Oracle today announced it will donate the Hudson continuous integration server project and the trademarks associated with it to the Eclipse Foundation.

January and February were a volatile time for Hudson. Oracle’s assertion that it owned the trademark to the Hudson name caused a community fork, called Jenkins.

Ted Farrell, chief architect and senior vice president of Oracle tools and middleware, said that this move will help ensure Hudson continues to advance without the fear of commercial intervention on the part of Oracle. The actual move of the code and trademark will not occur until the Hudson community has a chance to chime in on the proposal to move to Eclipse, he said.

Additionally, some of the Hudson code will have to be modified, as portions of the project are licensed under the LGPL, a license the Eclipse Foundation does not work with. Once those portions of code are rewritten, the project will be entirely licensed under the Eclipse Public License.

Moving to a new license is just one of the logistical problems that will have to be solved for the move to be successful. “The biggest change for us is moving from JIRA to Bugzilla,” said Farrell. “The logistics will take a couple months to do. Right now, we have a 30-day review period. We need to clean up the licenses.

“The good news is that, out of the box, VMware is going to contribute a full-time committer, and TaskTop will be doing the same thing. The project’s corporate sponsors will also include Intuit and IBM. We think the inconvenience of moving is well worth it.”

Will this move bring the Jenkins community back to Hudson? Jason van Zyl, creator of Maven and founder of Sonatype, hopes that will be the case. Sonatype will also be contributing developers to the project, and van Zyl said some commercial Hudson add-ons his company had been building are being contributed as open source to the Eclipse Foundation alongside Hudson. Due to conditions placed upon this news announcement, SD Times was not permitted to contact the Jenkins project about this move prior to publication.

“I tried to get [Kohsuke Kawaguchi, creator of Hudson] to do this in April of last year,” said van Zyl. “I tried to see if [Ted Farrell] wanted to move it then, too. I am glad it happened. I think it’s the best thing that could have happened for the project. With the groups that are supporting it, there will be more developers working on it in a place that’s vendor-neutral. There’s a history of projects that have been at Eclipse with different vendors working on them, and those have been pretty successful.

“I think if it’s possible to get the Jenkins people to come back, it’d be the best thing for the project. If they think about the users and who’s involved in the project, maybe we’re not on the best terms now, but in the long run it’d be the best thing for it. The Maven integrations are important, so we’re donating our Maven 3 integrations. Part of that was going to be commercial, part was going to be open source, but now it’s all going to be open source in Eclipse.”

Jenkins, come back!
Mark Driver, research vice president at Gartner, said that he can see no reason for the Jenkins team not to come back to Hudson with the project under Eclipse. “The wishful-thinking part of me says, ‘What if the Jenkins group engages with Eclipse?’ I have a hard time thinking of a real reason not to, once you take Oracle out of the equation,” he said.

“I think it will diffuse the political nature of the discussion to a significant degree. Eclipse is very well respected, so it’s going to be hard for someone to play the Oracle card in the whole debate.

“I think it was necessary. Oracle had no intent of commercializing Hudson. There’s much more to be gained by creating a community around it. They’re fairly heavily engaged with Eclipse already. They did something similar with TopLink. Of course, what Hudson does is integral to what Eclipse does.”

Al Hilwa, program director for application software development at IDC, said that Oracle was given a bad rap by the Jenkins split, and that this move validates its non-commercial intent for Hudson. “Eclipse is a good home for an enterprise-oriented product. I think there has been a lot of misinterpretation of Oracle’s intent on this. I don’t think they ever wanted to commercialize Hudson per se as much as make it more suitable for commercial and enterprise use and broaden its adoption,” he said.

The original split between Hudson and Jenkins came primarily over stability issues in the Hudson development process. Kawaguchi and the Hudson community favored extreme velocity over stable releases, and often skipped unit tests in their race for agility. In reaction to this, Oracle asserted control over the project’s trademark, which cause the actual split.

But despite the whispers of Oracle’s perceived bad intentions, Farrell said the project, under Oracle’s leadership, has focused heavily on those issues, despite the limited period of time since the fork. “Since the fork, we’ve basically been spending our time on the stability and robustness of Hudson,” he said.

“We added a test harness to the code, and we’re working on the plug-ins. We changed the development cycle from randomly to every four weeks. This provides more predictability.”

Oracle staffers will be leading the project at Eclipse, but the actual release cycles and project specifics will be decided through the Eclipse Foundation’s Hudson team, which will include members of the commercial supporters of the project.

For its part, the Jenkins team has been focusing on these exact same goals. Two weeks ago, Kawaguchi said that he and the Jenkins community had already standardized on a stable release cycle that would push out one long-term supported version of Jenkins every few months. In addition, the Jenkins team had been going over plug-ins to ensure they were compatible with new builds of Jenkins, removing the need for users on older versions to upgrade simply to make plug-ins work.

In the end, the goals of both sides seem to be the same, and their efforts since the split have essentially been duplicates of each other. Jenkins has been addressing the exact concerns raised by Oracle, and with the proposed move to Eclipse, Hudson has now addressed the concerns of the Jenkins community.