back to article IBM Java defection leaves Apache sourcers shellshocked

On October 11, IBM announced its decision to junk Apache Harmony, an open source Java implementation of Java, and throw in its lot with Oracle's Open JDK. To say that the Apache Software Foundation was shocked is an understatement. IBM says it still loves Apache despite suddenly dumping Project Harmony after five years - but …


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  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    Black Helicopters

    Watch this space.

    Once the dust has settled, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an announcement from Oracle and IBM about some Oracle "runs on the bare iron" product being optimised for IBM kit as well as SUN^H^H^Htheir own.

    Oracle must have nobbled IBM somehow and the threat of their own servers displacing IBM products due to some proprietary optimisation tweaks is the only thing I can think of.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Luckily people can fork.

    Here is my two cents worth:

    I think two of the choices Google has could lead to a fork.

    Google could wait this one out because of the law suit. In the mean time the JCP could split. ASF + others vs Oracle + IBM + defectors. And that's it. Google can look how the situation is at that time and can always decide to take the save route and offer only Python and G on Andriod.

    Or Google takes action. And works together with the ASF + others. And in that group comes with their own TCK and subset/lib/interpreter/thingy, controlled by the new group.

    The latter choice puts Google at risk. Because that action translated to legalese will probably not help the law suit with Oracle. But they can mitigate that risk by saying to Oracle: I see your Java patents and I raise you our database and large infrastructure management patents. By doing that they could tie Oracle up in court for the next 20 years, or settle the case. In either way, they still would be able to sell Andriod phones the way it is.

    I don't see Google and others paying Oracle for licenses somehow of harmony. Google might decide to do that, but only if they think they need to keep the Java language available on their platforms (notably Andriod) for developers. I'm not sure Java is that important.

    It all just proofs how important software patents are. If those weren't an issue here, it would all be very simple. You can blame the JCP's structure for the little soap opera, but its the software patents that keeps Oracle in that seat and makes the veto a problem.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    with prices starting from...

    30 pieces of silver, obviously a deal has been struck, and palms have been greased.

  4. dotdavid
    Thumb Down

    Google won't do anything

    When have they ever?

    Even when Microsoft blustered about suing Android manufacturers over patents, did Google step in and offer to help? No. I doubt it cares too much about the ASF.

    I suspect Oracle and Google will reach some agreement before this thing is finished in the courts. And that's a right shame for Java in my opinion.

  5. syntax_error

    Going forward...

    I believe that Oracle will try to make good bucks out of Java/Open Office. So will IBM.

    Because there is a lot of money in this. So, who said "what is free is worthless ". Now that the job is done. Hu ?

  6. Wang N Staines

    Pull the rug...

    Better the devil you know. I'm sticking with C/C++.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      That's irrelevant.

      Next: Pull the rug under the screwdriver. I'll stick with the hammer.

      C/C++ have not a lot in common with Java except the pointy { } crap, and that was just to not confuse the programming proletariat.

    2. Andy 73

      Re: Pull the rug

      If it's taken you fifteen years of not using Java to decide that this is the reason to stick with C/C++, I'm not going to come to you for a rapid decision on this new-fangled interweb thing.

  7. A J Stiles

    Well, this will be interesting

    This is going to be *very* interesting.

    Does anybody remember the dBase vs FoxPro lawsuit? That was essentially over who had the right to implement a programming language; and by the time Borland swallowed up Ashton-Tate, the latter wasn't worth much.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Just as both those desktop DBs were killed by Access, with any luck all this fuss will lead to the slow death of the abomination that is Java and it's bastard offspring Javascript, sadly that might leave us with Objective-C ( oh dear God no! ), C# or one those fangled things like Actionscript!

  8. Anonymous Coward


    IBM's own JVM is buggy, I am surprised it even passed the jvm verification process, it autoboxes when it shouldn't and doesn't fully understand generic wild cards.

    I would think their involvement in Harmony would do more damage than good. IBM's software quality these days is second to all and I suspect they only get business on a now undeserved reputation.

  9. John Sanders




    Screw Oracle

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Forking will not help

      Patents, patents and again patents.

      It is an essential part of any business development nowdays. It is called FREEDOM TO OPERATE analysis. The person which did the freedom to operate for Android at Google really deserves to be fired. Anything with so many patent traps should have never ever been considered as a direction for development.

      Google should have stuck with python and improved the VM for it or gone to something new entirely. Anything but Java.

      1. A. Lloyd Flanagan

        The problem with patents

        The reality is, that with the minefield that software patents is today, that freedom-to-operate analysis is of limited usefulness. Anybody can patent just about anything, and any large software project is going to violate a number of patents without meaning to. There's only so many reasonable ways to solve a particular problem.

        There's no reason to reason to think Python is immune from this problem, just that nobody has bothered to sue yet. Until software patents are eliminated, we'll see more problems like this, until open source is just a fond memory of long-time programmers.

    2. Matthew Barker

      You mean, of course,

      to stick a fork in it and declare it done.

      There's always C# or python, or ruby, or perl, or PHP or...a half-billion other languages.

      Sun's had control of Java since it was released to the public. Suddenly everyone's pissing and moaning about them retaining control over it.

      And what about the TCKs? Haven't people been using Harmony anyway? You mean ASF built Harmony to this point without at least automated regression tests? If they haven't, then it's not worth a bucket of pig snot. If they have, then who gives a shit if Oracle approves of it?

      Just use it for your web sites or whatever and find something else to whinge about....or aren't raging wars, corrupt politics, mass starvation, deforestation, etc big enough issues?

      If Harmony has been working and has been used, then this is all about trying to force the neighbour – who was good enough to let you use his car on a regular basis to go get the groceries - put your name on the car's title. Don't get all entitled, just go round the pub and have a pint, watch a footy match, visit your missus, go round your mate's, and just generally get on with your life. Your water heater's probably going to break tomorrow, or your transmission, or some relative will get cancer or strike it rich and disinherit you or some other thing. Then I'm sure we'd all REALLY be concerned about whether Sun and now Oracle insisted on keeping the title to the thing they created in the first place. So somebody did repairs on the car or replaced the tires, that helps pay for the right to continue borrowing the car.

      Note: the references to cars and keys are merely metaphorical contrivances to get across an idea that there are more important things in life. I am not, in fact, saying that you've been mooching off of your neighbour.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    --- abomination that is Java and it's bastard offspring Javascript

    Javascript did not spring from Sun Java, Javascript came from Netscape LiveScript!

    1. Matthew Barker
      Thumb Up

      Yes, but

      Someone called it JAVAscript and now it's been pulled into the discussion. It doesn't have to make sense, just run with it.

      We can call it "Improv trolling"(tm) or some such.

  11. multipharious

    Search in News: Google Android Linux Kernel Fork

    sarcasm alert-> Yeah, I am sure that Google is the saviour.

    As many days off as they give, don't forget Google has an agenda which can attempt to conveniently resist the largest open source group out there when it suits them to act like a diva. That's not just resisting the Apache group.

    Perhaps I should get my coat... it is the one with the device w/o an O/S in the pocket?

    It pretty much sucks to see this type of scuffle.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    WTF did you clowns think the B in IBM stood for? Muppets. Quit whining.

    1. Matthew Barker


      In grade school I'd heard it stood for Ignorant Butthole Menace. But that was many years ago.

      I didn't see fit to mention this to anyone when I worked there.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Prime Suckers Losing the Plot and Thread of the Great Game

    "ASF president Jim Jagielski told The Reg that he has not heard anything at all from IBM about transitioning the Harmony code or the community to OpenJDK." ..... Larry's stealth empire building move. I wonder who in IBM love his pillow talk ...... or is it just expensive expectant bull?

    "Asked by The Reg if Google will step into IBM's lead on Harmony .." ... Of course they'll step into Harmony and lead IBM with Oracle. The Apache Nation Prize is too juicy a Spoil Asset to Spoil in the Control of Sub Prime Asset Empire Building .

    Google as a Pioneering Apache Brave in the System creates a Novel Situation which Leads ....... well, ImaginaNation knows no Bounds ergo are their No Boundaries to Possibilities other than those which one would decide to impose/imagine for reality.

  14. Renato

    Please enlighten me

    "The TCKs are important. ASF said it was unable to test Harmony to prove it complies with the official spec for Java Standard Edition (Java SE) because the TCKs are closed source code."

    Shouldn't be a matter of running "java -jar tck.jar" and it spits out "You have passed yay!" or "Your project failed 'cos division by zero @ blablabla.class, line 666" or something along this to be conformant to the spec?

    I see that the TCK being free software is a good thing, but I don't understand ASF saying they can't certify their project because the TCK is closed.

    Please enlighten this non-Java developer. Thanks

  15. Anonymous Coward

    IBM's at it again

    IBM's strengths lie in power and politics, as they worked against Sun (a weak competitor) to fragment and destroy, now that they are up against Oracle (a much stronger competitor) they are joining them ... it doesn't take an MBA or rocket scientist to work it out ... and you probably don't even need to read Sun Tzu either ;-)

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