Java Inventor Joins Google

James Gosling comes aboard as his former employer, Oracle, battles Google over the use of Java in Android.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

March 29, 2011

2 Min Read

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James Gosling, known as the father of the Java programming language, has been hired by Google a year after he left Oracle following its acquisition of Gosling's long-time employer Sun Microsystems.

Gosling joins Google as it battles Oracle over the use of Java in Android, Google's smartphone operating system. Oracle, which took control of Java in the Sun purchase, sued Google last year, alleging patent and copyright infringement.

Gosling announced in his blog that he started working Monday at Google. "I find it odd that this time I'm taking the road more traveled by, but it looks like interesting fun with huge leverage," he said. Gosling claimed to not know what he would be working on.

Gosling left Oracle last April, roughly three months after the company completed the Sun acquisition. While a reason wasn't given for leaving, Gosling implied that there was some tension between him and his employer.

"As to why I left, it's difficult to answer: Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good," Gosling wrote.

When Oracle sued Google last August, Gosling wrote in his blog that the move was unsurprising. During talks before the acquisition, Oracle's legal team seemed excited about the potential for intellectual property infringement based on Sun's Java assets, Gosling said.

"During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer's eyes sparkle," Gosling wrote.

Oracle has declined comment on Gosling's account, and Google has dismissed the lawsuit as an unwarranted attack on the company and the open-source community that contributed to Java's development.

Oracle is seeking a court order that the Android software "made or used in violation of Oracle America's copyrights... be impounded and destroyed or otherwise reasonably disposed of."

The suit is expected to take years to wend its way through the courts. In the meantime, developers have said that the litigation will drive programmers away from Java.

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