ASF Reaffirm Support for Apache JSR Projects

ASF Board Speak Up On IBM/Oracle Alliance

Jessica Thornsby

The Apache Board finally issue an official statement on IBM trading Harmony for OpenJDK.

Although Tim Ellison, the chair of the Apache Harmony PMC has
previously weighed in with his thoughts on the IBM/Oracle deal over OpenJDK, an
official statement from the Apache Board wasn’t
immediately forthcoming. Finally, the ASF Board have spoken up and
issued their statement on the matter, and it is in keeping with the
level-headed pragmatism that has characterised the deal.

They start by revealing that, at the last JCP Executive
Committee meeting, Oracle announced they will not offer a TCK
license for Java SE without the ‘Field of Use’ restriction. The ASF
are resigned: “we believe that this is a final decision from Oracle
and that there are no further opportunities for productive
discussion on this topic.”

The statement is more cagey when it comes to the future of
Apache Harmony, which the ASF refer to as currently “evaluating its
project goals and future.” It acknowledges that Harmony has been
prevented from achieving its original goal of providing a
TCK-tested Apache-licensed implementation of Java SE, but reaffirms
that the project has the ASF’s full support. The ASF clarify that
they “remain committed” to the Apache projects that implement JSRs,
and any new projects that wish to implement JSRs – providing they
have the appropriate TCK licensing terms. The statement also plays
down the loss of IBM, suggesting that IBM committers may wish to
continue contributing in their own time, and that Apache projects
are inherently structured to withstand the loss of even the most
prominent contributor. The general consensus within the community,
is that Harmony is now effectively a dead project, and it’s no
secret that the project relied heavily on IBM committers. Whether
the project will be able to survive IBM’s loss – and whether IBM
employees will in fact stick with the project in their spare time –
is something only time will tell.

The ASF wind up with some respectful words for IBM: “we thank
IBM Corporation for their contributions to Apache Harmony, and wish
them well in their future endeavours in open source Java.”

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