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From Sally Khudairi ...@apache.org>
Subject The ASF's Position on Oracle's TCK License
Date Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:00:19 GMT
>> this statement is also available online at http://s.apache.org/IOR

In December 2010, The Apache Software Foundation resigned its seat on the JCP Executive Committee
[1]. Since then, our access to TCKs that previously had been provided by Oracle to a number
of ASF projects has expired.

The ASF has not blocked its projects from having access to JCP-provided TCKs. A number of
such TCKs are made available without conditions that affect our ability to release our software
under the terms of the Apache License, Version 2.0; for example, the JSR303 Bean Validation
TCK was created by Red Hat/JBoss and is available under the Apache License, version 2.0.

This is not the case with a number of TCKs provided by Oracle.

ASF's position has always been that it would license Java TCKs only if it could do so without
incurring any restriction that was incompatible with its license and open source software
development and distribution practices. Sun Microsystems originally encouraged ASF to join
the Java Community Process Executive Committee with the promise that ASF would have the opportunity
to help define the Java Specification Participation Agreement and ensure that it included
no such restrictions. Progress was slow, and ASF nearly abandoned the JCP in 2002, but eventually
Sun agreed -- in a side-letter modifying the TCK License Agreements -- that the restrictions
of concern to ASF would be construed so as not to restrict independent open source implementations:


Additionally, the JSPA was modified to 1) prevent the specification lead (then Sun, now Oracle)
from restricting the development or distribution of independent implementations and 2) require
the specification lead to license essential IP royalty-free to any spec-compatible implementations.
With these provisions in place, ASF was comfortable that the TCK licenses and JSPA were compatible
with its development processes.

Unfortunately, Sun breached the JSPA in 2006 by licensing the Java SE Compatibility Kit under
terms inconsistent with its prior representations to ASF and its obligations under the JSPA,
and incompatible with ASF's development of Apache Harmony. ASF urged Sun to honor its agreements,
but after Sun persisted in its breach for a year, ASF withdrew from the JCP. At the time,
Oracle supported ASF's position that Sun was in breach of the JSPA. But after acquiring Sun,
Oracle adopted Sun's policy, disregarding the limits of the JSPA that formed the basis for
ASF's participation in the JSP and acceptance of the various TCK licenses.

ASF's position has not changed -- it cannot accept restrictions on TCK-tested code that are
incompatible with its license and open source development practices. An example is the requirement
in Section 2.1(b)(v) of the Stand-Alone TCK License Agreement, that any software tested with
the TCK must thereafter be updated to comply with every subsequent version of the corresponding
specification published by Oracle. This provision has always been a part of the TCK License
Agreement, but was previously relaxed by an agreement with Oracle's predecessor upon which
ASF no longer feels it can rely.

Thus, ASF can only agree to the TCK license if Oracle will amend it consistent with the 2002
side-letter referred to above -- i.e. by removing or reconstruing restrictions that are incompatible
with ASF's licensing and development practices -- and to make available under these terms
all of the TCKs Apache has previously had access to. We would be eager to work with Oracle
on these revisions.

[1] https://blogs.apache.org/foundation/entry/the_asf_resigns_from_the

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