Hudson project forced to change name - Oracle pushing limits of patience open source community

Oracle’s downward spiral into the abyss of community loathing has taken another turn for the worse over the past couple of days. Leaders of the Hudson project, an open-source continuous integration application designed with extensibility and flexibility in mind, have announced that the project will receive an imminent name change.

A quick refresher: back in August 2010, Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, and pretty quickly started alienating Sun’s pretty robust community of users. They sued Google over their Java Dalvik VM; a month later, JDK 7’s delivery date slipped until at least mid 2011 (but probably 2012); they were forced to clarify that they would not be ditching MySQL, the popular relational database previously provided by Sun; and towards the end of 2010 they had a PR disaster on their hands when the Java community rebelled against them.

So why have they forced Hudson to change its name?

The Hudson team writes that Oracle has filed trademark applications in the US and EU for “Hudson”, because it was originally created by an engineer while they were working at Sun. No matter how much good will Oracle say they will let the project have, the leaders decided the project would “be living under a sword of Damocles” – “Hudson as a project would be beholden to Oracle’s whims for its continued use of its own name, and we believe that’s not viable”.

The new name for the project is “Jenkins”, which “we think evokes the same sort of English butler feel as Hudson”. They have also checked that this doesn’t infringe on any other trademarks that might affect the project going forwards. The migration is expected to take some months for the team, but it is how long the open-source community keeps putting up with things like this from Oracle that remains to be seen.

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