ASF Reaffirm Support for Apache JSR Projects

ASF Board Speak Up On IBM/Oracle Alliance

Jessica Thornsby

The Apache Board finally issue an official statement on IBM trading Harmony for OpenJDK.

Although Tim Ellison, the chair of the Apache Harmony PMC has previously weighed in with his thoughts on the IBM/Oracle deal over OpenJDK, an official statement from the Apache Board wasn’t immediately forthcoming. Finally, the ASF Board have spoken up and issued their statement on the matter, and it is in keeping with the level-headed pragmatism that has characterised the deal.

They start by revealing that, at the last JCP Executive Committee meeting, Oracle announced they will not offer a TCK license for Java SE without the ‘Field of Use’ restriction. The ASF are resigned: “we believe that this is a final decision from Oracle and that there are no further opportunities for productive discussion on this topic.”

The statement is more cagey when it comes to the future of Apache Harmony, which the ASF refer to as currently “evaluating its project goals and future.” It acknowledges that Harmony has been prevented from achieving its original goal of providing a TCK-tested Apache-licensed implementation of Java SE, but reaffirms that the project has the ASF’s full support. The ASF clarify that they “remain committed” to the Apache projects that implement JSRs, and any new projects that wish to implement JSRs – providing they have the appropriate TCK licensing terms. The statement also plays down the loss of IBM, suggesting that IBM committers may wish to continue contributing in their own time, and that Apache projects are inherently structured to withstand the loss of even the most prominent contributor. The general consensus within the community, is that Harmony is now effectively a dead project, and it’s no secret that the project relied heavily on IBM committers. Whether the project will be able to survive IBM’s loss – and whether IBM employees will in fact stick with the project in their spare time – is something only time will tell.

The ASF wind up with some respectful words for IBM: “we thank IBM Corporation for their contributions to Apache Harmony, and wish them well in their future endeavours in open source Java.”

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