two complaints he spent the most time dwelling on have something interesting in common. The first is the raft of disputes surrounding Sun's licensing conditions, with the Apache Harmony implementation being the example he cited; the second is the stagnation of Java ME, which hasn't kept up with the hardware capabilities of mobile devices.
Both of those points, of course, are directly related to Android, Google's own OS for mobile devices, which, despite being unable to officially call itself Java because of the aforementioned licensing disputes, is ultimately based on Harmony and on Java SE. Block ended his speech by praising Oracle's past moves on openness and licensing, and urging Java's new master to show leadership on the platform.
My crazy theory about all this is that Google would like to come to some sort of accommodation with Oracle on Android. Surely Google will want to still be in charge of the platform, but if some of Android's innovations could be rolled back into the official Java codebase, that could only broaden the Android developer base.
In a possibly related matter, Daring Fireball's John Gruber predicts that James Gosling would ultimately land at Google, which would be a very interesting scenario indeed.