Oracle may be righteous vs. SAP, but open sourcers call it the oppressor

OpenJDK supporters claim wide support in opposition to "violations" of rules by Oracle.

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An academic-sounding spat between commercial and open-source factions in the Java development community seems to mark a new breach between the priorities of software vendors who support and promote the effort and volunteers who complain they're being pushed aside and all the rules of open development are being violated.

Members of the Apache Software Foundation posted a blog entry yesterday calling on members of the Java community to vote down a proposed new version of the Java developer's kit as a way to thwart malfeasance by Oracle. As owner of Java, Oracle holds the position of Specification Lead in the JCP and ultimate decision-making power over anything but the more basic open-source portions of the language.

"The ASF believes that any specification lead that doesn't follow the JCP rules should not be able to participate as a member in good standing, and we have exercised our votes on JSRs -- our only real power on the JCP -- accordingly," the post read.

Organizations, not individuals, are elected to the JCP Executive Committee. The ACP recently won renewal of its 10-year place on the committee by winning support from 95 percent of the members voting.

It hasn't won much ground with Oracle lately.

In January, soon after the acquisition, CEO Larry Ellison called reports that Sun planned to lay off half of Sun's employees "highly irresponsible."

Oracle announced in June it was taking a charge of $825 million to pay off the acquisition, including $650 million for severance payments, primarily to former Sun workers. Sun laid off 5,000 to 6,000 workers in 2008, and another 3,000 in 2009 -- 10 percent of its workforce -- waiting for the acquisition to be completed.

In July Oracle effectively killed the OpenSolaris version of Sun's OS, though it continued to support the open-source OpenOffice, MySql and VirtualBox.

However, 33 contributors to development of OpenOffice quit the project and joined the competing open-source LibreOffice group because they objected to Oracle's overly commercial management efforts.

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