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Apache threatens Oracle with Java exit

'Respect' and 'desire' rejected

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Rock bottom

An Apache exit would see the JCP and Oracle's Java roadmap lose the input and backing of a respected and influential group leading a huge number of Java projects - Ant, Derby, Geronimo, Jakarta, Maven, and Tomcat. Losing the ASF would undermine the JCP's credibility and any claim by Oracle - fake or otherwise - of a desire to "work" with the community.

The ASF's threat marks a rock-bottom in Oracle's dealings with open sourcers, already skeptical of Oracle's plans on Java and OpenOffice and rattled about MySQL. The ASF has also blown a massive, wet raspberry back at Oracle, which tried to re-rail its deteriorating relationship with Apache on Monday.

Oracle was forced to eat crow and congratulate ASF for its near unanimous election back onto the JCP's SE and EE executive committee. It was an election that saw its own nominee - the little-known-outside-Oracle-circles Hologic - soundly rejected by JCP members.

Congratulating ASF, Oracle's spokesperson on Java SE, Henrik Ståhl, claimed Oracle still respected ASF and wanted to work with the group. "Our disagreement around TCK licensing does in no way lower our respect for and desire to continue to work with Apache," Ståhl said here.

On Tuesday, the ASF told Ståhl and Oracle just exactly where they could shove their "respect" with a statement saying it is walking out of the JCP unless Harmony gets a license.

The blow-up follows a closed-door JCP meeting in Bonn, Germany, where Oracle's reps told the group that Oracle had absolutely no intention of granting ASF a Java license for Harmony. Oracle has given no reason other than citing unidentified "additional information" that had come to light since Oracle took over Sun. Sun had been the former chief steward of Java, the only company with the right to veto changes to Java and had also been in overall control of the JCP.

The meeting – and Oracle's unilateral decision to not grant Harmony a Java license – were uncovered by The Reg.

Oracle then dropped a bombshell in October, after it emerged it had persuaded IBM to abandon Harmony for the rival OpenJDK project. Meanwhile, Oracle is suing JCP-er Google for alleged violations of its Java patents in Android. Android uses a subset of Harmony.

Oracle also told JCP-ers that one way or another, it is "going to do" the Java roadmap it outlined in October. Judging by the ASF's stance, the election defeat of Hologic and ASF's easy victory, as well as the fact nearly every JCP member stood against Oracle in September, it is looking increasingly difficult for Oracle to do so. ®

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