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10 December 2010, 11:00

Apache resigns from the JCP Executive Committee

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Yesterday the Apache Software Foundation announced its resignation from the Java Community Process Executive (JCP) Committee. Apache has served on the Executive Committee (EC) for the past ten years, but following the recent vote over the Java SE 7 specification and the refusal by Oracle to provide a test kit for Java unencumbered by a license that contradicts the terms of the Java Specification Participation AgreementPDF, Apache said that it felt it had no option but to resign.

However, it is not as though this is a new issue, disagreements over the terms of the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) go back to Sun's stewardship of Java. When Oracle took over Sun in 2009, it inherited all of Sun's Java rights and properties.

Java was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems in 1995. In 2007 Sun re-licensed most of its Java technologies to the open source GPL while keeping the Java compatibility test kits under a proprietary licence. As they stand the specifications for Java include the controversial field-of-use clause that requires that any implementation of Java passes tests by the TCK. Those objecting to this say that not only is this against the spirit of open source, but it also contradicts the terms of the agreement by which all participants in Java development, Oracle included, are bound.

Adam Messinger, Oracle's Group Vice President of Development Issues, has responded to Apache's resignation by asking that Apache reconsider its decision to resign and to remain part of the Java development process. Apache has its own implementation of Java under the perhaps ironic name of Harmony.

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