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http://www.apache.org/ -- 25 March 2002 -- The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced that it has reached an agreement with Sun Microsystems and members of the Java Community Process (JCP) to secure the basic right to implement Java specifications in open source. This is the result of extended dialog over the past year. Sun has pledged to use licenses that enable open source independent implementations for all its Java specifications and Test Compatibility Kits. Sun has pledged this for all future Sun-led Java specifications as well as key specifications already released.

"It gives us great pleasure to have served the interests of the wider open source community, largely made up of individuals and small groups who may not have the resources and visibility to establish this level of dialog," said Jason Hunter, ASF Vice-President, Java Community Process. "To satisfy this trust, the ASF will be closely monitoring the implementation details of the contents of this agreement to ensure the gains represented by this agreement are not lost."

"We believe, properly implemented, these changes will fertilize the growing open source Java community, resulting in wider adoption of Java technologies. We also strongly believe the wider availability of Test Compatibility Kits and the existence of solid open source Java specification implementations will serve to improve and enhance Java's compatibility," explained Hunter.


The agreement responds to four concerns Apache raised in January and posted publicly on its Website at http://jakarta.apache.org/news/jspa-position.html. These four points were seen as critical to Apache's support of and continued participation in the Java Community Process:

  1. The right to freely implement specifications in open source
  2. The right for specification leads to release reference implementations and test kits in open source
  3. The right for specifications to be created more publicly
  4. The right to free access to test kits by open source, non-profit, and academic groups

These issues are being addressed via two mechanisms. First, through a series of proposed revisions to the legal agreement signed when joining the Java Community Process, known as the JSPA. The JSPA is currently undergoing revision by the JCP Executive Committee (EC). As part of an early review, EC comments indicated a desire to address the concerns Apache raised. Apache is pleased to see Sun, who leads the JSPA revision process, propose modifications which address these concerns. This will help guide the JSPA revision process to conclusion.

Second, and for more immediate effect, Sun has agreed to proactively address Apache's issues for Sun-led JSRs in the following manner, as expressed in a letter of intent posted at http://jcp.org/aboutJava/communityprocess/announce/LetterofIntent.html:

  • For Sun-led specifications finalized from here forward (including revisions to existing specifications) the license terms will allow independent implemenations under open source licenses.
  • The Test Compatibility Kit (TCK) binaries for these specifications will be made available at no cost to qualified open source, non-profit, and academic groups.
  • A three-member board, including a representative from the Apache Software Foundation, will assure an impartial qualification process.
  • Sun will provide substantial support to aid these qualified groups in the use and execution of the TCKs.

Apache welcomes other companies leading Java specifications -- many of whom have also desired more openness in the JCP -- in making similar pledges.


The Apache Software Foundation provides organizational, legal, and financial support for the Apache open-source software projects. Formerly known as the Apache Group, the Foundation incorporated as a membership-based, not-for-profit corporation to ensure that the Apache projects continue to exist beyond the participation of individual volunteers, to enable contributions of intellectual property and financial support, and to provide a vehicle for limiting legal exposure while participating in open-source projects. For more information on the Apache Software Foundation, please see http://www.apache.org/.

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Jason Hunter
Vice-President, Java Community Process
The Apache Software Foundation

Sally Khudairi
Press Relations
The Apache Software Foundation

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