Java Groups Eye Openness

30 companies, individuals chosen to two executive committees overseeing Java Community Process.

Although Sun Microsystems Inc. recently completed its first elections to the two executive committees overseeing Java, its unlikely the elections will put to rest concerns about just how open the Java Community Process is.

Thirty companies and individuals have been elected in a two-part process, the first consisting of Sun nominees and the second consisting of nominees from the Java community. Those elected will meet for the first time Dec. 12.

Sun created the executive committees this summer as part of the revamped JCP, a move intended to quell concerns about Javas openness in the absence of its submission to a standards body. Sun balked at handing over Java to an outside group, citing possible fragmentation.

One of the committees oversees Java for enterprise desktops and servers, while the other covers Java in the embedded and consumer markets. Sun maintains ultimate control over the language and new platforms.

"I think the process went quite well," said George Paolini, Suns vice president for evangelism and marketing, in Cupertino, Calif. "We didnt have any dimpled chads."

Sun used a mix of its own nominees and nominees from the community to try to get a balance of industries and vendors that have invested in Java, Paolini said, adding that Sun already has been on the losing side of issues since the process was set up.

"Dialogue is important, and dialogue including criticism—thats important as well," Paolini said. "I doubt well ever have everyone in full agreement that this is the right way to go."

Other committee members say the process is an improvement, but more work needs to be done. Sandy Rankin, IBMs director of Java and emerging software technology, in Somers, N.Y., said one of the first tasks the committees will tackle is the legal agreement that participants must sign to get involved in the JCP. That agreement has raised concerns among vendors about protection of intellectual property rights.

Not elected to the group was Novell Inc., a longtime supporter of Java and a past critic of the process. Novell was on the interim committee appointed by Sun but did not get elected. "We didnt see a big need to be on there," said Art Nevarez, Novells architect for the chief technology officer, in Provo, Utah. "Once the process was there, it wasnt important for us to ... own the seat."