December 10, 2010, 11:00 AM — It's official: the Apache Software Foundation is out of the Java Community Process.
The effect of this decision is a little hard to determine: at once it seems to remove the ASF's Java-related projects from the official Java banner--but that's a bit of a moot point, since Project Harmony wasn't officially compliant to begin with.
And that's been the problem all along: Oracle, as the sustaining member of the JCP, has not granted a test compatibility kit (TCK) license to the ASF's own Java implementation, Project Harmony, due to specific incompatibilities in the TCK's license. Without the TCK, Harmony cannot be tested and certified against the Java standard. This effectively reduces the potential user base for Harmony, which the ASF claims is likely the reason why Sun Microsystems, the original sustainer of Java, inserted the incompatible language in the first place.
The resignation follows through on the threat ASF leaders made in early November, if this week's vote on the Java Standard Edition 7 roadmap went through. In the vote this week, only two of the 16-member JCP executive committee voted "no": the ASF and Google.
"This vote was the only real power the Executive Committee has as the governing body of the Java specification ecosystem, and as we indicated previously we were looking for the EC to protect the rights of implementers to the degree they are able, as well as preserve the integrity of the JCP licensing structure by ensuring that JCP specifications are able to be freely implemented and distributed. We don't believe this is an unreasonable position--it should be noted that the majority of the EC members, including Oracle, have publicly stated that restrictions on distribution such as those found in the Java SE 7 license have no place in the JCP--and two distinguished individual members of the EC, Doug Lea and Tim Peierls, both have resigned in protest over the same issue," yesterday's ASF statement read.
The ASF has long maintained that denying individual JCP member rights is an abuse of power by Oracle (and Sun before it). Because of this, the ASF has leveled charges that the JCP is not a true open specification.