Oracle and Community Need Harmony

Is It Time for Oracle to Look at the Bigger Picture?

Jessica Thornsby

Stephen Colebourne argues that Oracle and the community need one another.

Stephen Colebourne has blogged about how the recent controversy could impact
the symbiotic relationship between the owner of Java and the
Community. He sees the owner of Java (Oracle) as investing the
money, development time, marketing and energy to deliver an
actively developed core and set of rules, which the community then
keep interesting and productive with their own contributions.
Colebourne argues that the core of Java is just a JVM, compiler,
language and core libraries: “enough to get everyone started, but
not that interesting in and of itself.” Therefore, Oracle’s
investment becomes less valuable, if the community and ecosystem
surrounding Java are destroyed. This is ironic, as Oracle seem to
be actively taking major steps towards improving the platform. They
are working with IBM and Apple to create the next version of JDK,
and merging the HotSpot Virtual Machine and JRockit. But, what
makes the language interesting, is the rich ecosystem of related
projects and initiatives, and Oracle are not making the same effort
to foster a positive relationship with the community.

He believes that in damaging the community with its lawsuits and
actions within the JCP, Oracle are also damaging themselves, as
they are creating distrust and unrest in the very community the
platform relies upon. The JCP is acknowledged as being far from
perfect – in fact, since 2005 the number of JSRs has been
decreasing. However, the JCP has still been the recognised body for
moderating Sun/Oracle’s contribution to the platform, and the JCP
approving a vote with licensing clauses and Apache’s subsequent
departure, have left the community shaken. In their handling of the
tangled web of the JCP, the TCK for Harmony and the Java SE 7
votes, Oracle have acted in a way that pushes the community away
and threatens to break down the symbiotic relationship.

Colebourne argues that it’s time for Oracle to look at the
bigger picture, and factor what keeps the community happy and
productive into their future business decisions. Although these
actions may not always have an immediate benefit, Oracle could reap
a greater business benefit in the future, if they keep the
community on their side.

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