Practical Technology

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A Google Android and Java history lesson

Recently, some people were shocked-shocked I tell you-to discover that Google had looked at Java to help create Android’s Dalvik and that Google kept its Android source code to itself and its closest partners until the final product was released to the public. Oh please. There’s nothing new here. It’s always been that way and everyone who knows anything about Android’s history already knew that.

First, there’s the accusation that Android used Java code in creating its Dalvik virtual machine (VM). This is news? When Android first came out, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, then Java’s owner, greeted the news of Android’s birth with “heartfelt congratulations.”

Oh, by the way, anyone could look, use, and, yes, copy Java’s code too. You see, Sun had open-sourced Java under the GPLv2 in November 2006. Sun wanted Google and anyone else to use and copy its code. That’s kind of the whole point of open-sourcing a program don’t you know.

So there you have it. From day one Android was using Java. I knew that. Sun knew that. Anyone who ever developed in Android knew that.

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