JCP Chair reveals next stage of reform

Oracle files third JCP reform JSR for greater transparency

Chris Mayer
java-duke

Details have emerged from Oracle over how the JCP will change over the coming months to modify the legal agreement for JSRs, hopefully making things more open than they currently are.

After realising that the Java Community Process was no longer
fit for purpose, you can’t really fault Oracle’s desire to bring an
ailing open source model back to life that could offer greater
transparency and broader participation.

First, JSR
348: Towards a new version of the Java Community
Process
 (or JCP.next.1) made some notable, yet
simple changes to the process back in October last year, which most
JSRs took on board. However, there were some stumbling blocks which
required more delicate attention. Then there was Step No.
2, 
JSR
355: JCP Executive Committee Merge
, which is currently bringing
together the two Executive Committees for the Java ME and Java SE
platforms under one supreme group. As Java is heading down the
convergence route, it seems logical to encourage efficiency within
its Executive Committee, and greater synergy between the two
Javas.

But until recently, we weren’t sure how Oracle was going to deal
with the most important issues. Fortunately, JCP Chair, Patrick
Curran unveiled all in a recent
blogpost
, revealing JSR 358: A major revision of
the Java Community Process
, (or JCP.next.3 as it will now be
known). All the issues postponed from JCP.next.1 will be addressed
here, as well as the more sensitive ones such as revising
both the JSPA (Java Specification Process Agreement)
and Process Document.

Curran mentions just some of the areas that JCP.next.3
will look at:

  • the role of independent implementations (those not derived from
    the Reference Implementation), 
  • licensing and open source, 
  • ensuring that new transparency requirements are properly
    implemented, 
  • compatibility policy and TCKs,
  • the role of individual members, 
  • patent policy,
  • IP flow.

The name of the JSR is probably enough to tell you how important
this specification is for the future of the JCP – seeking to right
some wrongs accumulated in the last decade, and clarify some
ambiguity that has arisen. As Curran notes:

The current version of the JSPA was created back in 2002,
although some minor changes were introduced in 2005. Since then the
organization and the environment in which we operate have changed
significantly, and it is now time to revise our processes to ensure
that they meet our current needs.

Minutes from
previous Executive Committee meetings
reveal just how thorough
discussions have been on how to improve the JCP, and now they want
your engagement. Key debated issues will arise yet again in
JCP.next.3 and you could shape the direction of the JCP in the
coming years. Head over to java.net to find
out more about this initiative. All deliberations will be
copied to a public 
Observer mailing
list, 
all issues will appear on a
public 
Issue Tracker and all
documents (meeting agendas and minutes, task lists, working drafts)
will be published in the 
Document
Archive
. Now that’s transparency.

We’re glad the JCP is finally getting the attention it
needs to fully become open for all, and they were right to hold off
until now: it is imperative that everything is debated in full
before a decision is made. If that takes a year, so be it. Sorting
out the Executive Member who somehow forget to vote would be top of
our list anyway.

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