Apache grouses about Java compatibility checker

Geir Magnusson, a founder of the Apache Harmony project to create an open-source version of Java, formally requested on Tuesday that Java creator Sun Microsystems change licensing terms for its Java compatibility-checking software so open-source projects can use it.

Sun is making its own version of Java open-source software, but its Java Compatibility Kit remains closed. "Since August 2006, the ASF (Apache Software Foundation) has been attempting to secure an acceptable license from Sun for the test kit for Java SE," referring to Java Standard Edition, the core of the software, Magnusson said in an open letter to Sun Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz. "Sun's JCK license protects portions of Sun's commercial Java business at the expense of ASF's open software."

Magnusson argued that Sun's JCK licensing terms violate the rules of the Java Community Process, the formal mechanism by which interested parties develop new features for Java. Specifically, he said, Sun's terms are "contrary to the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA)" that governs JCP membership.

"The JCP was clearly designed to prevent any single actor from being able to exhibit this sort of market control. Additionally, (Sun's license) is contrary to both the spirit and letter of open source, the respect of which is a key element in Sun's stated business strategy," Magnusson said.

"We expect you to offer an acceptable, JSPA-compliant license to us within 30 days, or provide a public explanation of why you cannot do so," Magnusson said.

, but he is staying involved in Harmony, he said.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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