IBM Joins OpenJDK

IBM and Oracle; What Does It Mean For The Future of Java?

Jessica Thornsby

Will the IBM and Oracle collaboration, save Java from fragmentation?

What does the recent announcement that IBM and Oracle are joining forces over OpenJDK, mean for the future of Java?

In Mike Milinkovich’s opinion, it indicates that Java’s future may not be as fractured as first thought. The idea of the platform fragmenting, is a popular one in the blogosphere. At the beginning of October, 2010, James Govrnor painted a complex picture of the Java ecoysystem, which saw OSGi, Java, NoSQL, Eclipse, Jigsaw and GWT portrayed as competing technologies. He also predicted that a frustrated IBM might leverage the situation to their advantage “if IBM’s can’t influence the JCP as much as it would like it can now play divide and rule. I expect to see IBM giving Eclipse and OSGi a concerted push over the next couple of years.” Now Oracle and IBM have come together on the common ground of OpenJDK, it seems the situation has been diffused, and the head-on collision between IBM and Oracle avoided. Mike Milinkovich is hopeful that this move may signal even more collaboration between IBM and Oracle, with them joining forces within the JCP to drive through specficiaitons.

Can we expect similar business partnerships in the future? Mike Milinkovich belives so, as he draws attention to the contrasting personalities of Oracle and Sun. “Oracle is large enough and confident enough in its execution that it is much more comfortable in striking business deals with its co-opetition such as IBM. It will be darn interesting to see if they are successful in signing up more participants down the road,” he concludes. We might be in for a long wait for a Google/Oracle collaboration, though….

Meanwhile, Sacha Labourey focuses on what this move could mean for the JSPA. The JSPA states that compaines leading a JSR must provide a license to whoever requests it. However, Sun refused to grant this license, and now Oracle have adopted Sun’s interpretation of the JSPA. “How can the Java community trust a leader which doesn’t stand by its own constitution?” Sacha asks. He sees this development as an acknolwedgment that a JSR lead can refuse to grant a license on that JSR to a competitor, and get away with it, which is bad news for the Java community.

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