Unable to convince Oracle to allow the use of its trademarked term "Java" to refer to the open source version of Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE), the Eclipse Foundation is asking those who care about such things to vote on proposed names for the software project.
Last summer, Oracle said it had begun working with the Eclipse Foundation and the Java EE community to transfer its Java EE code and governance responsibilities to the foundation.
But Oracle is not giving up its intellectual property rights in the name "Java." And so for the past few months, the Java EE community has been puzzling over how to refer to the open source version of Java EE.
The Eclipse Foundation is using "Eclipse Enterprise for Java" or "EE4J" as the umbrella term for the open source project, but because EE4J covers more than just the Java EE code, there remains a need for a brand name.
"Much like the OpenJDK project implements the Java SE Platform specification, the EE4J projects will provide implementations of a set of specifications that we today call Java EE: We need a brand name for this set of specifications," explained Eclipse Foundation director of open source projects Wayne Beaton, in a GitHub post in November that began the solicitation for potential names.
In January, Java EE Guardians, a user group populated by a number of Java experts including Java creator James Gosling, published an open letter to Oracle pleading to be allowed to use "Java EE."
"On behalf of the community, the Java EE Guardians ask that Oracle and other EE4J stakeholders work together to allow the new platform to retain the Java EE name, the 'javax.enterprise' package for new technologies and existing 'javax' packages for existing technologies," the letter, posted by Reza Rahman, a Java consultant and former Oracle Java EE evangelist, stated.
Oracle's reply, through Will Lyons, senior director of product management for WebLogic, amounted to: we appreciate your input, but no, we want you to pick a new name.
This is not merely a matter of perception: if javax (Java extension) package names have to be changed, that raises potential code compatibility issues.
Lyons, however, attempted to allay this concern by noting that Oracle intends "to allow certain uses of existing javax packages as those packages evolve for compatibility."
Beaton ensured the naming process would not be much fun. Suggested names, he said, could not include Oracle's trademarked "Java" or Eclipse Foundation trademarks, and could not be obscene, sexist, racist, controversial, or frivolous.
"We’re not going to choose Boaty McBoatface or the like," he said.
Nominations concluded November 30, 2017 and this week the Eclipse Foundation narrowed the field of contenders down to just two.
"The EE4J [Project Management Committee] considered numerous factors, but in the end the selection process effectively boiled down to identifying those names from the suggestions that The Eclipse Foundation can register and hold as a trademark on behalf of the community," said Beaton on Wednesday, in a follow-up GitHub post.
Java EE's new name will be either "Jakarta EE" – geographically related to the Indonesian island of Java – or "Enterprise Profile" – the textual equivalent of Ambien.
Voting closes February 23, 2018. Choose your poison.
Had anyone asked us, we'd have suggested !@#$ Larry EE. But nobody did. ®