Free Software Foundation Says Google Must Fight Oracle's Java Patent Claims

Thursday Sep 9th 2010 by Developer.com Staff
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The Free Software Foundation says that all companies, including Oracle and Google, should put down their patents and stop the war against free software.

The Free Software Foundation is not surprisingly standing behind Google in defending the software company's right to build software without the threat of patent lawsuits.

"An aggressive infringement suit over software patents is a clear attack against someone's freedom to use, share, modify, and redistribute software—freedoms that everyone should always have. Oracle now seeks to take these rights away, not just from Google, but from all Android users.

Ultimately, the decision about how to respond rests primarily with Google; they're the party named as the defendant in the suit. The FSF encourages Google to fight Oracle's claims, and take a principled stand against all software patents," FSF license compliance engineer Brett Smith said in a statement.

The Foundation sees patents in much the same way peace activists view nuclear weapons. Those countries that have nukes claim that they need them as a deterrent, and no countries are willing to give them up, but to peace activists - they should all disarm.

"Oracle once claimed that it only sought software patents for defensive purposes. Now it is using them to proactively attack free software. It's not the first company to make this about-face, and unfortunately it probably won't be the last. Today Google claims they need software patents for defensive purposes, but the reality is that programmers will only truly be safe from software patents when everybody is forced to disarm," Smith said.

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