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10 November 2009, 16:15

SAP CTO calls for Java Foundation

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Vishal Sikka, Chief Technology Officer at SAP, has criticised the governance of Java and the domination of the Java Community Process (JCP) by Sun Microsystems. In a blog posting, Sikka says that SAP decided to make Java core to their business in 2001 and that he considers Java "the lifeblood of the IT industry". He calls on whoever owns Java in future, be it Sun or Oracle, to move the stewardship of the language, virtual machine and other parts of the platform to "an authentically open body that is not dominated by an individual corporation".

Sikka suggests a model similar to that of the Eclipse Foundation, which was created in 2004 by the transfer of IBM open source code in the Eclipse IDE to the Foundation and has provided the basis for a large number of companies to work on the development of the IDE and supporting technologies. In the posting, Sikka says that if such a body were created SAP "is committing to make significant investments in form of engineering and financial resources into Java technology and its new governance structure".

He calls for the Java Virtual Machine, to be switched to a more commercial friendly licence because it is currently under license terms "that are currently restricted to free software and thus not adaptable to the commercial terms required in the global IT marketplace". This appears to be a reference to the GPL licence which Java is currently licensed under.

Sikka notes, historically, that in 2007, the JCP executive committee voted on a resolution that the JCP become an "open independent vendor-neutral Standards Organisation where all members participate on a level playing field". That resolution was proposed by Oracle, and seconded by BEA who were acquired by Oracle in 2008, and apparently voted for by all committee members except for Sun which abstained.


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