back to article Apache threatens Oracle with Java exit

Apache has hit Oracle with an ultimatum: grant its independent implementation of Java a license or it will quit Java's governing body. The Apache Software Foundation, father of the web's number-one server and a leader of popular open-source Java, will finish its relationship with the Java Community Process (JCP) if its rights …


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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. breakfast

    The objective is clear...

    So Oracle are clearly determined to kill Java. Everything they've done with it since they bought Sun makes that very clear.

    What I don't understand is why they want to do that. How do they benefit from destroying the language?

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Mis-reading the road map

      I don't see it so much that Oracle wants to "kill java", more that it wants total control over Java and rid of an inconvenient JCP which stands in her way.

      That may kill Java for some but others won't be particularly worried, and that's the market which Oracle is interested in and seeks to make money from.

      As I've said before; some people came to believe Java was 'fully open' when that was far from the truth. Now the façade is crumbling away and they don't like the cold and hard reality..

      It remains to be seen if the story ends up being repeated with Android and other Google offerings.

      1. Rebajas


        "...other Google offerings..."?

  3. hj
    Thumb Down


    will be very pleased to see them leaving!!

  4. Tim Parker

    " ensure that anyone"

    I dropped off the end of that one - here's the fellow in full :-

    "In light of Oracle Corporation failing to uphold their responsibilities as a Specification Lead under the JSPA and breaking their signed covenants with the Apache Software Foundation that are the conditions under which we agreed to participate in the JCP, we call upon the Executive Committee of the JCP to continue its clear, strong and public support for Java as an open specification ecosystem that is a level playing field for participants in order to ensure that anyone -- any individual or commercial, academic or non-profit entity -- is able to implement and distribute Java specifications under terms of their choice."

  5. JediTom

    "Everything is proceeding as I have forseen"

    ...cackled Oracle.

    If, as you say, Oracle do not respond to threats and if, as you say, Oracle appear to have no respect for the JCP and if, as you say, Oracle intend to do whatever they want anyway; then the ASF leaving the JCP is exactly what Oracle needs.

    Imagine; Oracle say "No". The ASF then leave. Oracle then announces that, through no fault of it's own, the JCP is no longer useful since such an esteemed and well respected member has left.

    The Senate, er, JCP, will finally be disbanded. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away. Regional governors will have control of their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station... hang on, where am I again?

    1. Daniel B.

      Death Oracle

      Now witness the

      firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL

      battle station! Er... Patent Platform! Um what was I talking about?

  6. Steen Larsen

    Revoke Apache licenses for Oracle!

    What if Apache refused to license all Apache software to Oracle? That would probably hurt!

    Would this even be possible?

    Would it be fair if open source groups took such steps against bad corporates?

    Pipe dream, I guess!

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      "Would this even be possible?"

      No, Apache's open source software has a sane licence, unlike Java's

  7. Goat Jam

    Oracle Vs World + Dog

    I have given up caring who wins, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy the fight.

    Popcorn anyone?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Oracle Vs World + Dog

      I think I'm going to ban 'popcorn' from the threads. If you must employ shorthand for "There is going to be drama which I shall enjoy" then pick nachos or M&Ms or something. Y'know, just for variety.

      Now I want nachos, and it is your fault, Mr Jam. Please have some sent to the office. Thanks.

      1. Justin Clements


        Sarah getting annoyed; this could be far more interesting than Oracle, Java and some unwashed nerds with far too much time on their hands in a committee.

        Nachos anyone?

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Hmmmm

          That's better.

          Well, slightly, I suppose.

          I'm rarely annoyed here. Just irked. Major difference.

          1. thecakeis(not)alie


            By popcorn? But I love popcorn! Hmmm. Popocorn.

            Also good for movies are Triscuits. Alternately: a bowl of trail mix. Hmmmmm. Trail mix. various nuts, raisains, craisains and Smarties all mixed up.

            Well crap.

            Now I'm hungry, and it's an hour until lunch time. It's all your fault, Sarah!

      2. CD001

        I'll take...

        I'll take the Peanut M&Ms cheers - they make much better projectiles from the back of the cinema :)

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Only fair...

        ...since you left me wanting beer before 8am yesterday.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward

    How to lose friends and alienate people

    Especially those whose help you need to ensure widespread acceptance of your language....

    I can't help but think this is all some subtle plan by Larry to kill off Java from servers and mobile as well... The WHY eludes me....

  10. loopy lou


    So what next? Java fragments, everyone's job gets a bit harder, Oracle make more money.

    Just like the Microsoft and Internet Explorer story really.

    Maybe Stallman was right exhorting us not to trust Java all those years ago. Had the open source community held out against Sun and refused to have anything to do with it until the whole thing was protected from the potential for this kind of abuse, then we wouldn't have this mess now.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nobody listened did they?

      I hate to say this, but Stallman was right. And he was far from being the only one to stay away from Java; the OpenBSD group have long-since had nothing to do with Java (they only recently introduced a working JVM, and this was only because of some Java licence changes). Even now, they're still not entirely comfortable with it. And there were (and are) many others of course.

      The problem with Java is, and always was that it is proprietary. Yes, Sun did start moving to opening up the source, but it's taken YEARS, and a huge lobbying effort. And now Oracle have got hold of it of course, it's all crashing down.

      It's taken some years, but I think the phrase "I told you so" could apply here [replace 'I' with the refusenik of your choice]

    2. A J Stiles

      Maybe Stallman was right

      RMS was certainly right when he said pretty much the same thing about BitKeeper.

      Oracle might yet lose, even if Apache walk. There is a proprietary implementation of SSH, but nobody actually uses it. How much clout have the OpenBSD project got? Not two out of three web servers, and that's a fact .....

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge


        Java's proprietary nature kept the dream of "write once, run anywhere" alive. There was one person controlling it and stopping people subverting it for their own aims (eg. Microsoft).

        If it had gone open source then Java would have become a fragmented incompatible mess and eventually someone would have hacked out the interpreter stage and made Java compile to native code.

        1. A J Stiles

          That's why it went GPL

          That's precisely why Sun used the GPL: to ensure that all Java derivatives would themselves be Open Source. That way, nobody would be able to force anyone to use their own "improved-but-incompatible" version of Java by making it closed-source.

          Look up Joseph Whitworth sometime .....

        2. Rex Alfie Lee
          Thumb Down

          What a load of CRAP...

          Since how did Microsoft stop Java from becoming a fragmented, incompatible mess. You talk gibberish. Perhaps the open stance may have caused this but M$ did nothing towards Java, rather only to keep it in the dark ages. Sun managed to distribute Java up to a remarkable level despite M$'s attempts to subvert Java & M$ paid a lot of money to subvert Java.

          Don't try making what M$ did a positive bcoz there was nothing positive about their subversive behviour. They are scum. It would seem that Oracle is also scum...

          1. Oninoshiko


            (S)he was saying that Sun's closeness and willingness to attack anyone threatening to fragment Java is what PREVENTED MS from marginalizing Java by fragmenting it.

    3. Munchausen's proxy

      Stallman is actually pretty much always right

      His presentation may suck, but he anticipates reality extremely well.

      At least when he predicts the destructiveness of most people's interpretation of the profit motive.

  11. Karnka
    Dead Vulture

    Not 'no one has ever quit in protest'

    Doug Lead quit very recently

  12. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Apache won't walk.

    What you're watching is a billion dollar game of chicken. Whoever blinks first loses.

    Oracle wont' blink first and will call Apache's bluff. Oracle is the one who stands to lose billion(s) if they grant certification to Apache. This will open the door for Google to do a real clean room and bypass paying Oracle licensing fees for Java ME.


    IMHO this is a stupid move on their part. They gain nothing but can lose a valuable seat on the JCP. Oracle doesn't need the JCP.

    Is Apache going to walk away from all things Java? Highly unlikely.

    Individuals can afford to walk away from the JCP. Organizations can't.

    With respect to Oracle's credibility... hello! They *ARE* the 800lb Gorilla sitting in the room. They don't need 'credibility' because they already have it.

    1. Steven Knox Silver badge

      Hold the phone

      "Apache? IMHO this is a stupid move on their part. They gain nothing but can lose a valuable seat on the JCP. Oracle doesn't need the JCP."

      So Apache will lose a "valuable" seat on a board which Oracle doesn't "need"?

      Oracle has already said that they are moving forward with their plans regardless of the JCP's vote.

      If Oracle are telling the truth, then Apache's seat is worth less than nothing: it's an encumbrance to them with no actual influence in return.

      If Oracle aren't telling the truth, then they still need the JCP for credibility at least, and the rest of your argument falls down.

      Me, I currently think Oracle is telling the truth. And other than that, in the short term, you're probably correct.

      But History is full of dictators like Ellison, and they always try the same type of thing, and the same end result always happens to them and their empires.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @Steven Knox

        I hate this little blips, I guess I should clarify.

        To Oracle, certifying Apache would open the doors to Google and or others from doing a clean room version of ME. This would result in a huge potential loss on future revenue from Java.

        Apache has no economic incentive to either stay or leave the JCP.

        By Apache staying on the JCP there's a sense of openness. However if you take a cynical view as some of the other posters... (re Star Wars reference), This openness is more of Oracle saying that if they wanted the JCP's opinion they would have given it to them.

        If you are less cynical, the JCP offers a bit of some feedback to help keep Oracle 'honest'.

        But if you look at the bigger picture... Without Apache on the JCP, you still have Oracle kept in check by IBM. So you have big corporations and their customers who get to decide what they think should be in the next release(s) of Java.

        Market factors still keep things moving in a positive direction. So there's no great loss in losing Apache. Someone else will fill that spot if it gets to that point.

        Larry isn't evil like Google. He's revenue driven and doesn't pretend to be anything but a capitalist out to make a buck.

    2. Zippy the Pinhead


      just because they are the 800lb Gorilla does not give them credibility.. it makes them the bully.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        Polysorbate 486?

        Sorry I haven't read a zippy comic book since the late 70's early 80's. ;-)

        I think you missed the point. And no I'm not talking about your head. :-)

        How do you think Oracle got to be the 800lb Gorilla? Hence they have the credibility.

        You don't get fired for choosing Oracle. (And they used to say that about IBM)

        If Larry thinks that something can make him money, he'll do it.

        If it doesn't make him money, he'll stop.

        You can read that as directly or indirectly making him money.

        Does that help clear things up?

    3. Rex Alfie Lee

      Not completely true...

      Whilst Oracle is the 800-pound gorilla, one with severe diarrhoea & flatulence, Apache does have some power here. They're not an 800-pounder, rather a 200-hundred pounder that basically controls most of the Java servers around the world. Without Apache, Oracle may have little to hold on to & may lose billions of their dreams themselves. If everyone walks away from the community & Apache has the room on their side, Oracle could find themselves holding onto a bag with a lot of holes in it.

  13. Nathan 6

    Hmmm Why Don't This Apache Guys do Something Useful

    Rather than spend endless resources implemented a JVM (Harmony) that no one really uses (Android doesn't count, that's Google's own implementation) they should probable take up the goal of implementing a rock solid JVM for future Mac OSX. Now that's something I will be willing to get behind.

    They should leave JCP and let Oracle deliver products that those of us who actually code Java for a leaving get the next version of Java ASAP.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      You want stuff for your preferred OS?

  14. justaview

    Alternative to Java

    So what is the OS language we can use instead of Java?

    ps That is a real question, not a facetious remark.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Not sure what you mean by an "OS language" (Java isn't generally used to write OS's!), but the big attraction of Java is that it is "write once, run anywhere", of course. Well, in theory, anyway.

      You could just use C or C++, but after all these years, there is still no definitive common multi-platform library of stuff that will do the graphics and other stuff that Java can do. If there was, then C would be just as much "write once, run anywhere" as Java (though you'd have to compile it, of course). Of course, there ARE libraries that will do anything you like (or you can write your own), and as long as you have the appropriate ones, C (or C++) is still pretty much "write once, run anywhere". But then the same goes for BASIC or FORTRAN or Pascal (please kill me!) or a zillion other high level languages. That's why they're called "high level"; they are, by definition, largely platform agnostic.

      If you don't mind a scripted language, then Python has a graphical front end to it, though that's about all I know about it. Still multi-platform though. I'm sure it has a comprehensive collection of other libraries for the other stuff as well. Or there's PHP or Perl (Yuk!), or Ruby or any number of other scripting languages.

      ...or am I misunderstanding your question?

      1. jotheberlock

        Qt is pretty much write once, compile-and-run-anywhere

        'You could just use C or C++, but after all these years, there is still no definitive common multi-platform library of stuff that will do the graphics and other stuff that Java can do.'

        It's not definite, true, but Qt is available on a large subset of commonly-held-as-interesting platforms (MacOS X, Windows, Unix, Android, Symbian, Windows CE, QNX) and at this point provides similar services to the Java class library.

  15. Bob 18

    Time for a Java Fork

    OS language other than Java? Maybe the Mono/C# stuff.

    But seriously... all the pieces for open source Java are already there. Maybe it's time to put it together, make up new open source TCK's, call it something other than Java, and push it out. Of course, Oracle will try to find any way they can to sue. Need a good legal team...

    1. Matt Piechota

      Re: Time for a Java Fork

      Patent licenses. Without them, you're just inviting Oracle to sue.


      why fork Java?

      what is there to fork? OpenJDK is already under the GPL.

      I mean, I guess you could fork it, but why? Which part of OpenJDK do you object to?

      The point has been made before that all Google had to do was to fork OpenJDK and the resultant fork would've been fine for Android -- not sure why they didn't just do that. However, for Java SE, why fork at all?

  16. Mikel

    Alternative to Java

    The main alternative is C++. It's standard and open, and porting from Java isn't a big deal. It's also likely to be around for a very long time.

    It's not as portable as Java, but can be very workable. One of the core concepts of '70s and '80s thought on platform design is that if the compiler is written in a language it can compile, runs on an OS that it can compile, and hardware differences are isolated so that the compiler can cross-compile its OS for a new platform with little difficulty, then the whole system becomes immortal no matter what hardware the future may bring. That's the whole reason why C is still with us.

    Java geeks make a big deal of the "write once, run anywhere" thing. Well, they're coming to the end of their road for lack of foresight. C and C++ aren't. Some of the core code in your Android phone was written 30 years ago for BSD for equipment so alien you would not recognize it. That's "write once, run anywhere."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Trouble With C++ As An Alternative

      C++ was originally designed as a modeling language, which is why it's so good at games. The OO model is great for building abstractions of reality; manipulating them and then presenting a new model of reality. It's not actually much good for building the servor side for business applications; where you are already dealing with abstracted data. Neither is Java, nor any other OO language. It's just the wrong (pardon me) paradigm. Additionally, (as Mr. Strostrup eloquently put it) "C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do it blows your whole leg off". Much of what Java tried (and failed) to do was produce a safer OO language for the great mass of average coders that produce most software. Giving them C++ is like handing a loaded Sten gun to a 4-year-old. There is an effective language for servor side business applications, it's called COBOL. Posting Anonymously so I can say how much I like java in my next interview.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Learn to spell "server" first

        Then go and buy a book on COBOL then consider whether this is an "effective language for servor side business applications"

        Also, consider that you may have misunderstood what OO actually is about. "Building abstractions of reality" is what introductory courses say OO is about. Once you work with it, you will find that most of your objects have no relationship to any reality.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Might Want To Mull That One Over some More?

          "Once you work with it, you will find that most of your objects have no relationship to reality".

          Yes, I had noticed that. Have you thought about the logical implications of that statement?

          I did open a COBOL text about 30+ years ago; and have often made my living at it.

          As an aside, I have observed that critiquing someone's spelling conventions is the usually the refuge of someone with no coherent argument to make.

          You might wish to ponder that a while, too.

  17. Pahhh

    Stallman is never right ...

    " Stallman was right" - never. If he was, it must be by accident.

    At least the fascist closed source boys will let you make a living from writing software. Stallman just wants you to work for the generosity of mankind - thats fine but it dont pay for beer, food, beer, morgage or beer.

    PS not a fan of Java or Oracle either. ASF are cool though.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Wrong about Stallman

      His idea is to give things away for free but then charge for the consulting services. ;-)

      (Yeah seriously)

    2. A J Stiles

      Not this canard again

      You are allowed to sell Open Source software for money, if you want, you know. You just have to remember that other people are allowed to sell it cheaper than you, or give it away.

      Anyway, so what if you can't earn a living writing software? You can still earn a living by auditing other people's software to make sure it won't damage the intending user's system, or modifying it to suit an existing workflow (both of which activities depend on access to Source Code). Or -- gasp -- doing something else altogether instead of writing software.

      Just because something was hard work, doesn't mean you have a right to get paid for it.

  18. Matthew Barker

    Oh good

    that means they'll stop whinging. 3 years is a long time to whinge about something without backing it up with action.


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