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Wednesday,April 23,2014
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EXCLUSIVES 

Bring down the Java Wall, Says SAP's Sikka

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Equating his demand to the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall, Vishal Sikka, Chief Technology Officer at SAP in his blog post exquisitely timed at 10:01 p.m. on Nov. 9, has criticised the governance of Java and the domination of the Java Community Process (JCP) by Sun Microsystems. In a blog posting, Sikka says that to ensure the continued role of Java in driving economic growth, we believe it is essential to transition the stewardship of the language and platform into an authentically open body that is not dominated by an individual corporation. "Java should be free of any encumbrances to permit fair competition between compatible implementations for the benefit of customers. By preserving the integrity of Java, the IT industry can ensure a vibrant developer community and continued innovation for enterprise software customers. This ensures the continued global economic success brought about through open innovation," says Sikka.

Sikka goes on to quote Eclipse as an excellent example where a brilliant technology has enjoyed dramatic adoption after it was set free and subsequently managed by a team not employed by a particular company. Sikka says, "With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle has now the unique opportunity to open the Java Community Process, which manages the Java specifications, and transition it to an equally independent body. The Java Virtual Machine should become open source and be managed by an independent Board, including its license terms that are currently restricted to free software and thus not adaptable to the commercial terms required in the global IT marketplace."

SAP, despite its early involvement in Eclipse, and some interaction with MySQL (MaxDB), and a new commitment to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) remains a firmly proprietary company. Even Microsoft, which arguably has the most to lose from open source, has consistently and continually experimented with greater open-source involvement.

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