Apache: We'd take Java

If Sun Microsystems wanted to contribute Java code to the open source Apache Software Foundation, Apache would be glad to have it, according to an Apache official on Monday.

"We've never asked for the code from Sun - our work in the Java ecosystem has been about ensuring that free and open source implementations of Java specifications are possible," said Geir Magnusson Jr., vice president of the Apache Harmony Java project and Apache's executive committee representative on the Java Community Process (JCP). The JCP is the formal upgrading process for Java.

"That said, clearly we'd welcome the contribution from Sun," Magnusson said in an email. The prospect of Apache taking jurisdiction over Java was raised by IBM on Monday, as Sun made Java available under the GNU General Public License 2.

"Going forward, we hope to find ways to build bridges between the two communities," Java and Apache, Magnusson said. "For example, I've already proposed to Sun that they re-license the javac java compiler under terms in which Apache could re-distribute the software as part of our JDK (Java Developer Kit). Sun's own CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) would be perfectly acceptable, and wouldn't really change the control aspects that the GPL gives Sun with the JVM and class library."

It doesn't appear that Apache will get Java, though, with Sun President/CEO Jonathan Schwartz distancing himself from IBM's remarks on Monday.

"I find it a little curious that IBM would oppose the GPL," Schwartz said. "I sure wouldn't want to see them turning their back on the open source community."

Another Apache official said the organization has welcomed code from Sun, but the community would have to decide the issue at hand.

"The ASF has always welcomed code donations from Sun and other vendors. Many of our projects started off from such roots. But as the Harmony FAQ indicates, even though we welcome all contributions, it is up to the development community to see what makes sense," said Jim Jagielski, Apache spokesman and board member, also in an email.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.