Oracle prepares to spin off Java EE to Eclipse Foundation

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Oracle is continuing to free up Java Enterprise Edition (EE), Java’s enterprise middleware platform, from its once iron-grip. In a blog post, Oracle Software Evangelist David Delabassee said, “After careful review, we have selected the Eclipse Foundation.”

Oracle has recently admitted that “although Java EE is developed in open source with the participation of the Java EE community, often the process is not seen as being agile, flexible, or open enough, particularly when compared to other open-source communities. We’d like to do better.”

The company is now moving quickly to make Java EE better. For example, Java EE code is now available on GitHub. Interestingly, Oracle isn’t moving Java EE by itself.

Delabassee said, “First, we have reached out to IBM and Red Hat, the other largest contributors to the Java EE platform, to solicit their support for this new direction. Oracle, IBM, and Red Hat are collaborating on an ongoing basis to refine an approach that we can collectively support.” This is not the way Oracle used to do things.

The Eclipse Foundation is the home for many open-source developer projects. It has long been the home for Java EE-related programs.

Oracle’s plan, subject to change, is:

  • Relicense Oracle-led Java EE technologies, and related GlassFish technologies, to the foundation. This would include RIs, Technology Compatibility Kits TCKs, and associated project documentation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to build a compatible implementation, using foundation sources, that passes existing Java EE 8 TCKs.
  • Define a branding strategy for the platform within the foundation, including a new name for Java EE. We intend to enable use of existing javax package names and component specification names for existing JSRs to provide continuity.
  • Define a process by which existing specifications can evolve, and new specifications can be included in the platform.
  • Recruit and enable developers and other community members, as well as vendors, to sponsor platform technologies, and bring the platform forward within the foundation. This would include potential incorporation of Eclipse MicroProfile technologies into the platform.
  • Begin doing the above as soon as possible after completion of Java EE 8 to facilitate a rapid transition.

At the same time, Delabassee assured Oracle’s customers that “Oracle will continue to support existing Java EE licensees, including licensees moving to Java EE 8. Oracle also intends to continue to support its existing WebLogic Server versions, and to support Java EE 8 in a future WebLogic Server version.

Oracle’s Java EE partners are pleased with this move. Mike Milinkovich, the Eclipse Foundation’s long time executive director, wrote “As enterprises move to a more cloud-centric model, it is clear that Java EE requires a more rapid pace of innovation. The open-source model has been shown time and again to be the most successful way to innovate in today’s world.”

Red Hat’s senior principal product manager John Clingan added, “While there is a lot of detail to flesh out, Red Hat is optimistic and applauds Oracle’s decision to advance Java EE under an open and collaborative community. Red Hat looks forward to working with Oracle and the broader Java and Eclipse MicroProfile communities to help align efforts to drive enterprise Java forward.”

Interesting times are ahead for Java EE users and developers.