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Oracle 'friend' fails crucial Java leadership test

Rally returns Apache to power

Oracle has suffered an embarrassing set of results in a vote over who leads Java.

Developers voting in the Java Community Process (JCP) for new members of the committee overseeing Java on desktops and servers have overwhelmingly rejected a company nominated for a seat by Oracle through the JCP's Project Management Office (PMO).

Little-known Hologic has failed in its bid to take a vacant, ratified seat on the Java Standard Edition (SE) and Enterprise Edition (EE) executive committee, scoring just 33 per cent of votes.

The Apache Software Foundation, meanwhile, retained its EC position with a near-unanimous vote — 95 per cent. Red Hat is also back in, with 87 per cent.

More than 1,200 votes were cast with 18 per cent of eligible voting members casting their ballot. You can see more results here.

The PMO will now hold a new ballot to fill the executive committee position Hologic failed to secure.

The result is a blow for Oracle.

First, it shows that the ASF still carries the strong support of fellow JCPers and appears to reinforce the fact that Oracle stands alone on the JCP as it tries to secure support for its Java roadmap, outlined last month.

Other JCP members voted in September that Oracle should live up to its call of three years ago, when Sun Microsystems was in charge, for the JCP to be spun out as a vendor-independent group. Members also nearly voted to distance themselves from Oracle's prosecution of Google over claimed patent violations of Oracle patents in Java, with Android.

Another problem is that the EC vote returns ASF to a powerful position over the future of Java at a time when Oracle would rather ASF faded away.

Oracle's relationship with ASF has soured considerably since the database giant became the dominant party on the JCP — a role it inherited from Sun.

Oracle told other JCP members this month at a closed meeting that it will not issue ASF a Java license for Project Harmony — its implementation of Java SE.

This has not only put Oracle in bad standing with JCP members for the harm it’s doing to ASF, it’s also damaging the company for breaking the governing rules of the JCP. Oracle is bound to grant independent implementations of Java a license. Oracle has not give a reason for its decision, beyond simply saying that granting a license would damage Java.

Oracle's prosecution of Google has also touched ASF, because Android is based on a subset of Harmony. ASF last week moved to clarify that none of Harmony's APIs are actually covered by Oracle's suit.

Furthermore, the election result denies Oracle a potential friendly additional face on the JCP — Hologic.

Hologic is unknown in the worlds of tech or Java, but it is a prized Oracle customer that faithfully and successfully migrated its enterprise resource planning system to Oracle, according to Oracle's own web site.

Hologic was standing for a seat vacated in protest of Oracle's handling of the JCP by Java programming guru and concurrency expert, Doug Lea.

Oracle was accused of trying to stuff the JCP with a sympathizer by nominating Hologic. Oracle laid out its plans for JDK 7 and 8 in September, and told the JCP at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, the following month that — one way or another — it's going to get the roadmap done.

Individual JCP members urged their colleagues to vote against Hologic.

As the accusations flew, Oracle told The Reg it wasn't trying to stuff the JCP, and claimed it was trying to bring more of an end-user focus to the group's work on Java.

Oracle was unable to comment Wednesday about the EC election result, or say who it will nominate for new ballot.

Bootnote

Oracle postponed the future of Java Wednesday, due to traffic.

Oracle vice president of development in the Fusion Middleware group Adam Messinger failed to show up for a QCon 2010 session in San Francisco, California, Wednesday where he was to discuss "the road ahead for Java". Traffic was blamed, as hundreds of thousands of SF Giants fans poured into the city to celebrate their team's win this week in the "World" series baseball championship, choking traffic with a victory parade. Oracle promised to reschedule the session for "later" during QCon.

The information company either hadn't heard of the Giants' win this week or built in enough time to compensate for travel delays associated with Wednesday's parade. I mean, it's not like Oracle's got anything to prove to Java devs, is it?®

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