As I understand it, HDFS is just a clone of Google's GFS. What IP could Parallel Iron possibly own?
"IP Nav told us that they could not divulge the details of their infringement claims -- not even the patent numbers or the patent owner -- unless we entered into a 'forbearance agreement' -- basically, an agreement that we would not sue them."
So they probably have nothing. How is this legal?!
No. Even if it did, it doesn't matter because Android does NOT rely on Java for isolation or security. Each application runs as a separate Linux user, and the kernel enforces isolation between apps this way.
Because apps are isolated in this way, they can include native code.
I've interned at Google twice, so I know at least something about their infrastructure.
You can certainly use Google Docs for many things, including source code editing, version control, and bug tracking. However, I assure you that Google does NOT use Google Docs for these purposes. It's all about using the right tool for the job.
Google Docs might be perfectly fine for a one-way paging system to taxi cab drivers, but I'd imagine you'd want something a bit more customized. While I don't know much (if anything) about the taxi business, but you'd probably want to be able to track where your cabs are so you can dispatch jobs to the closest cab. You'd also need to know which cabs are free, and you'd might like to know where cabs are going and what their ETAs are. Sure, you could have your drivers type this in to Google Docs, but that's a pretty cumbersome and time-consuming UI. You could probably very quickly hack up a custom app to provide a nice UI for all of these features and get substantial time savings.
While they've been adding a lot of features to match Word (references, an equation editor, etc.), it still doesn't have everything. For example, I STILL can't make a two-column document in Docs (without using a table hack that's... less than optimal)! Until I can produce camera-ready scientific papers with Google Docs, for me it'll be a secondary tool to Word.
If you're using Google Docs to dispatch taxis, you're doing something very wrong.
Google Docs is a great band-aid to quickly hack something together, but it's no substitute for real tools.