With the finalization of the Java EE 8 platform on the horizon, Oracle on Thursday said it's considering moving Java Enterprise Edition technologies to an open source foundation.
The move, Oracle said in a blog post, "may be the right next step, in order to adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing, and change the governance process."
The software giant said it's in talks with several candidate foundations over the possible move, as well as with licensees and the community. The company will support existing Java EE implementations and future implementations of Java EE 8, it says, and will continue to participate in the future evolution of Java EE technologies.
"But we believe a more open process, that is not dependent on a single vendor as platform lead, will encourage greater participation and innovation, and will be in best interests of the community," the blog post said.
Java EE is a hugely successful set of open standards for developing enterprise applications, but some Java EE enthusiasts and analysts have suggested it hasn't kept up with developers' preferences for lightweight frameworks, or with architectural trends.
Oracle's blog post acknowledged as much: "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."
Last year, the Java EE community grew concerned that Oracle was neglecting the framework and founded the Java EE Guardians to protect and promote it. Some of its members have discussed the idea of moving Java EE to a foundation:
Meanwhile, John Clingan, senior principal product manager for Red Hat, released a statement saying that moving Java EE to an open source organization would be "a very positive move."
Red Hat leads the CDI and Bean Validation Java EE-related JSRs, participates in multiple additional Java EE-related JSRs, is a Java EE licensee, and ships JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as fully Java EE-compatible.
"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," Clingan said. "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."