Google will switch from Java APIs to OpenJDK

Pierluigi Paganini December 31, 2015

Google confirms that the next Android versions will use Oracle’s open-source OpenJDK instead the Java APIs, a strategic choice.

Google is leaving Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in future versions of its mobile operating system Android. The company is planning to adopt as an alternative an open source solution.

What is this OpenJDK? It is an open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition developed by Oracle, and related projects.

The news was first reported by Hacker News who quoted a “mysterious Android codebase commit.”

Google confirmed to the VentureBeat news portal that future Android versions, starting from Android N will use the Open JDK implementation, rather the official implementation of the Java APIs.

The experts have no doubts, this new change will allow the development community to easily interact and design better apps and produce quicker updates.
“Google is replacing its implementation of the Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in Android with OpenJDK, the open source version of Oracle’s Java Development Kit (JDK). The news first came by a “mysterious Android codebase commit” from last month submitted to Hacker News. Google confirmed to VentureBeat that Android N will rely on an OpenJDK implementation, rather Android’s own implementation of the Java APIs.” states VentureBeat.

The reason of the choice is likely related to a legal dispute between Google and Oracle, this choice will protect Google with regards to future Android versions in the event the company loses.

The legal battle started when Oracle sued Google for copyright in 2010, claiming that Big G used a part of the Java APIs in the  Android mobile OS.

Google replied sustaining the necessity to use Java APIs to allow different applications to interact, and, therefore, could not be copyrighted.

Google plans to introduce its resources into Open JDK having a significant impact on future development of the framework where the team can have a bigger impact on new features and improvements.

Google won a first legal dispute in 2012, but a Federal court lawsuit in 2014 expressed its favor to Oracle. Google reached out to the US Supreme Court to take the case, but the Supreme Court declined to hear Google’s appeal.

The experts believe that Google will be prohibited from using the copyrighted APIs, this is the principal motivation behind the choice to adopt the Open JDK.

Be aware, Open JDK is still under the Oracle’s control, but Google is legally authorized to implement it.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Google, Java APIs)

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