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07 December 2010, 10:49

Java 7 and 8 specification passed under protest

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Java Logo The specifications for Java SE 7 and 8 have been approved by the JCP (Java Community Process) Executive Committee for Java SE / EE by 12 votes to 3 for both Java SE 7 and Java SE 8. The approval means that Oracle can progress with their plan to release Java SE 7 in the summer of 2011, but the complaints about the license terms of the Java language are growing louder.

Apache, Google and individual member Tim Peierls all voted against Java SE 7 and 8 complaining about the field of use restrictions on Java specifications which require that Java implementations pass a proprietary Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK). Although IBM, SAP AG, Eclipse, Credit Suisse and individual member Wener Kell voted yes on the technical merits of the specifications for Java SE 7 and 8, they all emphasised in their comments they were unhappy with the TCK licensing requirements. For example, Credit Suisse noted that "the current battle around licensing term, however, reveals that Java never actually was an open standard. FOU restrictions clearly discriminate open source implementations and prevent competition, and with that, innovation in that space". Oracle, HP, Ericsson, Fujitsu, VMWare and Intel voted to approve the specifications with no comment.

In addition to the complaints about the TCK restrictions the comments on the Java SE 8 vote included concerns form SAP AG, IBM, Eclipse, Red Hat and Credit Suisse that the proposals for modularising Java were ignoring what they considered the de facto standard in Java modularity, OSGi. The vote on Project Coin's "small language extensions" and the vote on Project Lambda's addition of closures to Java saw both projects approved by 13 to 1, with Apache voting against and Peierls abstaining. The voting pattern reflected that for the Java SE 7 and 8, with objections to the TCK restrictions on Java being noted in the comments.

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