Java group mulls over nominations

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The Java Community Process is pondering relinquishing Sun Microsystems" control of nominations for 10 seats on each of the panel"s two executive committees, according to an executive with the JCP.

The move would allow the entire panel, not just Sun, to submit candidates for 10 seats on each of the JCP"s two executive committees, the Micro Edition Executive Committee (MEEC) and the Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition Committee (SEEEC), said Onno Kluyt, director of the JCP program office for Sun.

"It is likely that this construct will disappear," Kluyt said of Sun"s role as the only JCP member that currently can nominate companies to serve those seats. "It"s something we"ve been discussing internally."

The JCP, the panel that creates Java standards, will begin its yearly elections process for the executive committees 1 October. The committees oversee the various Java Specification Requests (JSRs) for technologies that fall under their jurisdiction,mobile technologies for the MEEC, and desktop and enterprise technologies for the SEEEC.

JSRs are proposed specifications that eventually move through the process to become Java standards.

Sun has long been criticised for its control of the Java language and its various platforms, which have become de facto standards for enterprise, desktop and mobile applications that don"t use Microsoft"s .Net framework as their foundation.

Sun created the JCP in 1999 to give other vendors that have invested in creating Java software and other technologies a say in how Java standards are created. However, Sun still oversees the panel and is the only company that can propose candidates for the bulk of executive committee seats.

Each executive committee is made up of 16 seats, one of which is a permanent seat held by Sun. Sun also controls the nominations for 10 additional seats. The other five seats on each committee are chosen by open elections in which any member of the JCP can run, Kluyt said.

Five seats on both the MEEC and the SEEEC come up for re-election each year, four of which Sun nominates and one of which is a seat open to anyone in the JCP, he said.

This year, nominated seats held by Matsushita (Panasonic), Motorola, Siemens and Palmsource on the MEEC are up for re-election.

Kluyt said Sun is renominating Matsushita, Motorola and Siemens for their seats but is nominating Vodafone to take the place of Palmsource to "introduce representation by service providers on the executive committee".

An open seat held by BEA Systems on the MEEC also is coming up for re-election this year, as well as another open seat previously held by Zucotto Wireless, because that company went out of business, Kluyt said.

On the SEEEC, Sun is nominating Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle to retain their seats, which are scheduled for re-election in October.

An open seat held by an individual member of the JCP, Doug Lea, a professor with the State University of New York at Oswego, also is coming up for re-election, Kluyt said. He added that Lea has been a major contributor to the JCP, and he hopes the professor will run for re-election to retain his seat on the committee.

Meanwhile, as the JCP prepares for these upcoming elections, several key JSRs are approaching the final step toward becoming Java standards.

JSR 168, which defines a standard API to provide a common interface for aggregating several content sources and application front ends into one portal, and JSR 185, also known as Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JTWI), should be finalised in the next month, Kluyt said.

JTWI defines a stack of Java-based mobile standards as the foundation for Java-enabled handsets, which will give developers a uniform set of technologies on which to build applications for those devices, Kluyt said.

J2SE 1.5, the next version of the Java desktop standard, also is about halfway into its process through the panel and should be final by next summer, Kluyt said.

J2SE 1.5, code-named Tiger, is made up of about 10 individual JSRs and will propose changes to the Java language to make it more developer-friendly. Among those changes are the addition of generics and metadata, CRN has reported.

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