Author: Karsten Silz
Aug 3, 2022   |  updated Sep 6, 2022 4 min read


Java Full-Stack Report August 2022: New & Noteworthy

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What’s This?

Here are the most important news for Java developers from last month — in my opinion, at least.


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Table Of Contents

New & Noteworthy

Microsoft Joins Jakarta EE and MicroProfile Working Groups

Microsoft joined the Jakarta EE and MicroProfile Working Groups at the Eclipse foundation in mid-July. Microsoft is interested in these technologies as they want to make it as easy as possible to get as many Java workloads as they can onto the Azure cloud and run them there most efficiently. Now Microsoft can influence the direction and development of these two projects in that direction.

Jakarta EE defines APIs for big application servers, like IBM WebSphere and Oracle WebLogic, and smaller ones, like Tomcat. More importantly, frameworks like Spring, Quarkus, and Micronaut use some Jakarta EE APIs under the hood, such as servlets or the Jakarta Persistence API (JPA; formerly known as the Java Persistence API). That’s not lost on Microsoft, as the first technology call-out in their announcement is that “Spring utilizes several key Jakarta EE technologies”. Jakarta EE currently struggles to get version 10 released, which adds new features for the first time since Java EE 8 in 2017. Jakarta EE 10 had a premature release party on June 28, but currently has no firm release date except for “soon”.

MicroProfile is “Spring Boot with some Jakarta EE parts and some new parts”. It also is an answer to the stagnation of Java EE, adding features and moving forward when Java EE stood still. At least for now, MicroProfile runs in parallel to Jakarta EE, trying to keep its faster release frequency.

This is just the latest move in Microsoft’s continued embrace of Java: They joined the Eclipse Foundation in 2016 and announced their Java distribution in April last year.

Give Up GitHub?

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) asks all open-source projects to leave Microsoft’s GitHub. Why?

  • GitHub has shown a disdain for copyleft software licenses. These licenses require derived work to keep the original license and may require the publication of code changes. That’s why these licenses are called viral — they pass on their properties. The GPL is the most famous example of this license. In this video from 2013, the then-CEO of GitHub CEO argued these licenses restrict the freedom of derived projects. He recommended the MIT license, which has few requirements for derived work. You can argue that copyleft licenses restrict the freedom of derived work. But you can also argue that the MIT license restricts the freedom of the original author: It strips them from many rights to their own creation.
  • While the discussion about copyleft is partially philosophical, Copilot is real: Microsoft trained [this AI code assistant](he good news: Java’s doing well. And SQL is doing surprisingly well.) on open-source projects. The SFC says that when Microsoft now sells Copilot, it benefits from these open-source projects without giving back. Microsoft supposedly also trained Copilot on copyleft software. Microsoft claims this is fair use and doesn’t make Copilot derived work which the SFC disputes. Finally, Microsoft supposedly didn’t train Copilot with its proprietary code, like Windows or Office — why?
  • Finally, the code that runs GitHub is proprietary and has no open-source self-hosting version. That’s different from, say, Gitlab.

Who’s the SFC? It’s a non-profit organization with copyleft compliance as its main project. No wonder it picks a fight with Microsoft here! But I think it’s a discussion worth having: GitHub is the most important host of open-source projects — even Java is there. So it’s only fair for open-source projects to put GitHub under additional scrutiny and discuss whether that’s the right place for them.

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