A New OpenJDK Reality?

Red Hat Senior Software Engineer Approves of Latest JSRs

Jessica Thornsby

Mark Wielaar calls latest JSRs possibly “the most open, public and free java platform JSRs out there.”

Mark Wielaard, the Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat, has blogged about the four JSRs (334, 335, 336, and 337) recently submitted to the JCP, and how Joe Darcy and Brian Goetz’s handling of these JSRs have re-affirmed some of his faith in the JCP. He admits he is usually sceptical about the JCP’s ability to foster an open process, but he sees much to like in Darcy and Goetz’s contributions. The code has so far been published under the GPL, the JDK7 planning and features pages have been kept open and up to date, and it has been announced that the Reference Implementation will be developed at the existing OpenJDK repositories. Brian Goetz confirmed that the JSR (JSR-335) for Project Lambda will be discussed at both a publicly readable mailing list and publicly readable discussion list, and that the mail from the relevant Expert Group list could be automatically forwarded to the public discussion list. Mark Wielaard is pleased with this approach, calling these possibly “the most open, public and free java platform JSRs out there.” But, he still sees problems with the legal details of the JSRs, which he perceives as being at odds with this “new OpenJDK reality.” He interprets the terms of the official specification as being “incompatible with the terms of the GNU General Public License used for OpenJDK, IcedTea and other community derivatives of the code that implements the reference implementation.” He draws this conclusion as the specification license contains restrictions which are at odds with the GPL, even though most of the specification itself is published under the GPL. The specification license is also tightly coupled with passing the TCK – which is, of course, a well-documented problem.

“If these legal nitpicks could be fixed, then these platform JSRs look pretty sweet.” However, he warns that “without these legal terms fixed however we could end up with a somewhat schizophrenic split community.”

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