Oracle and IBM

What Effect Will OpenJDK News Have on JCP?

Jessica Thornsby

Bloggers speculate what effect IBM joining OpenJDK, will have on the JCP.

Oracle and IBM may have buried the hatchet (over OpenJDK, at least) but there is still the worry that the new Oracle and IBM alliance could have some negative ramifications when it comes to the JCP.

Founder and CEO of Sourcesense, Gianugo Rabellino, has posted some strong words on this matter, calling the JCP “as credible as Weekly World News” now that Oracle and IBM have joined forces. Paul Querna backs him up, claiming that the “Java platform is a trap” and admitting that, when it comes to the JCP, he “lack(s)any faith in it continuing.”

In Gianugo Rabellino’s opinion, the concept of the JCP as a neutral and cooperative body is now an illusion, and cites Oracle/Sun’s handling of Apache Harmony and the TCK, as evidence of this. The TCK issue has haunted the sidelines of many a blog post reporting the OpenJDK news, including Stephen Colebourne, who referred to Oracle/Sun’s withholding of the compatibility tests as them getting “away with murder.”

Now IBM have admitted they do not believe Apache Harmony will ever have access to the TCK, many are speculating whether the Apache Software Foundation will leave the JCP, and the effect this would have on projects such as Apache Tomcat, Geronimo, MyFaces, OpenEJB and OpenJPA. Apache contributor Jon Stevens has posted an article calling for the ASF to do this very thing. He feels the processes surrounding Java no longer reflect Apache beliefs, and he no longer sees any point in attempting to change corporate processes from the inside (i.e the JCP.)

“The ASF tried for many years to take a hard stance about what they believed in and failed. It is time to realize that and give up. It is hypocritical for the ASF to support a language and set of corporations which doesn’t want or need its involvement anymore,” he summarises.

He advises the ASF to focus instead on languages that “aspire to reflect the sense of openness that the ASF embodies” instead of continuing to back Java.

There is certainly increasing pressure on Oracle to make some changes to the JCP. It is rumoured that the JCP recently cast a vote in favour of a reform, and in 2007 Oracle itself promoted a resolution to open the JCP. There may be many community members who support IBM joining the OpenJDK project, but this news does nothing to clarify Oracle’s plans for the JCP.

Despite a blog post focusing primarily on the positive aspects of the announcement, Gary Barnett does state that “Oracle has to take some really meaningful steps to liberalise the JCP,” before acknowledging that there’s one major barrier to Oracle liberalising the JCP: the potential loss in licensing revenues.

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