OpenJDK Governing Board Minutes: 20011/4/21

David Herron david at
Fri May 6 16:59:31 UTC 2011

On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 9:37 AM, Mike Milinkovich <
mike.milinkovich at> wrote:

> > > - Get rid of the SCA. Commit to using the GPL for everything.
> > >   People should be able to be members of the community without
> > >   having to assign all their rights on non-reciprocal terms to
> > >   Oracle.
> >
> > I don't think this can happen, but the OCA (was SCA) can
> > at least be improved to address most concerns that appear to
> > have caused some potential contributors to hesitate doing
> > so. My guess is that some aspects of non-reciprocity will likely
> > remain though.
> To further set (perhaps lower would be more accurate) expectations on this
> front, it is my understanding that any revisions to the OCA will happen
> _after_ the revised Bylaws come out. If I'm mistaken about that, perhaps
> Mark Reinhold or Adam Messinger can correct me.
> I would also point out that there is no chance that the OCA is going to go
> away. Sun, and now Oracle, have business motivations and existing
> contractual obligations that will always require them to aggregate clear
> title to the intellectual property in OpenJDK. So anyone harbouring hopes
> that this would change needs to come to terms with this reality.
> /mike

As someone who helped review the original SCA before it was published - I'd
like to say that from my perspective I don't have any issue with it.  If I'm
donating some code to a project my goal is to improve the project.

The reasoning behind what Mike said is that Oracle needs the
"freedom" to relicense contributed code under closed licenses to distribute
binary closed source JDK's.

I remember writing blog posts arguing along the lines of:  A developer at
some company using binary closed source JDK's to deploy products can improve
future versions of those binary closed source JDK's by sending in patches or
features.  Such developers may not care that their code is being relicensed
because their goal is to improve the binary JDK product.

Sitting with it at the moment there's an additional consideration in my
mind.  Just because someone donates code to a project should they become
part owner of the project?  There are plusses and minuses.  But that's a
rather moot point because Sun and now Oracle always was clear on what they
needed and why.

+ David Herron

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