Arik Hesseldahl

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After Testifying in Oracle-Google Trial, Scott McNealy Speaks Out

Having testified in the Oracle-Google trial with a decidedly different viewpoint from that of his successor, former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy took to Bloomberg TV yesterday to talk a little about Java, the licensing of its APIs, and other matters.

In his appearance, McNealy said that, as he remembers it, Google was asked to take out a commercial license on Java. “There is a Java specification license document available,” he said, that didn’t contain any financial requirements, but it did require compatibility.

McNealy had been called as a witness by Oracle, and on the stand he said that it was Sun’s practice to let other companies use Java, but only with a commercial license, and that its primary requirement was that the licensee ensure that Java remain compatible.

While numerous other phones from the likes of Nokia, Research In Motion and Motorola were compatible with Java applications, those on Android weren’t. Compatibility is one of the main points over which Oracle has been arguing with Google. Oracle contends that not only did Google violate its patents and copyrights, but it then went on to build its own incompatible version of Java, fracturing one of the oldest premises of Java’s existence: Write once, run anywhere.

McNealy is also running a poll on Twitpolls, asking people to vote for which side they agree with. (Google is ahead as of this morning.)

Who is right in the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit? reply w/ #oracle #google #neither #both
Scott McNealy

And he promotes a similar poll on his own new venture’s site,, where, as of this morning, the vote is favoring Oracle.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out, and the world is still waiting for a verdict. It could come today.

Anyhow, here’s the video of McNealy’s six-minute TV interview:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work