Feeds

Sun's Java body to open smoke-filled rooms

No talking allowed

Boost IT visibility and business value

More than a year after coming under pressure to break its corporate bias and to woo individuals, the Java Community Process has responded.

The body's announced proposed changes to the way it discusses, manages and votes on the Java language and platform. If accepted, the changes will be adopted by the JCP next month.

However, the group's sidestepped at least one crucial issue that could weaken its proposals and undermine its efforts to modernize and reach out to individuals. The current round of changes won't include modifications to a densely worded and complicated legal document that governs internal discussions and gags the very individual members it wants - and needs - from speaking to the wider world.

Also, there's a huge void over the future of Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs), essential to certifying that your Java implementation does not fragment the official spec. TCKs typically contain vendors' intellectual property (IP) under licenses that open-source projects and vendors cannot swallow, so they cannot be "officially" certified as compatible - hurting their adoption.

The JCP has said its Java Specification Request (JSR) 2.15 maintenance release for JCP 2.7 will not consider issues that are "difficult to implement or that require changes to the JSPA."

The JSPA is an onerous and confusingly worded 20-page legal contract with Sun Microsystems, which created the JCP more than 10 years ago, that says what you can - and can't - talk about outside the JCP. Participants writing, blogging or discussing about JCP meetings do so in contravention of the JSPA and at their own legal risk.

The JSPA was created to make a safe environment for technology companies talking about their intellectual property without exposing it to outside scrutiny.

The agreement, though, dates from a time when Java was an application server and middleware play where ideas came from big vendors in tight competition with each other, and is thoroughly at odds with today's culture of innovation from the community, where ideas are blogged and openly discussed.

Previously, current JCP chairman Patrick Curran has expressed a belief that the JSPA could be re-worded for simplicity and brevity - taking it down to one or a few pages.

On TCKs, JSR 215 is ambiguous. It will consider setting "minimum requirements" for TCKs and move the disclosure of TCK and other business terms to a point earlier in the process. This suggests you'll simply have a better idea of what vendors' IP a given TCK contains, but you still won't be able to use it if you're an open-source project or company.

Last year Curran expressed a belief in the need to make the JCP seem less like a closed shop by opening up meetings to outsiders and individuals, and by opening up the voting process.

JSR 215 suggests Curran got the big vendors that still dominate the JCP to come around to some of his thinking on this. His work may have become easier thanks to the fact Sun - which leads 30 per cent of all the Java specs - could get bought by Oracle and has become less obstructive.

In the interests of greater transparency, JSR 215 has suggested that observers be allowed on to expert groups, in addition to active members, while spec leads like Sun may be asked to provide regular updates to changes on Java that - in-turn - may get posted to a public web site.

To garner greater feedback on proposed changes JSR 215 will consider changing the Community Review to Early Draft Review and making it open to the public participation. Voting may also change: super majority ballots will be needed for all proposed changes, not just changes to Java Standard or Mobile editions.

You can read the full JSR here. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.