Time called on free source Java implementation

Apache Harmony finally shelved in the Attic

Chris Mayer
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After 6 years, Apache Harmony is retired

In news that comes as no surprise, the open source Java
implementation Apache Harmony has been discontinued. The Project
Management Committee (PMC) voted overwhelmingly in favour, 20 to 2,
to send the project to Apache Attic, where inactive projects lie
dormant.

Many in the industry speculated Harmony’s demise was on the
cards, after main corporate sponsor IBM switched to focusing on
OpenJDK. With Android tied up in their legal battle with
Oracle, the hoped backing never came and those voting agreed it was
time to end the project.

Since IBM’s disengagement with the implementation in October
2010, discussion and development on the project has all but ceased.
Over the years, Harmony has been at the centre of controversial
battles – notably the difficulties of obtaining a Java SE 5 TCK
license from Sun Microsystems. Former PMC Chair for Harmony, Tim
Ellison stepped
down
 in March 2011 stating that he thought it was too
earlier to send it to Apache Attic but it appears that time has now
come.

Apache Harmony retained immense popularity amongst Java
developers craving an open source implementation of standard Java,
but the fact remains that without the support of the big-hitters,
it was always on borrowed time. OpenJDK now becomes the sole
open source implementation of Java SE and with Oracle, IBM, Apple
and many others behind it, its support is now stronger than
ever.

The code will still remain available for developers to use,
within the Apache Attic. There has been talk of a possible forking
of the project but this seems unlikely without anyone willing to
back Harmony, or challenge the might of OpenJDK. But after being
concieved six years ago, the project originally intended to bring
together all Java developers from free implementations, the project
comes to an end.

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