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Apache strikes back in Oracle Java standoff

Ball's in your court, Larry, not ours

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Last week, Apache said that JCPers should vote against Java SE 7 unless Oracle lives up to its obligations and grants Harmony a license to use the TCK. Apache also said it will quit the JCP if Harmony's not granted a license - ASF has belonged to the JCP since 2000, making it one of the group's longest serving members.

ASF contends that Oracle is in breach of the JCP's rules that it's signed up to - the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA) - by not granting Harmony a license.

The ASF is home to a large number of popular open-source Java projects, so a walk out would be a potentially significant blow to the JCP's credibility and any claim to represent open source on Java.

Possibly anticipating this, Oracle has been lining up industry names behind OpenJDK - the alternative to Harmony - to offset such claims. IBM switched its long-time participation in Harmony in October for OpenJDK, while Apple last week became an OpenJDK contributor.

Oracle – though Deutsch's statement – is clearly planning on turning ASF's call to vote against SE7 and the follow-on SE 8 as something it can use against the open-source group. And that’s clearly something ASF has caught wind of.

In a shifting of blame, and appealing to all Java lovers everywhere, Deutsch said: "Oracle believes that with EC approval to initiate the SE7 and SE8 JSRs, the Java community can get on with the important work of driving forward Java SE and other standards in open, transparent, consensus-driven expert groups. This is the priority. Now is the time for positive action. Now is the time to move Java forward."

The hardening positions come as parties on both sides of the dispute convene at Devoxx in Antwerp, Belgium.

Deutsche doesn't seem to be appearing at Devoxx, but chief architect of Oracle's Java Platform Group Mark Reinhold will. He'll be speaking at Devoxx on the Java SE road ahead and he will participate in a panel discussion on the future of Java.

Appearing on the future-of-Java panel will be Stephen Colebourne. An ASF member and an Oracle Java champion, Colebourne blogged here, that Oracle isn't the only one that wants to end Java's stagnation. It's the approach the giant's taken that's wrong.

"We sometimes need to remember that Oracle continues to invest heavily in Java, from ME to SE to EE to FX," he said. "We all want an end to stagnation. I simply object to the approach chosen to end the stagnation."

Oracle could do worse than get a clue. ®

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