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New Beginnings: It's Time for the Yearly ‘State of the JCP’ Review

Oracle is now the new steward of Java and the sponsor of the Java Community Process

Oracle Session at Cloud Expo

By now I'm sure you're aware that Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems is complete, and that Oracle is therefore the new steward of Java and the sponsor of the Java Community Process. It's too soon to say what changes this may bring, but for an overview of Oracle's Java strategy see the Software Strategy webcast from Thomas Kurian, Oracle's Executive Vice President of Product Development. (The Java portion of his presentation starts at the 3-minute mark and lasts for about 10 minutes.)

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2009 in Review
In the meantime, since the New Year is upon us it's time for my yearly "state of the JCP" review.

Membership
Our total membership grew by 4% in 2009 to a total of about 1,500. However, since individuals can join at no cost, and there's no formal renewal process for them, we suspect that many have "lapsed." During the next year we will clean up our individual membership records, and it's quite likely that the 2010 numbers will show a reduction as we remove the people who have moved on from the rolls.

Half our members are in North America, one third are in Europe and the Russian Federation, while 14% are in Asia and the Middle East and 4% are in South America. This represents a slight decrease in Europe and a small increase in Asia and South America since 2008. Overall, given the importance of Korea, Japan, and China in implementing Java technologies, Asia still seems to be under-represented. We need to work harder to recruit members from these countries.

Elections
Our annual elections were held in October, and in January we held a special election to replace an ME Executive Committee member who resigned. Consequently we have several new members on the Executive Committees. On the SE/EE EC we welcome Tim Peierls as an individual member, while on the ME EC we have four new corporate members: AT&T, SK Telecom, T-Mobile, and CableLabs. Now that Oracle's acquisition of Sun is complete, we will soon have yet another special election to fill Sun's place on the SE/EE EC. If you're a member, please vote. For more information on the Executive Committees, including a full list of members, see http://jcp.org/en/participation/committee.

Active JSRs
At the end of 2009 we had 65 Active JSRs compared with 72 at the end of 2008. (Our standard definition is that a JSR is considered active if it started, completed, issued a maintenance release, published a draft, or went to ballot during the previous 18 months.)

Six new JSRs were started, 23 were completed, 16 issued maintenance releases, and an additional 23 moved through other stages of the process. The target platforms for these JSRs were:

  • Java ME: 20
  • Java SE: 17
  • Java EE: 14

Spec Leadership and Expert Group Participation
As usual, the the role of Spec Lead is heavily concentrated in a few companies. Of the Active JSRs, Sun was Spec Lead for 23, Nokia for 10, and Oracle for nine. No other company or individual was Spec Lead for more than three JSRs. Now that Oracle and Sun have combined, this concentration will only increase. Obviously we need to "democratize" the spec leadership process.

About 1,100 members served on the Expert Groups of Active JSRs (an average of about 17 per JSR). Of these, 188 were individuals, most of whom served on a single EG, while the remainder were from a total of 200 institutions (mostly corporations). Approximately half of all Expert Group members were from institutions or individuals who are members of our Executive Committees, which suggests that the ECs are pretty representative of those who are doing the work in the community. This is good!

However, Expert Group membership, like the Spec Lead role, is concentrated in the hands of a few corporations, and this concentration will only increase now that Oracle has absorbed Sun. Oracle and Sun together supplied 161 Expert Group members. Only six other companies supplied more than 20 Expert Group members. These were:

  • IBM: 53
  • Motorola: 33
  • Nokia: 32
  • Red Hat: 25
  • Ericsson: 22
  • SAP: 22

If we want to avoid a "unipolar world" in which Oracle/Sun is the dominant player we'll need to make some changes to encourage broader participation.

Recent JSR Changes
In December JSR 316: Java EE 6 Specification made its Final Release after two and a half years of intensive effort. November and December were extremely busy months for the various Expert Groups and for the PMO as this and the component JSRs were finalized. This is a significant release for Java EE, in which various obsolete JSRs are "pruned," profiles are introduced, and a new model for dependency injection is introduced with the release of JSR 299: Contexts and Dependency Injection for the Java EE platform. Congratulations to Roberto Chinnici and Bill Shannon of Sun (now Oracle) and to all of the other Spec Leads and Expert Group members who worked so hard to pull this release together. As Gavin King, Spec Lead for JSR 299 says, if you haven't already done so yet you really should upgrade to Java EE 6.

December also saw a significant development in Java ME, with the Final Release of JSR 271: Mobile Information Device Profile 3 (MIDP3.) This specification adds new capabilities such as concurrency, inter-application communications, background processing, shared libraries, events, and improved user-interface components to enable the creation of Java applications that meet and exceed the capabilities of the most advanced smartphones. A couple of other recent JSR developments deserve mention:

  • JSR 327: Dynamic Contents Delivery Service API for Java ME, led by SK Telecom, completed its public review in November 2009. This JSR will facilitate push-based content delivery services.
  • JSR 48: WBEM Services Specification published a Proposed Final Draft in December, more than four years after its public review. Sometimes we move slowly in the JCP, but it's good to see that the Expert Group is still working on this, and that the specification is still relevant after all this time. Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) is an initiative of the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) providing an open-standards approach to systems management. This specification will define Java APIs to access WEBM functions.

For full details of these and other JSR chanages please see the jcp-announcements bulletin board at jcp.org, where you can also subscribe to our RSS feed to ensure that you stay informed.

Wrapping Up
Before I sign off, I'd like to remind you that you can review the minutes and materials of our Executive Committee meetings here. Please check them out, and send comments or feedback to [email protected].

Until next time...

More Stories By Patrick Curran

Patrick Curran is chair of the JCP and director of the JCP Program at Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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