Java mutiny in the making

The Apache Software Foundation’s latest statement on the Java Community Process highlights continued dissatisfaction and dissent from Oracle’s stewardship and involvement in open source software.

This comes after some ups and downs for Oracle and its oversight of Java and other open source software that was previously under the auspices of Sun Microsystems. Oracle started off on a rough path when it sued Google over its implementation of Java in Android without preemptively or clearly stating that it was not attacking open source. At about the same time, it let OpenSolaris die a slow, somewhat confusing death. Oracle won a point when IBM came out with its support in favor of the JCP and OpenJDK over Apache Harmony, and this contributes to the adversarial positioning between Oracle and the Apache Software Foundation. However, Oracle has also seen an erosion of open source support and confidence as developers have migrated away from Oracle, many to contribute to the new Libre Office project.

Oracle’s moves illustrate the company’s lack of complete understanding of open source and the value of open source software communities. While it appreciates and leverages open source as an effective, efficient software development approach, it does not truly see the value of providing software to a community and attaining benefits of efficiency, reach and innovation as a result. This is not to say that supporting an open source software community will automatically translate into commercial and community success (not the case with Symbian, for example), but Oracle does not appear to support community as a priority in its proprietary and admittedly successful software strategy.

MySQL can be an example of Oracle doing things right with open source, though we may see similar dissatisfaction and defection as Oracle moves further toward commercialization and further away from free, community software. Still, Oracle at least showed it could continue and contribute and support a successful open source project in the case of MySQL. The same may not be said for OpenSolaris, or, increasingly it appears, Java.

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#1 Doug Webb on 11.11.10 at 11:17 pm

Someone forgot to tell Oracle it’s all about getting the developers, without them, you don’t have a platform. Oracle keeps going BOOOO! and scaring developers away.

#2 Java mutiny in the making « Descent Into Darkness on 11.12.10 at 9:01 am

[…] This comes after some ups and downs for Oracle and its oversight of Java and other open source software that was previously under the auspices of Sun Microsystems.- 451 CAOS Theory […]

#3 4wardobserver on 11.12.10 at 9:13 am

Isn’t it entirely possible that Oracle basically _does_ know what it is doing and doesn’t want to deal with ASF or OpenOffice on the terms they want/expect? So, it is saying “This is a diseased limb. We have to amputate it and go on.”

They want these technologies and markets on their terms. Not anyone else’s.

Now if Microsoft were to step up….

#4 Jay Lyman on 11.12.10 at 10:01 am

Obviously, Oracle knows a thing or two about making money from software, and I think it may be pursuing its own objectives with little regard for open source communities. This diaplays its lack of understanding and appreciation of those communities, which are typically made up of developers and users, two groups that one would think should be a priority for any company making and/or selling software.

Thanks for posting.


#5 sola on 11.12.10 at 9:46 am

Oracle will loose a lot of Java developers if ASF gets out of Java development because the faith in the platform will crumble.

If Apache stops Java development, I will certainly start looking for an other platform.

#6 AC on 11.12.10 at 1:07 pm

Oracle has not got a clue what it is doing. They are handling the Sun accquisition in the same incompetent manner that Novell handles their SusSE accquisition with. They purchased a firm they did not understand, with a product which was promptly ruined – alienating the customer base, and repulsing prospective clients.

These corporations wasted millions or billions on something which they promptly destroyed – with no real benefit to the corporation. Now, if someone could substantiate a claim that another corporation funded these accquisitions (and destructions), a corporation which directly benefited from the destruction of SuSE and Sun, I would not be surprised.

Sadly, Java is essentially dead – only a fool would commit to a platform held by a completely unreliably and unpredictable entity (as Oracle as demonstrated itself to be).