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10 November 2010, 15:58

Apache sounds the attack against Oracle's Java policy

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Java Logo The Apache Software Foundation has taken its ratification as a member of the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee as an opportunity to speak out against Oracle's Java policy. Apache called on other JCP members to vote against Oracle's forthcoming proposal for the next version of Java should Oracle fail to lift the usage restrictions imposed on Java. The Apache Software Foundation has said that it will terminate its relationship with the JCP if the limitations remain in place.

The Foundation's demands for a more liberal Java policy aren't new. For some time, Apache has refused to consent to various specifications defined within the JCP, arguing that Oracle, and Sun before it, have failed to make important Java test kits available to the Apache developers. As a consequence, the Harmony Project, an open source Java implementation sponsored by Apache, hasn't been able to obtain any Java certifications. Apache's statement says that Oracle has failed to uphold its responsibilities under the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA)PDF because the Test Compatibility Kit (TCK) is only available under a licence that is not compatible with open source or free software licences. The Foundation said it believes that anyone who doesn't follow the JCP rules should not be able to participate as a member in good standing.

At the recent JCP Executive Committee elections, the vote to accept the Apache Software Foundation as a member was supported by 95% of the JCP members. This result and many statements made by members of the Java community who advocate a JCP reform, strengthens Apache's position in the dispute with Oracle. The Committee may well favour Apache's position considering that it also includes such important open source representatives as the Eclipse Foundation and Red Hat.

Oracle, on the other hand, scored in October when IBM announced that it would abandon its previously independent Java strategy in favour of a co-operation with Oracle's OpenJDK project. The Harmony Project was the immediate victim of this decision as it lost its main sponsor: IBM. The Apache Software Foundation, in turn, announced that it would continue to support the project as long as it has a future.


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