The Oracle vs. Google Case Is Concerning Some Wine Developers

Written by Michael Larabel in WINE on 14 April 2018 at 10:17 AM EDT. 74 Comments
At the end of March the US Federal Court of Appeals made a reversal in the long-running Oracle vs. Google battle over the use of Java APIs within Android. The appeals court determined that Google's use of some Java APIs were not under fair-use, which could set a dangerous precedent for some open-source projects.

For those not familiar with the recent ruling in the Oracle vs. Google case on appeal, there is a brief summary available on Wikipedia for those interested.

The US court ruling that the name and arguments of functions are copyrightable and not necessarily protected by fair-use even in the name of software compatibility is particularly disturbing to some Wine developers. Of course, Wine is all about implementing Windows APIs -- albeit through reverse-engineering -- in order to allow users to run Windows programs on Linux and other operating systems. If Microsoft wanted, they could theoretically pursue action against the Wine project for making use of these "copyrighted" APIs even though they are just the name and parameters with Wine developers writing the actual code to make things work.

There's been the start of a discussion on the Wine developers mailing list about this unfortunate US court ruling. It's also been confirmed that Wine has been in contact with the Software Freedom Conservancy about this issue. But for now it appears to be too early to know the effect of this decision. Additionally, with the pace of the US legal system, it could be years before the Oracle vs. Google case is actually at its end.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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