1 Comment

  1. Sean Sheedy
    16/07/2011 @ 11:54 pm

    Having watched the resignations of Tim Peierls and Doug Lea from a ringside seat (I sit on the Java ME Executive Committee which meets at the same time as the SE/EE EC in which they sat) I feel this post misrepresents the real issues surrounding the JCP. I also feel that recruitment of members for JSRs is absolutely necessary, but that such an effort must disclose to prospective contributors a realistic assessment of Java’s openness and the impossibility of a change in that status originating from within the JCP.

    This assessment must include an accurate explanation of why the JCP EC saw two prominent individual contributors resign last year. They did not resign over issues of bureaucracy but over licensing decisions that render Java only “mostly open”. I witnessed the passionate, heated discourse in the Bonn meeting where this came to a head, and will tell you that the EC meeting minutes come nowhere close to describing the mood that hung heavy in the room those two days.

    For me, the problem is one of expectations: Java’s popularity is due in no small part to its representation as the “open platform” in a sea of closed, proprietary, or “mostly” but not completely open platforms. The statements and actions of the past year are evidence that Java is not open like Python or Perl or Ruby but “mostly open” like the platforms that Java’s supporters compared it to and, at times, vilified.

    The .NET community mentioned in the original post is talented and vibrant with MVPs and evangelists that developers depend on and whom Microsoft listens to, supports, and makes platform decisions based on their input. Java also has such a community, and Oracle is going out of its way to show that it will support this community as much if not more than before. I have a number of very talented friends who work for both companies and will tell you that you will be in very good hands and that contributing will be a worthwhile endeavor for you.

    On the other hand, those expecting a process that does not favor any company would be advised to read the minutes of the October meeting in Bonn and Stephen Colebourne’s assessment of it. These will provide important data points, but should be read with a critical eye. If there is one thing I’ve learned in these three years, it is that if something sounds mostly right but there is a part that doesn’t quite make sense, follow it: it will bring you closer to the truth.

    While the need for individual representation in the Java ecosystem is very important, there are also many worthwhile open projects in great need of talented contributors. Someone who makes openness a personal priority must understand the events of the past year to be able to make this decision with eyes wide open.

    Bonn minutes:
    http://jcp.org/aboutJava/communityprocess/summaries/2010/October2010-public-minutes.html

    Colebourne analysis:
    http://www.jroller.com/scolebourne/entry/jcp_bonn_meeting_october_2010

    Sean Sheedy
    Individual Member, Java ME EC

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