Interview with Rich Sharples, Senior Director of Product Management for Middleware at Red Hat

Java EE moves to the Eclipse Foundation: “The Java EE community owns the future of Java EE”

Gabriela Motroc
Java EE

© Shutterstock / EHStockphoto

That was fast! It’s been less than a month since Oracle announced their intention to move Java EE technologies to an open source foundation and now Java EE has a new place to call home: the Eclipse Foundation. We talked with Rich Sharples, Senior Director of Product Management for Middleware at Red Hat about Java EE’s new home and whether it should be merged with Eclipse MicroProfile.

It’s decided — Java EE is moving to the Eclipse Foundation. Java EE evangelist  David Delabassee wrote in a blog post announcing the decision that Oracle “reached out to IBM and Red Hat, the other largest contributors to the Java EE platform, to solicit their support for this new direction.”

Red Hat welcomed Oracle’s decision to move Java EE technologies to the Eclipse Foundation and opined that “it’s encouraging to see Oracle moving ahead at a rapid pace.”

Java EE is an established technology that many organizations depend on for their business critical applications. Java EE is also a large body of work with Technology Specifications, Reference Implementations and TCKs from multiple vendors and open source projects so there’s still a significant amount of work yet to happen – but this is a great start.

Senior Director of Product Management, Red Hat

Mike Milinkovich, the Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation also expressed his joy about Oracle’s decision and pointed out that the Eclipse MicroProfile project is “an excellent example” of the developer community led style of collaboration the Eclipse Foundation supports.

Oracle-led Java EE technologies will be relicensed

Oracle intends to:

  • Relicense Oracle-led Java EE technologies, and related GlassFish technologies, to the foundation. This would include RIs, TCKs, and associated project documentation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to build a compatible implementation, using foundation sources, that passes existing Java EE 8 TCKs.
  • Define a branding strategy for the platform within the foundation, including a new name for Java EE to be determined. We intend to enable use of existing javax package names and component specification names for existing JSRs to provide continuity.
  • Define a process by which existing specifications can evolve, and new specifications can be included in the platform.
  • Recruit and enable developers and other community members, as well as vendors, to sponsor platform technologies, and bring the platform forward within the foundation. This would include potential incorporation of Eclipse MicroProfile technologies into the platform.
  • Begin doing the above as soon as possible after completion of Java EE 8 to facilitate a rapid transition.

As Josh Juneau told us last month, “seeing that projects such as the MicroProfile have worked well in the Eclipse Foundation” — that must have been taken into account.

Reza Rahman anticipated that the Eclipse Foundation would be Java EE’s new host since “the MicroProfile vendors are already there and the structure of the Eclipse Foundation is better suited to larger corporate stakeholders — which Java EE has and will continue to need in addition to the support of individuals, communities and smaller vendors.”

Read the entire interview here. If you want to read more about the future of Java EE, check out this blog post by Mark Little, Red Hat VP of Engineering and CTO of JBoss Middleware.

Senior Director of Product Management for Middleware at Red Hat about Java EE’s new home, whether it should be merged with Eclipse MicroProfile and when we should expect to find out Java EE’s new name. 

JAXenter: Java EE evangelist David Delabassee said that Oracle has reached out to IBM and Red Hat to help them decide which foundation should receive Java EE technologies. How did you reach the conclusion that the Eclipse Foundation is the best choice? Is it the fact that they already host MicroProfile?

Rich Sharples: MicroProfile was a factor, but not the only one.

JAXenter: Is it possible to merge Java EE with Eclipse MicroProfile now that they are both under the same roof? More importantly, should this happen?

Rich Sharples: Red Hat are definitely interested in aligning the two initiatives and are willing to invest time and energy to make that happen. But ultimately the MicroProfile community dictates its future, and the Java EE community owns the future of Java EE — one individual or vendor can’t control the direction of these two communities.

JAXenter: Oracle also announced that they would be relicensing Oracle-led Java EE technologies, and related GlassFish technologies, to the Eclipse Foundation. People have already come up with different names for Java EE — What are your top choices with regard to Java EE’s new name? When can we expect a decision from Oracle, the Eclipse Foundation and the other parties involved?

Rich Sharples: That’s really a question for Oracle — they own the Java brand and only Oracle can decide where and how the Java brand can be used. I suspect a new name will be forthcoming pretty soon.

JAXenter: You said that “Java EE is also a large body of work with Technology Specifications, Reference Implementations and TCKs from multiple vendors and open source projects so there’s still a significant amount of work yet to happen.” What are the next steps?  

Rich Sharples: I think whatever happens — it needs to happen fast — so far Oracle has moved very quickly and that pace needs to continue. Moving and licensing code and determining a new lightweight process for proposing and implementing new specs / JSRs would be at the top of my list.

JAXenter: How does the future of Java EE look like? How involved will/should the community be in the new Java EE?

Rich Sharples: It certainly looks brighter than any other time in the last few years. This represents a great opportunity for the community to get a lot more involved in the future of Enterprise Java.

Existing Java EE licensees will be supported

“Oracle will continue to support existing Java EE licensees, including licensees moving to Java EE 8,” Delabassee added in the blog post announcing Java EE’s move to the Eclipse Foundation.

Furthermore, the company intends to continue to support its existing WebLogic Server versions and to support Java EE 8 in a future WebLogic Server version.

Don’t forget that Java EE code is now on GitHub so it’s safe to safe that a new era has begun.

Java EE to be renamed: What will it be called? Thoughts? Pour them into the comments section.

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Author
Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc is an online editor for JAXenter.com. Before working at S&S Media she studied International Communication Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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