Oracle cozies up to Spring developers by making EJB runtime open source under Eclipse

Oracle cozies up to Spring developers by making EJB runtime open source under Eclipse

Summary: While Oracle says they have no qualms about the Glassfish experience, it seems to me that this is an indication of a defection. If Java and Glassfish are not allowing developers to access what they need of open source technology with ease, and if Oracle is now a top-tier member of Eclipse (as it has now become), then the role and influence of Java -- as a technology set and community -- must be fast waning.

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TOPICS: Oracle
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Oracle has moved its TopLink Java persistence API set into the Eclipse Foundation community, the first time Oracle has overseen a runtime project with Eclipse -- and an indication that Oracle's Java contribution days are numbered, if not over.

Interestingly, TopLink, which was acquired by Oracle when WebGain disbanded several years ago, forms as an essential ingredient to the Java EE5 offerings under Sun Microsystem's GlassFish project. The Oracle-lead project under GlassFish forms the basis for EJB 3.0, and is the persistence engine for the modern Java reference implementations.

The new project will be called the Eclipse Persistence Platform, an OSGi-based set of services based on the contribution of the full TopLink technology, said Dennis Leung, vice president of software development at Oracle, and also an Oracle representative on the Eclipse board of directors. Eclipse Persistence Platform will access multiple data sources and allows a variety of data structures. This will lead to adoption of the upcoming Object XML structures.

"This is great news for Eclipse," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. "... We want to do for runtimes what we did for tools. ... It could be the alternative to .NET."

While Oracle says that it will now orchestrate the project within Eclipse, it says it will also remain in GlassFish and continue to support the EJB elements for Enterprise Java. The code is distributed in GlassFish under a dual license, CDDL and GPL. It will now also be soon available under the Eclipse Public License, which is close to GPL.

Oracle said the new Eclipse projects for the support and evolution of the TopLink Java persistence API (as well as for object-relational mapping, XML mapping, and XML-to-relational mapping) will become a "superset" to the Java Community Process and GlassFish activities. That makes Java community distributions downstream of Eclipse for an essential runtime component. It will make an Eclipse-led runtime part of the Java reference platform. And that is curious, and may provoke some issues and/or confusion by the various users of Java.

Oracle moved it tools into Eclipse when the timing seemed right several years ago, and was ahead of many in recognizing Eclipse's appeal.

It seems clear that Oracle sees rapidly building interest by Spring and other framework developers for use of the Java persistence runtime. Rather than point them to general Java use, they are taking the code to the Eclipse-oriented and frameworks-aligned developers directly.

One wonders if more hitherto-fore Java runtime and stack elements are also headed to an Eclipse (or Apache?) community. Was Sun's move to GPL a necessary -- and long resisted -- move that nonetheless opens the door for code defections? En masse?

Are there many large infrastructure vendor code contributors left in the Java Community Process and its offspring? Will other commercial Java vendors look to the Oracle move with some mimicry in mind to move more aggressively to Eclipse for open source project governance?

While Oracle says they have no qualms about the GlassFish experience, it seems to me that this is an indication of a defection. If Java and GlassFish are not allowing developers to access what they need of open source technology with ease, and if Oracle is now a top-tier member of Eclipse (as it has now become), then the role and influence of Java -- as a technology set and community -- must be fast waning.

Indeed, Oracle was a founding and staunch member of the Anti-Microsoft Coalition (remember that?) that then blended into the ascendent Java community in the mid-1990s. Oracle contributed an awful lot to make Java what it became. Oracle now says it's looking at other ways to further its Eclipse involvement beyond the now current four projects.

Topic: Oracle

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  • I might be misreading

    [i]If Java and GlassFish are not allowing developers to access what they need of open source technology with ease, and if Oracle is now a top-tier member of Eclipse (as it has now become), then the role and influence of Java ? as a technology set and community ? must be fast waning[/i]

    But you're saying that the influence of Java as a technology set and community is fast waning while this is just another addition to the java and J2EE stack. Regardless whether it's in Glassfish (which is a J2EE application Server) or eclipse. The underlying plumbing will still be Java.

    Without Java the others can't exist.....

    but then again, I might just have misread
    tombalablomba
    • Me too....

      I also failed to follow his train of logic! Seems to me Oracle is making an even greater contribution to Java, just that the direction is open source now. Completely incoherent train of thought.
      Techboy_z
    • Why move the innovation activity?

      Yes, the code will trickle down to Java, but the innovation is being done
      elsewherenow. It seems that fewer major projects are opening in the Java
      community and more under Eclipse governance. Java, the framework, used to
      be the alternative to .NET, but now the family of Eclipse-based products seem
      to be gaining significant momementum. How can you read it any differently?
      Dana Gardner
      • to be honest

        I see Java just as the plumbing, it has always been the case that a lot of the really interesting stuff was happening outside of the JCP. And to be honest, .NET was the alternative towards the Java environment. My feelings are that it is even better to have all the fancy stuff outside of Java and have all the framework stuff etc. inside Eclipse. I've always seen them as complementary and never ever even considered them to be competing.
        tombalablomba
        • I still wonder

          Now that runtime activity is happening in Eclipse whether your very vald
          points will continue. I'm pointing to what may the beginnings of a shift, and
          the Oracle moves feed that observation.
          Dana Gardner
          • To be honest

            I don't think there's much to innovate left at the core Java stack. All that's happening at that level is basically thinkering and finetuning.

            But then again, this shift that you seem to be noticing has been around already for a long time with companies adding a lot of functionality on top of the java application servers.

            I know of some stuff that I would like to change in Java, but that won't happen as it would mean breaking a lot of existing programs.
            tombalablomba
      • Innovation happens elsewhere

        Don't confuse "Java" with Sun or the JCP. Wasn't it Schwartz that said "innovation happens elsewhere"? Many forward-thinkers inside Sun realize that in order for Java to remain vibrant and relevant, others besides Sun need to step up with new ideas and the funds to make it happen.
        Ed Burnette
  • EPL, influence of Java

    First of all, EPL is closer to CDDL, the Mozilla Public License, and the Apache software license than GPL. For example if you have a commercial closed source product you are free to use EPL licensed code in it.

    If anything, the influence of Java as a "technology set and community" is strengthened, not weakened, by this announcement. Eclipse is Java based, OSGi is Java based, and TopLink was Java based. Eclipse is a flagship for the Java community.
    Ed Burnette