Oracle and IBM Agree to Java Pact by ps94506


									October 11, 2010, 7:34 pm

Oracle and I.B.M. Agree to Java Pact

Millions of software developers uneasily held their collective breath when Oracle bought
Sun Microsystems earlier this year. The deal handed Oracle the role as the corporate
steward of Java software technology, initially developed by Sun in 1995.

The early steps were not encouraging. In August, Oracle sued Google, claiming its
Android operating system for smartphones illegally used ideas and code from Java.
Oracle, it seemed, was going to take a hard line on its property rights in Java, litigating
and seeking to line its pockets with settlement payments.

But I.B.M. announced on Monday that after Oracle extended an olive branch, Big Blue
decided to set aside past hostilities from the Sun days. I.B.M. said it would shift its Java
development efforts from the initiative it sponsored, called Apache Harmony, to the one
begun in 2006 by Sun, called OpenJDK.

“This should remove some of the uncertainty about the future of Java,” said Rod Smith,
vice president for emerging technologies at I.B.M.

Java matters because it is so widely used. Java, the programming language, is the
teaching language used in high schools and colleges. The Java tools that accompany the
language are deployed in software applications that run on everything from mainframes
to smartphones.

Sun turned Java over to the open source community in 2006, but retained certain controls.
Oracle inherited Sun’s influence over Java when it bought the company.

Oracle executives reached out to their I.B.M. counterparts a little more than a week ago,
and agreement was reached fairly quickly, both sides said. Java innovation, they said,
must proceed rapidly to keep pace with hardware developments, like microchips with
increasing numbers of processing cores.

“The agreement is a reflection of the strategic reality we both face,” said Adam
Messinger, a software vice president at Oracle. “We’re cooperating and combining
resources to accelerate innovation on the Java platform.”

From /
b&sq=IBM+Oracle+"olive+branch"&st=nyt                                                 21 January 2011
The accord covers the Java software typically used in everything from data centers to
Web programs. But it does not extend to the set of smaller Java tools used in cellphones
and other mobile devices.

Douglas Lea, a computer scientist at the State University of New York at Oswego, and a
veteran of Java standards and development groups, called the pact “a positive step.”

Still, Oracle’s dispute with Google casts shadows over Java’s future in general. For
example, Google, Mr. Lea said, has more people working on OpenJDK projects than
Oracle, and the lawsuit restricts communications between the litigating parties.

“By far the most eyes are still on the Android issue,” Mr. Lea said. “Oracle and Google
have to start communicating with each other.”

From /
b&sq=IBM+Oracle+"olive+branch"&st=nyt                                                 21 January 2011

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