When Java Evangelist Reza Rahman resigned from his position at Oracle three weeks ago, he wrote on his Oracle blog that his decision was difficult but it was "the way I personally can best help continue to advance the Java and Java EE communities". He continued with a rather vague future plan, saying he would be"rejoining the purely community driven Java EE efforts I have been part of for the better part of a decade in complete good faith as soon as possible post-Oracle".
Rahman's first personal blog entry after leaving Oracle expressed his "skepticism of Oracle as a responsible steward of Java", and made the grave prediction that "we probably won't be celebrating Java's thirty year anniversary" if someone didn't right the ship.
These may have seemed odd statements at the time, but his intentions have clarified in the days since. It appears Rahman is out to save Java, and feels his best bet is to do so from the outside.
Who are the Java EE Guardians?
Rahman's first effort to "save Java" was to form the Java EE Guardians. Their public Google Group describes the Guardians as "People interested in moving Java EE 8 specifically and Java EE generally forward. We are very concerned about Oracle's lack of commitment to Java EE..." with a stated purpose of "advocacy, raising awareness, coordination, collaboration, and mutual support".
Their Google Group has quickly gathered over 150 members while @javaeeguardian has over 500 Twitter followers. But who are they?
Their ranks already include
Over ten Java Champions
An international contingent of Java User Groups
At least three members of the Java Community Process Executive Committe (JCP EC)
The leads of five significant Java projects tied to JCP EC member organizations, and several independent JSR Expert Group members.
UPDATE: The Google Group gained two members as I edited this article.
Why Should You Care?
We've seen skepticism regarding Oracle's Java stewardship since before the Sun acquisition even finalized. Although the Java EE Guardians are still in their early stages, this appears to be the first time that a significant number of Java luminaries are banding together to potentially take some action.
The group appears to still be formulating a statement of purpose. It will be interesting to see what lengths they may feel are necessary to move Java forward.