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Exit the Java EE Guardians; Enter the Jakarta EE Ambassadors

The Java EE Guardians, the all-volunteer organization formed in 2016 to secure the continuing evolution of enterprise Java, is considering a name change -- and not just because "Java EE" has become "Jakarta EE." With the platform now securely evolving under the stewardship of the Eclipse Foundation, the members don't feel they have much to guard these days. In fact, they feel more like ... ambassadors.

The renaming of the organization to The Jakarta EE Ambassadors is all but a done deal, and it's clearly a milestone in the evolution of enterprise Java and the Guardians' years-long effort to save it from Oracle's neglect. So, I reached out to members of the organization to ask about the process of choosing a new moniker and the group's changing mission.

"'Guardians' was appropriate for the change in stewardship and governance, because many who relied heavily on the Java EE standard had a sense the transition may go awry," said Dennis Gesker, CTO at Alamon, Inc., in Kalispell, Missouri. "But, boy, things are looking good, and I think it's a positive development that this trepidation has eased. There's traction in EEs new home, and it's moving forward under the new governance model."

Ondrej Mihályi, a Prague-based engineer at Payara, said "Ambassadors" received a wide consensus within the Java EE Guardians community very quickly. In fact, no other names were proposed that were popular enough to compete with it.

The Guardians got an assist in their name selection from the Eclipse Foundation, Mihályi explained. "The new name was actually suggested by the Eclipse Foundation, which means there are no legal obstacles to using it."

"I can't remember who suggested 'Ambassador,' but I think it captures the right tone," said Mike Milinkovich, the Foundation's executive director. "As a community-based, member-supported organization, we don't feel that Jakarta EE needs to be 'guarded' from the Eclipse Foundation, and we're happy to see that they agree."

The renaming sends a signal that a core part of the Java EE community is ready to embrace the Jakarta EE transition, said Reza Rahman, principal program manager for Java on Azure at Microsoft, and a founding Guardian. "There is no reason to think Jakarta EE should not surpass Java EE in adoption and relevance," he said, "though there is clearly work to be done ahead."

And what exactly will that work entail? What will be the role of The Ambassadors in the Jakarta EE era?

"The next step for the group is to begin to strengthen and rebuild the community around the technology," Rahman said, "as well as contribute directly towards accelerating multilateral, forward momentum, now that the transfer from the JCP is complete."

"We will continue to ensure that the community's voice is heard," said Josh Juneau, application developer, system analyst, and database administrator at the Fermilab particle physics and accelerator laboratory in Illinois. "We want to make sure that it's not only the big vendors who are being heard."

Gesker agreed that a key role of the Ambassadors going forward will be to represent the smaller members of the enterprise Java community in the governance of the platform. "The big guys -- Oracle, IBM, etc. -- have the resources to directly represent themselves," he said. "So, yes, a group that represents the needs and concerns of little shops and individuals, acting and communicating in a positive and constructive manner, is a good thing, and the branding should reflect that."

The Ambassadors will also continue to promote enterprise Java, said Mihályi "We hope to help promote Jakarta EE, spread word about it, teach it, represent the voice of the user community, and positively influence the evolution of Jakarta EE and related processes within the Eclipse Foundation," he said.

Milinkovich acknowledged the "instrumental" role the Guardians played in raising awareness of issues related to Oracle's stewardship of the Java EE Platform. Their work has, in fact, also helped Oracle, other Java EE vendors, and the community to "achieve what many considered impossible: the migration of Java EE to an open, vendor-neutral, community-based organization."

"We're thrilled that the Java EE Guardians will be renamed as the Jakarta EE Ambassadors," he added. "Having this group advocating for this important technology will be a key part of our community's success going forward. Plus, I am sure that, regardless of what they're called, if they think we're messing something up, they won't be shy in telling us so!"

Posted by John K. Waters on 11/06/2019 at 9:17 AM


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