Sun Open Standards Sham

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NEW YORK, NY Java Business SM Conference December 7, 1999 Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced today that it is withdrawing its proposal to formally standardize the Java 2 platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) from the standards body ECMA. Sun is withdrawing from the process in order to protect the integrity of the Java technology and the investment made in it by the worldwide community using Java technology. This is such a slap in the face for all Java developers. After the debacle that was the ISO fast track to standardisation, Sun have pulled out of the ECMA process as well. There were rumours bubbling up this week through the Java Study Group mailing list. Now the body of opinion is to go it alone – to produce a standard without Sun that encompasses the bytecode, vm and core api specifications. Indeed, last week, the chaiman of the ECMA Java committee (TC41) said:

As you know, TC41 was established to develop a standard based upon Java 2. Sun, who initiated the proposal to establish TC41, was expected to submit its Java 1.2.2 specification to be used as the basis of this work. Sun failed to do this at the first meeting of TC41 in October 1999, claiming that it had unresolved IPR issues regarding the specification.

At the meeting of the ECMA Coordinating Committee on November 11-12, 1999, the CC asked Sun to clarify its position on this matter by December 1 so that the ECMA GA could take appropriate action at the December 16, 1999 meeting.

Sun has failed to respond to this request from the CC.

Today ECMA management requested that TC41 consider proceeding with its programme of work without the Sun submission. Java 2 is well understood in the marketplace and documented in many books and other publicly available materials. TC41 may be able to use these and other sources of information to complete its programme of work. Clearly, we need to choose an approach that will allow us to proceed effectively and rapidly.

Without the Sun submission, there will be more work for us to do. I would recommend that we do our best to produce at least an initial standard to be submitted to the ECMA GA for approval in December 2000. With that in mind, I recommend that TC41 approach this effort by prioritizing its work, first to include the Java language and its core APIs, the JVM, and JNI. The remainder of the work which would include the very large number of non-core APIs should be addressed at a lower priority. If we are able to complete the full work by December 2000, great. If not we’ll have the key portions of Java 2 standardized in a timely fashion and TC41 can continue in 2001 to complete its programme of work, or perhaps to move on to Java 3.

Understandably, people are angry and hurt:
Sun has played us ALL for fools, and I (for one) don’t see their games to be ANY different than Microsoft’s ones. They AREN’T thinking of the community (as their press release says). They are thinking ONLY of themselves.

Let’s NOW move on with the standardization of a Universal Virtual Machine, and see what we can do to free ourselves from proprietary wolves in sheep’s clothing…..

It has finally lost the respect of the developers that it has gradually built up over the past years. Their selfish actions have surely condemmed Java to a painful and slow death. Sun deserves all it gets.

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