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Larry Gets His Way with Java

Apache-Led Rebellion Fails to Take Hold

The open source Apache Software Foundation failed to rally the Java Community Process (JCP) to its side and force Oracle to release the Java compatibility test kits (TCKs) that would let it certify Project Harmony, its breakaway open source version of Java Standard Edition for Linux, as real Java, and rescind the Field-of-Use (FOU) restrictions that make it impossible for Harmony to be distributed under an Apache License whether it's certified or not.

Rather than mutiny and vote down Java 7, Oracle's next proposed version of the language, as Apache wanted, the JCP Executive Committee (EC) meekly endorsed by a wide majority the Java Specification Requests (JSRs) for the next two releases of the Java Platform that Oracle put on the table.

The Register says only Apache and Google voted against Oracle's roadmap, and that the yes vote was based on the technical merits of the plan despite widespread objections to the TCK and FOU policies that Oracle inherited from Sun.

The move is expected to send Apache slamming out the door as it threatened to do if it didn't get its way and presumably strengthens Oracle's hand in its patent litigation against Google for using a subset of Harmony in Android's Dalvik Java Virtual Machine.

Apache said last month that "Oracle is violating their contractual obligation as set forth under the rules of the JCP by only offering a TCK license that imposes additional terms and conditions that are not compatible with open source or free software licenses" and that it "will terminate its relationship with the JCP if our rights as implementers of Java specifications are not upheld by the JCP Executive Committee to the limits of the EC's ability."

The vote is supposed to produce Java SE 7 next year and Java SE 8 in 2012. As outlined at JavaOne, Java SE 7 is supposed to get language changes that improve developer productivity, dynamically typed language support and performance improvements. Java SE 8 is supposed to get modularization and advanced multi-core support.

As part of the political in-fighting, Oracle got IBM and Apple to support the OpenJDK alternative to Harmony. IBM conceded that Oracle would never change its position on the TCKs and FOUs now that it owns Java no matter what its position had been before.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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