The Death Of Hudson? Oracle Shows It's True Colors


I’ve been following the rather confused happenings in the Hudson/Jenkins projects for a while. I haven’t written anything, because I really wasn’t sure what was going on.

I don’t do Java. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with Java, just never learned it, or Javascript. And before the forking of the Hudson project to form Jenkins, I’d never ever heard of Hudson.

I don’t write about things that I don’t understand. I can make a fool of myself easily enough without getting involved an a Hatfield/McCoy style feud.

But then today Oracle let the cat out of the bag. In an interview with Alex Handy of SDTimes, Ted Farrell of Oracle said:

“The other big area is the licensing. Oracle, along with some of the other members of the Hudson community, would like to ship a version of Hudson, but currently the core has over seven open-source licenses associated with it, many of which are unfriendly to corporations. We have had multiple requests to clean up the code to have fewer, more friendly (e.g. MIT or ASL) licenses.”

As PJ says, “It’s all about the money, honey.” Oracle has just admitted that all of the excuses that they’ve provided up till this point have been a smoke screen. It doesn’t matter that Kohsuke Kawaguchi founded the Hudson project. It doesn’t matter that the Hudson project has done well under his leadership, gaining an 80% share of the continuous integration market for Java (whatever that is).

What matters is that Oracle thinks it can make more money, and since Oracle managed to trademark the project name, it thinks it can control it. Thought. Kohsuke Kawaguchi has already proved that Oracle can’t control the project by forking it, and naming his fork Jenkins.

So Oracle ends up with little of value, and probably won’t be able to keep up with the Jenkins release schedule, any more than they’ve been able to keep up with the Libre Office release schedule.

Larry Ellison is supposed to be a smart guy. Why he’s allowing his managers to shot themselves in the foot time and time again I don’t know. I do know that if he can’t get them under control, it’s going to damage the Oracle name.


Wayne Borean

Tuesday March 1, 2011



3 thoughts on “The Death Of Hudson? Oracle Shows It's True Colors

  1. I read the quote quite differently. One of the major shortcomings of many copyleft licenses is that they are difficult for corporations to use as all derivative works must be under the same license (“viral licenses”). That’s one reason why big business tends to mistrust and avoid free software. While smaller projects may be able to operate entirely on ad-hoc volunteer contributions, the economics of OSS for larger projects like Java rely heavily on material contributions from businesses that find it cheaper to develop or sponsor extensions and release them to the community for testing rather than having to handle all testing and development in-house. It’s in the project’s interest to encourage business participation, which means adopting an attractive stance towards that involvement.

    Furthermore, as different copyleft licenses can be contradictory, it is in everyone’s interest to simplify matters by reducing that number, although of course the specifics are up for debate.

    Finally, bear in mind that there is nothing about free-as-in-freedom that legally or ethically requires free-as-in-beer. On the contrary, breaking from that association is essential to the growth of free software in the future as companies become more willing to adopt copyleft licenses on their commercial software.

    I’m under no illusions as to Oracle’s motives here; I just dispute that consolidating and adopting business-friendly licenses is necessarily bad for the project as a whole.

    1. Mikkel,

      It all depends on exactly how you read the quote. I read it that Oracle wanted 100 percent control of the project, so that it would move as they wanted it.

      It looks like Oracle has lost here, just as they’ve lost with Open Office, and with Open Solaris.


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