Monday, October 11, 2010

IBM and OpenJDK

IBM and Oracle are going to bring their combined resources together to collaborate in OpenJDK. The natural question arises about what this means for the Apache Harmony project.

Apache Harmony has always been clear about the goal of innovating on a compliant and compatible implementation of Java SE. It's also common knowledge that Apache have been requesting a compatibility test kit license for a number of years, and that a suitable license has not been forthcoming. There's little prospect of that situation changing.

So what's best for the Java ecosystem? I believe that compatibility is vital, and rather than risk divergence the right thing is to bring the key platform development groups together on a common codebase. Lessons learned on Project Harmony will be of value to OpenJDK, and I know there is immense mutual respect between the IBM and Oracle engineers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Java trap not yet disarmed

There is already plenty of opinion written about the Oracle vs. Google action. As a member of the Apache Harmony project I'm an interested bystander in this story, since Android's runtime core libraries come from Apache Harmony. To date, Apache Harmony have not been notified of any involvement in the lawsuit.

Carlo concludes in his blog entry "the open source credibility of Oracle, already damaged by the OpenSolaris affair, is now destroyed" -- and that is the real shame here. Oracle's use of patents in this manner is not good news for anyone in the Java ecosystem who is promoting or using Java as a free and open runtime platform.

Having multiple competing implementations of a specification, that are ultimately held to account for claiming compatibility to the specification by a rigorous test suite, is a good thing.

As is widely known, Apache Harmony has been denied access to the Java SE compatibility test suite in a long running dispute. That situation did not change with Oracle's acquisition of "the most important software [Oracle has] ever acquired". This new action, coming less than six months since the acquisition completed gives me concern for the future of OpenJDK as being the place where Oracle openly and freely advances the most important managed runtime commons.

Contributors to the OpenJDK project have already assigned joint ownership rights to Oracle via the Sun Contributor Agreement. Oracle alone has ownership of the entire OpenJDK codebase.

Apache projects are structured differently. There is no such grant of joint ownership to a single entity, and therefore it would be impossible for a single entity to take control. Apache Harmony is a patchwork of contributions, owned by the community and available to consumers under a liberal open source license. Furthermore, the Apache license has terms that explicitly handle Patent rights (see Section 3), and so it is clear to consumers that they have a license to use any Patented contributions.

I hope Mark is wrong when he says that Oracle are on a "quest to destroy the free Java world" because the only conceivable Java world is one where you can get Java wherever you want it under the freedoms of an open source license. However, it would appear that the trap is not yet fully disarmed, and at least one implementation may be starting to move in the wrong direction.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oracle += Sun

Well, it took its time coming, but reports are that the acquisition has been approved by the EU today.

I expect a number of Sun employees will be opening their mailer with trepidation when they get into work this morning. Its the end of an era for a big name in the industry, but a great opportunity for a new era in the Java ecosystem.

Congratulations and good luck to all those involved.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Dear Santa ...

Thanks for the socks and all that, but my G1 is nearly 18 months old now and I was thinking about getting a Nexus One.

The first problem was that trying to go through the order process using FireFox doesn't seem to work.

Every path after the 'Continue' button results in:I had assumed that the system was busy, but the problem lasted a long time, so I tried with IE, and hey presto it works.

The next 'problem' is that the phone is sold via the US, and as Google are right to point out, that means the sale incurs an import duty when it comes into the UK.

Rather than stumping up the $529 (~=£330) our American friends pay for the phone, delivery included, I was now looking at...

$529 for the phone
+ $19.99 for a UK charger
+ $29.65 shipping

with UK Sales Tax on the total at 17.5% and a 6.5% import duty on all that, which makes it ~$725 (i.e. ~=£453). Ouch.

For the difference I can almost fly to the US and pick it up myself!