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From Geir Magnusson Jr <g...@4quarters.com>
Subject Re: Apache should join the open source java discussion
Date Thu, 18 Mar 2004 16:04:14 GMT

On Mar 18, 2004, at 8:16 AM, Leo Simons wrote:

> Something big is stirring in the java world. There's talks between Sun 
> and IBM about releasing an open source version of java. There's talks 
> between the linux desktop movers about adopting java as the glue that 
> binds the major desktop projects together.
> Key ASF individuals are joining these discussions, on weblogs and 
> various discussion forums. But the ASF as a whole is silent.
> Apache is one of the biggest open source communities, and the leader 
> of the pack when it comes to open source java.
> I think the Apache community should work together on an open letter to 
> Sun, IBM, and the rest of the open source community stating our shared 
> position on the subject. Like Havoc Pennington writes 
> (http://ometer.com/desktop-language.html), the "Community Should 
> Decide" and "It's time to start the discussion".

The ASF has always been a proponent for 'open source java', and while 
I'm glad to see the rest of the world catching up, I believe the path 
we are on is fundamentally a good one, and we shouldn't deviate too far 
from it.

Here's something I wrote a little while ago for the members list, 
describing what we do and will do :

1) Keep working to make TCKs available to ASF projects that implement 
JSRs, and when needed, infrastructure to run the TCKs.  We cover the 
spectrum - from smaller WS stuff (including something for J2ME, IIRC), 
to the big mosnster, J2EE.  The main activity is getting TCKs in the 
hands of non-members to use in ASF projects, something thats just 
requiring some legal paperwork.  Given that we'll have a larger and 
larger group using TCKs, willing to fix them if given the chance, I see 
oppo for OSS-ing TCKs.  Maybe I'm a dreamer.  (Note that new the 
proposed JSR 241 for Groovy is going to be an OSS TCK and OSS RI).

2) Bring RIs here to the ASF.  We have a good tradition of this 
already, Tomcat and JSP for example, and we need to continue it, either 
by taking on ownership of existing RIs, such as we are working on for 
JavaMail, or hosting RIs for EGs on which the ASF has a rep (or not).  
This will tend to force the "open spec" issue, as you can't get the 
"free" help of an OSS community if they can't read the spec and know 
the motivations behind APIs.

3) Do what we can to connect the various JSR-implementors in the OSS 
community.  For example, we'd like to connect all J2EE implementors, 
both OSS and non-OSS (so JBoss would be invited), to talk 
confidentially with each other about issues they face to pass the TCK.  
This would expose the OSS communities w/ the commercial community in a 
deep, technical way, which I think will help the commercial crowd form 
an accurate picture of OSS.

We are the only open source entity on the Executive Committee of the 
Java Community Process.  The efforts of the ASF (w/ Jason as rep) 
resulted in pro-OSS changes in a de-facto international standards 
group.  These changes included free JCP participation for individuals, 
academics and non-profits, the ability to actually create a TCK and RI 
under an OSS license, and the creation of the scholarship program for 
individuals, academics and non-profits to get TCKs and RIs free of 
charge w/ free support to certify open source projects.  One very 
visible result of this is that the ASF and ObjectWeb are both J2EE 
licensees, and working to create certified open-source J2EE stacks.

Since this recent brouhaha started, the intention is to get involved 
(me wearing the VP JCP and VP Jakarta hats makes me itch to do 
something :)  At first I wanted to make a public statement too, but 
after thinking about it for a while, and since we had a nice quote from 
Brian in the first news cycle, I put that aside for a little while.  
This is a somewhat tricky issue due to the compatibility concerns and 
politics involved, and it's clear that we can be most effective if

a) we are sure to continue to be a neutral party in what is currently 
visible as a Sun vs IBM public pissing match - IOW, we don't pile on 
Sun (nor ignore IBM)

b) we completely understand the issues facing all sides (well, both 
sides, Sun and IBM, as I don't really care what ESR's issues are...)

To that end, I've been working privately (w/ JCP hat on) with a few 
people, and wish to continue that way for a little while.  I don't want 
this to appear as anything more than me just talking to people - not an 
official ASF action by any means - and I really wanted to keep quiet 
about it, but your post brought this front and center.

I think the best thing that ASF community members can do for now, until 
the next news flareup, is in blogs, conversations etc, is point out how 
much the ASF does wrt 'open source java' - how this isn't a new idea 
and we're working hard to make it happen.  And we're doing it not in 
the press, but where the rubber meets the road - through code and 
community.  This isn't a meme to be planted - just a fact to 
disseminate. :)


Geir Magnusson Jr                                   203-247-1713(m)

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