On the role of the SCA
aph at redhat.com
Mon May 9 12:36:16 UTC 2011
On 05/09/2011 01:21 PM, Dr Andrew John Hughes wrote:
> On 9 May 2011 10:23, Andrew Haley <aph at redhat.com> wrote:
>> Taking this off the governing board thread:
>> On 28/04/11 11:30, Mark Wielaard wrote:
>>> - Get rid of the SCA. Commit to using the GPL for everything.
>>> People should be able to be members of the community without
>>> having to assign all their rights on non-reciprocal terms to
>> Personally, I think this would be a disaster for free Java. Oracle
>> would continue their proprietary projects, making improvements to the
>> JDK, but would have to firewall contributions from the wider community
>> to make sure that they didn't get in to the proprietary JDK tree. So,
>> the OpenJDK and JDK trees would have to be isolated from each other.
>> Any contributions from the community that were needed in the
>> proprietary tree would have to be rewritten. The end result would
>> surely be that OpenJDK would be orphaned, and would wither without
>> Oracle's contributions. It might make free software developers feel
>> better, but it would push users back to using proprietary Java.
> But the other side of the coin is that the OCA is a clear barrier to
> contributions from outside Oracle, whether it's a case that someone
> doesn't want to hand over copyright to Oracle or they simply don't
> have the rights to hand over.
That's true. There is no doubt that the SCA is a barrier to some
> As I mentioned in the previous thread, much of this could be sorted
> out if Oracle simply cleaned up their binaries so that there was a
> clear GPL component with proprietary blobs to plug in. That's both
> technically and legally possible AFAICS, but it does require a little
> work initially. The benefit far outweighs this initial outlay though,
> as you'd be able to get rid of the OCA
I don't think you would. I don't think it would make any difference
to the core issue, as I described above. Improvements to the VM, for
example, can't be separated into proprietary blobs.
> and actually start to make OpenJDK into a proper FOSS project.
> It goes a bit further than making "free software developers feel
> better" and actually removes a huge barrier for entry into the
It does, but this is insignificant when compared with the problems
that would be caused by forking. The question is simply whether the
pain of maintaining a non-proprietary fork would be justified by the
amount of new software that would be contributed.
> I agree that with the present setup, Oracle would end up not
> contributing to OpenJDK. The fact that it would wither without them
> just shows how unhealthy this project is in the first place.
Not necessarily: it shows that their contribution is huge, for sure.
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