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04 May 2011, 18:50

Apache Software Foundation subpoenaed

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Oracle Android logo The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has announced that it has been subpoenaed by Oracle America's attorneys to produce documents related to the use of Apache Harmony code in the Android software platform and Apache's ultimately unsuccessful attempts to secure an acceptable licence to the Java SE Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK). The request is the latest move in Oracle's case against Google which alleges that Google has infringed Oracle's Java patents and copyrights in creating the Android operating system's Dalvik virtual machine and associated tools.

The requestPDF broadly requires the disclosure of all communications between Google, or the Open Handset Alliance, and the Foundation regarding distribution of Apache Harmony source or object code, licensing, intellectual property, compensation or revenue, advice about obtaining a licence or concerning the Oracle lawsuit against Google, as well as documents regarding infringement of Java patents or copyrights. This must be presented by 13 May. The Foundation says it will be complying with all court requirements and points out that "as an open development group the majority of our documents are already publicly available".

The request for documentation regarding the ASF's attempts to obtain a licence to the Java SE TCK is an interesting request. The TCK allows implementations of Java to be tested for compliance with the Java specifications. The ASF had been requesting that it have access to Sun's TCK ever since Sun licensed Java under the GPL in 2007; the TCK was not placed under a GPL licence at that time and Sun placed field-of-use restrictions on the TCK which said it could not be used to, for example, validate implementations of Java for mobile phones. The ASF objected saying that this was counter to the spirit of open source and the agreement that all members of the Java Community Process had signed up to. The ASF had voted no at various Java Specification Requests in protest and eventually resigned from the JCP Executive Committee in December 2010.

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