Oracle Vs. Apache

Oracle Accuse Apache of Encouraging Stagnation; Claim TCK Licenses Are ‘Fair’

Jessica Thornsby

Oracle and the ASF fire off another round of public responses.

A fresh round of statements published by both Oracle and Apache have hit the internet, and one assertion has caused particular controversy: Oracle’s claim they provide “TCK licenses under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms consistent with its obligations under the JSPA.” Stephen Colebourne dismisses this statement as meaningless, acknowledging that Oracle do provide TCK licenses under fair terms: but not when it comes to the Java SE JSR. The TCK offered means that a tested version of the Harmony code could not be released under any open source license. The ‘Field of Use’ clause added to this TCK forbids code to be run on a PC in an enclosed environment. Stephen Colebourne has previously blogged that Harmony running on a desktop is allowed, “but if you pick the machine up and place it in an enclosed cabinet, such as inside an X-Ray machine, or an shopping mall information kiosk, then you would be breaking the FOU clause.” Seemingly random, but it meant Apache would be required to add an additional clause over their standard Apache license, and the clause did not fit with the OSI’s definition of open source software. “This FOU clause would be an issue for any open source group trying to implement the Java SE specification,” is Stephen Colebourne’s summary and, since Apache only release open source licensed code, Sun effectively blocked Apache from ever releasing a tested version of Harmony.

Can this situation be resolved? Stephen Colebourne thinks not ” the Java SE 7 vote will proceed, the vote will go Oracle’s way, and the ASF will leave the JCP entirely,” as they have threatened to do if the EC does not uphold Apache’s “rights as implementers of Java specifications.” The Apache Software Foundation have publicly encouraged the JCP EC to vote against Java SE 7 in the upcoming vote. Presumably, upholding the ASF’s rights means voting against Java SE 7.

In their statement, Oracle issue a response to Apache’s ultimatum, calling it “a call for continued delay and stagnation of the past several years,” and urge Apache to reconsider their position. “Now is the time for positive action. Now is the time to move Java forward,” reads the statement. But, Apache does not seem to be backing down, hitting back with a blunt post that suggests there is no room for negotiation and the dialogue with Oracle regarding this matter is over: “The ball is in your court. Honor the agreement.”

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