Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

By Derek du Preez
08 Feb 2011 View Comments

Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

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"This was Oracle's call and they have offered IBM a key seat," said Michael Azoff, principal analyst for Ovum.

"Oracle has a lot invested in Java and it is important that it governs this code in an open-handed way. Java is also important for IBM, and so having them working together will be good for the OpenJDK," he added.

"It is also worth mentioning that although Oracle and IBM have a strong influence in steering Java, this does not make it proprietary; they are not aiming to do this."

However, Oracle's governance of Java is having a less positive impact elsewhere.

"What isn't good for the open-source community and for Java in particular is the legal battle between Google and Oracle," said Azoff.

Oracle is currently seeking damages from Google in a legal dispute over claims the internet giant is using Oracle's Java code in its Android platform but has called it Dalvik.

Oracle argues that Google has infringed copyrighted work including "Java method and class names, definitions, organization, and parameters; the structure, organization and content of Java class libraries; and the content and organization of Java’s documentation".


"With Android now overtaking Apple's iOS, and the mobile market continuing to dominate, you don't want Oracle to have a negative impact on Android development," Azoff added.

"I think if you want open-source Java to succeed, Oracle needs to behave in a co-operative way with Google and we need to see agreement between the companies."

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