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08 December 2010, 13:05

JCP Executive Committee loses independent Java expert

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Tim Peierls, one of two independent Java experts on the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee (EC), has announced his resignation from the standardisation body. His decision to resign was taken shortly after the committee rubber stamped Oracle's plans for the forthcoming Java 6 and Java 7. Peierls' vote was one of three to oppose Oracle's proposal. Google, the Apache Software Foundation and Peierls all voted against, in response to Oracle imposing restrictions on the availability of Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs) for Java.

Peierls returns to this issue in his resignation announcement, where he states that for a year he retained hope that the Executive Committee might be able to exert some influence on Oracle. The straw that broke the camel's back was Oracle's failure to address the ambiguous licensing terms for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8. He says that he initially intended to abstain, but that Oracle's silence eventually moved him to vote 'No'.

Peierls is also confident that the majority of those who voted 'Yes', while being critical of Oracle's conduct, did so due more to contractual obligations than to strong principles. This convinced Peierls that his vote was worthless. He believes that Oracle's intention to push ahead with their vision for the future of Java whatever the outcome of the Executive Committee vote has made it clear that the committee is now nothing more than a rubber stamp for Oracle's plans.

Irrespective of this, the Java expert remains impressed by the technical aspects of the Java 7 and Java 8 specifications, although he expresses doubt whether many developers really need Java to move forward at such a pace and wonders if the pressure for more new features is perhaps due to purely commercial concerns. He is also involved in the Executive Committee for JSR 334 (Java Specification Request) – Small Enhancements to the Java Programming Language and in discussions on JSR 335 – Lambda Expressions for the Java Programming Language. Peierls is unequivocal in his support for both projects and for the Java ecosystem, Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 notwithstanding.

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