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Java Community Process To Merge Executive Committees

Back in October at JavaOne, representatives from the Java Community Process (JCP), the group that certifies Java specifications, talked about changes coming to the organization. First on the list was the "low-hanging fruit" of transparency, participation, agility and governance addressed in Java Specification Request (JSR) 348. Since then the community has been, in the words of JCP chair Patrick Curran, "revising the process through the process."

Now the JCP has gotten around to a moderately trickier adjustment: The promised merger of the two JCP Executive Committees: the SE/EE EC and the ME EC.

"JSR 355: JCP Executive Committee Merge" seeks to merge the two ECs and reduce the total number of committee members (there are 32 right now). The JSR 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.

The ECs are charged with guiding "the evolution of Java," and it's not a small job. The ECs pick the JSRs that will be developed, approve draft specs and final specs, approve Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) licenses, approve maintenance revisions and occasionally defer features to new JSRs, approve transfer of maintenance duties between members and provide guidance to the Program Management Office (PMO).

Curran is the spec lead on JSR 355, and the initial Expert Group membership consists of all members of the ME and the SE/EE Executive Committees -- including, among others, Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation; Red Hat's Mark Little; brand new EC member Twitter's Attila Szegedi; Intel's Anil Kumar; and Google's Joshua Block.

The Expert Group has committed on the JCP Web site "to complete the JSR within about six months, thereby permitting the changes to be initiated during the 2012 elections," but also allows that the changes "may need be phased in over time."

The JCP also states its case for the consolidation:

Changes in the Java ME market, and the increasing maturity and consolidation of the Java market generally, suggests that some rebalancing between Java ME and the other platforms, together with a modest reduction in the total number of EC members, would be appropriate. Looking forward, the expected convergence between Java ME and Java SE is likely to render the current division into two separate ECs increasingly irrelevant. Since Java is One Platform, it ought to be overseen by a single Executive Committee.

Curran put it more succinctly during his aforementioned JavaOne session: "It seems like the right thing to do," he said, "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."

Let me know what you think about this merging of ECs in the comments!

Posted by John K. Waters on February 7, 2012