The Java Community Process is not an appropriate forum for that, according to Sutor, because "the JCP is for building specifications, and occasionally reference implementations. It is not for building best of breed implementations."
Once such an implementation is agreed upon, Java vendors such as Sun, IBM, BEA Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp. could compete based on the products they build on top of it, he said, such as Java application servers.
Some analysts have praised IBM's push to make Java open source, but they have also criticized the company for waging its battle in public. Sutor said IBM released its letter because it wanted people to know that it is encouraging -- not forcing -- Sun to make Java open source, and that it will help with the project.
Critics have also said that if IBM is committed to making Java open source, it should lead the way by offering an open source version of its WebSphere Java application server. Sutor said the comparison is unrealistic since WebSphere is a commercial product. The company has contributed some open source Java code to the community, he said, but "there is a line where you say, below this we will open source; above this we will not open source today."
IBM is "not being prescriptive" about which parts of Java should be made open source, but has in mind a phased approach starting with lower level components such as the Java virtual machine and the Java runtime environment, Sutor said.
He expressed optimism that IBM will get its way.
"If we thought this had zero possibility of succeeding, we wouldn't have bothered," he said.