Apache on warpath over Java license

by Steve Anglin

According to vnunet.com, "The Apache Software Foundation's battle with Sun Microsystems stepped up gear last week as the open source community struggled to loosen Sun's cast iron grip on the Java platform." This is in response to, first, Lutris being turned-down for J2EE certification, and then JBoss, which is J2EE compliant from a technical standpoint, but apparently not J2EE compliant enough for Sun certification.

Last week, ONJava.com published O'Reilly editor Mike Loukides' follow-up on the possibility of open source J2EE from Sun: Will You See Open Source J2EE Implementations? Not Likely. TheServerSide.com also published an interview with one of Sun's J2EE principles, Karen Tegan. While Sun essentially says it supports open source efforts, it does not want those efforts to impact the J2EE certification process, a process that clearly is closed source at best. See the conflict.

As a high ranking member in the Java Community Process (JCP), Apache is part of the JSPA (Java Specification Participation Agreement). In this capacity, Apache can actively propose new and revised Java API specifications as well as integrate a particular specification under Jakarta, Apache's open source Java projects. Apache's reply is here in Apache's JSPA Position. According to Apache, "...Sun doesn't give a hoot about whether J2EE licensing restricts open source J2EE products (in case you missed it, it does)."

Sun benefits from its relationship with Apache. Apache gives Sun "...an advertising statement...to claim that it (Sun) has a 'vision which uses open standards and non-proprietary interfaces'." If Apache's reply and suggestions go unanswered, Apache can put pressure on Sun in other, more severe ways. Without Apache, Sun could lose many of its Java developers as Jakarta projects would be affected. The impact could be quite severe, certainly in terms of publicity. Financially, who knows?

The impact could be quite severe, certainly in terms of publicity. Financially, who knows? What do you think? Share your thoughts on possible impact.


2002-02-21 17:57:24
Is Sun becoming another Microsoft?
Sun is really starting to act like Microsoft these days. I'm a big advocate of Java, but I don't understand their logic behind roughing up the open source community. There is a big market for Java even with open source. I don't see Sun losing money over open source. It only helps promote Sun and Java.

Oh, well, I guess it is time to take a look at .NET.

2002-02-22 10:11:25
Microsoft's reaction to open source Java
Assuming that Sun does open source Java, how might Microsoft react?
2002-02-22 10:32:40
Microsoft's reaction to open source Java
If Sun does open source Java, there would obviously be pressure placed upon Microsoft to do the same with C#. But remember, at least in theory, .NET is Web services and progamming language interoperable. Most of the Web services language is already open source in nature (i.e., XML and SOAP). Then the question is the programming language. Well, perhaps, open source Java may be used in .NET, which would certainly signal the sure end of C#, J#, etc. This is theoretical, of course.
2002-02-22 10:36:57
Is Sun becoming another Microsoft?
There may be some logic behind Sun's position against a true open source J2EE. It may lie within their J2EE certified vendor agreements with the likes of IBM, BEA, etc. If these vendor agreements prohibit the certification of open source J2EE projects like JBoss, this definitely would could signal that Sun is another Microsoft. Of course, these are all just ifs.
2002-02-22 14:51:13
Microsoft's reaction to open source Java
I agree with your theory for the most part. On the question of the programming language, assume that Sun and IBM (and possibly others) fragment Java (ala Unix). Then it becomes less clear that "Java" will be used in .NET. Perhaps then C# (or maybe a new cleanroom version of Java from Microsoft) survives as part of .NET.
Does this scenario sound realistic?
Probably more interesting than MS's reaction to open source Java is the reaction of others in the Java camp. Any theories on how IBM, BEA, Oracle, and others might react?
2002-03-12 08:39:01
Microsoft's reaction to open source Java

if you go to


you will see that Microsoft are releasing a package that support their CLI which is actually becoming an ECMA standard. Furthermore, the .NET framework is also a standard. The whole of the .NET standard is open, it is Microsofts instance of .NET and the database behind it that have concerned Sun/Liberty. I say Sun/Liberty, because as you both say, if anybody is setting themselves up to be Microsoft II, it has to be Sun. But at least Microsoft don't suggest altruism on their part.

If you want proof that Sun's Liberty has sod all to do with altruism, just look at their latest announce of two hardware packages to support the Liberty environment (which doesn't even exist in concept so I can't begin to figure out how you can cost the hardware). The high end Liberty platform from Sun is 1 million dollars. I'd like to see ANY open source outfit get that sort of a setup.