Oracle's Stance on CI Debate

Oracle Speak Out On Hudson/Jenkins

Jessica Thornsby

“This topic only affects people or companies using the name Hudson in products, marketing material.”

Following Andrew Bayer’s proposal that the Hudson project be
and renamed Jenkins
to side-step Oracle’s brand ownership,
Oracle have posted their own proposal for Hudson.

Oracle name their primary concern for Hudson, as the licenses
associated with “some of the core technologies,” and a perceived
lack of process w.r.t software development, infrastructure
decisions and feature information and auditing. They propose to add “some structure and predictability” to
the project, with a proposal that primarily targets the core Hudson
technologies, but could also potentially apply to the plugins.
Oracle outline processes for tracking issues, adding new
functionality, code review, committing code, and becoming a Hudson
committer, saying “we believe it will add clarity, equality and
openness to the community.” They also reveal that there was some
talk of adding hooks to the Hudson core, which would give users the
option of swapping some of the current technology, with different
technology options.

But, this debate is squarely focused on the Hudson trademark,
and Oracle have their own view on this controversial issue. Oracle
state they have not changed anything with Hudson since they
acquired Sun, and that the licensing panic in the community can be
traced back to a comment made by an Oracle representative, that if
anyone forked Hudson they would have to call it something else.
“That is no different than any other fork of any other piece of
open source software.” Furthermore, Oracle stress the difference
between naming rights and software: even if Oracle forbid everyone
from using the name Hudson, the community would still be free to
access and use the Hudson code. “This topic only affects people or
companies using the name Hudson in products, marketing material,
etc. It does not directly affect the code,” Oracle say. They claim
trademark ownership allows them to control the quality of Hudson

“A plugin writer who writes a plugin can be assured that it runs
in all versions of the software calling itself Hudson. And
customers who are using a set of plugins with one version of Hudson
could decide to move to a different vendor’s version of Hudson and
know that their plugins will work as they did before,” argue

Intriguingly, it seems Oracle have yet to show their full hand.
The statement briefly refers to a “naming proposal,” with a link to
be released, pending company approval. At the time of writing,
Oracle had revealed that the naming proposal involves taking a copy
of the hudson-ci.war file from and not modifying it,
which gives developers the freedom to add their own extensions and
plugins, package it all up and call it “Hudson something(or a
variant.)” Likewise, developers who write a plugin that works with
the unmodified hudson-ci.war file can publicly call it a Hudson
plugin. Anyone wishing to make changes to the Hudson core can
request specific trademark licenses, which the company claim is a
safety measure to avoid plugin compatibility issues.

Oracle take the stance that the proposed Jenkins project isn’t a
re-branding, but a fork specifically designed to change who
controls Hudson. “That sounds like a contradiction and an unfair
deal for Oracle,” say the company. Despite the current community
uproar that continuing in this manner would be “living under a
sword of Damocles,” Oracle point out that a fork can occur at any
time. If the community becomes dissatisfied with the way Oracle are
using the Hudson brand, they can always fork the project. Kohsuke
Kawaguchi has posted his thoughts on the proposal, and
disagrees with Oracle’s assumption that their actions have yet to
warrant a fork, as they blocked the community from migrating to

“This is precisely why we need to rename now, and not later. If
this isn’t enough for us to be resolute, then we’ll be divided and
conquered through a series of highly technical confrontations that
cannot rally a larger community, the community gets gradually
boiled to death like a frog,” Kawaguchi says.

Oracle pledge to “continue to work on, support and improve
Hudson for years to come” regardless of the outcome, but Kawaguchi
sees the proposal as further evidence that Oracle are planning to
drive through changes to Hudson, regardless of how the community
feel. Kawaguchi stands by the earlier proposal to rename Hudson to

“Now that we know all the options on the table, I believe Andrew
will get a vote going soon. Please help us with your support,” he

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