Oracle Holds On To Java EE Brand
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 18 January 2018

Despite Oracle recently agreeing to hand over control of Java Enterprise Edition to the Eclipse Foundation, it seems that the situation isn't as clear cut as it originally seemed.

The latest clarifications from Oracle are that the names 'Java' and 'javax' aren't part of the handover, and that they don't want future developments to be managed using the JCP Java Community Process. 

The problem starts with what to call Java EE when it completes its move to the Eclipse Foundation. At the moment, the platform based on Java EE 8  is an Eclipse Top Level Charter project, and is known as Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J).  Oracle doesn't want the open source version to use the name Java, nor does it agree that extension packages can be called "javax". Oracle is citing branding and intellectual property concerns.

The Java EE Guardians and the developer community want the name Java kept somewhere in the brand, with potential options including Open Java EE. The Guardians are a joint community of many Java Champions, Java User Groups, Java User Group leaders, JCP experts, JCP members, open source committers, and many other Java developers. A poll organized by Reza Rahman, enterprise Java expert and co-founder of the Guardians, found that the developer community want the word Java at the start of the name.

In an open letter on Java EE by the Java Guardians, they say:

The problem is that Oracle wants to restrict the use of the word “Java” and the use of the “javax” packages for EE4J due to corporate branding concerns. This is forcing a rename of Java EE and the use of another package for new Java EE technologies. We believe this desire is not aligned with the best interests of the community and the industry."

The letter continues:

"The clearest evidence that the current direction to rename and repackage Java EE is wrongheaded is community opinion. When asked, developers overwhelmingly support keeping the Java EE name and “javax” packages These preferences are so strong they have remained unchanged for several months even despite current declared EE4J plans."

The letter ends:

"On behalf of the community, the Java EE Guardians ask that Oracle and other EE4J stakeholders work together to allow the new platform to retain the Java EE name, the 'javax.enterprise' package for new technologies and existing 'javax' packages for existing technologies."

Unfortunately, Oracle isn't prepared to compromise. In a message posted to the EE4J community mailing list, Oracle's Will Lyons, said that the Java EE and javax names make use of the Java trademark. He interprets this as indicating that:

"the source of these technologies is Oracle and community processes managed by Oracle. As a critical identifier of the source of products to our users, we must continue to reserve use of such names using the Java trademark to serving that fundamental source identifying function."

The message continues:

"we must require that a new namespace be used for the new EE4J technologies that are developed using that process, and a new brand (other than Java EE) that includes these new technologies."

Lyons also made clear that Oracle doesn't support or recommend the use of the JCP (Java Community Process) for future Java EE enhancements.

"Oracle recommends and supports the use of EE4J-driven processes for functional enhancements to Java EE 8 specifications, and does not recommend or support use the JCP process for any future Java EE 8 functional enhancements."

JCP has traditionally been the standard way to develop technical specifications for Java technology. The JCP process is open to anyone to make suggestions, review ongoing Java Specification Requests (JSRs) and provide feedback. 

Given the community desire to get Java out of Oracle's hands, it seems likely that Oracle will get its own way over the name.

More Information

Java Guardians Open Letter

Email From Oracle

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 January 2018 )