More Trouble for Google With “Stolen” Linux Code Accusations? [Legal Stuff]


The last time Google was accused of stealing, this same source was defamed and his words were debunked by many. Still, the fact that he so boldly claims the things he claims gets us to listen. The latest says Google copied 2.5 megabyes of code from over 700 linux kernel header files for its Dalvik VM. After dropping a comment here and an if statement there, Google supposedly claimed the documents contained no copyrightable information.

Florian Mueller – the infamous man behind FOSS Patents – says this could be legally crippling for Google. Should Google be accused and found guilty of what Florian is proposing here, GPL rules would force them and ANY partner – including developers in the Android market – to allow their wares to be freely modified and redistributed. Right away you can see what type of issues this would cause and how big of a problem it would be for all parties involved.

I’m not sure if these claims would get Google into that deep of a puddle of mud, but it’s still scary to think about. Florian says that a rewrite or replacing of the code would need to take place but professes that it’s much easier said than done. You can read more about his claim and the implications for Android’s future here, if you want. It really is an interesting read whether or not it turns up true. (It is lengthy, though, so grab yourself a bag of popped corn and get comfy.)

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

Best Buy Extends $249.99 Thunderbolt Price Past March 20th

Previous article

GameLoft Giving UK Customers Chance to Win Free Games, Galaxy Tab to Celebrate St. Patty’s Day

Next article

You may also like


  1. Trying to make a dollar off of someone else good fortune. I’d be willing to bet ole google can put together a super bowl caliber legal team. First

  2. Another day, another GPL suit.

  3. never publish stories from Florian. He is anti-open source and misleads with every statement.

    This stuff has already been compared and showed that it’s not the case.

    1: some things are going to look identical
    2: some things are going be claimed to be copied
    3: nothing has been proven in court.

    Don’t forget that florian hates google, open source, etc, and does it all under the guise of “anti software patents”.

    Do pray tell, what does analysis of “stolen linux code” have to do with a guy who doesn’t like software patents?

  4. Microsoft is still trying to kill Android – oh I’m sure Microsoft is behind all of this. When will they learn?

  5. Er

    Google provide everyone with the source for the Dalvik VM so this is a fuckin non issue.

  6. One thing I’ve learned over the years: Don’t pick a fight with Google

  7. Floriam Muller at it again?

    Never read his stuff.

  8. So, linux sues google? not happening.

  9. Yeah uh even if there were merit to this case (which there almost certainly isn’t), the implications aren’t nearly so dire as predicted in the article. Most Market apps are written purely in Java, so the C headers never even come into play. Most Android software isn’t written using pure-GPLed libraries, and so it’s not beholden to the GPL even if the Android runtime environment were a GPL violation (which it probably isn’t).

    Basically, if his claims were true, then ALL software written for ALL versions of Linux would need to be GPLed, but that clearly isn’t the case.

  10. Please stop citing this idiot!

  11. Google should stick to their guns. They believed the copied portions were not copyrightable, why would they change their mind after being accosted by a gpl dramatist.

  12. This guy is a money and publicity hungry troll. He has been resoundingly disproved before but persists like a bad cold. Disregard this imbecile, he hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

  13. I agree with Matt. Disregard Floria Mueller’s statements from now on. He’s an anti-open source troll, even though he misleadingly calls his blog FOSS, when it should actually be called anti-FOSS.

  14. Ugh, not this guy again. He was debunked as wrong last time wasn’t he?

    It is news though, people, and Phandroid owes it to its users to report it. Even if the guy is probably wrong.

  15. Umm, Linux is open source, you can’t really “steal” it. And as far as Android http://developer.android.com/resources/faq/licensingandoss.html

    Most likely he’s a microsoft shill, ignore him.

  16. Why anyone would bother readings this guy’s stuff is beyond me. The guy is a crackpot.

  17. Stop posting articles made up by Florian Mueller. He is just a troll. Stop wasting our time with this crap.

    GPL compliance does not even work they way you suggest at all. Google would just have to remove the infringing code, but guess what? HEADERS ARE NOT COPYRIGHT-ABLE you dunce.

  18. @Curiant no need to stick to their guns, no one in the kernel dev team with bother them at all. Headers are not copyrightable,just go ask Linus.

  19. This is nonsense. The Headers are GPL, kernel modules may be GPL, Dalvik is userspace. From Linus:

    ‘There’s a clarification that user-space programs that use the standard system call interfaces aren’t considered derived works, but even that isn’t an “exception” – it’s just a statement of a border of what is clearly considered a “derived work”. User programs are _clearly_ not derived works of the kernel, and as such whatever the kernel license is just doesn’t matter.’


  20. Is Oracle paying this guy to come up with this ridiculous FUD?

  21. From Wikipedia

    Accusations that Google copied code from Oracle

    Müller accused Google of copying code from Oracle [20], an accusation which was heavily criticized by two technical reporters. According to Ed Burnette, a ZDNet blogger, Google published those files on its web site to help developers debug and test their own code.[21] ArsTechnica’s Ryan Paul also said that these findings in the online codebase are also not evidence that stolen code is distributed on Android handsets.[22] According to Groklaw[23], one of the things Oracle will have to prove is that Google distributed or copied those files. Two days after his original assertions Mueller claimed to have found the files in the official source availability packages of device makers Motorola, LG and Samsung[24], and later pointed to an allegation made by Oracle that Google infringed various Oracle copyrights and derived Android code from the specificiations for hundreds of copyrighted files.[25]

  22. Simon, I don’t see how some troll’s ramblings are news. If he get “rewarded” with a lot of traffic to his site for spewing nonsense like that, what do you think he’ll do next? He’ll write even MORE nonsense against Android.

  23. Man o man this guy florian is a major… ‘TWAT’ someone is putting him up to this I SUSPECT APPLE OR MICROSOFT. Regardless these are all BASELESS CLAIMS that have ALREADY BEEN PROVEN TO BE FALSE… What a LOSSER

  24. There is more important stuff than this bullshit going on in the world right now. What a friggin’ waste.

  25. ROFL! Now he is a Microsoft troll?!?

    This is an example of taking open-source to the far wing of its own political spectrum.

    GPL people believe all software should be free and they will fight for it.

    You guys accusing him of being a Microsoft troll are more Microsoftie than he is. You want free software as long as you don’t have to pay for it. He wants free software because he believes all software should be free and free of patents and don’t want anyone else to make profit except for the services provided. You hate him because you’re only a cheapskate who doesn’t know what GPL stands for.

    BTW, I do not publish anything under GPL for a reason. I don’t agree all software should be open and free. I believe that some software patents are legit, although the vast majority of them are NOT.

    P.S. Linus wrote the kernel for GNU. The GNULinux (commonly called Linux) was done through the hard work of mostly Richard Stallman.

  26. I don’t see how the headers could by copyrightable since you need them to even talk to the system anyway…

  27. @Phandroid editors– Please don’t cite or post any of Floria Mueller’s stuff. He is a complete douchebag and tool, and that’s coming from me and everyone knows I’m a douchebag.

  28. @CHANG3D There is no GNULinux. There is GNU and there is Linux and you can package them together as GNU/Linux. Don’t downplay Linus for RMS. And it doesn’t take much more that looking around the comment sections of FOSS sites to see that many people who obviously know about FOSS feel he is a troll.

  29. Leave google alone, srsly. dont be evil

  30. This Florian Mueller is a F***ing pathetic moron.

  31. @CHANG3D: What have you been smoking? Most people do not want free software, we want to pay a fair price for the work involved in producing the software. Anyone who wants to force people to give their software free is a brain dead hippie who wants the software indistry to go through a dark ages with little to no new software technologies developed.

  32. We are the superbowl caliber legal team myself and Dj as well as tim242 and MensahWatts we will handle this

  33. Curt @ 19 is on the money.
    And it’s OK to post these news bits, just tone down the alarm factor.

  34. So linus went from creator of the kernel to the while operating system?

    Richard Stallman apparently did nothing…

    This is why you guys are the trolls.

  35. Sorry,

    But who is florian ?


  36. @CHANG3D
    All people want free software. If John is willing to offer Jane his work for free under a FOSS license, and Jane finds that license acceptable to her, then I don’t see a problem.
    No commie hippies involved. BTW, you’re a few decades out of date. The new word is “terrorist”.
    Stop overgeneralizing. Not all GPL people want all software to be free. There are crackpots that are GPL fans but please don’t assume all GPL fans are crackpots.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Misc