OpenJDK, Oracle and IBM


Jessica Thornsby

Bloggers speculate on how Google, Red Hat, and Eclipse will vote on the JSRs, Java SE 7 and Java SE 8.

Now the dust is starting to settle on the IBM/Oracle/Apache
Harmony and, implicitly, Google ruckus, the community’s focus is
starting to shift to the upcoming vote on the Java SE 7 and Java SE
8 and JSRs.

This vote is inevitable. In his blog, Henrik Stahl, Senior
Director Product Management Oracle revealed that the next step was for Oracle to
create JSRs for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 and submit them to the JCP
for a vote. The vote will consist of sixteen members, two of which
will be Oracle and IBM. No prizes for guessing how they will vote,
but Stephen Colebourne has spent some time analysing how the rest of the JCP will vote,
and whether the motion will be passed or not.

Stephen Colebourne perceived the JCP as previously being united
against Oracle. But now IBM have broken ranks and moved over to the
Oracle camp, the game has changed completely. He concludes that HP
and Fujitsu will cast their votes in favour of Oracle: HP is a long
term Oracle partner, and Fujitsu was always assumed to be a voting
partner of Sun and now, by extension, Oracle.

It seems a given that Red Hat will side with Oracle, in light of
the statement made by Senior Director of
Engineering, Middleware at Red Hat, and JCP Executive Committee
member Mark Little. He said “we are pleased to see IBM joining
Oracle on the OpenJDK. When industry leaders are collaborating and
working together in a community versus fracturing it and going
their own way, customers will benefit.” Mike Milinkovich of the
Eclipse Foundation has also publically supported Oracle and IBM, calling it
“good news for Java, and by extension for Eclipse” and stating it
“fundamentally strengthens the platform, enhances the business
value of Java and offers the hope of an increased pace of
innovation.” Eclipse also began as an IBM Canada project.

Stephen Colebourne assumed the Eclipse Foundation would support
Oracle, and he was correct: Mike Milinkovich has since posted a
response to Colebourne’s blog, clearly stating that when asked to
vote on this matter, Eclipse will vote yes. Mike Milinkovich
expresses his disapproval over Apache Harmony being denied the TCK,
but this is out of his control: the JCP cannot grant TCKs and he
reasons that “if IBM couldn’t find some leverage, I don’t see how
the open source communities will.” Since Oracle isn’t about to
backtrack, Milinkovich feels it is now time for the Java community
to cut its losses and move on.

“We are going to vote based on the technical merits of Java 7.
From our point of view “Plan B” defines the logical next steps for
the Java platform,” he concludes before adding, intriguingly: “Java
8 is a different story and left for another blog post.” Clearly,
it’s a case of watch this space….

So, who’s likely to vote against the proposal on the JCP? The
first is obvious: Google. Their Android uses a subset of Harmony,
and the search giants are currently being sued by Oracle over
Android. It is even possible that Google could sue Oracle over their refusal to
grant Apache the appropriate Java SE license, or help Apache
organise a lawsuit of their own. Either way, it is unlikely they
will side with Oracle, given the current situation between the two

According to Stephen Colebourne’s sums, Oracle leads 6 to 2,
with 8 votes still to count. These votes consist of the three
independent members of the JCP: Doug Lea, Werner Keil and Tim
Pierls, as well as Intel, SAP, Credit Suisse and VMWare – and it is
difficult to determine how they will cast their votes. Intel have
been vocal over the need to reform the JCP in the past,
SpringSource supported Apache before they were acquired by VMWare,
and in the past SAP have urged Sun/Oracle “to transition the stewardship
of the language and platform into an authentically open body that
is not dominated by an individual corporation.” However, none of
this means they won’t vote in favour of Oracle, when it comes down
to it, and even after analysing the situation, Colebourne admits
that it is “impossible to determine” how the vote will go.

Oracle requires a 2/3 majority of the votes cast for a “UJSR”
according to the rules of the JCP. But, there’s still one
important factor to consider: before the JCP vote on Java SE 7,
comes the JCP election – the outcome of which could make all the
difference to Java SE 7.

Want to have your say on Java SE 7? Nominations are open now.

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