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Java bureacracy reforms itself

Let's form a committee

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Sun expects to have JCP 2.0, a revised draft of its Java Community Process, ready by the end of the month. A "blue ribbon" panel of Java users is developing the standard for Java licensees to review. But will this go far enough to satisfy criticisms about intellectual property rights? In an announcement last week, 13 companies expressed general support for the work, but there has been no specific statement of support so far from IBM, HP or Microsoft. They want to be sure that Sun, as the steward of the Java standard, will be even-handed and refrain from taking advantage of advanced knowledge of specifications. Sun says that the proposed changes will liberalise JCP participation, and result in an executive committee of stakeholders being formed. The job of this committee would be to approve technology specs, and decide when a spec was ready for public review. So far, more than 60 Java specs have started to go through the JCP. It has not helped that Sun established a Real-Time Experts Group that appears to overlap with the J Consortium, which is looking at embedded Java in factory robots. The failure so far to make Java an international standard, after an attempt with ISO and then ECMA (formerly the European Computer Manufacturers' Association) has resulted in some criticism of Sun. The core of the problem is said to be over "unresolved intellectual property rights", after ECMA turned down the JCP and wanted its own procedures. The UNIX trademark was assigned to the Open Group by Novell, although there has been considerable criticism of the ability and appropriateness of the Open Group to fulfill this role. Meanwhile, the Java 2 SDK download counter on Sun's website has passed the 2.5 million mark. ®

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