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JCP Launches New Program

First constellation of Star Spec Leads takes shape - Part 2

In the August issue of JDJ (Vol. 10, issue 8) I introduced to you some of the JSR Spec Leads who won the distinction of Star Spec Lead at JavaOne. What they all share, I was noting, is their passion for Java and their belief in the benefits of evolving the platform based on binary standards that ensure compatibility, which can make developer life a lot easier and save costs of all kinds down the road. It's now time you met the other stars of the constellation.

I'll start with Mark Hornick. He admits from the start that his keen interest in object-oriented design and development dates back to grad school. He confesses that Java technology had been of particular interest to him, "Ease of programming, especially with threads, was particularly exciting," he says. Mark is currently a senior manager in the Data Mining Technologies Group at Oracle Corporation and by the time he joined the company, he was ready to undertake two Java technology development efforts: Oracle Data Mining and Oracle Personalization. Oracle Data Mining was the seed that grew into the Java Data Mining (JDM) standard, versions 1.0 and 2.0 (JSR 73, JSR 247), which Mark initiated as Spec Lead and began participating in the JCP program mid-2000.

Mark had a head start on the Star Spec Lead program, having been nominated for "Most Outstanding Spec Lead" in 2004 and again in 2005. Mark says, "I think the Star Spec Lead program is useful in that others can learn how Expert Groups are run and who is running them. It creates more of a community rather than abstract names on JSR numbers."

Jere Käpyaho is also a Star Spec Lead. He works for Nokia Corporation as a specialist for Java Platform Standardization, in the technology platforms unit. He thinks "there is so much potential in Java technology to do globalized applications properly" that he is set on tapping it for the JCP standards initiatives he's working on. He became a Spec Lead in 2004, previously served as an Expert Group member, and also helped with other JSRs that Nokia, a member of the Executive Committee, is involved in. He has contributed to six JSRs in all: JSR 238 Mobile Internationalization API and JSR 258 Mobile User Interface Customization API as a spec lead; JSR 75 PDA Optional Packages for the J2ME Platform and JSR 204 Unicode Supplementary Character Support as an expert; and JSR 118 Mobile Information Device Profile 2.0 and JSR 139 Connected Limited Device Configuration 1.1

Another spec lead from Nokia, Kimmo Loytana, wants "to make Java technology in embedded devices a rich and robust platform for applications." A Star Spec Lead himself, Kimmo has been heavily involved in the standardization of Java technology and Java technology-based software platforms and serves as a consultant for the creation of Java technology implementations for Nokia's products. Kimmo had gotten involved in Java API specification activities in cooperation with Sun even before the JCP program existed (JavaTV API, partly also following JavaPhone API). From the very beginning in 1999 Nokia formally joined the JCP program as a member, and since then Kimmo has participated in more than 15 JME-related JSRs as an Expert Group member.

The next Star Spec Lead takes us to Day Software in Switzerland. David Nuescheler, the company's CTO, began working with Java technology when the decision was first made to adopt the Java Platform for Day's entire suite of products. Since then, he has worked primarily on server-sided Web projects as a solution and product architect. By 2001, he had joined the JCP program, and he is currently Spec Lead for JSR 170 Content Repository for Java Technology API.

About the Star Spec Lead initiative, David says, "The Star Spec Lead program is a great platform for exchanging experiences between Spec Leads, probably the best way to learn how to run a JSR..."

When it comes to involvement with Java technology, Eric Overtoom may be one of the most recent converts, but he has certainly made up for it by jumping straight into Spec Leader stardom.

As a Distinguished Member of the technical staff at Motorola, Eric is involved in handset software architecture and internal API design, and, to some degree, system architecture. He became involved with the JCP program in September, 2004, when he became co-Spec Lead of JSR 253, along with Ekaterina Chtcherbina of Siemens AG. "Having both developers/manufacturers and users has helped us to identify requirements that didn't come from the initial proposed API, and cases where the API as proposed would have led to extra work for application developers trying to use it (although less implementation work for the JSR developers). We've been able to balance the complexity between API implementation and application to share the pain," says Eric.

Vincent Perrot of Sun Microsystems' Telecom Management Network team is also the recipient of the Star Spec Lead distinction. He got involved with the JCP early on first as an observer of one of the earliest Java Specification Requests, the JSR 3, Java Management Extension (JXM) Specification. He helped develop and later became the technical lead of JDMK (Java Dynamic Management Kit), Sun's implementation of JMX. He stays involved in the creation of this network management technology by participating as an observer of the JMX technology JSRs. (JSRs 70, 71, 146, 160, 255, and 262).

Vince, today, is the driver of the OSS/J specifications. "Working on OSS/J is by far the most enriching experience in my professional life," he says. "It's a privilege to work everyday with some of the best telecommunications experts in the world. And what many people would consider as a human challenge, quickly turned for me into a fantastic journey along which I made friends that I admire, and who I hope do care about me. But OSS/J gets all of us so busy and focused that there is no time to dream about awards. When I was told that I was chosen by my Java developer peers as a JCP Star Spec Lead, I was really taken by surprise and deeply moved. I was only hoping to get the respect of my OSS/J fellows. So being distinguished by the Java community at large was like reaching the summit of the mountains that surround my house, after a 10-hour hike, to see the sunset over the Alps - a warm feeling of accomplishment. I sincerely hope my personal experience will help other Spec Leads move the Java platform to even greater success."

When it comes to Java technology, Jim Van Peursem does nothing by half measures. This has not passed unnoticed and his peers in the community voted him Star Spec Lead. He is drawn to all aspects of Java technology that relate to mobile and wireless communication. He's delved into Java technology in practically every way imaginable - as user, project lead, developer, vendor, and so on. Even his e-mail signature, jvp, looks like a Java technology acronym. He started working with Java technology in the very early days, say 1995-ish, before it was even integrated with the Netscape browser. He jumped into the JCP Program the minute the doors opened and has been involved ever since as a member, participant, Expert, Spec Lead, and Executive Committee member.

Jim found the Java technology world irresistible. At Motorola, Jim is a Fellow of Technical Staff, holding a PhD in computer engineering. Jim was part of the Motorola team that worked with Sun labs on the Spotless VM that became the KVM. From within Motorola, Jim has been responsible for many aspects of Java technology deployment, from an independent Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) and Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) implementations, to handset development, to working with the industry in defining many related standards. MIDP is an essential technology. Based on the number of units shipped that incorporate it, MIDP is arguably the most successful computing platform in the world. In addition, MIDP contains a lot of functional areas that span a broad range of required expertise. Jim says, "As you can imagine, the combination of these two factors means that a lot of companies and people want to join the Expert Group to shape the solution, and companies want to have several people with different expertise to participate in the different areas. Contrary to some JSRs, we prefer to adopt a more inclusive model and enable broad representation. This leads to a much larger Expert Group than is typical." For example, 122 people participated in the MIDP2 Expert Group.

One of the Spec Lead's most critical tasks is to stay in constant communication with the Expert Group members, who should all feel they have an equal voice in the direction of the JSR solution. This is especially tough with such a large Expert Group, where, for example, face-to-face meetings are handled in a unique way. "It's not practical to have a productive working meeting with 100+ people in a room. So what we did was create two segments of members of the Expert Group. Those who had a direct shaping influence in the market, versus those who didn't." For example, in MIDP2 the first category consisted of device manufacturers and network operators, while everyone else was placed in the second category. For MIDP3, VM vendors were moved into the first category since the spec touches on some issues that dramatically impact VM vendors.

For each face-to-face meeting, every company within the first category is allowed to send one representative. A few extra seats are reserved for people in the second category to attend. People are selected from the second category using a kind of round-robin lottery system, giving everyone a chance to attend at least one face-to-face meeting if they want to. What gives all Experts an equal voice, however, is that everyone has full access to the e-mail discussions.

Would you like to participate? To become part of the community that shapes Java standards for compatible solutions? Don't hesitate to get in touch with these folks; you'll find it all out directly from the champions: what it means to be a JCP member, to contribute, have Spec Lead responsibilities, and take a specification to the finish line. For more information about their accomplishments and contact information visit http://jcp.org and the pages of the JSRs they're leading.

More Stories By Onno Kluyt

Onno Kluyt is the chairperson of the JCP Program Management Office, Sun Microsystems.

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JDJ News Desk 10/28/05 01:17:55 PM EDT

In the August issue of JDJ (Vol. 10, issue 8) I introduced to you some of the JSR Spec Leads who won the distinction of Star Spec Lead at JavaOne. What they all share, I was noting, is their passion for Java and their belief in the benefits of evolving the platform based on binary standards that ensure compatibility, which can make developer life a lot easier and save costs of all kinds down the road. It's now time you met the other stars of the constellation.

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