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04 November 2011, 14:24

The end of (Apache) Harmony

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Apache Harmony, the project to produce an open source cleanroom implementation of Java, has been now been dispatched to the Apache Attic where projects are placed when they are discontinued. A vote was taken within the project management committee (PMC), which saw a 20 to 2 majority send the project's codebase into the loft for storage. The code will reside in the Attic where other developers may continue to view and use it.

The primary sponsor of the Apache Harmony project was IBM, which had been instrumental in the project's inception hoping to create a permissively licensed version of the Java Development Kit (JDK). In October 2010, IBM announced that it was supporting the OpenJDK project with Oracle and was shifting its development work away from Apache Harmony and over to OpenJDK.

Apache Harmony had clashed with Sun Microsystems though as it required access to the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK); the TCK for Java was under a closed and restricted licence, and didn't allow users to test Java implementations that ran on anything but a general purpose computer. In December 2010, the dispute over this issue, now taking place with Sun's new owner, Oracle, saw the Apache Software Foundation resign from the Java Community Process Executive Committee. The Harmony project saw reductions in participation and in March 2011, Tim Ellison, chair of the PMC, stepped down saying at that time that it was too early to put the project in the Apache Attic. That time has, evidently, now come.


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