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Java EE Guardians Launch Web Site, Petition Oracle

The Java EE Guardians launched their public Web site last week and simultaneously posted a petition on the change.org Web site aimed at Oracle executives.

The original core group of volunteers committed to securing the continuing evolution of enterprise Java founded the formal organization in March with a Google Group and a Twitter handle (@javaee_guardians). But the Web site provides what founding member Reza Rahman calls "the essential public face of our movement."

"It makes us public in a way that the Google Group and Twitter account do not," Rahman told me in an e-mail. "It basically gives our movement identity, structure and presence. It says, we are here, we are serious and we are persistent."

The Web site includes a home page that explains the group's purpose, an "Evidence" page that makes their case that Oracle is neglecting Java EE, a page that tracks the group's activities, and one that lists its growing membership, which currently includes James Gosling (the Father of Java) and Java User Groups from all over the world.

The Web site also links to the change.org petition page, which Rahman said the Guardians posted to provide a wider range of people who might be interested in this issue with a place to take some action. "It's a way to empower average people and engage them with our movement," he said.

The title of the petition reads: "Tell Oracle to Move Forward Java EE as a Critical Part of the Global IT Industry," and it's directed specifically at Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison, co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, president of Product Development Thomas Kurian, EVP of Fusion Middleware Development Inderjeet Singh, and Group VP of the Microservices-Cloud group Anil Gaur.

The document lays out the case again that "Java EE is incredibly important to the long term health of the entire Java ecosystem," and that "Oracle is conspicuously neglecting" it. And it asks visitors to the site to sign up to petition Oracle to do three things:

  • Clarify how it intends to preserve the best interests of the Java, Java EE, and servers-side computing ecosystems.
  • Commit to delivering Java EE 8 in time with a reasonable feature set that satisfies the needs of the community and the industry.
  • Effectively cooperate with the community and other vendors to either accept contributions or transfer ownership of Java EE 8 work.

"As committed as we are," the document states, "we still need Oracle to cooperate with us as a responsible, community focused steward to move Java EE forward."

Shortly after the Web site and petition went up, I chatted via e-mail with one of my favorite industry watchers about the Java EE Guardians and their efforts. Forrester principal analyst Jeffrey S. Hammond believes that they are sincere in their efforts, but also that, despite those efforts, the future of Java EE is uncertain.

"I take them at their word that they are concerned about the pace of Java innovation," Hammond said, "especially Java EE. For years it was a pretty basic choice in the dev world: Java or .NET. But the reality these days is that there are more options than ever when it comes to building modern systems, including full-stack JavaScript, PHP, Python, Go, Ruby and more. If a framework like Java EE doesn't adapt to the needs of modern developers, those who've built their careers on it have a different choice: shift gears, accept becoming legacy, or try to reinvigorate the technology. My sense is these folks are pursuing option three."

What about the charge that Oracle is neglecting enterprise Java?

"We see evidence that Oracle is investing in both its cloud capabilities and in JavaScript runtimes, and it's possible some of this is taking away from or slowing down the standards process," Hammond said. "That said . . . it's not clear whether the status quo with Java EE is even preservable any more. Hopefully [the Guardians'] genuine concerns will elicit a positive response, but I think I'd be inclined to also consider other alternatives in the event that Oracle continues its benign neglect."

Posted by John K. Waters on June 22, 2016