Monday, September 07, 2009

Shoddy reporting from El Reg :-(

I stop by The Register website quite frequently to keep up on the gossip, and quite enjoy their laid back reporting style, but the September 4th article titled "Oracle should relax Sun's Java Community control grip" was a very poor piece of reporting.

It hit my radar with the reference to Apache Harmony, where Clarke writes:

For all its evangelism - and its initial decision to open source Java - Sun has refused to open the TCKs, infuriating and frustrating the open-source community.

This has led to accusations that Sun is hindering - not helping - open-source Java projects such as Harmony from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), backed strongly by IBM.

While Apache's has been able to build an implementation of Java Standard Edition under Project Harmony thanks to the opening of Java, Harmony cannot be certified because the TCKs contain proprietary code the open-source code cannot touch. Harmony, therefore, remains stuck in a limbo of having been built but being uncertified.
Unfortunately this just serves to illustrate that Clarke doesn't understand the situation, or history, around open source Java SE.

Apache have never asked, or expected, Sun to open source their TCKs. While that would be a fine outcome in itself, there is no reason why Sun cannot maintain their tests as proprietary code and make them available under a variety of license terms as they do with other Java specification test suites. Apache have asked for license terms that allow the code we have written to be released under an open source license, that is to say Apache will not entertain restrictions placed on our code that passes the TCK.

Furthermore, Apache Harmony and GNU Classpath existed well before OpenJDK, so it can hardly be said that OpenJDK was a prerequisite to alternative implementations being created!

The story attempts to cover a great deal of ground, the possible effects of the acquisition, the Apache dispute, JCP reform, and so on -- each of these is a major story in itself and this shoddy attempt does each a disservice.

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