Re-introducing Jakarta EE: Eclipse takes Java EE back to its roots

The Eclipse Foundation has chosen Jakarta EE as the new name for the technology formerly known as Java EE.

Last September, the Eclipse Foundation announced that Oracle would hand over the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE), to Eclipse to foster industrywide collaboration and advance the technology. Since then, Eclipse has established the top-level Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J) project to oversee the future of enterprise Java at the Eclipse Foundation. EE4J is a solid and even semi-cool name for that project, but it was never meant to replace the Java EE brand.

Oracle’s Java trademark

However, the new name for the brand – or for the top-level project, for that matter — could not be Java EE, or even start with Java. Oracle’s trademark usage guidelines require that they are the only entity that can use Java at the beginning of the name, so the phrase “for Java” was a requirement from the start, wrote Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, in a September 2017 blog post.

After a series of trademark reviews to secure a proper name that passed legal and trademark searches,   Eclipse came up with a few possible names. Jakarta EE won 64.4 percent of the Java community’s vote, while Enterprise Profile captured 35.4 percent.

“I am personally very happy that the community selected Jakarta EE,” Milinkovich said, happy because Jakarta EE is a simple name with potential for future technology, and a nod to the past. “This is just one small step in the overall migration, but the community reaction has been universally positive.”

Alternatives, including Enterprise Profile, were deemed too boring, and the word “enterprise” is viewed by many to mean stodgy and unapproachable to younger developers.

“The Jakarta EE name is a reasonable compromise, considering the objectives of the community and the objections that Oracle has raised,” said Cameron Purdy, CEO of, a stealth mode startup, and former vice president of development at Oracle.

Apache Jakarta project

Other Java thought leaders said the new name, which comes from an old Apache Software Foundation project, might actually be better for enterprise Java.

Jakarta EE is named after Apache Jakarta, which was founded in 1999 and retired in 2011. “Those were roughly the dates when Java EE mattered,” said Rod Johnson, CEO of Atomist and creator of the Spring Framework. “The Java EE brand is tired now, so while a new name will have less recognition, it might also escape some negative associations.”

It’s also a nudge to the ‘JEE’ shortened form, and taps into Jakarta‘s reputation in the Java ecosystem,” said Martijn Verburg, co-founder of the London Java Community and CEO of jClarity, a London-based provider of software that helps developers solve Java performance problems with machine learning.

The renaming of Java EE seems to fit the ongoing saga of Java, said Sacha Labourey, CEO of CloudBees and former CTO of JBoss. That product’s original name was “EJBoss: Enterprise Java Beans Open Source Server,” but after a cease-and-desist letter from Sun Microsystems’ lawyers over the use of ‘EJB,’ JBoss founder and CEO Marc Fleury pragmatically dropped the E.

Reminiscing, Labourey said the Java community has had to “learn how to dance with its trademark and community process [Java Community Process (JCP)], so what else could we expect?” He noted that the JavaPolis conference had to be renamed to Devoxx because of Java trademark issues. “We would have been so disappointed not to have one more chapter to add to the Java trademark book,” he said.

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