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Is Google Android a Counterfeit Operating System?

Three completely different entities, coming from three very different perspectives/motivations, are all making the same charge against Google: that Google forged their work and stole/misused their property in creating its world-leading Android mobile operating system.

  • First, and deliciously ironic, is the fact that Google, the self-proclaimed champion of Open Source software, is being accused of violating "open source licensing with a misappropriation of Linux code" -- per ComputerWorld.
    • NoSoftwarePatents campaign founder Florian Mueller writes:
      • "Google copied 2.5 megabytes of code from more than 700 Linux kernel header files with a homemade program that drops source code comments and some other elements, and daringly claims (in a notice at the start of each generated file) that the extracted material constitutes 'no copyrightable information,'"
    • IP Attorney William Naughton said:
      • "Google has found a way to take Linux away from the open source community and privatize it."

  • Second, Oracle is suing Google alleging that the Android OS platform infringes patents and copyrights Oracle owns via its acquisition of Sun Microsystems Java platform. (See the Register.)
    • Oracle alleges:
      • "Without consent, authorization, approval, or license, Google knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully copied, prepared, published, and distributed Oracle America's copyrighted work, portions thereof, or derivative works and continues to do so,"
    • It is also deliciously ironic that Google is defending itself against Oracle's charges by claiming Oracle is attacking the Open Source community at the same time Google was violating the Open Source community's licensing regime.... (See Techcrunch's take.)
  • Third, Skyhook Wireless is also suing Google for violating its patents in the Android operating system.

In sum, there is an obvious pattern here. Three different entities, with different motivations are all charging that Google did the same thing: forge their work and steal/misuse their property in building Android.

  • Google's deep disrespect for the property of others in building Android would not surprise the millions of authors of books that Google copied without permission, or the owners of the hundred thousand videos that Google-YouTube uploaded to the Internet without permission, or the movie studios that have sued Google for promoting piracy of their movies...

If even some of the charges alleged by the parties above are true, Google's Android mobile operating system is counterfeit, and may turn out to be one of the most brazen attempts of software piracy in history.