Oracle Nominates User Group To Fill Apache's JCP Seat

Oracle has nominated a Brazilian Java User Group (JUG) to fill the vacancy left by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) on the Java Community Process (JCP) executive committee. SouJava is based in São Paulo, Brazil, and claims tens of thousands members, for which it hosts activities in several cities around the country.

According to Oracle spokesperson Henrik Stahl, SouJava member and former president Bruno F. Souza will represent the organization. Writing in his January 24 blog in which he announced the nomination, Stahl described Souza as "a well-known independent Java and open source advocate, and earlier member of the OSI."

According to Souza, SouJava was the first JUG to join the JCP when it signed up in 2005.

"SouJava is part of the important discussions about software development in Brazil," Souza said in a statement posted on the Web site. "Having helped connect the Java and the open source communities in Brazil, the group had an important participation on the open sourcing of Java. SouJava will bring its passion for the Java technology into the JCP to fight for transparency and participation."

The nomination comes on the heels of the ASF's decision to quit the JCP executive committee last month. The non-profit organization behind more than 100 open-source projects had been threatening to leave the organization for some time. When the JCP executive committee voted to approve Java SE 7, which the ASF opposed, the group walked.

"The Apache Software Foundation concludes that [the] JCP is not an open specification process, the ASF stated at the time, adding that "…the commercial concerns of a single entity, Oracle, will continue to seriously interfere with and bias the transparent governance of the [Java] ecosystem…."

But the ASF had a long-standing dispute with the JCP -- first under Sun, then Oracle -- which had refused to provide the ASF with a test compatibility kit (TCK) license for its own Java SE implementation, Project Harmony, since 2006. Without the TCK, Harmony could not be tested and certified against the Java standard. Neither Sun nor Oracle wanted to see a parallel implementation of Java, so they were never going to give the ASF the TCK. Oracle invited the ASF to come back to the JCP, but the group declined.

If approved, SouJava would fill one of three currently vacant seats on the JCP executive committee.

"We nominate SouJava and Bruno to the EC expecting them to represent the interests of Java users and serve as a community counterbalance to Oracle and other large enterprises on the EC," Stahl state in his blog. "We are looking forward to Bruno's active participation in the JCP and help us bring Java forward as well as help us reform the JCP in the coming years."

Open source expert and for Sun Java evangelist Simon Phipps called Oracle's nomination "a very astute move." Writing in his Wile Webmink blog, Phipps argued that group should be approved to serve.

"I think that given the circumstances this is the best outcome that could have been achieved," Phipps wrote, "and I hope Bruno and SouJava will be able to use their new position of influence to fix the broken things (like the opaque decision-making and the ability to have FOSS-hostile licensing terms on JSRs)."

Those fixes appear to be on Souza's mind, too.

"Personally, I see this as an opportunity to join the fight for more [transparency] and better developer participation in the JCP, as well as working to make sure the Process respect[s] the needs of open source communities," Souza said. "My discussions so far with Oracle make me believe that we are aligned on some of those issues, and it is clear we already agree on disagreeing in others. This is fine; disagreements are part of the process."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].