legality of mimicking the Windows look and feel

Discussion in 'Java' started by jaredmac@gmail.com, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Guest

    This is a bit off-topic. I was wondering what the legal relationship
    Sun has with Microsoft when they mimic the look and feel of, say,
    Windows XP in Java.

    Would the illegal bit only be if a Java app had the XP look-and-feel on
    a non-Windows XP computer?

    If so, presumably it would be similar copyright violation if a Java app
    impersonated a Mac app on a non-Mac.

    Jared
    , Dec 12, 2006
    #1
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  2. In article <>,
    wrote:

    > This is a bit off-topic. I was wondering what the legal relationship
    > Sun has with Microsoft when they mimic the look and feel of, say,
    > Windows XP in Java.
    >
    > Would the illegal bit only be if a Java app had the XP look-and-feel on
    > a non-Windows XP computer?
    >
    > If so, presumably it would be similar copyright violation if a Java app
    > impersonated a Mac app on a non-Mac.
    >
    > Jared


    I don't recall where I've read information on this topic in the past.
    But you'll find that the Mac LAF isn't available with the Windows or
    Linux Java installations, and the Windows LAF isn't available on Macs.
    The entire reason, from what I read, has to do with copyrights. You
    might want to do a little web searching on the topic for more details.
    But it's apparently illegal to copy the Windows LAF files, for instance,
    to another platform for use with your Java app.

    = Steve =
    --
    Steve W. Jackson
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Steve W. Jackson, Dec 12, 2006
    #2
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  3. Guest

    > I don't recall where I've read information on this topic in the past.
    > But you'll find that the Mac LAF isn't available with the Windows or
    > Linux Java installations, and the Windows LAF isn't available on Macs.
    > The entire reason, from what I read, has to do with copyrights. You
    > might want to do a little web searching on the topic for more details.
    > But it's apparently illegal to copy the Windows LAF files, for instance,
    > to another platform for use with your Java app.


    Interesting. Thanks for the response. So if I were interested in
    creating a Java app that mimicked iTunes's appearance (but not its
    functionality), and ran on all platforms, that would be a copyright
    violation? I'll do some more searching.

    Jared
    , Dec 12, 2006
    #3
  4. Daniel Pitts Guest

    Steve W. Jackson wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > wrote:
    >
    > > This is a bit off-topic. I was wondering what the legal relationship
    > > Sun has with Microsoft when they mimic the look and feel of, say,
    > > Windows XP in Java.
    > >
    > > Would the illegal bit only be if a Java app had the XP look-and-feel on
    > > a non-Windows XP computer?
    > >
    > > If so, presumably it would be similar copyright violation if a Java app
    > > impersonated a Mac app on a non-Mac.
    > >
    > > Jared

    >
    > I don't recall where I've read information on this topic in the past.
    > But you'll find that the Mac LAF isn't available with the Windows or
    > Linux Java installations, and the Windows LAF isn't available on Macs.
    > The entire reason, from what I read, has to do with copyrights. You
    > might want to do a little web searching on the topic for more details.
    > But it's apparently illegal to copy the Windows LAF files, for instance,
    > to another platform for use with your Java app.
    >
    > = Steve =
    > --
    > Steve W. Jackson
    > Montgomery, Alabama


    It was my impression that Windows LAF used native components, and thats
    why it wouldn't work on anything non-native, but I could be mistaken.
    Daniel Pitts, Dec 13, 2006
    #4
  5. Mich Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > This is a bit off-topic. I was wondering what the legal relationship
    > Sun has with Microsoft when they mimic the look and feel of, say,
    > Windows XP in Java.
    >
    > Would the illegal bit only be if a Java app had the XP look-and-feel on
    > a non-Windows XP computer?
    >
    > If so, presumably it would be similar copyright violation if a Java app
    > impersonated a Mac app on a non-Mac.



    When MS created Excel they got sued by Lotus and the suit got thrown out
    because Lotus could not claim rights to the look and feel.
    Mich, Dec 13, 2006
    #5
  6. Guest

    > When MS created Excel they got sued by Lotus and the suit got thrown out
    > because Lotus could not claim rights to the look and feel.


    On the other hand, Apple got xTunes to change its
    name/appearance/functionality because it was too similar to iTunes.
    Perhaps that one didn't go all the way to court.
    , Dec 13, 2006
    #6
  7. wrote:
    ....
    > Interesting. Thanks for the response. So if I were interested in
    > creating a Java app that mimicked iTunes's appearance (but not its
    > functionality), and ran on all platforms, that would be a copyright
    > violation? I'll do some more searching.


    For the slight chance of stopping yet another
    PLAF abortion (or something that should have
    been aborted in the planning phases) I will point
    out the following.

    The user wants the damn program to look and
    feel, just like all the *other* programs on their computer,
    and would generally prefer that to some (trivially)
    cute 'borders'.

    Therefore the best PLAF (for the user) is generally
    whatever lookAndFeelForPlatform(?) the JVM produces.
    (I think that only leaves the Linux folks to stress over the
    fact they chose Motif, when GTK is offered).

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Dec 13, 2006
    #7
  8. Daniel Dyer Guest

    On Tue, 12 Dec 2006 22:16:51 -0000, Steve W. Jackson
    <> wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > wrote:
    >
    >> This is a bit off-topic. I was wondering what the legal relationship
    >> Sun has with Microsoft when they mimic the look and feel of, say,
    >> Windows XP in Java.
    >>
    >> Would the illegal bit only be if a Java app had the XP look-and-feel on
    >> a non-Windows XP computer?
    >>
    >> If so, presumably it would be similar copyright violation if a Java app
    >> impersonated a Mac app on a non-Mac.
    >>
    >> Jared

    >
    > I don't recall where I've read information on this topic in the past.
    > But you'll find that the Mac LAF isn't available with the Windows or
    > Linux Java installations, and the Windows LAF isn't available on Macs.
    > The entire reason, from what I read, has to do with copyrights. You
    > might want to do a little web searching on the topic for more details.
    > But it's apparently illegal to copy the Windows LAF files, for instance,
    > to another platform for use with your Java app.


    I believe that the Windows LAF files are provided with other platforms'
    JREs but that by default you can't use them. I remember that I was able
    to sub-class the Windows look and feel with Java 1.4 to make it usable on
    Linux, although it didn't look that good (presumably because it normally
    depends on features of the OS). I think it is a breach of some licence or
    other to deploy such code.

    Dan.

    --
    Daniel Dyer
    http://www.dandyer.co.uk
    Daniel Dyer, Dec 13, 2006
    #8
  9. In article <>,
    <> wrote:
    >
    >Interesting. Thanks for the response. So if I were interested in
    >creating a Java app that mimicked iTunes's appearance (but not its
    >functionality), and ran on all platforms, that would be a copyright
    >violation? I'll do some more searching.


    In itself, it doesn't sound like a copyright problem, but if you use
    Sun's libraries to do so when they haven't given you a license for it,
    it certainly might be.

    More likely, the native LAFs may be protected by trademarks or patents
    or both. The whole IP situation wrt software is a complete mess and
    you should consult with a lawyer before trying to do anything you
    believe might be suspect.

    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

    Cheers,
    Bent D
    --
    Bent Dalager - - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
    powered by emacs
    Bent C Dalager, Dec 13, 2006
    #9
  10. Mich Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >> When MS created Excel they got sued by Lotus and the suit got thrown out
    >> because Lotus could not claim rights to the look and feel.

    >
    > On the other hand, Apple got xTunes to change its
    > name/appearance/functionality because it was too similar to iTunes.
    > Perhaps that one didn't go all the way to court.


    "Quatto Pro was the subject of a major lawsuit by Lotus against Borland.
    Lotus argued that Quattro could not copy Lotus 1-2-3 menus (it did, by
    design). Borland supplied the 1-2-3 menus as an alternative because
    keystroke compatibility was needed in order to run macros in 1-2-3
    worksheets. Borland argued that just as all cars operate in the same way,
    Lotus could not rationally "own" the way its program behaved. The district
    court ruled in favor of Lotus, but the appellate court ruled that the 1-2-3
    menus were functional and not copyrightable. The case went all the way to
    the U.S. Supreme Court which split 4 to 4 (Justice Stevens recused himself).
    This left the lower court ruling intact, which was a victory for Borland."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quattro_Pro
    Mich, Dec 13, 2006
    #10
  11. Daniel Pitts wrote:
    >
    > It was my impression that Windows LAF used native components,

    No, Sun implemented the Windows LAF without any native components, but
    recreated the whole thing in pure Java (in package
    com.sun.java.swing.plaf.windows).

    > and thats
    > why it wouldn't work on anything non-native, but I could be mistaken.

    The abstract LookAndFeel class has the method:
    /**
    * Return true if the underlying platform supports and or permits
    * this look and feel. This method returns false if the look
    * and feel depends on special resources or legal agreements that
    * aren't defined for the current platform.
    */
    public abstract boolean isSupportedLookAndFeel();

    The implementation in the WindowsLookAndFeel class is (probably enforced
    by Microsoft's lawyers):
    public boolean isSupportedLookAndFeel() {
    /* return true if running on Windows; */
    }
    and that is why it doesn't work on Linux or Mac.

    --
    Thomas
    Thomas Fritsch, Dec 13, 2006
    #11
  12. Andrew Thompson wrote:
    >
    > Therefore the best PLAF (for the user) is generally
    > whatever lookAndFeelForPlatform(?) the JVM produces.
    > (I think that only leaves the Linux folks to stress over the
    > fact they chose Motif, when GTK is offered).


    But which GTK engine? Then there is Qt, or the weirdo shit Firefox does,
    or same for Opera, or n different media players each broken in different
    ways, etc., etc. There is no one native look and feel on Linux, but most
    can be made to look like Metal. :)

    Tom Hawtin
    Thomas Hawtin, Dec 13, 2006
    #12
  13. Daniel Dyer wrote:
    >
    > I believe that the Windows LAF files are provided with other platforms'
    > JREs but that by default you can't use them. I remember that I was able
    > to sub-class the Windows look and feel with Java 1.4 to make it usable
    > on Linux, although it didn't look that good (presumably because it
    > normally depends on features of the OS). I think it is a breach of some
    > licence or other to deploy such code.


    It's not in the JRE, but the source is in src.zip of the JDK. Using
    classic (pre-Windows XP) is easy enough. XP style can be used, but all
    the skin information is read from Windows so it doesn't look too great...

    http://jroller.com/page/tackline?entry=xp_pl_f_on_linux

    IIRC, Apple were really into "look and feel" suits in the early nineties
    (late eighties?). Sun approached Microsoft, but failed to get an
    assurance that they would not sue.

    Tom Hawtin
    Thomas Hawtin, Dec 13, 2006
    #13
  14. In article <>,
    wrote:

    > > I don't recall where I've read information on this topic in the past.
    > > But you'll find that the Mac LAF isn't available with the Windows or
    > > Linux Java installations, and the Windows LAF isn't available on Macs.
    > > The entire reason, from what I read, has to do with copyrights. You
    > > might want to do a little web searching on the topic for more details.
    > > But it's apparently illegal to copy the Windows LAF files, for instance,
    > > to another platform for use with your Java app.

    >
    > Interesting. Thanks for the response. So if I were interested in
    > creating a Java app that mimicked iTunes's appearance (but not its
    > functionality), and ran on all platforms, that would be a copyright
    > violation? I'll do some more searching.
    >
    > Jared


    There's a difference in the Mac LAF (Aqua) and the iTunes "brushed
    metal" appearance -- and I have no idea for certain, but I'd bet you
    could find a copyright-free way to implement it elsewhere, particularly
    since the Windows version of iTunes (last I looked) had that same
    appearance.

    = Steve =
    --
    Steve W. Jackson
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Steve W. Jackson, Dec 13, 2006
    #14
  15. Daniel Pitts Guest

    Thomas Fritsch wrote:
    > Daniel Pitts wrote:
    > >
    > > It was my impression that Windows LAF used native components,

    > No, Sun implemented the Windows LAF without any native components, but
    > recreated the whole thing in pure Java (in package
    > com.sun.java.swing.plaf.windows).
    >
    > > and thats
    > > why it wouldn't work on anything non-native, but I could be mistaken.

    > The abstract LookAndFeel class has the method:
    > /**
    > * Return true if the underlying platform supports and or permits
    > * this look and feel. This method returns false if the look
    > * and feel depends on special resources or legal agreements that
    > * aren't defined for the current platform.
    > */
    > public abstract boolean isSupportedLookAndFeel();
    >
    > The implementation in the WindowsLookAndFeel class is (probably enforced
    > by Microsoft's lawyers):
    > public boolean isSupportedLookAndFeel() {
    > /* return true if running on Windows; */
    > }
    > and that is why it doesn't work on Linux or Mac.
    >
    > --
    > Thomas


    Well, I've tried to override isSupportedLookAndFeel, and I ended up
    with other problems as well. It could be more than just legal issues
    at work.
    Daniel Pitts, Dec 13, 2006
    #15
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