Blogs

RSS FeedBlogs
RSS FeedSubscribe to this blog
About Author
Simon Phipps

With a focus on open source and digital rights, Simon is a director of the UK's Open Rights Group and president of the Open Source Initiative. He is also managing director of UK consulting firm Meshed Insights Ltd.

Is OpenJDK Open-By-Rule?

The new governance for Oracle's open source Java project is out. How does it measure up?

Article comments
When I published my Open-By-Rule Benchmark earlier this week, I promised that I would test it against the new proposed governance for the OpenJDK community, a project started by Sun under my co-direction as a home for open source development of a GPL-licensed version of the Java platform.

For various reasons, the OpenJDK governance was never fully defined and the entire subject has been silent for over a year. However, Mark Reinhold (formerly of Sun and now chief Java architect at Oracle) published a draft governance yesterday, together with a list of Oracle and IBM's selections for the new Governance Board. As data points, it's worth noting that:
  • The vast majority of the work on OpenJDK is conducted by Oracle staff.
  • OpenJDK implements specifications devised at the JCP and does not invent features itself.
  • OpenJDK is licensed under GPLv2 plus several license exceptions (notably the Classpath exception) to prevent unintended consequences of using the GPL.
  • OpenJDK users are entitled to use the test suites (TCKs) and thus benefit from the Java brand under unique terms that apply only to OpenJDK. As far as I am aware only Red Hat has used this capability.
  • Significant contributions to the success of the project have come from Red Hat staff, right from the start of OpenJDK.
  • The individual contributors to the predecessor GNU Classpath project have also played a significant role in making OpenJDK a viable project, especially on GNU/Linux
  • Google has also been a significant contributor.
  • Much more recently, Apple has joined and contributed.
  • IBM is showing early signs of contribution.
  • It is widely assumed that IBM's decision to join OpenJDK and drop Apache Harmony was accompanied by a back-room deal with Oracle to get a preferential say in governance.
I plan to discuss the new governance on Saturday at FOSDEM, but as a preview I've posted a score card for the draft measured against the benchmark (over on my personal blog as this is rather specialised). On a scale of -10 to +10, the draft scores -3 and as such does not qualify as "open-by-rule" in my eyes. If you'd like to discuss this more, read the full score card on my blog and comment there, or meet me at the Free Java track at FOSDEM in Brussels this weekend.



Follow me as @webmink on Twitter and Identi.Ca



Share:

Comments

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:


PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.


We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

ComputerworldUK Knowledge Vault

ComputerworldUK
Share
x
Open