Oracle VP Ted Farrell has told the Hudson community that Oracle owns the Hudson trademark and will act appropriately to defend its rights. That's fine, but it's also time to fork Hudson for its own defense.
java.net has been migrating lately (doing a general purge of projects in the process). Hudson has been part of that, although the project owner (Kohsuke Kawaguchi) considered doing what many others have done: move off of java.net and over to github.
The decision had been made and announced; however, the Monday morning prior to the planned move to github, Mr. Farrell sent a message to the mailing list, saying that it had a representative whose purpose was to represent the silent majority of users, users who used Hudson while not voicing concerns or being visibly involved.
Here're some selected parts from the message (which is worth reading in its entirety):
For now, however, we are going to stay on the java.net infrastructure. We believe it is important for hudson to stay connected with the rest of the the java community, as well as take advantage of some of the cool changes we will have coming to java.net.
Because it is open source, we can't stop anybody from forking it. We do however own the trademark to the name so you cannot use the name outside of the core community. We acquired that as part of Sun.
An anonymous source from Oracle (not authorized to speak on Oracle's behalf) suggested that Oracle does own the trademark (a question few seem to be asking):
"It's all but certain. Under Sun, every project went under trademark evaluation and legal approval. I would be shocked if they didn't trademark that."
This means that Oracle would in fact own the Hudson trademark, and Mr. Farrell's message to the Hudson community says that Oracle will defend its trademark aggressively, the same way it's defending its Java IP aggressively by suing Google over Android using what it says is its intellectual property.
This is highly disingenuous, if you ask me. Oracle is acting evilly and selfishly, if only by allowing the community to act independently for a while, then stepping in visibly only when people don't play with its toys the way Oracle wants them to. As soon as someone bounces the ball in a direction Oracle doesn't like, Oracle steps in.
This is yet another in a long string of PR mistakes. Winning the argument over Hudson is Pyrrhic in nature; it's a PR issue that really does nothing except warn future projects to not use Java just in case Oracle might want to get involved.
OSX JVM? Oracle would have us believe that it knew Apple was going to make an announcement, and that they were ready to step up and deliver an officially-supported JVM for Mac. They just didn't bother to announce it for a few weeks.... riiiiiight. If they had no plan, and were caught offguard, that would be bad - but if they had a plan and still looked like they were caught offguard, that's be just plain stupid. I'm not sure which is worse.
The JCP and the Java TCK? Gee, when Oracle didn't own Java, they voted to have the TCK opened and made available to Apache and others. Now, of course, they say the opposite. Maybe the vote back then was misinformed, or Oracle just didn't know the issues.
Hudson's horribly useful, in my opinion; it's well-done, cute where it needs to be, functional and well-supported.
What Oracle is doing to it is asserting ownership and positioning the sword of Damocles over every project that had anything to do with Java.
The options for Hudson are simple: give in, or fork it. I would suggest forking it; that, too, is slightly Pyrrhic, in that most users will stick with Oracle's "official" product, but I'm not sure Oracle would understand any communique from the community besides a scorched-earth approach.
And if you say anything on any thing that quotes Oracle or has anything to do with it? Be ready to attach a disclaimer, saying that what you say is your own and not theirs. Otherwise, they'll claim it.