JCP Minutes Made Public

Oracle State ‘this decision is final – it will never change’ in JCP Minutes

Jessica Thornsby

The JCP minutes become public, offering a new insight into the Harmony dispute.

The minutes of the last two JCP meetings have been made public, and they offer a fresh insight into the dispute around Apache Harmony and the TCK.

In the October 5th-6th, 2010 minutes Oracle make their position on Apache Harmony very clear, as Don Deutsch of Oracle states that Harmony will inevitably lead to a fork (and the Java community does not fully understand the consequences of such a fork,) and that the project could never ensure compliance downstream, even if the Harmony project itself was strictly compiled with the TCK. Oracle concluded that they would not grant Apache a TCK license and then, just to make it crystal clear, “Don stated that this decision is final – it will never change.” As a concession to the community, Don promised that Oracle will move forward with delivering new Java technologies through OpenJDK, as he knows “the community is frustrated by the lack of technical progress caused by this licensing dispute.” He expressed Oracle’s desire to move forward within the JCP with JSRs for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8, “but if this was not possible it would be necessary to find another way to advance the platform.”

Despite the eventual approval of the JSRs by the JCP, the reactions to Oracle’s plans were largely negative. Geir Magnusson of Apache stressed that Java depends on community members being free to create independent implementations, and that allowing Apache to create a compatible Harmony implementation would actually strengthen the platform, as “independent implementations are necessary for all to be able to monetize Java.”

Oracle also came under heavy fire for their FOU restrictions, something which they spoke out about when Oracle were on the JCP and Sun owned Java. Doug Lea stated that Java 7 JSR cannot exist because Oracle are not conforming to the JSPA with their FOU-restricted licenses, and that the JCP cannot approve a violation of the JSPA. The discussion culminated in Doug Lea stating that if he was put in a position where he had to condone breaking the rules, by voting for the JSR, then he would resign. Google’s Josh Bloch also enquired whether Oracle still agreed with their earlier position that denying Apache a license without FOU restrictions was a violation of the JSPA, to which Ken Glueck responsed that Oracle would not be answering legal questions. There was talk of the JSPA being altered so Oracle were no longer obliged to grant Apache a license, an idea which was discussed in a later, private meeting. Jason Gartner of IBM expressed disappointment with the decision, but agreed that now is the time to move forward with the platform.

The full discussion can be reviewed at the public minutes.

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