Have to say it: What Sun is doing with the JCK (Java Development Kit and runtime TCK/compatibility kit) license seems pretty dirty

The part which seems dirty is the way the license is obviously being extended to OpenJDK based projects to allow OpenJDK project contributors to be able to use the TCK without any encumbrances on their builds fields of use while keeping other, from scratch, open-source efforts from being able to do the same. The obvious part: if developers were not able to use the TCK, it would hurt the OpenJDK effort as contributors would not be able to distribute any builds and call them Java as they would not have passed the TCK. Passing the TCK is part of the rules for being able to implement the Java specifications, claim adherence, and distribute the end result.

If the goal is to support open source Java and to be fair, then any open-source Java implementation regardless of the license would be able to use the TCK in the same manner. So, as a pretty open Sun supporter, I do not like what they are doing with the TCK at all, and it damages my view of them as a corporation as it specifically relates to honesty. I think if they are going to go about it this way they should at least have the honor and guts to say exactly what they mean and the reason for doing it instead of dancing around the issue by talking about license terms, not open-sourcing the TCK because they want to protected what it means to be "compatible" (which I totally understand), and not being able to please everyone. These reasons are pretty weak as a reason for the terms of the license only being given to OpenJDK based projects.

The fact is they could just as easily let anyone use the TCK for free to certify any open-source implementation. The TCK does not have to be open sourced for this to happen. I think if the reason, which to me it can only be, is to protect corporation investments and only support those efforts which directly support their interests then they should just say it. Personally I don't think this is outside the bounds of what corporations try to do; I mean lets face it, they have to make money, but the JCP (http://www.jcp.org) member agreement and processes clearly state what can and can not exist in limiting anyones right to fully implement JCP specifications, and the scholarship TCK license itself does encumber ones ability to create clean and independent implementations of the Java specifications, and this is the only free license organizations or individuals creating open-source Java implementations can obtain unless they are based on Suns OpenJDK and also use the GPL license. This is against the agreement of the JCP as I have read it as it imposes restrictions beyond the ones stated in the agreement, and the agreement specifically states that no more restrictions beyond those listed within the agreement can exist which hinder anyones ability to create independent implementations of any JCP specification.

So, Sun employees, don't take this personal. I happen to work with a few of you on different open-source projects, and you know who you are :-D, and I know you don't have anything to do with these decisions. The law department and which ever managers approved this however, this seems pretty darn dirty, at least what I have seen so far. Maybe someone has a good explanation, but for now I'm calling it what it looks like.