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Hudson Project Proposes Renaming to Jenkins

by Alex Blewitt on Jan 12, 2011 |

As reported last year, Hudson moved away from Oracle's hardware for mailing and source code owing to repeated problems with java.net infrastructure. The code was moved to GitHub and a new set of mailing lists were created.

However, that wasn't the only challenge. Oracle had applied for the Hudson trademark on October 29th, when the developers were in progress of moving the code off to GitHub. Although this trademark hasn't been awarded yet, if it were, it would prevent the open-source project from using its own name, something that was previously observed:

You need to fork. You (the Hudson developer community) do not own your own trademark. Today it's being used to make infrastructure decisions, tomorrow you won't be allowed to have a Hudson Barcamp because it competes with an Oracle conference, and you'll receive a legal letter when you create that cool t-shirt.

Although Oracle have granted the use of Hudson for past binaries, they aren't able to guarantee a non-exclusive perpetual license to use the name which puts the ability of the Hudson project to use it subsequently. As a result, in a post entitled Hudson's future, the Hudson project members now know that they cannot use the Hudson name going forward.

But one issue, which we feel is the most significant issue of all, one for which we now believe no resolution is possible: the rights to the name Hudson.

As I see it, the only viable option facing the project now is to rename it, in order to free it from the burden of Oracle's ownership of its name. This is not a first choice, not by a long shot, but I don't see any other choice available to us that would preserve the integrity of the project going forward.

First, we rename the project - the choice for a new name is Jenkins, which we think evokes the same sort of English butler feel as Hudson. We've already registered domains, Twitter users, etc for the new name, and have done our best to verify that there are no existing trademarks which would conflict with it.

Whether Oracle finally get the rights to the Hudson trademark or not remains to be seen. Kohsuke created Hudson in 2005, before it became his full time project at Sun, although he was employed by Sun since 2001. By renaming the project, they can avoid the Oracle trademark issues entirely.

However, the developers are keen to emphasise that this isn't a fork; they continue to develop the Hudson Jenkins project as before, only with a new name. It remains to be seen if Oracle will continue development of Hudson or whether they simply switch over to contributing to the renamed project. As Andrew Bayer puts it:

There may be some confusion as to whether we're proposing to fork Hudson, or rename the existing project. I firmly believe we are proposing the latter - for me, the project's key component is Kohsuke himself. If the community decides to support renaming the project to Jenkins, and Oracle chooses to continue development themselves under the name Hudson, they are, obviously, entirely welcome to do so. But with Kohsuke working on Jenkins, that's the true home and the future of the project for me, regardless of the name.

The proposal to rename is being widely tweeted about, and although the formal proposal process has not been completed it seems only a matter of time before the community will respond positively to this change. The only people likely to be unhappy with this are Oracle, who are likely to propose their own solution in the next couple of days.

The project developers are keen to point out that Oracle's developers are more than welcome to continue development on the Jenkins project if they so wish; open source communities are about inclusion, not exclusion. However, Oracle is learning (to its cost) that communities cannot be coerced against their will.

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The title of this post is misleading by Curt Hibbs

The title implies that this rename is a done deal -- signed and delivered, and is very misleading. Should be renamed to something line "Hudson Project Considers Rename to Jenkins"

Re: The title of this post is misleading by Jason M

From dictionary.com.

Propose: to form or consider a purpose or design.

How is proposes any different than considers?

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