Stephen Colebourne has done an amazing job in explaining Sun’s violations of the JSPA and why it’s important to the ASF and open software. This is a must read for anyone interested in the issue of shipping open or free Java software.
There’s a lot of commentary – both pro and con – over the ASF’s open letter to Sun about the JSPA and Sun’s inappropriate field of use restrictions on the JCK that would be provided for Apache Harmony. It seems that much of the commentary is missing the true issues, either from not understanding the true the details, or because people or organizations have their own agendas to promote.
By adding this clause, it meant that the tested code would need to contain an additional clause over and above the standard Apache license. A clause that would be invalid for any open source software as defined by the OSI. To be clear, this FOU clause would be an issue for any open source group trying to implement the Java SE specification. – S. Colebourne
Here are some resources that are worth reading about the issue:
- Stephen’s excellent graphical overview
- This shows clear pictures of how Sun inserts a field of use restriction clause to block Apache Harmony.
- Stephen’s overview of IP throughout the JCP process
- This shows how the JCP is supposed to safeguard and provide open licensing of IP within any specification, ensuring that independent vendors can implement the specifications.
- The ASF’s Open Letter to Sun
- This is the official position of the ASF, and while it’s an important document, it’s not as easy to read as other sources. There is a FAQ from the ASF available which offers some insight.
- Geir’s commentary on the current state of the issue
- The ASF’s own Geir Magnusson Jr., VP of JCP, and Dalibor Topic duel over the topic, alternately attempting to sidestep the issue or lock horns straight on.
- The actual JCP vote on JSP-316: Java EE 6
- While the ASF is the only organization that actually voted No, you really need to read the comments from other voters, as well as evaluate the Abstain votes.
- The JCP’s own procedure documentation, including a glossary
- The JCP itself has governance rules. If you really want to understand the background about how the JCP works, there’s a lot more history; in this case it’s really the foundation of how JCP rules that is at issue with what Sun has been doing.