Sun Takes Hits for Java Stewardship

Sun Microsystems continues to take hits for its stewardship of Java, although the company's chief Java steward says all is well.

SAN FRANCISCO—Sun Microsystems Inc. continues to take hits for its stewardship of Java, although the companys chief Java steward says all is well.

At a roundtable here sponsored by Borland Software Corp., some industry observers and participants spoke of the possibility of fragmentation of Java and how Sun, through the Java Community Process (JCP), which the company heads, is handling its role as Java steward.

Rob Gingell, Sun chief engineer and chair of the JCP, told eWEEK that new revisions going into the next version of the JCP will open up the workings of the organization to broader scrutiny. The JCP is the organization that directs the evolution of the Java platform and initiates and approves new Java technology and specifications.

Last month, Sun announced plans to update the JCP to make the whole process more "transparent," said Onno Kluyt, a Sun engineer and director of the JCP PMO.

The new version of the JCP will be known as version 2.6 and will be outlined in Java Specification Request (JSR) 215. The proposed changes in JCP 2.6 represent the second revision going into the program in eight months.

Kluyt said other changes include a proposal for a new class of member, the Expert Group Observer, which will enable more developers to provide feedback on Java Specification Requests (JSRs).

"The effects of opening some of this up will be that not only will people whove been involved be more open, but the process itself will be more open" to observation, Gingell said in an interview at Suns JavaOne show here.

He said a lot of things that have occurred up to now in the JCP have "happened behind the scenes" and that the organization had developed "a number of confidentiality habits" to protect member interests. That he said came "at the outcome of being opaque" to outsiders.

Yet, some insiders take issue with parts of the process.