The Apache Software Foundation has issued an ultimatum to Oracle - award it the licence it has been asking for since 2007 or it will terminate its relationship with the JCP, Java's governing body.
In a document that can only be interpreted as an ultimatum issued by the Apache Software Foundation on 9 November, it calls on other members of the JCP Executive committee to show their support of Apache's position by joining it in voting against Oracle in the upcoming Java SE 7 vote.
In the recent elections for the JCP Apache had received support from 95% of the voters to secure a further 3-year term. It hopes that the threat that it will withdraw its support for Java will be sufficient to achieve the licence it has been battling over for the past three years. The statement by the ASF board explains the position:
Through the JSPA, the agreement under which both Oracle and the ASF participate in the JCP, the ASF has been entitled to a license for the test kit for Java SE (the "TCK") that will allow the ASF to test and distribute a release of the Apache Harmony project under the Apache License. Oracle is violating their contractual obligation as set forth under the rules of the JCP by only offering a TCK license that imposes additional terms and conditions that are not compatible with open source or Free software licenses. The ASF believes that any specification lead that doesn't follow the JCP rules should not be able to participate as a member in good standing, and we have exercised our votes on JSRs -- our only real power on the JCP -- accordingly.
As we reported last month, Doug Lea resigned his position on the JCP over this issue. But for an entire group to leave is unprecedented for Java. On the other hand when Open Solaris took a similar stance Oracle refused to give ground and its open source community is no more.