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Eclipse completes enterprise Java move with Jakarta EE 8

The Eclipse Foundation has assumed control of the Java EE enterprise platform and specifications from Oracle and has launched an all open source version of the technology.

Enterprise Java has completed its move from Oracle to the Eclipse Foundation in the form of Jakarta EE 8, the new version of the Java Enterprise Edition specification now under the auspices of Eclipse.

The Eclipse Foundation introduced the Jakarta EE 8 Full Platform and Web Profile in a live stream of its JakartaOne virtual conference on Sept. 10.

"From an industry perspective, this is big news, because it means that we've successfully migrated the intellectual property and all the code and all the specs out of Oracle and into a new community-led process," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director at the Eclipse Foundation.

Enterprise Java stability

The transfer to Eclipse represents a move to stability with an eye toward the future, as Java evolves to meet the needs of modern, cloud-native computing environments. In that regard, Eclipse launched a cloud-native Java e-book entitled A Vision for Open Source, Cloud Native Java. The e-book describes what cloud-native Java is, why it matters and where Jakarta EE is headed in the future.

"This is a great first proof point of the Jakarta EE project, and perfectly timed," said Cameron Purdy, CEO and founder of xqiz.it, a Lexington, Mass., startup focused on a new programming language designed for the cloud. "The real proof lies ahead, with Jakarta EE 9. At that point, we'll have a much better understanding of the standard's release cadence and how it will be adapting to the modern cloud architectures that are becoming pervasive."

In addition to releasing the Jakarta EE 8 specs, the Eclipse Foundation certified Eclipse GlassFish 5.1 as an open source-compatible implementation of the Jakarta EE 8 Platform. GlassFish 5.1 was tested against the Jakarta EE 8 Technology Compatibility Kits for the Full Platform and Web Profiles.

Mike MilinkovichMike Milinkovich

The shift over to Eclipse is also significant because enterprises want to migrate their existing Java systems to the cloud -- particularly in hybrid cloud scenarios -- and the foundation, led by members like Red Hat and IBM, will help enable that, Milinkovich said.

And just as important, there are millions of developers with Java skills who would like to take those skills to new application scenarios based on microservices, Docker container and Kubernetes, he added.

"We see this is a real opportunity to refresh the demand for and interest in the Java platform for the next 20 years of application development," he said.

Where does Jakarta EE go from here?

The real proof lies ahead, with Jakarta EE 9. At that point, we'll have a much better understanding of the standard's release cadence and how it will be adapting to the modern cloud architectures.
Cameron PurdyCEO, xqiz.it

While the foundation does not yet have an official roadmap for Jakarta EE, short-term targets for the technology include upgrading the support for Java SE to at least Java SE 11, which is a Long Term Support release. Currently, Jakarta EE 8 supports Java SE8.

"There is a long list of requested features, but one of the biggest topics the community will decide in the next few weeks or months is what to do about the namespace," Milinkovich said.

While negotiating the move of Java EE to Eclipse, Oracle would not allow the Eclipse Foundation to modify the javax package namespace or to use the Java trademarks currently used in Java EE specifications. And Java, including the existing specification names, cannot be used by Jakarta EE specifications.

The foundation has two options for moving from the javax namespace to Jakarta: a "big bang" move where they make wholesale changes all at once, or to tackle the move incrementally, Milinkovich said.

Steering the ship

Meanwhile, a key accomplishment here is the ability to bring together large companies that compete with each other commercially in support of a new specification.

Core members of the Eclipse Jakarta EE Working Group include IBM, Payara, Red Hat, Fujitsu and Tomitribe.

"The big takeaway for me is the Eclipse Foundation's stewardship, both in wrangling the various commercial participants as well as shepherding the traditional Java EE community toward a more modern, cloud-native future," said Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at RedMonk in Portland, Maine.

Indeed, the sheer level of effort required to even slightly redirect the course of a ship the size of the Java community is difficult to comprehend, so credit to Eclipse for being able to pull this off, O'Grady added.

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