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Relax JCP and Java license process - Spring father

Less is more

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QCon 2008 preview Rod Johnson, chief executive of SpringSource, made his name both as a critic of bloated Java environments and as an advocate of a slimmed-down, pragmatic approach to Java-based development in enterprises.

His experience as a consultant in the late 1990s prompted him to look at how Java had failed to deliver good results in enterprise computing. It also led him to devise the Spring Framework to make Java development easier and to found Interface21, which evolved into SpringSource.

Back in 2000, as Johnson has acknowledged, his views on Java were seen as heretical. This was long before Sun Microsystems decided to open up Java as an open source project and a time when Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) was the only - highly flawed - technology for enterprise Java.

Johnson's criticism of EJB eventually led to changes. It is generally accepted that EJB 3.0 owes a lot to alternatives such as Spring and Johnson's views are no longer seen as heresy.

Johnson notes he was always a reluctant heretic. But his argument that good enterprise software can come from a combination of open source innovation and traditional professionalism is still seen in some quarters as controversial.

He continues to maintain a robust view on how software technology - and Java in particular - should evolve. In the run up to QCon 2008 in London next week, where he is chairing a panel on open standards and on the evolution of enterprise Java, he told Reg Dev he wanted to see even more openness.

Specifically, Johnson wants to see changes in the Java Community Process (JCP) that oversees the evolution of Java.

"The JCP definitely needs to learn from the recent successes of open source development. It needs to open up the ability to collaborate without legal eagles having to oversee everything. You don't want to make every little aspect of the process subject to a legal agreement - it stifles innovation," Johnson said.

The JCP governs the development of the Java language and associated standards. It produces specifications that are then developed into code through the Open JDK, the Java open source community Sun created in May 2007.

The essential guide to IT transformation

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