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From chris.g...@k-embedded-java.com
Subject Re: [general] Harmony future roadmap
Date Mon, 08 Nov 2010 23:02:31 GMT

> In message <4CCFE67A.8040908@gmail.com>, Tim Ellison writes:
>> On 31/Oct/2010 20:23, chris.gray@k-embedded-java.com wrote:
>> >
>> > Tim Ellison wrote:
>> > >
>> > > I think all options and opinions are open for discussion.  We could
simply continue with the current goal and encourage the Apache
Board to seek the JCK license by whatever means is
>> > > posible, we could modify our goal and plan to release an
>> > > uncertified Java SE runtime, or more radically change Harmony's
goal away from Java SE.
>> >
>> > Previously the situation was that Harmony didn't *want* to pass the
JCK, Harmony *had* to pass the JCK in order to be able to make a
release.
>> Well, not really.  We have always said that Harmony's goal was for a
compatible and compliant implementation of Java SE.  Passing the JCK
has a number of advantages, including the ability to demonstrate to our
users that Harmony is 'real' Java.
>
> Indeed.  Passing the TCK is key to our goal to be "compatible and
compliant".  We *need* to pass the TCK to meet the goal of being
compliant, but we also *want* to pass the TCK as it is a good measure
(arguably the best measure) of our being "compatible".

Passing the TCK was also presented as being the key to "SUN's intellectual
property rights that are essential to practice this specification".  Of
course a company that can refuse access to the TCK can also find an excuse
not to grant those rights anyway.

> Passing the TCK is also important to gaining credibility with some
potential users.
>
>> > But that was all based on agreements and contracts which have now
been unequivocally abrogated, so I guess it doesn't matter much any
more. In which case I think Harmony should turn its back on the JCK
and instead seek to be as compatible as possible "by whatever means
is posible".
>> I've certainly hear others making that argument too -- that is to say,
continue with the goal of of full Java compatible runtime, and accept
that Harmony won't be certified.  Of course, there are other assurances
and rights that come with passing the JCK, and so it would be
interesting to hear the importance that contributors and consumers of
Harmony place on that.

To me as a potential contributor it matters not one hoot.  Consumers may
have other reactions, of which more anon.

> A year ago several people were suggesting that we might take a stand and
release Harmony.  To take one random example:
>
>   http://www.jroller.com/niclas/entry/oracle_s_java_community_commitment
>
> Even ignoring changes since that time, I think this misses the
> important point that no matter how safe we, the ASF, think we are there
is no point making releases that no one (with more to lose?) would risk
using.

Among users (and potential users) of "alternative" runtimes that I have
talked to there is a very broad range of viewpoints.  Some indeed (those
with the most active License Review Boards) do take the line that they
would not want to use anything which carries the tiniest risk of legal
complications. (Of course this risk can never be eliminated entirely,
witness the Wang/Kodak debacle as well as SCO).  Others are surprisingly
sanguine about the whole affair, apparently regarding the current
Oracle/Google kerfuffle as a kind of celebrity scandal diversion rather
than something that might affect them directly.  Yes, on the whole larger
companies tend to be more cautious than small ones in this respect but I
still know some major players who are using "unlicensed" JREs in some
product or other.

> So my problem with taking anything but the "continue with the current
goal and encourage the Apache Board to seek the JCK license by
> whatever means is posible" option is that I believe that the other
options I can imagine are rather short on potential users.
>
> That said, from a purely technical perspective some of the other options
are rather appealing so I'd be happy to be convinced my
> non-technical conclusions are wrong.

Precisely - from a technical point of view one would prefer to think that
this was all just some silly tantrum on the part of Java's new
owners/custodians and once it is all over Java will be freer than ever.
But I have to admit that it may turn out otherwise and then some of us may
have to accept that our efforts have been in vain.  For the time being I
prefer to keep the flame burning.

Best regards

Chris Gray





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