Major changes underway at Oracle: SPARC and Solaris teams laid off, Java EE oversight goes to Eclipse Foundation, future Java SE major releases proposed for twice a year

Oracle has been rather busy last few weeks. First, news that the Solaris and SPARC teams from Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems have reached the end of the road, and the majority of the teams have been laid off. The layoffs started at the start of this year, and the recent round apparently leaves only a small team left.

Last month there was a blog post to The Aquarium suggesting that Oracle would be open for another group or organization to drive stewardship for the Java EE spec. Looking back at past events, it’s no surprise that some significant changes were coming. Things started changing with the layoffs of the majority of the Java evangelists back in September 2015 and the letter assumed to be from one of the evangelists to InfoWorld stating that “… Java has no interest to them anymore”. Oracle’s lack of involvement in the development of Java EE started to gain notice by the other JCP members in minutes of the JCP Executive Committee in May and June 2016 leading to statements in the public minutes such as:

“…concern that Oracle, despite its role as steward of Java, has not made any public statements or explanations for the apparent lack of activity on Java EE”

There was also a formal statement by the JCR Executive Committee directed to Oracle formally voicing their concern with recent lack of JSR activity and involvement by Oracle:

“EC members expressed their serious concerns about the lack of progress on Java EE. They believe that Java EE is critical to the Java ecosystem and to their organizations and customers. They fully accept Oracle’s right to direct its investment where it wishes, but expressed the hope that they and other members of the Java community be permitted to step in and help with the ongoing development of the platform, particularly in areas where Oracle wishes to reduce its investment. They therefore requested a dialog with Oracle about how to make such a transition.”

This was followed in June 2016 by a statement by ‘Oracle spokesman’ Mike Moeller that Oracle were still committed to Java EE and were planning on a proposal to the community a t JavaOne 2016. This proposal turned out to be a ‘refocusing’ of the changes in the Java EE 8 proposal, namely dropping new features and changes that were not aligned with current industry trends (particularly microservices, so the MVC spec and a number of other proposals got dropped from the EE8 JSR).

From last month’s post that Oracle was open to consider another organization to drive future development of Java EE, yesterday it was announced (more here) that the Eclipse Foundation will be the new stewards of Java EE. Given Oracle’s recent lack of involvement, it’s great that they even considered this move, and hopefully the future of EE will be in good hands with the Eclipse Foundation.

If that news was not enough, Mark Reinhold also posted recently that after the slow release schedule of the past few major Java SE releases, they’re considering a twice yearly major release cycle moving forward after the planned release of Java 9 on September 21 (after many delays already). Two major releases a year is a massive change compared to the 3 year current release cycle (between Java 7 to Java 8 and between 8 and the upcoming Java 9 releases). Hopefully this means some good things are going to be coming to Java across the board, SE and EE, in the near future.

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