Google Infringing on Sun Patents with Android’s Dalvik?

closeThis post was published 14 years 19 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

OK, so Google doesn’t call it a Java VM; to them, it’s “Dalvik”, not Java. It does accept Java bytecode, though, and turns it into Dalvik bytecode. Sun hasn’t filed any lawsuits yet, and as far as I know doesn’t consider Google’s custom virtual machine to be a problem or infringement on their intellectual property. But the developer community and Sun are going over the nonstandard VM that Google made.

When Android came out, I was determined to ignore it, as mobile phone technology doesn’t really affect me these days (not until I actually get a cell phone). Since then, Google’s announced a full SDK, $10 million developer competition, and shown prototypes that look pretty promising, actually. OK, so all I saw of the prototypes was a few pictures on another blog, but it looked cool. And I can’t ignore the Linux part. Not anymore, at least.

Anyway, some people call Google’s move “clever”, among other things, mostly positive from what I’ve read. That word above is the opinion of Stefano Mazzocchi, a developer and board member at Apache Labs. Others, such as Hari Gottipatti (a mobile developer), say Google converts the bytecodes so it can say Dalvik is not a Java virtual machine. The general consensus, at least according to my take on the article I read, seems to be that Google is somehow avoiding Sun licensing fees, though (says Gottipatti) Sun might have just waived the licensing if Google had simply approached them and asked.

Me, I’m not too terribly interested in the whole Android thing, but this particular part of it, the maybe-Java-maybe-not part, seems to be worth following. Next thing is to find out whether or not Sun will pursue legal action against Google for what sounds like, on the surface, copying Java Micro Edition. Such a lawsuit probably wouldn’t be a good vibe for a company so active in the open source movement, but you never know. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for further developments on this one; it’s piqued my interest.

PS: To anyone who’s ever used the phrase “peaked my interest” or “peeked my interest” (ouch!), please go to your blog control panel right now and fix it. Now! Reading those two words in place of the real one hurts my brain; they give a different (and often nonsensical) meaning to the sentence. How do you peek an interest? I didn’t think so…


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

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