The Apache Software Foundationhas received no official response from Sun regarding the open letter mentioned above, other than a polite acknowledgment of receipt. While we are disappointed by this lack of visible progress, we still hope that Sun will reconsider their position regarding this issue of fundamental importance to the Java ecosystem. We do believe that bringing awareness of the issue to the community has been beneficial. We understand that friends of the Foundation and others that feel strongly about these matters are talking to Sun directly on our behalf. Further, we have seen this issue become a gating issue with JCP Executive Committee members as the consider how they vote on JSR. For example, see Intel’s and Red Hat’s comments on the recent vote results for Java EE 6. Apache will continue to do what it can to escalate this issue with the JCP Executive Committee with the goal that Sun will finally grant the ASF a TCK license for Java SE that is free of any field of use limitations.
The Apache Software Foundation has reconsidered its policy of allowing software used for general community work to be covered under an agreement such as the NDA. The general plan is to eliminate NDAs for project software in a way that minimizes the distruption to our communities. We will work with organizations such as the JCP and its spec leads to achieve an acceptable resolution. While a hard date has not be officially set, we’re looking for complete elimination of the NDA for project software by 2010. Discussion of this issue in the context of the JCP and the TCKs will take place on the email@example.com list.
Sam Ruby: Gating Issue
jcgregorio : Sam Ruby: Gating Issue - So by 2010 the problems of basing our open source projects on one companies proprietary language will be solved, for some definition of “solved”....
Further, we are currently working on the Java SE 5 TCK (for the
eventual Apache Harmony project), which is on course for having
identical terms as our existing Java EE license. We have been
granted the scholarship for the support for Java SE 5 and I have
had one draft of the TCK license, so there is measurable progress.
Java SE TCK : Negotiations continue. There is little progress
to report in the public minutes. I’ve proposed a “two phase”
approach in which we’d receive the TCK to get started under
restrictive terms, and continue final term negotiations,
but haven’t yet received a formal answer. Current trend is
negative, and have asked for a decision by 12/31.
In other areas, we are still negotiating with Sun regarding the
Java SE TCK license (also known as the “JCK"). Discussions on
appropriate terms seem to be nearing an impasse, with the
current terms unacceptable to the ASF. There still is one
more avenue of exploration, and if unsuccessful, will need
to escalate inside Sun, or beyond.
There are no major issues to report outside of the continuing
discussion we are having with Sun around the terms of the
JCK license for Java SE. On that front, we seem to have
come to an impasse. I was hoping to have someting more
substantial to report. Sun is aware of this meeting and
my update to the board. Next steps will be to get advice
from the legal councellors starting with the SFLC.
Intent is to validate our interpretation of the terms of the
offered license, and hopefully see if they can suggest
steps forward, or intercession on our behalf. Next week
is the JCP EC Face-to-Face meeting, and we’ll do a presentation
there of the issue to the full SE/EE and ME EC members.
Last month I attended the quarterly JCP EC f2f
meeting and was able to give a presentation on our JCK
issue. I first described a hypothetical case that
was "structurally” similar to ours - where an imple-
mentor was being deliberately denied a usable TCK
license due to the business strategy of the spec
lead. I then argued why such behavior was
prohibited by referring to the relevant sections of
the JSPA. Once I felt that the basics were clearly
explained, I conducted a “straw poll” (informal,
unrecorded) and IMO demonstrated that the EC generally
agreed with our assertion that the JSPA prohibits
field of use limitations in a TCK license.
Once this was estabilshed, I informed the EC of the
basic details of our dipute with Sun, after which
followed a vigorous and somewhat heated general
discussion. I’m satisfied that our issue is
clearly understood by the EC.
In other related activities, we’ve asked the SFLC
for help in this area, specifically to validate our
interpretation that the offered TCK license is in
violation of the JSPA from the perspective that the
terms prevent us from distributing under an open source
license, and also act as a liaison between us and Sun,
as Eben is prominently positioned by Sun as a supporter
of their recent OpenJDK project. They did agree with
our interpretation of terms, and engaged in discussion
with Sun (to no avail).
I’ve also asked some other industry notables that
are independent from the ASF and the various commercial
actors in the Java ecosystem to appeal to Sun on our
Given the lack of any material progress on this issue,
I recommend that we explore what options and next steps
are available to us. This will be done with the
consultation and approval of the membership.
This month we took the difficult step of sending an open
letter to Sun Microsystems regarding our impasse in the
licensing of the JCK (the Java SE TCK) for Apache Harmony.
The letter was created with review and input of the membership
on the internal members list, and was posted for public
consumption on April 10, 2007. Copies are available in
the foundation/Correspondence/JCP repository. Copies
are also posted on the ASF JCP website
(http://www.apache.org/jcp) and there also is a FAQ of
relevant information. We have asked that Sun respond
to the ASF in 30 days, and at the point, we’ve received
nothing but an acknowledgement of receipt by Jonathan
Stephen Colebourne correctly pointed out in his blog this morning that when the Java 7 JSR is proposed to the JCP Executive Committee, that the Eclipse Foundation will vote “yes”. I think that it would be helpful to explain why that is...