Jack Wallen helps you to masticate on the situation that continues to brew within the bowels of Oracle. Will the most recent mis-step of Oracle lead to catastrophe? Read on fellow travelers...read on.
Oracle, oh Oracle...how you've already placed your kiss-of-death lips on so many good products and people. Just about every media type around the globe predicted how you would cause everything you touch to wither away and die. It looks like those predictions were all dead on.
First there was OpenOffice. Your poor handling of that flagship open source office suite caused the Document Foundation to be formed and LibreOffice to be created. Soon after that distributions started announcing that LibreOffice would take the place of OpenOffice as the default office suite. It will only be a matter of time before OpenOffice is just a milestone in a timeline with an all-too-obvious end point where continued growth and acceptance should have been.
And now you, oh great Oracle, have been pushing around the big boys. The first rumblings started back in November 2010 when a conflict of interest arose between the Apache Foundation and Oracle over the Apache Harmony Project. Harmony is an open source implementation of the Java runtime environment. Apache had been a part of the Java Community Process after Sun invited them to participate in 2007. At that time Sun agreed to allow Apache to license Harmony.
But there was little harmony with Sun, once they were purchased by Oracle. On November 9, 2010 the Apache Foundation released this statement:
"The ASF will terminate its relationship with the JCP if our rights as implementers of Java specifications are not upheld by the JCP Executive Committee to the limits of the EC's ability,"
And that, my friends, is exactly what has happened. On December 10, 2010 the Apache Foundation has removed itself from the JCP thanks, in full, to Oracle not upholding the agreement Apache had with Sun regarding Harmony. But what, exactly, does this mean? What will happen?
Ultimately - not much. I believe that the Apache Foundation will get around this and will be able to continue on with Harmony. But the truth of the matter is (and some will disagree with me here), Java needs to die. Java never lived up to it's promises nor has it ever worked very well. On Linux it's been nothing short of a horrendous challenge for most end users to even use.
Java was first released in 1995. After over fifteen years, you would have thought the technology to have evolved to meet the needs of the modern user. It never has. It's slow, buggy, not nearly as compatible as it promised, and now ruled by an overlord who seems to want to bite off the hand that would be feeding it.
But really what is the smoking gun here is that Oracle is proving that it only wants to take its toys from the playground and go home. Java was released under the GPL, yet Oracle is going to sue anyone who tries to re-implement. What is really ironic about this is that Oracle describes itself as the "steward of Java technology with a relentless commitment to fostering a community of participation and transparency".
Relentless commitment to fostering a community of participation and transparency? Really? I don't follow this, as Oracle has been the polar opposite of what it claims to be. Oracle is doing nothing but fostering enemies within the open source community which will eventually lead to its timely demise.
Oracle - if I could teach you one thing it would be this:
Open source, and the open source community, could have been your best friend. You could have fostered a relationship with an entire community by following through with that claim you made and being a true steward of community. You had the opportunity to really rise up and help the open source community continue to push forward, which in turn would have held tremendous gains for you. But you did none of this. You failed the open source community again and again.
This time you've pushed around the wrong community. Apache is, by far, one of the strongest of all the open source "sub-communities" and by pushing them around you may as well have signed your own death certificate. The biggest concern? Who will own all of the IP when Oracle folds? Let that sink in for a moment and see if your skin doesn't crawl.