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Apache project keeps pace with Java changes

Just weeks before Sun releases Java code, the parallel Apache Harmony project becomes a top-level project.

The open-source Java effort Apache Harmony has graduated to a full-fledged Apache project.

Apache Harmony, started last year, is creating an open-source version of Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE), software for making Java programs on PCs.

About two weeks ago, the board of the Apache Software Foundation approved a change in status from incubator to top-level project, Geir Magnusson, who is the chair of the Harmony Project Management Committee, said Tuesday.

On Monday, Sun Microsystems announced that it has made its Java software, including its Java SE implementation, available through the open-source General Public License version 2.

In his blog, Magnusson said Harmony will continue to operate parallel to Sun's own open-source Java initiatives.

"Apache and Sun have different communities, with different licenses, different conditions for contribution and different governance models," he wrote. "(It) doesn't change what we'll be doing. It just means even more open-source Java choices for users and contributors--and that's a good thing."

Moving from incubator status to the top-level designation indicates that Apache Harmony has achieved a sufficiently diverse set of committers, which indicates long-term stability, according to Apache.

IBM, which two years ago urged Sun to release Java as open-source software, on Monday sent out a statement .

Rather then start a new open-source Java project, IBM said it would have been preferable if Sun had contributed code to existing Apache projects, , in which IBM is participating.

IBM also said that if Sun had used the Apache license, it would be easier to share code from different projects.