Apache threatens to down Java tools after Oracle spat

A small war has broken out over the way Oracle licenses Java software.

Apache, which is a member of the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee that guides the way the Java platform is run, has threatened to down tools in the Java process because it believes that Oracle is using the project for financial gain and its own future plans.  

It’s not however, the first time Apache has kicked off about the way things are run, previously having issues with Sun – now owned by Oracle.

Apache’s main complaint is that it wants access to the testbed Technology Compatibility Kit so that it can work on its own open-source version of the Java Standard Edition, called Project Harmony. However, in a blog post aPit claimed that Oracle was “violating its contractual obligation.”

“The ASF has been entitled to a licence for the test kit for Java SE (the “TCK”) that will allow us to test and distribute a release of the Apache Harmony project under the Apache License,” the group said.

“Oracle is violating its contractual obligation as set forth under the rules of the JCP by only offering a TCK license that imposes additional terms and conditions that are not compatible with open-source or Free software licences.”

“The ASF will terminate its relationship with the JCP if our rights as implementers of Java specifications are not upheld,” Apache said.

“Oracle’s behaviour towards the Open Source community cannot be seen as misunderstandings or accidental anymore. More and more, this pattern of aggressive and obstructive behaviour seems intentional and maybe even planned,” an open source expert told us.

Ronan Miles, Chairman of UK Oracle User Group told TechEye: “It is between ASF and Oracle to agree and resolve any disputes over the meaning of the JSPA and it is both ASF and Oracle’s right to lobby the members of the JCP. It would be a shame though if ASF were to act in a way that held the community back by disruption to any JSR’s that would be beneficial to the Java community and we are aware that the community reacted positively to Oracle plans for Java SE 7.”