JCP Minutes Made Public

Oracle State ‘this decision is final – it will never change’ in JCP Minutes

Jessica Thornsby

The JCP minutes become public, offering a new insight into the Harmony dispute.

The minutes of the last two JCP meetings have been
made public, and they offer a fresh insight into the dispute around
Apache Harmony and the TCK.

In the October 5th-6th, 2010 minutes Oracle make their position
on Apache Harmony very clear, as Don Deutsch of Oracle states that
Harmony will inevitably lead to a fork (and the Java community does
not fully understand the consequences of such a fork,) and that the
project could never ensure compliance downstream, even if the
Harmony project itself was strictly compiled with the TCK. Oracle
concluded that they would not grant Apache a TCK license and then,
just to make it crystal clear, “Don stated that this decision is
final – it will never change.” As a concession to the community,
Don promised that Oracle will move forward with delivering new Java
technologies through OpenJDK, as he knows “the community is
frustrated by the lack of technical progress caused by this
licensing dispute.” He expressed Oracle’s desire to move forward
within the JCP with JSRs for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8, “but if this
was not possible it would be necessary to find another way to
advance the platform.”

Despite the eventual approval of the JSRs by the JCP, the
reactions to Oracle’s plans were largely negative. Geir Magnusson
of Apache stressed that Java depends on community members being
free to create independent implementations, and that allowing
Apache to create a compatible Harmony implementation would actually
strengthen the platform, as “independent implementations are
necessary for all to be able to monetize Java.”

Oracle also came under heavy fire for their FOU restrictions,
something which they spoke out about when Oracle were on the JCP
and Sun owned Java. Doug Lea stated that Java 7 JSR cannot exist
because Oracle are not conforming to the JSPA with their
FOU-restricted licenses, and that the JCP cannot approve a
violation of the JSPA. The discussion culminated in Doug Lea
stating that if he was put in a position where he had to condone
breaking the rules, by voting for the JSR, then he would
resign
. Google’s Josh Bloch also enquired whether Oracle still
agreed with their earlier position that denying Apache a license
without FOU restrictions was a violation of the JSPA, to which Ken
Glueck responsed that Oracle would not be answering legal
questions. There was talk of the JSPA being altered so Oracle were
no longer obliged to grant Apache a license, an idea which was
discussed in a later, private meeting. Jason Gartner of IBM
expressed disappointment with the decision, but agreed that now is
the time to move forward with the platform.

The full discussion can be reviewed at the public minutes.

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