The Apache Software Foundation Blog

Tuesday November 09, 2010

Statement by the ASF Board on our participation in the Java Community Process

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is proud to announce that it has been ratified for another three-year term on the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee. Receiving support from 95% of the voters, this election allows the ASF to continue its 10 year effort to help bring transparency and openness to the JCP as well as ensure that Java specifications are able to be independently implemented and distributed under open source licenses.

We are grateful for the strong support from the community, and believe it is a validation of the work the ASF is doing in the JCP. Our efforts to transform the JCP into a truly open specification ecosystem help strengthen the value of Java for everyone -- for implementors of open source projects such as those found at the ASF and elsewhere, for students, educators and academics using Java for teaching and research, for independent software vendors that build innovative products and services on Java, and for commercial users in all areas of economic activity that depend on Java to run and grow their businesses.

Through the JSPA, the agreement under which both Oracle and the ASF participate in the JCP, the ASF has been entitled to a license for the test kit for Java SE (the "TCK") that will allow the ASF to test and distribute a release of the Apache Harmony project under the Apache License. Oracle is violating their contractual obligation as set forth under the rules of the JCP by only offering a TCK license that imposes additional terms and conditions that are not compatible with open source or Free software licenses. The ASF believes that any specification lead that doesn't follow the JCP rules should not be able to participate as a member in good standing, and we have exercised our votes on JSRs -- our only real power on the JCP -- accordingly.  We have voted against Sun starting and continuing JSRs, and have made it clear that we would vote against the JSR for Java SE 7 for these reasons.

In light of Oracle Corporation failing to uphold their responsibilities as a Specification Lead under the JSPA and breaking their signed covenants with the Apache Software Foundation that are the conditions under which we agreed to participate in the JCP, we call upon the Executive Committee of the JCP to continue its clear, 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.

The ASF will terminate its relationship with the JCP if our rights as implementers of Java specifications are not upheld by the JCP Executive Committee to the limits of the EC's ability. The lack of active, strong and clear enforcement of those rights implies that the JSPA agreements are worthless, confirming that JCP specifications are nothing more than proprietary documentation.

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The licensing of critical parts of Java have ALWAYS been in question and a threat to any company that uses them. Either all of Java is open, not most of java except for critical pieces A and B or its NOT OPEN. Many forward looking devs have avoided a potentially blind alley by refusing to use it. Funny that many less knowledgeable voices over the last decade have tried to imply that Java is open source. Its not. As Oracle keeps reminding us. Those voices have been and continue to be short sighted and wrong. Fortunately there are other tools that can be used, most faster in reality thus not using Java is not a game changer if you prepare and develop smartly. Thank you ASF, continue fighting the good fight! Perhaps one day we will really have a 100% open source Java toolkit that can be used to develop without fear of patent trolls off in the future. Sadly that day is not today.

Posted by cbemerine on November 09, 2010 at 07:15 PM GMT #

Can Oracle be sued by the ASF to enforce the contractual obligation?

Posted by Andreas Kuckartz on November 09, 2010 at 07:20 PM GMT #

it's seems that Oracle is continuing its campaing to get money of SUN's projects. Suing google , making java and other projects associeted with a cow to milk. The reason that java has become such a "giant" is because it was free, portable and it could be used in almost any enviroment. We have seen the damage Oracle has done: open office is almost dead (LibreOffice), OpenSolaris is dead (i think Solaris itself will suffer). I hope they don't do anything about MySQL , but i doubt it. If java loses support of one of the most proeminent java "user" and promoter ,Apache. then java is lost. More and more will shift to more free markets (maybe Python, maybe another platform)

Posted by Stefan on November 09, 2010 at 07:43 PM GMT #

Hell yeah!

Posted by j on November 09, 2010 at 10:48 PM GMT #

Hello, I'm very interested in understanding this. So does this mean that future versions of java (i.e. 7) would not have a TCK that opensource projects such as harmony & openjdk could use? Would harmony & openjdk split from JCP? Besides not being able to implement future features would there be any threat to harmony & openjdk?

Posted by Paul Thomas on November 09, 2010 at 11:06 PM GMT #

Merciful God! The kerning!

Posted by anon on November 10, 2010 at 12:46 AM GMT #

We are closely following yours moves with the JCP. Apache is the competitive advantage in the java space. You started many project that are at the heart of todays business. If you leave this platform it means for that technology is moving too and we can't miss the train. Community is with you but as a business manager i'm also there.

Posted by Robert Felker on November 10, 2010 at 11:03 AM GMT #

I praise your efforts. We need a *free* modern open language like Java. Free as in freedom and as in free beer. A language that is not controlled by corporations that can - and do - take us as hostages when there is money to be made or when they want to slow down or damage their competitors.

Posted by Daniel Guermeur on November 10, 2010 at 12:08 PM GMT #

Daniel, how about some ECMA-334? (Also known as C#) For your convenience there's already an open implementation of it known as Mono ( licensed under MIT.

Posted by A.L. on November 10, 2010 at 03:11 PM GMT #

Is there a petition we can use to declare official support? As a vote for the ASF, for example?

Posted by Márcio Rigues on November 11, 2010 at 05:26 PM GMT #

The next step would be creation of an alternative VM platform. This is how Microsoft had created their .Net platform, after a lawsuit by Sun. I think ASF, Google and some other big players can invent and implement such an alternative platform. This new platform would be really free and also more advanced than Java. It will not be limited by the backward compatibility with ancient Java implementations.

Posted by developer on November 12, 2010 at 09:15 PM GMT #

I have been looking for a language that could replace Java, as I see that years of community investment in Java could be held hostage to corporate greed of a single company ( Oracle ). It is important now more than ever to show these corporations that community can innovate and survives on it's own. It is time for an "Open Language".

Posted by rj on November 13, 2010 at 10:54 AM GMT #

I think it is time to invest in something else. Btw, there is Parrot which might be a good starting point. So, we do not need to create a VM from scratch.

Posted by Lanton on December 15, 2010 at 01:56 PM GMT #

I do not understand this. Is Sun saying that you can not call it Java unless I say so, and for that you need TCK? If that is so, then call it something else, and put up a "use it at your own peril" sign, and get done with it. ExJava is a good name. FreeJava is good too. After that you can say this language runs programs written in Java too, which everybody already knows that it can. That gives you freedom to add what you like to the language as well. Speaking of new features, it is nice to have the main function return a smiley( i.e: ":)" ) when it runs and exits successfully. Best wishes. :)

Posted by Zack on December 21, 2010 at 07:55 PM GMT #

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