IBM and Oracle

James Gosling Calls OpenJDK Deal ‘vague. But Hopeful.’

Jessica Thornsby

What does the Eclipse Foundation, Red Hat and Java creator James Gosling, think of the IBM/Oracle move?

As the news that IBM is joining forces with Oracle over the OpenJDK project begins to sink in, the community consensus seems to be that this is a positive move for the Java community.
There have been countless concerns surrounding the future of Java following the acquisition, not least the worry that Java could fork, or that IBM would resort to playing divide and rule if it could not influence the JCP to the extent it wished. James Governor predicted that, in this volatile environment, IBM might have opted to back Eclipse and OSGi. Instead, it has sided with Oracle over OpenJDK, and it seems fragmentation has been avoided – for now. Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies refers to this move as “an important signal of Open JDK becoming the open-source future of vendor collaboration around Java.” Mike Milinkovich echoes this sentiment, describing himself as “much more optimistic” that Java will not fork, and stating that the IBM/Oracle deal “fundamentally strengthens the (Java) platform.”

This move also brings Oracle, IBM and Red Hat together, with all three now involved in the OpenJDK project. Mark Little, Senior Director of Engineering, Middleware, at Red Hat said of the move: “We are pleased to see IBM joining Oracle on the OpenJDK. When industry leaders are collaborating and working together in a community versus fracturing it and going their own way, customers will benefit.” According to Sean Michael Kerner, IBM told him that the deal came about because IBM have a dialogue with Oracle, whereas they did not have a dialogue with Sun.

There has also been much talk of how this move will affect the JCP. Red Hat’s Mark Little said, encouragingly, that Red Hat were “eager to work with both IBM and Oracle as the JCP implements the long-called for and much needed reforms.” This notion is likely to get the support of the JCP itself, if reports of recent votes are to be believed.

There are those who gave a more measured response. James Gosling spoke to eWEEK, and called this move “vague. But hopeful” that the JCP logjam may be broken. He also expressed his surprise that the two companies have “eaten some humble pie” and announced a collaboration. Theo Schlossnagle, CEO of OmniTI, gave a similarly level-headed response, acknowledging that, when it comes to managing open source communities, Oracle is “notoriously bad” but “IBM is notoriously decent at it — almost ‘good.”

Google have yet to make a statement.

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