2014-06-26

Android's switch from Dalvik VM to ART is for legal and not technical superiority reasons

Android 5.0 will switch to ART virtual machine after Oracle Dalvik ruling



GOOGLE'S ANDROID OPERATING SYSTEM will move from Dalvik to the ART virtual machine in its next edition.

The mobile operating system's next version, which Google is expected to be released as Android 5.0 Lollipop at its annual Google I/O Developer Conference next week, will be the first to switch from Dalvik as the default, following the introduction of ART as an option in Android 4.4 Kitkat.
End users should see a significant improvement in the performance of devices running ART, however there are likely to be some incompatibilities with older apps from the Google Play Store that haven't been optimised for it.



While the changes have been in progress for some time, the announcement on the AOSP project pages, under the title "Dalvik is dead, Long live dalvik" could not have come at a better time for Google.
Earlier this month, Oracle, the owner of the Java language, won an appeal that meant that vast swathes of Java code in the implementation of Dalvik were in potential breach of copyright, after successfully arguing that although the Java library is open source, the APIs involved are protected by copyright.
The ruling, which has huge repercussions for software developers, sets a precedent that could lead to a series of high profile lawsuits between software houses and developers who have used open source code. INQUIRER readers have been sharply divided on the subject, with many siding either for or against Oracle in comments.
It's not clear if the timing is coincidental or simply convenient, but it has come just in time for the expected announcement next week. After all, the new software will have to be completed and uploaded to millions of devices in order to be available from launch on any new devices that also appear at the Google I/O Developer Conference. 





This story was originally published by The Inquirer.