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Oracle Responds to the Apache Software Foundation

by Alex Blewitt on Nov 16, 2010 |

Oracle has responded to the Apache Software Foundation's threat to resign from the JCP.

[The] vote against SE7 is a call for continued delay and stagnation of the past several years. We would encourage Apache to reconsider their position and work together with Oracle and the community at large to collectively move Java forward.

However, they do not address the crux of the issue, which is against licensing the TCK itself. Oracle claims to be following the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA):

Oracle provides TCK licenses under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms consistent with its obligations under the JSPA.

Unfortunately, the Apache Software Foundation believe that Oracle has not met the terms of the JSPA, including not providing a TCK without a Field of Use restriction, which is counter to JSPA's terms:

A specification lead cannot "impose any contractual condition or covenant that would limit or restrict the right of any licensee to create or distribute such Independent Implementations" (section 5.C.III) A specification lead must license all necessary IP royalty-free to any compatible implementation of a specification (section 5.B)

For more detail on the dispute, see the previous coverage on InfoQ.

Updated: the Apache Software Foundation has responded, saying simply "Honor the agreement"

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Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by Mark W

So, where is the text of the TCK agreement between Oracle and Apache? That would make it a bit simpler to see who actually is "fair and reasonable".

Re: Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by Ronald Miura

It seems they can't disclose the full text, but Apache has described the consequences of the 'field of use'restriction. From the Open Letter to Sun Microsystems FAQ (www.apache.org/jcp/sunopenletterfaq.html):

Q : What is a "field of use" restriction?
A : A "field of use" restriction is a restriction that limits how
a user can use a given piece of software, either directly or
indirectly. To give a concrete example from the Sun / Apache
dispute, if Apache accepted Sun's terms, then users of a
standard, tested build of Apache Harmony for Linux on a
standard general purpose x86-based computer (for example, a
Dell desktop) would be prevented from freely using that
software and that hardware in any application where the
computer was placed in an enclosed cabinet, like an
information kiosk at a shopping mall, or an X-ray machine at
an airport.

Re: Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by Mark W

If true that does indeed not sound "fair and reasonable". So did Apache misinterpret or is Oracle saying their agreement doesn't mean that?

Re: Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by Tim Vernum

I think Oracle is saying "stop your complaining and just accept that we know best. If we say we're doing the right thing then you should believe it without question."

I can't see how Oracle can actually believe they're in the right, but they don't have to. They just need to convince enough of the EC that they're "not too bad" so things can move forward.

And they probably will.

Re: Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by William H

They just need to convince enough of the EC that they're "not too bad" so things can move forward.

And they probably will.

And I hope they do, to be honest. Apache may well be “right” but they absolutely don’t have the right to hold the rest of the Java world to ransom, and prevent any progress being made in Java for what, 3 years now, over this. It would be a shame to see Apache leave the JCP, but if they can’t accept this then they should just go.

Re: Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by Vladimir Atehortúa

I wonder what is the reason that the ASF does not pursue their JSPA claims in court.

I know they probably don't have the financial muscle, but if I was google I would be giving the ASF the best lawers money can buy. ASF hsa the case, Google has the pockets and the need.

Re: Where is the text of the TCK agreement? by Tim Vernum

they absolutely don’t have the right to hold the rest of the Java world to ransom

Firstly, why do you say it is Apache holding the world to ransom? Why not Oracle? It is Oracle that is insisting that the only way we will get Java7 is if they can release under terms that contradict the JSPA.
Apache is just trying to hold all JSRs to the agreed terms of the JCP.
Oracle can solve this really easily, they just need to do what they (as Sun) agreed to do, and what they (as Oracle) claimed they wanted.

Secondly, Apache do have that right.
They are a member of the EC. They get a vote, and they get to vote as they see fit. If the members of the JCP don't want Apache to do that, then they shouldn't have ratified them for another 3 years.

Apache Harmony will not get a License - period by Martijn Verburg

Hi all,

For those that missed it, the "Future of Java" keynote panel at Devoxx had a statement from Joshua Bloch -Google (kind of replying over the top of / on behalf of Mark Reinhold - Oracle):

<paraphrase>
"At a recent JCP EC meeting (minutes will be distributed shortly), Oracle stated that Apache would not get a license - period."
</paraphrase>

If anyone has the exact quote (it was recorded), please post :-)

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