Recently the Java EE Guardians wrote an open letter on Java EE Naming and Packaging. This kicked off a long thread on the EE4J mailing list when Will Lyons, from Oracle, posted a response on behalf of Oracle. I won't go into specific details on the initial letter or Oracle's response as the interested reader can check them out directly. However, I will summarise the key points:


  • The letter asks for the Java EE name to be licensed to the Eclipse Foundation so it can continue to be used; Oracle have said no in the past around this point;
  • A limited form of use of the javax and javax.enterprise package names should be allowed for new specifications; Oracle has stated that they believe it should be possible (and is important) for existing specifications to continue to use these packages but not for new efforts;
  • Continue to drive standards through the JCP.


I gave my input on these points in the thread but thought it would be good to pull out the relevant text here. I'll simply include it in quotes and the reader can check out more context by reviewing the archive or joining in on the thread.


First there was this piece ...


"I’m fairly sure I’ve said this before on some lists and also at JavaOne 2017 when we discussed some of this in various meetings but I will repeat here: whilst I would definitely have preferred to keep the javax namespace for new specifications and to perhaps retain the Java EE name for the branding, I understand Oracle’s position. Related to that, I therefore know that no amount of energy expended on trying to change these two things will result in a different outcome. However, I think what Oracle have done to this point in moving Java EE to Eclipse is much more important than a brand name or a Java package name and collectively we should expend that energy in moving the code and community forward collaboratively. EE4J will not fail because it’s not branded Java EE. EE4J will not fail because new specifications cannot be done under the javax package. EE4J will fail if we spend too much time away from driving these specifications forward and adding new specifications to adapt to changes in the developer space.


Therefore, whilst I understand what the Guardians have requested, I feel that we are at a point where we should focus on the positive aspects of what Oracle have done and build on those. Together we move EE4J forward and together we can make it a success!"


Then there was this ...


"When looking at where to move Java EE we (Oracle, IBM and Red Hat) did touch on the standards body option. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, but I do recall raising the question about OASIS specifically because I know Oracle, IBM, Red Hat and others have worked together in OASIS many times over the years. However, there was universal agreement that whilst OASIS might be the right place for standards efforts such as WS-*, TOSCA and other things which might well be considered “protocol related”, it likely wasn’t the right place for Java and Java EE related activities which are much more developer focussed.


I also recall re-raising this with MikeM from Eclipse and others once we had announced the move to the Eclipse Foundation because clearly what we now have to do within Eclipse is create processes which look very much like those you’d find within an existing standards organisation, such as OASIS or W3C. There are pros and cons with this but ultimately the things which swayed me to say that we shouldn’t standardise within OASIS or elsewhere include the following:


- having the code in Eclipse and standards efforts elsewhere would mean individuals and corporations need to be members of multiple (at least two) bodies. Whilst that might not be too much of a hurdle for corporations, it’s not going to be easy for some individuals and would be a possible impediment to growing the community wide and deep.


- over the last 3 decades (ouch!) I’ve worked in pretty much all of the standards bodies around and whilst they have good processes for what they do, they’re not necessarily the right processes for what the community may need around EE4J. Furthermore, they don’t necessarily move quickly either. I believe we can come up with a bespoke process within Eclipse which feels more a natural part of the development effort than something which is adjunct to it."


I was also asked about the renaming of JBossAS to WildFly, which seems to very long ago now. I won't include the text here because I really want to encourage people who are that interested to read the thread and join in.