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Apache Bares its Teeth, Threatens to Vote Against Java SE 7

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Apache knows it has the support of the Java community with 95% of JCP election voters choosing them for re-election.  As a result, the Apache Software Foundation Board members renewed their resolve today in a statement that criticizes Oracle for not providing a TCK license that would allow Apache to distribute Harmony under the Apache License.  Although it may not amount to much in the end, Apache's statement today shows that they have some teeth and are willing to block Oracle every step of the way.  Here are the last three paragraphs of Apache's statement - they provide the main message:

Through the JSPA, the agreement under which both Oracle and the ASF participate in the JCP, the ASF has been entitled to a license for the test kit for Java SE (the "TCK") that will allow the ASF to test and distribute a release of the Apache Harmony project under the Apache License. Oracle is violating their contractual obligation as set forth under the rules of the JCP by only offering a TCK license that imposes additional terms and conditions that are not compatible with open source or Free software licenses. The ASF believes that any specification lead that doesn't follow the JCP rules should not be able to participate as a member in good standing, and we have exercised our votes on JSRs -- our only real power on the JCP -- accordingly.  We have voted against Sun starting and continuing JSRs, and have made it clear that we would vote against the JSR for Java SE 7 for these reasons.

In light of Oracle Corporation failing to uphold their responsibilities as a Specification Lead under the JSPA and breaking their signed covenants with the Apache Software Foundation that are the conditions under which we agreed to participate in the JCP, we call upon the Executive Committee of the JCP to continue its clear, strong and public support for Java as an open specification ecosystem that is a level playing field for participants in order to ensure that anyone -- any individual or commercial, academic or non-profit entity -- is able to implement and distribute Java specifications under terms of their choice. Specifically, we encourage the other members of the JCP EC to continue with their support of our position regarding Oracle, and vote accordingly on the upcoming Java SE 7 vote.

The ASF will terminate its relationship with the JCP if our rights as implementers of Java specifications are not upheld by the JCP Executive Committee to the limits of the EC's ability. The lack of active, strong and clear enforcement of those rights implies that the JSPA agreements are worthless, confirming that JCP specifications are nothing more than proprietary documentation.   --The ASF Board


Jonathan Fisher replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 12:25pm

Oracle doesn't even receive mail that doesn't filter through it's lawyers. Larry really thinks he 'bought Java' by purchasing Sun. Stick it to em Apache! Larry really needs a wake up call.

Otengi Miloskov replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 1:10pm in response to: Jonathan Fisher

Agree with Jonathan Fisher +1. All the Java community give the support to the Apache foundation. If Google Java people also watching this have to give the support to Apache.

Jim Bethancourt replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 1:21pm

It will be interesting to see how Google votes.

J Szy replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 1:28pm in response to: Jonathan Fisher

Larry really thinks he 'bought Java' by purchasing Sun.

Yes, he does. Yes, he did.

Mitch Pronschinske replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 1:52pm in response to: Jim Bethancourt

Google was willing to boycott Oracle's JavaOne.  Does that mean they'd be willing to vote against Java 7 'on principle' too?

Esko Luontola replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 2:28pm

I wonder what would happen if the open source community (Apache in the forefront) would create a completely open Java-like platform, of course without calling it Java. Maybe at the same time slimming down the class library and creating a small core which the other JVM languages could run on. How many vendors and developers would start using it instead of Oracle's JVM?

J Szy replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 2:37pm in response to: Esko Luontola

How many vendors and developers would start using it instead of Oracle's JVM?

Hardly anyone. Businesses don't choose Java because it is open (it was not until recently) but because it is a solid platform backed by a solid vendor (or so did it seem when Java became the success it is now).

James Imber replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 3:42pm

I support the position of the ASF. If Java is Oracle's toy I want to know it sooner rather than later. If Java is not  free, I'll move on.

Otengi Miloskov replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 3:47pm

The only solution is the Apache Harmony project to replace and fork OpenJDK as a platform of choice for Java development and ask to IBM to protect the Apache Software Foundation with their massive patent stock as they did with Linux against SCO. Apache Harmony could be the solution to a free Java like platform. Google, IBM, SAP and everybody could win with this and let Oracle in the dust with their Java premium overpriced crap.

David Matějček replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 4:17pm

The next move is on Google, Eclipse, IBM. But ... IBM ...

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 4:22pm

Otengi, in what planet do you live? IBM has dropped support to Harmony and Harmony is going nowhere.

 Apache of course has got reasons for being angry, but at this point playing obstructionism is *stupid* and *childish*. What would be the advantage of having Java 7 still delayed? Are they sure that 95% of people voted them to boycott Java 7?

Alex(JAlexoid) ... replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 6:28pm in response to: Fabrizio Giudici

Problem is, they just don't see any other way of making Oracle talk. They are exceptionally quiet at the moment.

Otengi Miloskov replied on Tue, 2010/11/09 - 7:59pm in response to: Fabrizio Giudici

The companies are so volatile that maybe with recent Oracle announcements maybe IBM think twice and support Harmony again?, Anyway Now Apache is planning to leave the JCP that is more bad news than anything else.

David Matějček replied on Wed, 2010/11/10 - 4:54am in response to: Fabrizio Giudici

I don't think it is childish. Harmony is an open alternative.

On the other side it's decision of IBM where they want to spend their money. But in the context of Oracle's behavior it is the final cut.

From some point of view, Oracle and IBM are very good capitalists. Apache, Eclipse, Google are communists (don't connect it with a regime, but with the idea of sharing). Both approaches may work together only with a big tolerance and benevolence on both sides.

Oracle lawyers started to attack this rare "ecosystem". And the other side responded. But if there will be a war ... any war is about a destruction. So I think that all the Java Community is in danger. When lawyers talking, the production is frozen - and it may take many years. In the software development it means the end.

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Wed, 2010/11/10 - 11:40am

"I don't think it is childish. Harmony is an open alternative."

 I don't see the connection on the two points. I declared as "childish" the intention of perseverating with the boycott at JCP decisions.

"Apache, Eclipse, Google are communists"

Oh my God, no, no, and one more no... Even in the broader sense you mentioned, communism and sharing attitude aren't related at all to the reality. Apache, Eclipse and Google are excellent capitalists too. This battle is the struggle for growing as much as possible their own market share.

Developer Dude replied on Wed, 2010/11/10 - 2:30pm

Now is a great time for the ASF to make this move. As others have said, better earlier than later that we confirm just exactly where Oracle is going with regards to how open Java will be in the future. With everything going on, Apple's deprecation of Java, the suit against Google, the announcement about an Oracle JVM we would have to pay for to use, the alleged stacking of the JCP elections, the denial of a TCK license for Harmony, the OpenOffice, Solaris, MySQL, etc. fiascos.

Let's have it out now and get a firm and official commitment one way or the other from Oracle and the JCP about where Java is going so we can decide what and where we want to put our support.

I for one vote for a truly open Java environment. If that means it is something else by name, but compatible with Java apps/frameworks/etc., then great. I left the MS mono-culture controlled by MS and I am not going back to that. I left it for a cross-platform open environment and if that means that Oracle is going down the closed path then adios to them. I want to know this sooner rather than later.

Kudos ASF for taking a stand.

Richard Osbaldeston replied on Thu, 2010/11/11 - 3:55pm

Probably an ill-informed idea, but given the IBM move away from Harmony and the lack of headway on the TCK to date isn't it time to try a different tack? Can Harmony fork itself? call one project Harmony Classic and another Harmony Java. The first project stands as is with the same licence while the other makes the bold move of accepting the Field of Use (FOU) provisions in its licence and get to pass the TCK.

In other words dual-licence it, let the Harmony users decide which licence they find most acceptable. I doubt many users would run foul of the FOU trying to preinstall their own Java blend onto mobile handsets.

The benefit to Apache is they get to prove Harmony in some form passes the TCK the differences between projects could always be merged in some coincidental clean-room fashion. A side benefit is they get to test the idea that Oracle would allow them to use the TCK if only they accepted the FOU terms, time to call their hand, lets see if they're bluffing.

In other news Zuckerberg has been claiming "Mobile is dead" I'm sure a lot of devs have wondered about the FOU terms and JME being the only kind of Java allowed on Mobile devices - what is a mobile device these days..? needs updating. Will be interesting to see if Oracle and Google come to a deal over Android and that becomes a semi-official exception to the mobile FOU clauses (a second JME) and had nothing to do with platform/IP protection and everything to do with the money.

PS another cunning plan, create a Harmony based runtime for Lion Mac OSX that dosent rely on X11. Get a foothold on a platform neither Apple nor Oracle seem to care much about. ;)

Yochanan Berkowitz replied on Mon, 2011/08/29 - 3:13pm

In addition, ASF also is threatening to quit its membership of the Java Community Process Executive Committee (JCP EC), and calling on other members of the JCP EC to also cast a vote against Java 7. -Yochanan Berkowitz

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