Apache threatens Oracle with Java exit
'Respect' and 'desire' rejected
Apache has hit Oracle with an ultimatum: grant its independent implementation of Java a license or it will quit Java's governing body.
The Apache Software Foundation, father of the web's number-one server and a leader of popular open-source Java, will finish its relationship with the Java Community Process (JCP) if its rights to a license under the group's governing principles aren't upheld by Oracle.
The ultimatum is a significant hardening of the ASF's stance, and an escalation of its fight with Oracle, which actually started three years ago against Sun Microsystems, which controlled the JCP at the time.
Earlier this month, ASF president Jim Jagielski told The Reg it would consider whether it should remain a JCP member if other JCP-ers voted "yes" on Java 7 - the next version of Java under Oracle's planned roadmap outlined in September.
On Tuesday, the ASF urged fellow JCP members to vote against that Java 7 roadmap - unless Oracle lives up to its obligations and grants ASF's Project Harmony a license to use the Java Test Compatibility Kit (TCK).
Voting against Oracle's plans would send a "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," ASF said in a statement released during its annual ApacheCon here.
Geir Magnusson Jr, an ASF board member and JCP rep, told The Reg over email: "The only power the EC [executive committee] really has is its vote on JSRs, and Oracle shouldn't be allowed to create any new JSRs until it behaves in a way that complies with its obligations as the Java SE spec lead."
Oracle can meet its obligations very easily, Magnusson added, by providing Harmony with a Java SE TCK license that doesn't prevent the ASF from distributing Harmony under the Apache License and comes without any additional terms or constraints from Oracle.
Holding up Oracle's Java roadmap could be the only power the JCP has over Oracle. Larry Ellison's giant has largely ignored the JCP since buying Sun earlier this year, and has adopted a form of communicating and collaboration that largely involves Oracle taking a decision in private and then telling everybody else the way it's gonna be.
Oracle doesn't respond to threats, so there's a very good chance the ASF could find itself leaving the JCP minus the license for Harmony it's holding out for – especially since granting Harmony a Java license would mean an embarrassing U-turn for Oracle.
The ASF has been a JCP member since 2000, near the start of the JCP, and no one in the group has ever quit in protest.
Next page: Rock bottom
"Everything is proceeding as I have forseen"
If, as you say, Oracle do not respond to threats and if, as you say, Oracle appear to have no respect for the JCP and if, as you say, Oracle intend to do whatever they want anyway; then the ASF leaving the JCP is exactly what Oracle needs.
Imagine; Oracle say "No". The ASF then leave. Oracle then announces that, through no fault of it's own, the JCP is no longer useful since such an esteemed and well respected member has left.
The Senate, er, JCP, will finally be disbanded. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away. Regional governors will have control of their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station... hang on, where am I again?
Stallman is actually pretty much always right
His presentation may suck, but he anticipates reality extremely well.
At least when he predicts the destructiveness of most people's interpretation of the profit motive.
Nobody listened did they?
I hate to say this, but Stallman was right. And he was far from being the only one to stay away from Java; the OpenBSD group have long-since had nothing to do with Java (they only recently introduced a working JVM, and this was only because of some Java licence changes). Even now, they're still not entirely comfortable with it. And there were (and are) many others of course.
The problem with Java is, and always was that it is proprietary. Yes, Sun did start moving to opening up the source, but it's taken YEARS, and a huge lobbying effort. And now Oracle have got hold of it of course, it's all crashing down.
It's taken some years, but I think the phrase "I told you so" could apply here [replace 'I' with the refusenik of your choice]