Java Community Process Merges Executive Committees

The Java Community Process (JCP), the group that certifies Java specifications, has voted to approve a plan to combine the Executive Committees (ECs) overseeing Java Standard Edition (SE), Java Enterprise Edition (EE), and the Java Micro Edition (ME) into a single body. This is actually the merger of two committees: one oversees Java SE and Java EE, another oversees Java ME.

The move was proposed earlier this year as a Java Specification Request (JSR). JSR 355 ("JCP EC Merge") aimed to combine the two ECs and reduce the total number of committee members. It includes a provision for maintaining the existing two-to-one ratio of ratified-to-elected seats, and a rule that neither Oracle nor any other member may hold more than one seat on the merged EC. Oracle's and IBM's duplicate seats are eliminated, automatically reducing membership from 32 to 30.

The JCP passed the JSR on August 13. Fourteen members of the SE/EE committees voted yes, with one abstention (Google); 12 members of the ME EC voted yes (two members, AT&T and RIM, were not eligible). The actual merging of the committees is planned for some time after the 2012 Executive Committee election. But in the 2013 elections, five more seat will be eliminated (three ratified and two elected), reducing that number to 25. All 25 seats will be up for re-election that year.

"It seems like the right thing to do," JCP chair Patrick Curran told ADTmag in January, "that we should have a single executive committee which will deal with all of the three platforms—because it is one platform with three flavors."

Curran served as spec lead for the JSR. The initial Expert Group membership consisted of all members of the two ECs, including among others Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation; Red Hat's Mark Little; Twitter's Attila Szegedi; Intel's Anil Kumar; and Google's Joshua Block.

The JSR also called for changes to some of the EC election processes, the most significant of which is likely to be the move from a three year election cycle to a two-year cycle. The change will be made over two years. According to the JCP, members elected to the EC in 2013 "will be ranked to determine whether their initial term will be one or two years." Then, half of all ratified seat holders and the half of all elected members who receive the most votes will serve an initial two-year term; the rest will serve for one year. By 2014 all EC members will be serving two-year terms.

The Executive Committees of the JCP are charged with guiding "the evolution of Java." They select the JSRs that will be developed, approve draft specs and final specs, approve Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) licenses, approve maintenance revisions, occasionally defer features to new JSRs, approve transfer of maintenance duties between members, and provide guidance to the Program Management Office (PMO).

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].