The JCP is dead; long live Java

The Apache Software Foundation has just announced it’s resignation from the Java SE/EE Executive Committee. After several other recent community departures from the EC, and scathing commentary supplied as comments with the votes from other EC members for the recent Java 7/8, it’s clear that Apache is not alone in it’s dissatisfaction with Oracle’s complete and overt control over what is purportedly a community effort. As another Apache member has said:

The Executive Committee is clearly not a Committee of Executives, nor is the Java Community Process a Process involving the Java Community.

I applaud everyone who has done technical work on recent versions of Java, and I’m sure plenty of people will still want to program in Java. That’s great. But please – when you do use Java, please remember that it is *not* built on open standards. It is built on technology (and patents) and licenses that Oracle controls, and is quite happy to exercise it’s control over all things Java.

If you’re happy paying Oracle more and more licensing fees in the future, more power to you. But if you’re not, then you really need to understand the problem of the TCK Trap.

Stay tuned for more updates from the ASF’s Foundation blog on what this means for the many many excellent Java based Apache projects. And, follow the #jcpisdead hashtag to understand what impact it may have on your Java future.

For more reading, follow my set of ‘oraclemess’ Delicious bookmarks.

Java: no longer free as in speech

El Reg has breaking news that the JCP vote on the Java 7/8 JSR’s has passed. Apache and Google voted no, and the rest of the players sadly (but perhaps unsurprisingly) voted yes. This effectively changes the game around Java standards stewardship – you might say it turns the JCP into “Just Customers, Please“, removing any real community input that Oracle doesn’t choose to accept.

There are plenty of past links to learn about what this really means, and I’m sure that Stephen Colebourne will have some insightful commentary once he wakes up and has a cup of jav… er, tea.

A key indicator of the feeling of the JCP are the signing statements that most of the “Yes” voters supplied: all (except Oracle) agreed with Apache and Google that the FOU restrictions Oracle is mandating are objectionable and inappropriate (not to mention apparently incompatible with the JSPA). If only wishes were horses, and signing statements had real force, then we could all be happy.

I’m not that surprised that the larger software vendors cast their votes where they think their bottom lines are, and went with a “Yes”, FOU reservations in their signing statements notwithstanding. I am a little surprised that Eclipse and Red Hat caved into Oracle, given that their businesses are also open source, and they’re clearly going to have to pony up to Oracle somehow to get sufficient licenses to continue shipping Java related software.

Don’t get me wrong: for all the Java developers who don’t care about how their underlying technology is licensed, I’m happy for you! You now have Oracle’s Java roadmap, and presumably Oracle will start delivering some cool Java technology. But please: don’t fool yourself or your friends into believing that the Java standards ecosystem is open, free, or community based in any real way. Oracle owns the court now, and don’t be surprised if it starts charging some people for renting balls along with court time to play.

It’s a sad day, since I really do like programming in Java. I still will, sometimes; but not as often. And not without realizing that Java is no longer free as in speech. We’ll see how long that Java remains free as in beer, now that Oracle’s realized they run the JCP.