It's being widely reported today that in the decade-long battle of Google vs Oracle that the US Supreme Court has now finally ruled in Google's favour. This is huge, for Linux and Linux Gaming too.
To prevent being too long-winded, I won't go deep into the technical details. The basics of the case were that Oracle sued Google going back into 2010 over the Java API. This was because Google did a reimplementation of it for early versions of Android and Oracle threw the lawyers around claiming doing so infringed on their copyright.
Many developers across the world will now be letting out a huge relief sigh, as the Supreme Court has ruled in Google's favour. Why is this so important then? Well, this right from the PDF of the statement should explain it pretty clearly:
Google’s copying of the Java SE API, which included only those lines of code that were needed to allow programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, was a fair use of that material as a matter of law.
Not just that though, it goes even further to mention this:
Finally, given programmers’ investment in learning the Sun Java API, to allow enforcement of Oracle’s copyright here would risk harm to the public. Given the costs and difficulties of producing alternative APIs with similar appeal to programmers, allowing enforcement here would make of the Sun Java API’s declaring code a lock limiting the future creativity of new programs. Oracle alone would hold the key. The result could well prove highly profitable to Oracle (or other firms holding a copyright in computer interfaces). But those profits could well flow from creative improvements, new applications, and new uses developed by users who have learned to work with that interface. To that extent, the lock would interfere with, not further, copyright’s basic creativity objectives.
Really, it doesn't get much clearer than that does it? If this ruled in Oracle's favour, it would have had far-reaching implications for the entire software industry and end up causing some to hold far too much power over what people are able to actually create. Basically, it would have handed out monopolies. Thankfully, we don't need to worry about it now.
So, hopefully and as a matter of fair use by law, projects like Wine (and so Steam Play Proton too) should technically be clear of any uncertainty around the APIs being reimplemented. Good news!