JCP holds elections, contemplates OpenJDK

Alex Handy
December 23, 2009 —  (Page 1 of 2)
November's election results for the executive committee of the Java Community Process saw the return of many familiar faces to the panel. And though the elections proved that the JCP is still functioning normally, there are still doubts about whether its activities are being hampered by the stalled Oracle/Sun merger.

While existing Java Specification Requests, such as the Java EE 6 specification, have continued on in the JCP process during the merger, the JCP has had no new specification submissions since the merger was announced. Additionally, no JSRs have entered the early draft review stage, either.

The JCP also decided this fall that it would have a go at the OpenJDK specification before its release. But since the time the JCP made this decision, there have been no specification submissions to the JCP under the OpenJDK umbrella.

There are numerous changes to the OpenJDK that will require their own JSRs. Some changes already have JSRs, such as Project Jigsaw, which is an implementation of JSR 294: Improved Modularity Support in the Java Programming Language. But, ironically, though this JSR is being implemented in the OpenJDK 7, it is not intended for completion in time for the first public release of the OpenJDK. Instead, JSR 294 is expected to be tested in the OpenJDK, but finished in time for the next release of Java, which would be Java SE 8.

And though the OpenJDK has not yet begun to work its way through the JCP, past experiences have shown that one to two years is a typical period of time for the JCP to work on a specification. Even when specifications are finished and brought to the JCP for a rubber stamp, they can take up to a year.

This is what happened when the OSGi specification was brought to the JCP. JSR 291, which essentially approved the OSGi way of doing things, took a year and a half to gain approval. Even then, the OSGi specification also saw members voting against its approval as a JSR, arguing that the JCP should not rubber stamp existing standards. Sun Microsystems itself actually voted against the OSGi public review for this reason. Similarly, the OpenJDK has been developed outside the JCP.

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