Sun Microsystems may have streamlined its Java
development process and intensified its marketing around the openess of the programming language and platform, but some smaller partners
are still not happy.

Several organisations undertaking Java
projects expressed concern to Builder AU over the Java Community Process (JCP), with representatives claiming the
structure is politically compromised and restrictive.

“We believe there is still more work to do, which is why we participate in the JCP,” Geir Magnusson Jr, spokesperson from the
Apache Software Foundation and lead for the Harmony project told
journalists at a media roundtable at last week’s JavaOne conference.

“Clearly from the Apache Software Foundation you can see our model of
working and that is openness. The [JCP] is not that model and can’t be
that model but there are things we can bring from our experience to the JCP to make it better,” Magnusson added.

While other selected participants at the roundtable were happy with the current JCP process, two notable exclusions from the event were Java heavyweights IBM and BEA.

John Newton, chief technical officer of open source content management
service provider Alfresco, said the JCP was driven by larger companies
such as Sun, IBM, and other high profile companies which make up its
executive committee members and sought “purely political

Irakli Nadareishvili, chief software architect of Development Gateway
Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that works on technology
projects with developing countries, said “participation is more
important [than open sourcing Java], it’s more about transforming the
Java Community Process”. He said it was tough for an individual from a smaller company to get onto one of the vendor panels which influence the future of Java specifications and overall direction.

“Sun is losing momentum. They have been in the driver’s seat. Because
of the slow [JCP] process, people are frustrated,” said Fima Katz,
president and chief executive officer of Exadel, which sells tools and
services for Java open-source products. “It’s not the only reason, but
it’s because open source can deliver faster and better.”

However, Java founder and chief technology officer of Sun’s developer
products group, James Gosling, has a different view.

He told Builder
he was satisfied
with the recent changes to make the JCP more open and that “the Java
Community Process is a democracy, not a dictorship”.

Stephen Shankland and Ingrid Marson contributed to this report.