The JCP elections are vital to the future of Java. Yet I believe there is evidence of Oracle manipulation.
JCP elections 2010
The elections are to the Executive Committee of the JCP, the body that is tasked with deciding on standards in the Java world. There are votes to both the ME and the SE (including EE) committees. I'll be focussing exclusively on the SE-EE vote.
Votes are held every year to the JCP Executive Committee. Elected members have terms that run for 3 years, offset so that 5 members are up for election each year.
There are two kinds of election. This year, 3 seats are chosen by Oracle - called the ratified seats. The remaining 2 seats, called the elected seats, are open to any member of the JCP, including individuals.
Oracle have nominated the following to the ratified seats:
- Apache Software Foundation
- Red Hat
The first two (Apache and Red Hat) are simply being re-nominated for the ratified seats. However, Hologic replaces the well known concurrency expert Doug Lea in the third spot. (3 years ago, Nortel was the third ratified seat, however they dropped out of the JCP. Doug Lea was ratified 1 year ago on a special 1 year term)
The first point is the departure of Doug Lea. This could be a deliberate "removal" on the part of Oracle, or it could be a desire by Doug Lea to exit the politics of the JCP. There is no evidence on this one way or another - my gut tells me it was Doug Lea's choice.
The second point is that I, and many others have no idea who Holgic is and why they are a good choice to represent the Java community (the 'C' in JCP!).
A simple Google search reveals that Hologic and Oracle are best buddies.
Holgic and Oracle have put out joint press releases and videos about their work together. Hologic have even won an awards (nominated by Oracle) for their integration of Oracle products. This is a clear sign in corporate world of a close working relationship, and often of a discount or special terms given to get the good publicity. Hologic's statement on the nomination is:
So, Hologic uses Oracle E-Business suite (ERP) extensively. The reference to "consolidated all of its varied system" on "systems built on or extended from Java platforms" would appear to simply be a reference to the ERP suite.
Do Holigic deserve to decide the future of Java because they use an Oracle product?
Perhaps I'm being unkind. Perhaps they have a large investment in Java code. But there is clear evidence that they build everything around the Oracle E-Business suite product. That does not sound to me like an innovative or representative member of the Java community. (Surely, Google, Eclipse or Azul would have been more representative choices for the ratified seat?)
But remember that ratified seats are still voted on by JCP members!!!
To be elected to the JCP Executive Committee, Hologic must receive approval of 50% of the votes cast. (If Hologic do not get 50% of the vote, then Oracle nominates another JCP member, with another vote.)
I am regrettably forced to encourage JCP members with a vote to vote against Hologic.
For the record, I would argue that Apache and Red Hat make good, positive and public contributions to the Java community and are worthy of election to a ratified seat. (Although I do believe that the "ratified seat" concept is highly dubious in the first place.) As previously stated, I believe that Red Hat will vote for Java SE 7 and against the position of Apache (that Sun/Oracle has broken legal agreements).
The following are candiates for the elected seats:
- Azul (company)
- Eclipse (organisation)
- Google (company)
- Liferay (company)
- Bob Lee (individual)
- Fabio Haider (individual)
- Sam Pullara (individual)
With 7 candidates for 2 positions, it will be an interesting vote! The winners of the election 3 years ago were Google (32.7%) and Eclipse (29.5%).
Azul are well known for their work on high performance Java. They are currently moving from hardware to software based solutions and intend to contribute to the OpenJDK. Azul is a licensee of Java SE, so pays Oracle, like IBM, to release their own compatible version of Java SE. They are clearly an innovator in the Java community. The reference to OpenJDK in their position statement is, to me, a sign that they support the strategy of a core OpenJDK based Java from a single provider and are likely to vote for Java SE 7.
Eclipse are the well-known group founded around the Eclipse IDE. Their position statement indicates their view that governance of the JCP is broken, that Java has lost momentum and that OSGI is important. They were founded by IBM, who remains a key supporter. They are clearly an innovator in the Java community. They have indicated their position on the Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 votes clearly, and will vote for Java SE 7.
Google are the well-known internet company. They are currently on the receiving end of a lawsuit from Oracle. They are clearly an innovator in the Java community. Previously they have strongly supported Apache, yet they are still (despite everything) strong Java supporters. It is unclear how they will vote on Java SE 7, however corporately they are currently not motivated to assist Oracle.
Liferay produce a leading open source Java based portal. Their focus is on Java EE in the areas of interoperability, open source integration and web UI simplification. They are clearly an innovator in the Java EE community, however they say nothing in the statement about SE. It is unclear how they will vote on Java SE 7.
Bob Lee is well known - "crazybob" - and a frequent conference speaker. He used to work at Google, and is now Lead Engineer at Square. His JCP contributions are legendary, as the spec lead for the fastest ever JSR on dependency injection.
Fabio Haider is an industry professional of 18 years experience. Beyond his statement, I haven't found any more information.
Sam Pullara is CTO at Bagcheck, and former Chief Technologist at Yahoo. His statement indicates that he is on the expert group of several JSRs, and Google returns numerous contributions to open source. However, that isn't the whole story...
This is the LinkedIn profile of Sam Pullara.
This is the LinkedIn profile of Adam Messinger - VP development Oracle, responsible for Java SE.
If you look at their history, Sam and Adam founded Gauntlet Systems Corporation, a startup in continuous integration. They are also connected via Adam's very select choice of twitter followers (Adam approves his twitter followers, and Sam is one of just 22).
Sam Pullara looks to be extremely close to Adam Messinger from Oracle, such that we must question his independence.
Obviously, it is unfair to flat out state that Sam is in the vote by Adam/Oracle's request. However, frankly it gives all the appearance of it.
Update 18:57 UTC:
In a comment, Sam Pullara has stated "I can state categorically that I did not speak to Adam about the JCP elections and that I added myself to the list because I love Java and have been doing JSR work for 10 years. I can assure everyone that I am only interested in seeing Java be successful". Judged on his own merits, Sam is a good candidate for the JCP, however in this most political of elections I stand by my decision to look beyond the headline, and I'm afraid that I personally will not be voting for him. I have struck out my recommendation to others not to vote for Sam however - readers must make their own choice on this one (I'm sticking by my encouragement to vote against Hologic).
I am regrettably forced to encourage JCP members with a vote to not vote for Sam Pullara.
I think I know who I will be voting for in the election, but I'm not publishing my choices at this point. I am willing to say that I believe that a new individual should be elected to replace Doug Lea, to keep the balance between companies and individuals. As such, I suspect bright readers will be able to work out my choices!
Politics is sometimes a dirty game. And the inclusion of Hologic and Sam Pullara doesn't give a great appearance. As such, I choose to vote against them, and encourage others to do the same.
Maybe one day, there will be a way to represent the Java community in a fair and respectable manner. I don't think that day was today.
Apache Software Foundation member, speaking personally
Oracle Java Champion, speaking personally
Not a committer on Harmony or OpenJDK