The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced its resignation from the JCP (Java Community Process) Executive Committee (EC). This comes in only a day after Java SE 7/SE 8 specs (JSR-336 and JSR-337 respectively) were officially approved by the JCP despite the ASF, Eclipse Foundation and Google voting against.
Evil Plans and Stirring the Pot
The conflict goes back to 2006 and, most recently, has been around Oracle's (who acquired Sun Microsystems - the inventors of Java) refusal to grant a Java TCK (technology compatibility kit) license to the open source version of Java called the Apache Harmony project. Apache has objected to the restrictions over Harmony and threatened to leave the JCP. Since then, the differences has not been ironed out.
JCP is responsible for selecting which technologies to approve as official Java specifications. Just like it happened in the past with the near and dear to our CMS hearts JSR-170 and JSR-283. The JCP is supposed to foster an open specification process and protect the open licensing structure.
However, the are fears that Oracle is taking control over the JCP, which is supposed to be an unbiased and independent body. Oracle wouldn't agree to grant a Java compatibility license for the ASF's Harmony project.
This may indicate that Oracle is trying to keep a tight reign on any alternative implementations of Java other than their own version, while backing the OpenJDK open source version of Java.
No Harmony in the Java World
With these restrictions on distribution, the Apache Software Foundation decided to leave the JCP in a post published today, saying:
By approving Java SE 7, the EC has failed on both counts: the members of the EC refused to stand up for the rights of implementers, and by accepting Oracle's TCK license terms for Java SE 7, they let the integrity of the JCP's licensing structure be broken.
The Apache Software Foundation concluded that JCP is not an open specification process and that "the commercial concerns of a single entity, Oracle, will continue to seriously interfere with and bias the transparent governance of the ecosystem."
Since it is not possible to protect the rights of implementers and to distribute independent implementations of JSRs under open source licenses without the fear of litigation from Oracle, Apache decided to express its disdain for JCP with an immediate resignation and removal of all official ASF representatives from "any and all JSRs."
One can only wonder (or be slightly depressed?) about what kind of implications this development may bring on the content management industry. Many Web CMS and Enterprise CMS products are Java-based. Many of them are open source.
While many large enterprise are comfortable with Oracle and Java as their language of choice, many of them also use open source technologies like Apache Tomcat and the likes. Above all, Apache has a reputation of bringing innovation to the table with its projects. Innovation is not the prime factor that drives the money-making machine that is Oracle.