Key Java developer quits over Oracle control
Monday, 25 October 2010

Doug Lea has resigned from the JCP (Java Community Process) Executive Committee citing Oracle's disregard for the principles on which the JCP should be run.



Lea, a professor of computer science at State University of New York, specializes in concurrent programming and the design of concurrent data structures. He chaired JSR 166, which added concurrency utilities to Java and is the author of Concurrent Programming in Java: Design Principles and Patterns, one of the first books about the subject.

In his letter of explanation to the Executive Council Members he writes:

I believe that the JCP is no longer a credible specification and standards body, and there is no remaining useful role for an independent advocate for the academic and research community on the EC.

Looking back at Sun's relationship with the JSP he writes:

Sun initially placed in the JSPA and Process documents

enough rules to ensure that the JCP could foster innovation, quality, and diversity, independent of that from Sun, with few enough (albeit annoying) exceptions to allow JCP to drive consensual progress more successfully than seen in most standards bodies. However, some of these rules, and violations of rules, have been found to be the source of stalemates and lost technical ground.

This reference appears to be to Sun's refusal to grant a license to the Apache Software Foundation's (ASF) Project Harmony, a source of a lot of tension within the JCP.

Lea gives the reason for his resignation - Oracle's stance on this situation:

Rather than fixing rules or ceasing violations, Oracle now promises to simply disregard them. If they indeed act as they have promised, then the JCP can never again become more than an approval body for Oracle-backed initiatives.


We recently reported on an agreement between IBM and Oracle that seems to promise a more secure prospect or OpenJDK, the open source Java implementation and this is where Doug Lea sees the possibility of a future:


For the core Java platform (which these days roughly corresponds to Java SE), the only existing vehicle for which I can foresee a useful role for the academic and research community is OpenJDK. ....For this reason, I've volunteered to continue and increase involvement to better establish the reincarnated OpenJDK as such a body.

His letter urges others to to abandon the JCP and instead turn to the OpenJDK project because it is a "shared source, not a shared-spec body".

Further reading:

Oracle-IBM agreement good for Java bad for Android?



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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 November 2010 )