Java Licensing Changes Will Open Door to Open Source
Version 2.5 of Java Community Process will enable "clean room" development with no-fee test suites.Open-source efforts will gain equal standing in Java technology development with Tuesdays announcement of significant changes to the Java Community Process agreements. "Starting Tuesday, it will be mandatory that licenses provide for the possibility of a clean-room implementation," said Onno Kluyt, manager of the JCP Program Office. "A specification leader must offer a test suite independently of the reference implementation. It is required, going forward, that the test suite be available free of charge so that organizations like Apache dont face the hurdle of a license fee." Kluyt said that non-profit organizations would now be able to compete in developing open-source versions of every Java technology: J2ME (the Micro Edition that runs on small devices such as cellular phones), J2SE (Standard Edition), and Version 1.4 of Java 2 Enterprise Edition when that specification comes out in the first half of next year. "Apache, for example, has been cooperative and creative," he said, "but felt that the existing Java Specification Participation Agreement was in conflict with their charter; you cant have a full member of a community that feels prohibited from living by its own rules."
Formal non-profit status, for example as an IRS 501c entity or another countrys equivalent, would typically make an organization eligible for this consideration, Kluyt explained, but the process will also be open to individuals who contribute to such efforts. What matters, Kluyt emphasized, is that such individuals be "free of ownership claims by their employers" for work they might do on their own time.