Java in danger of Oracle stranglehold

The CEO of CloudBees has warned that Oracle has a stranglehold over the Java community which it believes will do its bidding.

Sacha Labourey, who was also the former CTO said that Oracle’s quest for a legal stranglehold on the Java API has nothing to do with compatibility and everything to do with cashing in on Java at the expense of the community.

Writing in Techcrunch, Labourey said that this was becoming more important as the IT industry shifts from packaged software to a cloud-based service model.

Companies are increasingly investing in SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and their operations will depend on third-party APIs. Oracle’s attempts to add FUD over the legal standing of API usage in the meantime is going to place a drag on the industry.

Oracle lost its case when it took its strategy to court. A well informed Judge Alsop ruled that third-party APIs were not something that could be patented. However Oracle is appealing. Not only are their fears that Oracle might win, but also that the fact it believes this could stuff up the whole Java development process.

Labourey said it is time to decide who should hold the knife by the handle.

The economy will thrive and be more competitive because companies can easily switch from one service provider to the other by leveraging identical APIs, he said.

However if Oracle gets its way, it could be throttled by allowing vendors to inhibit competition through API lock-in.

Any ruling in favour of Oracle’s philosophy will only help a handful of legacy software vendors who want to protect their franchises for a few more years, Laboury added.

What is being decided at the moment will impact software companies for decades as it will apply to the cloud.

What worries Labourey is that the decision is being made now amid heavy lobbying by legacy vendors who are struggling to survive in this whirlwind of change.