The Apache Software Foundation's threat to quit the Java Community Process over a long-term spat over a test kit shows the process is broken. Let's hope not irreparably.
might look at the Apache Software Foundation's
threat to quit the Java
as like a spoiled child threatening to take his
toys away because the other kids won't play nice. But it's more than that; this
battle has been going on for more than four years and it is no playground
some ways this case is more like the line from the movie "Brokeback
Mountain," with ASF
saying to the JCP: "I wish I knew how to
quit you." Because the JCP needs ASF
and vice versa.
Nov. 9 statement
the ASF board
said Apache would
quit the JCP board
seat that it was re-ratified for recently if it did not
receive the Java Test Compatibility Kit (TCK) for its Harmony implementation of
Java that it has been seeking.
quitting the JCP presents a sticky situation
for Java developers, the JCP and the entire
Java community. ASF initially took the fight
to Sun when Geir Magnusson Jr., Apache's vice president of JCP
relations wrote an open
to, er, opened up a can, on Sun Microsystems' CEO Jonathon Schwartz
in April of 2007.
Sun would not budge on giving Apache a TCK for Harmony and now that Oracle owns
Java, it does not look like they will either.
Hilwa, program director for applications development software at IDC, said:
the wake of the Oracle and IBM agreement on
OpenJDK, Harmony will effectively have no future. This is cause for ASL
to re-think why it is even in the JCP.
Oracle has a bit of a quandary on its hands, if it supports a parallel
implementation of Java like Harmony in open source it would set itself on a
road where it may no longer be able to fund any R&D in Java internally.
There are a few hundred people that work at Oracle whose salaries are paid from
Java licensing and whose work is critical in evolving Java and keeping it
relevant. Providing the TCK to Harmony and the Android lawsuit have to be seen
in the light of trying to keep Java alive. I am not sure I buy the notion
that if Java was freely available in the form of Harmony it would be maintained
and evolved in a way that would keep it viable."
does this all mean for the Java community? Well, some see doom and gloom, in
that the JCP may be on its way down.
Kersten, creator of the open-source Mylyn project and CEO of Tasktop
Technologies, told eWEEK: "The JCP is on the
verge of a meltdown. Apache's threat to depart, Doug Lea's resignation
and the voting down of one of Oracle's candidates for a ratified seat are all
indicative of what could be the biggest crisis since the JCP's
creation. The next few moves will determine whether the Java Community
Process regains its relevance or ceases to exist as what developers and vendors
consider a -community process.'"
Lea, formerly an individual member of the JCP
executive committee and a computer science professor at the State University of
New York at Oswego, resigned from his
post in October 2010, seeking not to be ratified for another term.
Lea posted a statement
giving his reasons for resigning from the JCP.
It read in part: "I believe that the JCP is
no longer a credible specification and standards body, and there is no
remaining useful role for an independent advocate for the academic and research
community on the EC."
blasting Oracle, Lea said:
than fixing rules or ceasing violations, Oracle now promises to simply
disregard them. If they indeed act as they have promised, then the JCP
can never again become more than an approval body for Oracle-backed