The Apache Software Foundation has quit its seat on a key Java standards governing board and in a statement roundly criticized Oracle for refusing to provide a technology compatibility kit for Apache's version of Java.
The ASF's sudden resignation, announced in a blog posted Thursday, raises more questions about Oracle and its commitment to the open-source community. Oracle acquired Java when it bought Sun Microsystems in January for $7.3 billion.
Oracle has asked the ASF to reconsider its decision. "We encourage Apache to reconsider its position and remain a part of the process to move Java forward," said Adam Messinger, Oracle vice president of development, in a statement.
The dispute centers on what the ASF said is Oracle's refusal to provide the ASF's Harmony open-source version of Java with a technology compatibility kit (TCK) license for upcoming releases of Java Standard Edition.
Tuesday the Java Standard Edition/Executive Edition Executive Committee of the Java Community Process (JCP), the organization that develops standard technical specifications for Java technology, approved technology roadmaps for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 (due in 2011 and late 2012, respectively). ASF and Google were among those on the executive committee who voted against approving the road maps.
Critics have accused Oracle of dominating the executive committee.
"The recent Java SE 7 vote was the last chance for the JCP EC to demonstrate that the EC has any intent to defend the JCP as an open specification process," the Apache Software Foundation blog said. Oracle's "refusal to provide the ASF's Harmony project with a TCK license for Java SE" will "severely restrict distribution of independent implementations" of the Java SE specifications and "prohibit the distribution of independent open-source implementations" of the specifications, the blog said.
"The Apache Software Foundation concludes that the JCP is not an open specification process – that Java specifications are proprietary technology that must be licensed directly from the spec lead [Oracle] under whatever terms the spec leader chooses," the blog said.
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