Sun receives complaint about Java vetting process

Official cites unnamed company's concern that the JCP's results may not be legally pure

Sun Microsystems has heard from a company concerned about the vetting process of Java and open source, a Sun official said on Wednesday.

Lawyers for the concerned company said they cannot be sure the results of the process are legally pure, said Patrick Curran, chair of the Java Community Process (JCP), during a panel session on open standards development at the QCon conference in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon. The JCP serves as the process for updating Java standards. Curran would not name the company.

[ For more news from QCon, see "Ruby hailed as economic solution." ]

"There is concern that if you do your development work in a completely open source manner through something like OpenJDK, that it is possible something will slip into the source code base that has not been appropriately vetted," Curran said in an interview after the session. He described the issue as not a big deal but a concern. 

Sun began open-sourcing Java two years ago.

Also during the panel session, Spring Framework founder Rod Johnson said that as a member of the JCP executive committee, he plans to push for openness in the Java standardization process.

"There may be times when that needs to be deviated from, but I would like that to be the starting point," said Johnson, who is CEO of SpringSource. Johnson was elected to the committee several weeks ago for a two-year term, he said.

Johnson stressed community involvement in Java. "I think that it's too easy just to blame Sun for the fact that the community doesn't participate more," he said. Openness does not really work without participation, he said.

Elsewhere in the JCP, Curran said all work on Java Platform, Standard Edition 7 will be done by the Java Development Kit community in an open source manner.

Also on tap from the JCP are collaboration tools for better communication in the Java standards development process. "We are going to roll out some stuff on, which is in forums and so on, to make it a little easier for expert groups to communicate amongst themselves and between themselves and the general membership," Curran said.

There has been concern that expert groups have been operating behind closed doors, Curran said. The tools are currently in a beta form and are due in a couple months, he said.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.