Sun Microsystems won a two-year term March 25 on the Web Services Interoperability Organization board of directors. I caught up with Mark Hapner, chief Web services strategist for Sun, and asked him to outline the companys plans, now that its an "insider."
Hapner started with a circumspect approach to his new board seat, acknowledging that while Sun has been a member of several WS-I working groups, he needs to learn the ropes of the boards process. However, he clearly has thoughts on what Sun would like to see happen at WS-I.
"Were interested in helping the WS-I open up some of the procedures. In the initial stages of any organization, there needs to be tight control, and now the WS-I is at a stage where it is opening up," Hapner said.
In addition to a technical contribution, Sun hopes to push for a royalty-free license model, formal liaisons with other standards groups—including the World Wide Web Consortium and OASIS, among others—and adding membership levels that will make it easier for end users to join WS-I, Hapner said. Whether Sun is successful or not, IT managers should push for membership involvement in WS-I so that the specifications that are adopted by the group are truly interoperable. This means enterprise managers will have choices in selecting applications that work in the loosely coupled mode envisioned by the Web services model.
Based on my conversation with Hapner, its clear that it will take pressure from the end-user community to foster cooperation among the technology developers who are defining the building blocks of the next generation of distributed computing.