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Posted by daniel on May 9, 2005 at 8:38 AM PDT

Apache proposed project for Open Source, compatible J2SE

Today there's a spring in my step. The future feels brighter for Java. I can't explain it. I was not militantly for or against open sourcing Java - and yet now that project Harmony has been proposed, I feel much more hopeful. At the end of the process there will be an Apache 2 licensed version of Java. As important as that is, I don't think that's why I'm so happy. Maybe I'm an idiot, but what has put the smile on my face is that there is such a large community of developers who have decided that Java matters enough to take on such a huge project.

Sure, there's no code yet and it has not even been accepted as an official Apache project. As Bruno Souza blogs, "Harmony will shake things up, and then help harmonize companies, licenses, groups. For a better Java for all of us." Today's front page features the announcement and reactions including Graham Hamilton's Saturday post on Sun's thoughts on the Harmony release. Congratulations and good luck to all the members involved in the project.

In Also in
Java Today
, Friday, Geir Magnusson Jr. sent PROPOSAL: Apache Harmony - J2SE 5 Project to the Apache Incubator PMC. The motivation is: "There is a clear need for an open-source version of Java 2, Standard
Edition (J2SE) runtime platform, and there are many ongoing efforts
to produce solutions (Kaffe, Classpath, etc). There are also efforts
that provide alternative approaches to execution of Java bytecode
(GCJ and IKVM). All of these efforts provide a diversity of
solutions, which is healthy, but barriers exist which prevent these
efforts from reaching a greater potential."

There is already a healthy discussion on TheServerSide Harmony thread. In response to one post saying "There should be absolutely no difference in the way two are used -- only in issues like performance"
Geir replies,
"As we say at the ASF...
Java should be Java should be Java"

In today's Weblogs
we feature Graham Hamilton's blog in which he presents Thoughts on the Apache J2SE "Harmony" Project from a Sun perspective. Graham's blog appeared before the news of the Harmony proposal had spread too far. In fact, many first learned of Harmony through Graham's post. As you can divine from his blog entry, the proposers talked to folks at Sun before making their announcement public. (Geir posted the proposal Friday afternoon and in Graham's blog posted the following morning there is mention that Geir is going to speak on Harmony at this year's JavaOne conference). Graham notes " The licensing rules for J2SE 5.0 were carefully designed to allow independent, compatible open-source implementations of the J2SE specification. Personally, I am not entirely sure if the world really needs a second J2SE implementation, but at the same time I am also glad to see that all the effort we put into getting the rules and the licensing issues straightened out is actually proving useful!"

He also writes that
"launching a J2SE project is the obvious next step in Apache's work around Java. Personally, I am very curious about how the Harmony project will work out - creating a full scale implementation of J2SE is a mammoth task, as the Sun J2SE team knows only too well. However I wish Apache success and we'll certainly be tracking this as it develops. We'll probably participate in the project at some level, although most of our efforts will continue to be focused on building Sun's reference implementation of J2SE."

Bruno Souza is a member of the group launching Harmony. He blogs about Bringing some Harmony to Java and Open Source discussion! .
He has written a long and thoughtful piece on Harmony.
He writes "For a long time now the Java Community needs another J2SE implementation. At this point we don't even have a proof that the JCP specs are valid! In a recent talk with James Gosling at Café Brasil, while we discussed Kaffe and Classpath, James commented on how important a clean room implementation was for this very reason. The work of the FSF on the Classpath and GCJ projects, and the teams of Kaffe, JamVM and others, are all validating parts of the spec, what only strengthen our whole community. The fact that these projects exists should be seen as positive and should be supported and cherished by all developers, and not ignored like they have been for so long."

In Projects and
, many questions are swirling around the newly proposed "open source, compatible implementation of J2SE
5, the latest version of the Java 2 Standard Edition specification." The Harmony FAQ contains many of the answers.

We have launched a Harmony forum for you to express your Expectations, Hopes, and Dreams for Apache's proposed open source, compatible implementation of J2SE 5.0.

In today's Forums, I've started a thread asking what you think about Harmony.

"There is much excitement over this weekend's announcement of Harmony. What do you think? Is it important? If so, why? If not, why not?"

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Apache proposed project for Open Source, compatible J2SE