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Microsoft Joins the Java Community Process

You'd think I'd have seen it coming. All the signs were there. There was the day Microsoft announced that it had joined the OpenJDK project back in 2019. Then there was the company's decision to upgrade its status at the Eclipse Foundation to Strategic Member in August of this year. And when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proclaimed in September that "We use more Java than one can imagine," I just should have known that Redmond would soon be joining the venerable technology standards and specifications organization behind the evolution of the Java language and platform, the Java Community Process (JCP).

Bruno Borges, Principal Program Manager for Microsoft's Java Engineering Group, revealed that the company had signed the Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA) to officially join the JCP in a blog post earlier this month.

"As we have collectively learned since the announcement of the Microsoft Build of OpenJDK in April 2021," Borges said, "Java usage within Microsoft has grown way beyond Minecraft. We have more than 500,000 JVMs in production running hundreds of internal Microsoft systems. In addition to significant internal Java usage, there are many customers and developers coding and running Java on Microsoft Azure and GitHub. Joining the JCP is a major, yet natural step forward for Microsoft in helping shape the future of the Java Platform."

And the Chair and Director of the JCP, Heather VanCura, gave the new member her blessing: "For the past 23 years, the JCP program has guided the specification of the Java platform in cooperation with the international Java developer community. The JCP program welcomes participation and membership from corporate, open source, individual, and Java User Group participants. We are delighted to welcome Microsoft to the JCP program; it continues to represent the vibrant Java ecosystem. We look forward to seeing their contributions.

I sent her an email, but she hasn't gotten back to me. When she does, I'll try for a less PR-sculpted comment. To be fair, the JCP has been through the ringer over the past decade, and VanCura helmed that troubled ship through some treacherous waters. She helped developers and vendors adapt to the faster Java release cadence, spending most of 2019 demonstrating, teaching, and working with developers and teams. She also led the JCP through the often-painful process of untangling that JSPA Nadella and company just signed, which was notoriously byzantine, and which her predecessor, Patrick Curra,n once described to me simply as "big and scary."

Then there's that other Bruno, Mr. Souza, the one in South America who founded the Brazil-based SouJava, largest Java User Group (JUG) in the world. He was one of the initiators of the Apache Harmony project to create a non-proprietary Java virtual machine. He serves on the Executive Committee of the JCP, and was one of my first guests on "The WatersWorks Podcast."

"The JCP is the place where we define and discuss the future of Java, and where we need the collaboration of all the Java community," Souza said. "Microsoft has been an important part of this community, with their involvement in OpenJDK but also supporting Java User Groups and community events. Because of all that, Microsoft has become a strong partner of SouJava, and we are excited to have them go even deeper on their commitment with the Java community."

RedMonk analyst James Governor sees this development as further evidence of Microsoft's commitment to a future in which Java continues matter. "Java remains a key context for IT today and for the foreseeable future," Governor said.

Boy howdy.

Posted by John K. Waters on November 16, 2021