Having irked the open source community with its handling of the Project Hudson continuous integration server inherited from Sun Microsystems, Oracle abruptly changed course today and handed Hudson over to the open source Eclipse Foundation. Oracle's move is being viewed by proponents of Jenkins, a fork of Hudson, as a validation of their own efforts. But a reunification of the two projects appears doubtful at the moment, and Jenkins advocates wonder if Oracle has legal clearance to donate Hudson.
Oracle's contribution to Eclipse includes Hudson code and intellectual property. Oracle will still serve as project lead for Hudson at Eclipse, providing three full-time people as project "committers." EMC VMware and Tasktop also will provide committers to the project, and IBM and Intuit will participate in Hudson. "We're really excited about Oracle bringing it to Eclipse," said Ian Skerrett, Eclipse's marketing director. "It seems that Oracle wants to really expand the Hudson community and the participation." Eclipse has a 30-day review period to make sure the project complies with its standards, said Oracle's Farrell.
[ InfoWorld's Savio Rodrigues weighs in on the Hudson missteps. | Read InfoWorld's special report on how Oracle has managed the former Sun technologies. | Subscribe to the Technology: Open Sources newsletter. ]
Hudson, which was written in Java, provides an alternative to traditional software development, in which developers check in code and at an appointed time, someone would take the developers' checked-in code and start testing the project. It basically acts as a continuous integration server for software deveopers.
Oracle is seeking to have Eclipse implement its own governance model on Hudson, said Ted Farrell, Oracle's chief architect and senior vice president for tools and middleware. "Hudson as an open source project never really had formal structure around it," he claimed, making it harder for new users or new contributors to participate. Oracle had sought a more formal structure during its dispute with Hudson builders, a dispute that resulted in the project forking into Jenkins earlier this year. Submitting to Eclipse reassures other companies that Oracle wants "an open community around Hudson," Farrell said.
Hudson founder Kohsuke Kawaguchi, who is now running Jenkins, saw the Oracle move as validating Jenkins. "When we were talking with Oracle to find a middle ground, they made it very clear that they have no intention of giving up the trademark control. But with this move, they clearly acknowledge that Oracle couldn't keep up with the Jenkins project." He said he was not approached about Oracle's plan. He did note that, in the wake of the fork, Oracle stopped contributing to the Hudson project. (Kawaguchi is now a developer and architect at Java PaaS provider CloudBees.)
Oracle's Farrell disputed that: "Since the fork, Oracle and Sonatype have been focused on stabilizing and improving Hudson's quality," rolling out a test suite to run tests that had not been run in years. Oracle also changed the development process so a new release happened every five weeks instead of every week, to improve predictability for users, he said. Oracle's post-fork release of Hudson, version 2.2.0, fixed about 20 high-priority bugs.