JavaOne notebook: Java community tension and reconciliation

There will always be "some tension" in the Java Community Process (JCP), observed James Gosling, Sun's distinguished fellow and the software engineer credited with creating Java.

Some of that tension along with notes of reconciliation could be heard in comments that members of Sun's brain trust made during press briefings at the recent JavaOne 2004 conference in San Francisco.

Asked why they were suggesting that Red Hat, a fan of Eclipse, join the JCP, Sun Vice President and Chief Engineer Rob Gingell said: "We asked them to join so they could give back to the community instead of just taking." Chimed in Gosling: "Red Hat is a consumer of free, open-source [stuff] and doesn't give anything back."

Going along with Scott McNealy's newly acquired appreciation for the value of working with Bill Gates and company, Graham Hamilton, another Sun vice president and fellow on the Java development team noted that "we would also welcome Microsoft into the JCP. They have a lot to add."

The conversation then turned to talk of IBM and BEA building Java products that don't fit into JCP specs.

Hamilton continued to offer the olive branch, however. "It's always OK to build products on top of Java," he said. "It would only be a problem if they came out with their own Java."

And while McNealy in his keynote had hinted that IBM is trying to hijack Java, Jeff Jackson, vice president of Java software engineering, said: "IBM and Sun are committed to interoperability."

Next there was the touchy question of Sun's relationship, or lack of it, with the IBM-initiated but now independent Eclipse Foundation. Would Sun consider joining Eclipse?

"There's always room for discussion," Jackson answered. He noted that he was planning to meet with Mike Milinkovich, the new president of Eclipse, in early July. In a separate interview, Milinkovich confirmed that a meeting was scheduled.

Pressing on the issue of Sun becoming a member, Jackson said, "We haven't ruled out [joining Eclipse]."

About the Authors

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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