Oracle has donated the code from the open-source Hudson project to the Eclipse Foundation in a move the company hopes will reunite the fractured set of developers supporting the Java continuous integration server effort.
Oracle’s move amounts to an olive branch of sorts to the Jenkins community. Jenkins was originally the Hudson project, but after disagreements with Oracle over the stewardship and control of the project, leaders of the Hudson community called for a vote to change the name of the project to Jenkins. The name change passed in late January 2010 and as the newly named Jenkins project launched, Oracle vowed to maintain its efforts with Hudson and considered Jenkins a fork.
However, with this move donating Hudson to Eclipse, Oracle is hoping to reunite the Hudson/Jenkins community.
“Looking back, we could have handled it better,” said Ted Farrell, chief architect and senior vice president of tools and middleware at Oracle, in an interview with eWEEK.
Farrell said Oracle was looking to focus on stability and governance for the Hudson project. “Our focus has been on stability,” he said. “Hudson used to release every week; we stretched that out to a five-week development cycle. We also wanted to have a governance plan.”
In the end, Oracle decided the best place for stability, governance and neutrality for Hudson was at Eclipse.
In a blog post on the issue, Mike Milinkovich, executive director of Eclipse said:
One of the key issues that split the Hudson/Jenkins community was how to balance the corporate and community aspects of the Hudson project. Kudos to Oracle for continuing to work on these issues and make, what I believe, is the right move for Oracle and for the Hudson community.
By moving the Hudson project to the Eclipse Foundation, Hudson will now be operating in a vendor-neutral, transparent, and not-for-profit organization. This means potential contributors will no longer be required to sign an Oracle contribution license agreement to contribute code. In fact, Eclipse allows you to keep the copyright to your code; the code you contribute remains yours, licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL). Furthermore, the Hudson trademark will now be owned by the Eclipse Foundation and held in trust for the benefit of the entire community rather than any particular company. So if you’ve been wary of participating in Hudson because of “trust issues”, the Eclipse model of collaborative development should make things a lot easier. Hudson will now be a truly community-based project.
Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at Eclipse, told eWEEK, “By moving Hudson to Eclipse, Oracle is sending a strong signal they want to dramatically expand the Hudson community participation, increase the transparency of the Hudson project and ultimately gain wider adoption for Hudson. At Eclipse, we believe we have a very good model for collaborative development of open-source software so I think it is a good fit.”
Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies, which is supporting Oracle’s move of Hudson to Eclipse, told eWEEK, “Open-source tools and Hudson in particular, are becoming a key component of the enterprise ALM [Application Lifecycle Management] stack. They encapsulate the very effective development practices hardened by top open-source projects. The challenge for popular open-source projects has been in creating a governance model that links the interests of the project’s community with the corporate support needed to grow. The projects that have become de facto standards are the ones that manage this dichotomy well, including Spring, JBoss and Eclipse.”
Kersten added that Eclipse’s success is based on a governance model that creates a vendor-neutral technology base and marries corporate interests with those of the community.
“Even Eclipse’s industry-leading API conventions and tools have been architected to support the massive ecosystem of vendors collaborating around popular Eclipse frameworks such as the Platform, Web Tools, Modeling and Mylyn,” Kersten said. “The proposed move is a great opportunity to accelerate the evolution of Hudson in an enterprise-friendly and community-inclusive way.”
Moreover, in a blog post about the move, Kersten said:
“The Hudson/Jenkins fork has generated FUD around this very popular Continuous Integration (CI) tool. Oracle has ownership of the Hudson IP that they acquired via Sun’s initial investment in the project. Jenkins exercised the very important open-source community right to fork, but in the process split the community. I in no way want to diminish what Kohsuke Kawaguchi created, and I have a deep and personal appreciation for the labour of love that open-source projects like this are. But from the point of view of the large number of users and integrators of Hudson, in handing over the IP and governance of Hudson to Eclipse, Oracle has done the right thing for the long term success of the technology.”
The Best Thing That Can Happen’
Jason van Zyl, chief technology officer at Sonatype and founder of the Apache Maven project, told eWEEK he believes “Hudson going to Eclipse is the best thing that can happen. It’s vendor neutral, it has a good governance framework and has the best legal framework.”
In addition, van Zyl said Sonatype plans to donate all of its core Hudson innovations to Eclipse in hopes of meeting developers needs and attracting more enterprise-class contributors to the project. This includes all of the Maven 3.x integration work done to date. Van Zyl said Sonatype’s original plan was to donate only a portion of the commercial work to the project but because of the excitement about Hudson moving to Eclipse that the company wants to stimulate adoption, and therefore contributions, by providing the best Maven integration possible.
“We believe that Hudson at Eclipse is the best thing for the Hudson User Community and hope that it will bring back users, mend the fork and help drive continued innovation and adoption,” van Zyl said. “I’m going to try to invite the Jenkins folks back to the project. This could be the thing that unifies the projects back together.”
Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC, said, “Eclipse is a good home for an enterprise oriented product. I think there has been a lot of misinterpretation of Oracle’s intent on this. I don’t think they ever wanted to commercialize Hudson per se as much as make it more suitable for commercial and enterprise use and broaden its adoption. I think most Hudson users are going along with the Oracle strategy and generally want a more organized and stable evolution cycle of the code and a more transparent governance model. Moving it to Eclipse, and getting IBM and VMware on board amongst a set of partners, is a move in the right direction and food for everyone.”
Oracle has run into problems with the Java and open-source communities over various aspects of its stewardship of Java and projects such as Hudson.
“It is important to recognize that this is a big step for Oracle. As an Eclipse project, no one company will own or control all of the intellectual property rights in the code,” Milinkovich told eWEEK. “The Hudson trademark will become the property of the Eclipse Foundation to hold in trust for the community. These are dramatic changes in the governance of Hudson, ones which demonstrate that Oracle is committed to doing the right thing for the Hudson community.”
“I think it was necessary to diffuse the -anti-Oracle’ angle from the debate,” Mark Driver, an analyst at Gartner, told eWEEK. “Oracle has no intention of commercializing Hudson so it makes sense. There is also precedent with EclipseLink as well. I think this is the only way to create a true community around the Oracle/Hudson side of the fork. Who knows, maybe the Jenkins folks will embrace the Eclipse project and reunify the whole thing?”
Milinkovich added, “Oracle has certainly taken some lumps for their handling of open-source communities, hopefully they will get the kudos they deserve in this case. In particular, I would like to point out the effort that they have put into seeking the collaboration and support of Sonatype, Tasktop, VMware, Intuit and IBM. Eclipse Hudson is showing immediate signs of growth and diversity.”