Sun Seeks to Add Non-Java Support to JCP

Sun Microsystems is proposing to add non-Java specifications to the Java Community Process and to improve relationships with other standards groups.

Sun Microsystems is moving to make change to the Java Community Process to better enable Java to interoperate with non-Java environments.

Onno Kluyt, chair of the JCP, said Sun has proposed a new JSR (Java Specification Request), JSR 306, which will be posted on Sept. 19, to make changes to the JCP.

Kluyt said the new JSR will feature proposed changes that would streamline the JCP, such as further improving the transparency of the process, further optimizing the average duration of JSRs and better enabling individuals to participate in the process.

JSR 306 also proposes more fundamental changes to the process, including allowing non-Java implementations of a JSRs specification; the ability to create liaison relationships with other standards organizations; easing the migration of pre-existing technology toward an agreed-upon standard; and the availability of a TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) and associated licensing information upon completion of a JSR.

In addition, Kluyt, in Santa Clara, Calif., said the new JSR also proposes support for "hybrid JSRs" that will cover technologies "both in the Java space and the non-Java space."

The JCP executive committee "will evaluate whether to allow non-Java specifications to come in" to the process, specifications that might include technologies such as Cobol, C++ and others, Kluyt said.

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"This makes sense if you look at the emergence of concepts like Web services and service-oriented architecture," Kluyt said. "Enterprises face very mixed environments where they have to make different architectures work together."

Regarding the liaison relationships between the JCP and other standards organizations, Kluyt said many JSRs involve technology that relates to work being done by groups such as the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) and OMG (the Object Management Group).

"We want to make it easier for working groups in specific JSRs to work with working groups in other organizations," he said.

Kluyt said he is hopeful about the changes to the process. "I think in the end well find an acceptable solution," he said, noting that the Java community has discussed moves like supporting non-Java specifications "for quite a while."

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Kluyt said that as specification lead for JSR 306 he is setting a "relatively aggressive" schedule to complete the JSR, with the goal of finishing "by the end of May 2007." Most JSRs average about a year and a half for completion, he said.

The last update to the JCP was JCP 2.6. However, Kluyt said it is yet to be determined whether the upgrade that comes out of JSR 306 will result in a new version of the JCP known as JCP 2.7 or whether it will be known as JCP 3.0. This will be decided during the course of the development of the JSR, he said.

Meanwhile, Kluyt said JSR 306 is just a proposal and that nothing is set in stone. "We may add items to it, or change the nature of some of the items," he said.

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