Sun exec: Community brings innovation to Java

A Sun Microsystems Inc. official at the BorCon conference in San Jose, California on Tuesday touted the Java Community Process (JCP) for amending the Java programming language, but did not have any revelations pertaining to industry calls for making Java available under an open source format.

The JCP is for standardization of technologies for inclusion in the Java platform, said Onno Kluyt, chairman and director of the JCP program. “It’s a place where the community agrees on a common approach,” Kluyt said.

“The JCP focuses on the standards. Ideas [on leveraging the technology] typically happen elsewhere,” he said. The process serves to create binary software standards for Java as part of the programming language’s write-once, run-anywhere approach, Kluyt said.

Although Kluyt acknowledged that Java-based technologies can be offered through an open source format, he did not discuss making the programming language itself available through open source in lieu of using the JCP. Companies such as IBM Corp. and BEA Systems Inc. have endorsed an open source path for Java, but Sun has not thus far been willing to allow that approach.

Sun, Kluyt said, accounts for only about 40 percent to 45 percent of new Java Specification Requests, which are formal proposals for amending Java. “What that shows is that the community and other companies are stepping forward and taking initiative and bringing innovation to the Java community,” Kluyt said.

Sun has maintained it serves as steward of the language to ensure compatibility in Java implementations. Sun had served as a “dictator” when JCP was initially launched, but now has made the community at large the decision maker on Java.

“We thought we were pretty benign as dictators go. Others thought differently,” Kluyt said.

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