Taking a stand

Jenkins creator: We must stop Oracle from copyrighting Java APIs

Elliot Bentley
protest1

Kohsuke Kawaguchi and PaaS provider CloudBees starts petition, urging developers to “support API freedom”.

The
return of Oracle
and Google’s legal battle
over the ownership of Java’s APIs may
be tedious, but some observers believe it may have serious
ramifications for the software industry.

Jenkins creator Kohsuke Kawaguchi is so strongly
opposed to the copyrighting of APIs that he has begun a
White House petition
to raise awareness of the issue and
calling for developers to “support API freedom”.

In a blog post late last week, he expressed
disappointment that some were viewing the court case as “only as a
storm in a teacup”, arguing: “If the appeal is successful, it has a
broad implication on all sorts of APIs”.

He was backed today by his employer, Java PaaS
providers CloudBees, in a blog post titled “Why
Developers Should Care About Oracle’s Upcoming Appeal of the Google
Lawsuit
”.

CEO Sacha Labourey notes Microsoft and IBM have filed
“friend-of-the-court briefs” in support of Oracle’s claim, which he
believes is “about defending the aging Empire from the startup
Foundation”.

Elsewhere in the blog post, Labourey doesn’t mince his
words:

If they [Oracle] succeed in claiming you need their
permission to use the Java APIs that they pushed as a community
standard, software developers and innovation will be the losers.
[…]

We believe that Oracle’s quest for a legal
stranglehold on the Java API, which itself has been advanced
through the Java Community Process, has nothing to do with
compatibility and everything to do with cashing in on Java at the
expense of the community.

CloudBees are keen on pushing open standards, as
active members of the Java Community Process (the governing body
that controls the development of the Java language) and by working
alongside other cloud providers, including Oracle, on the
CAMP API spec
.

At the time of writing, the petition
has less than 100 signatures – a long way from the 100,000 needed
for a response from the Obama administration. However, Kawaguchi
says he chose the site as a “good enough neutral petition site that
hopefully people feel safe enough to join” and doesn’t expect the
White House to actually respond.

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