Who Owns Hudson?

Oracle Assert Right to Hudson Trademark

Jessica Thornsby

Oracle are pulling out the trademark trump card, as they stop Hudson migrating to GitHub.

Oracle have controversially tried to prevent the Hudson
community from moving the project to GitHub. Oracle are asserting
that they own the Hudson trademark, and therefore Hudson will
remain on the Java.net infrastructure.

The Hudson saga started last month, when Oracle engineer
Windston Prakash was listed as co-owner of the Java.net project “as
a sign of good faith from the community towards Oracle.” Following
this, core contributor Andrew Bayer suggested moving the mailing
lists off Java.net, citing its reliability issues and planned
series of downtimes and migrations over the coming weeks. Google
Groups was selected as the most reasonable solution. However,
unbeknown to the Hudson developers, the Hudson project was listed
in the same migration bucket as GlassFish. All emails notifying the
users, developers and users either never arrived, due to the sender
not being subscribed to the lists, or were missed by the project
owners. By the time the community realised they are being migrated,
the project was already locked down. Developers reacted by pushing
through with the plan to migrate the mailing list to Google Groups,
and Kohsuke proposed moving Hudson to GitHub, on the new developers
mailing list. According to a Hudson Labs post, no objections were raised, and so
the final deadline for raising any major objections was set for
30/11/2010, after which the migration to GitHub would go ahead.

That’s when Oracle stepped in. The day before the planned
switch-over, Ted Farrell, Oracle Senior VP of Tools and Middleware,
sent a message to the users list stating that Hudson
would be sticking with Java.net. Since Oracle own the Hudson
trademark, even if the community forked the project and set it up
on a new infrastructure, they could not use the ‘Hudson’ name.
Understandably, the community didn’t welcome the news. “Are you
saying that, as the holders of the Hudson ‘name’, you are
prohibiting the developer community from choosing (for ourselves)
to migrate the infrastructure (bug tracking / wiki)? The
repositories?” asked contributor Nigel Magnay. Farrell replied by
re-asserting Oracle’s claim to Hudson: “what I am saying is that I
believe the final decision of what to do w.r.t. infrastructure
belongs to Oracle and that decision should be made according to the
will of the community as it makes sense.”

Oracle are claiming they have a plan for encouraging more users
to contribute to Hudson as, currently, many potential contributors
“don’t feel like they can be heard….We will be announcing some
changes in the upcoming weeks that we believe will foster that.”
What this has to do with infrastructure, remains unclear, and the
news has caused outrage in a community already mistrustful of
Oracle. “More or less Hudson has been a perfect example of OSS
where both project and community have had mutual relationship. Why
would anyone want to impose a trademark on it?” asked committer Prabhat Jha.

Since the news broke, Kohsuke, CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey and
Andrew Bayer have been on a conference call with Winston Prakash, Oracle
manager Denis Tyrell and Ted Farrell. After the meeting, Andrew
Bayer appears hopeful that this matter can be settled, writing that
“I feel real progress was made towards a framework that provides
what the Hudson community needs while also preventing the sort of
conflicts we’ve seen the last week or two.” Another conference call
is scheduled for this week, with Bayer hoping they can “reach
agreement on the contentious issues by the end of the week.”

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