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Apache and Google airbrushed from Oracle's Java victory

Independents register Ellison disgust

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If you haven't heard of Google or the Apache Software Foundation, don't worry. It seems the flacks writing Oracle's press releases haven't heard of them either.

On Tuesday, Oracle blasted out a press release announcing the Java Community Process vote in favor of Oracle's Java 7 and 8 plan, saying its Java roadmap has been endorsed by "all major Java players." The Reg revealed the results of that vote here on Monday.

The database giant said its JSRs 336 and 337 have been "formally approved by an overwhelming majority in the JCP Executive Committee [EC]."

Senior vice president for Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java Hasan Rizvi said Oracle appreciated the efforts of the EC and the entire Java community.

What Oracle forgot to mention was those not included in the majority. It also glossed over the sour feelings towards Oracle caused by the vote.

Among those voting "no" to Oracle's plan were Google and the ASF, though these weren't considered "major Java players" by Oracle.

ASF is home to some of the biggest and most popular open-source projects on the web, gave us the ubiquitous server, and is one of the JCP's longest serving participants.

Google? The internet's largest search and advertising company, owner of Android - the fastest growing mobile phone operating system.

Ringing any bells, yet?

Oh, yeah: Oracle's suing Google for patent infringements in Android while Oracle's refused ASF a license for its Java SE implementation, Project Harmony, which is partially used by Android.

The pair did not vote against the technical merits of Oracle's JSRs but rather objected to the field-of-use and licensing restrictions Oracle's imposed on Java.

Oracle has refused to grant ASF's Harmony a license to use the Java Test Compatibility Kit (TCK), which must be used to prove Harmony meets the official Java standard.

Oracle's release didn't bother providing any niggling details on the vote either, details that would clearly detract from the back patting.

The Reg understands that those "major Java players" who voted "yes" also recorded their dissatisfaction with Oracle's handling of the JCP or of its control over who licenses Java.

Members of the Java Standard Edition (SE) and Enterprise Edition (EE) EC who voted "yes" did so based on the plan's technical merits. Like ASF and Google, they objected to Oracle's field-of-use and license restrictions.

A further "no" vote came from independent SE/EE EC member Tim Peierls, who reversed his original abstain and who blogged Tuesday that he's quitting the committee in protest at Oracle's "ambiguous" licensing terms on Java 7 and 8

Peierls is an independent SE/EE EC member not affiliated with any vendor, and he becomes the second independent to quit since October.

The independent proceeded to reject Oracle's justification for its proposed changes to Java, which include Projects Coin and Lambda.

Peierls said he's come to believe the roadmap really represents the interests of big vendors like Oracle selling products rather than serving the needs of developers working with Java in the communities.

Adam Messinger, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware, became the latest Oracle employee Monday to justify Java 7 and 8 in terms of needing to move the Java forward.

"Together, these developments demonstrate a renewed energy behind Java and strengthen its future as the language and platform of choice," he said in Oracle's announcement.

Peierls responded: "I'm coming to believe something heretical, that it actually is not all that crucial for Java to move forward, at least not to the constituency I felt that I represented on the EC, the tens of thousands of Java developers who don't work for a big company with an Oracle contract.

"While I think things like Project Coin and Project Lambda are worth working on, the Java ecosystem is already so amazingly rich that the absence of these features (and of all the other good things planned for SE7 and SE8) in practice doesn't get in the way of real progress for developers like me, who just want to put together maintainable, type-safe programs, taking advantage of field-tested readily-available libraries and frameworks."

Peierls follows in the footsteps of Doug Lea, an authority on concurrency in Java, who walked of the JCP in October just as Oracle proposed one of its own customers to sit on the EC.

At the time, Lea said the JCP was no longer a credible specification and standards body because of Oracle's refusal to grant Harmony the TCK and Oracle's restrictions on Java licensing. "There is no remaining useful role for an independent advocate for the academic and research community on the EC," he blogged. ®

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