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Roundtable
Newly Elected JCP Executive Committee Members Reflect on Past, Peer into Future

by John Bacon

The Executive Committees (EC), the broad oversight boards chartered to guide the development and evolution of Java technologies, were first elected by the JCP membership in the fall of 2000. There are two ECs. The Standard/Enterprise Edition (SE/EE) EC oversees the Java technologies for the desktop/server space (with responsibility for the J2SE and J2EE specifications). The Micro Edition (ME) EC that oversees the Java technologies for the consumer/embedded space (with responsibility for the J2ME specifications). Each EC has 16 members, 10 Sun nominees that were ratified by JCP members and 5 elected members from a pool of self- nominated companies and organizations. Sun also holds a seat on each committee. This year, two companies relinquished their EC seats. So there are two extra elected representatives finishing those terms.

The twelve companies and individuals chosen in the fall of 2003 to remain on or join the Executive Committees (EC) for the Java Community Process (JCP) Program represent as wide a variety of interests around the globe as the JCP members who voted for them. Recent interviews with the representatives reveal that all share two thoughts about the JCP program: They are impressed with its evolution over the past five years and they are excited about what the future holds.

“It's great to experience the increased market uptake of Java technology," says Ericsson's Angana Ghosh, who begins a three-year term with the Micro Edition (ME) EC. "And it sure is fun to be able to play with and take advantage of new creative applications enabled by the continuous development of the J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) execution environment!"

Ericsson and Intel were elected to the ME EC in the fall. Ratified were Matsushita, Motorola, Siemens and Vodafone. On the Standard/Enterprise (SE/EE) side, ratified members included Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle. Elected were industry experts Doug Lea and Richard Monson-Haefel.

Ikuo Minakata, who represents Matsushita and its Panasonic brand on the SE/EE committee, says the JCP program has evolved cleanly from the relatively informal process to a formalized effort overseen by an international committee "of which our company is honored to be a part." The cooperative effort, he says, is vital. "It gives those who participate a voice in shaping the technology to meet their competitive needs, in actively contributing to its direction, and in having their work become part of the official Java platform," he said.

Tony Baker, representing Intel, says that pervasive computing, the growing capabilities of wireless connectivity, and the importance of Web Services will all require corresponding developments in Java technology and an even broader array of devices that use Java technology. "In the J2ME space, Java specifications will need to keep pace with the increased capabilities of hardware, including 3D graphics, multimedia, location-aware computing, and security for web services-based commerce," he said.

Don Deutsch, who represents Oracle, sees a lot of momentum in the Web services area and enterprise grid computing. "We are working hard to continue opening the JCP program up to the broadest possible audience and levelling the playing field so that all parties have the same rights and responsibilities when they participate," he said. Doug Lea says he is impressed with the evolution of the JCP program. As for future technology? "I never try to predict," he says. "I'm always wrong."

Read on to meet and hear more from the new EC members.

J2SE/J2EE

Ratified Members:

Masahiko Narita
Masahiko Narita, Fujitusu Ltd.
Masahiko Narita serves as director of the Planning Department, Strategy and Technology Division, Software Group in Fujitsu. He has been very active in promoting the object technology in the Japanese market. He notes that within the JCP program, Fujitsu is active in more than 30 Experts Groups, including being the Spec Lead for JSR (Java Specification Request) 87, Java Agent Services. Fujitsu also participates in the JCP EC Ad Hoc Committees working to improve the JCP process itself. "Being able to help direct the future of Java technology is an important differention between Java and competitive systems," Narita says. "Being a member of the JCP program and participating in Expert Groups (EG) is key to having a say in future Java technology releases. JCP 2.6 will facilitate making the work of all JSR EGs more visible to the entire JCP membership." In the future, he sees greater visibility for the work being done by the JCP program and EGs.

Scott Jameson
Scott Jameson, Hewlett-Packard
Scott Jameson has served as HP's principal representative on the SE/EE EC since April, 2001. Jameson is Director, Standards Strategy in HP's Software Global Business Unit and has participated in many standardization activities since 1978. He says the JCP program has evolved into a more open and inclusive process, particularly with the introduction of JCP 2.0 in 2000 and embracing of the open source community in 2002 (JCP 2.5). "We continue to see improvements in the JCP, such as the increased transparency of the work in individual JSRs that will result from the recently approved JSR 215 (JCP 2.6)," he says. A significant issue facing the SE/EE EC is the overall architecture of the Java platform, he adds. "For example, with close to 100 JSRs defining J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), there is occasionally overlap and duplication in JSRs that have been developed independently," he says. This increases the complexity in the platform and reduces ease-of-use for the developer community, he says. "The EC has discussed the issue of the architectural integrity of the platform in the past, and should continue to explore mechanisms to address this in the future," he says. From a process perspective, we see a continued improvement in the openness, transparency and balance of the JCP program. From a technology view, we see a shift of emphasis, from adding significant new functionality to making that functionality easier to use and deploy in the marketplace.

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas, IBM
Mark Thomas is program director of Java Technology for IBM's Software Group. He says that IBM's customers are strongly focused on implementing emerging standards such as XML and Web Services. "In order to be effective, these standards require strong collaboration between software providers," he says. For example, IBM provides the Specification Lead for Java Specification Request 109 (Implementing Enterprise Web Services) and is also the specification lead for JSRs 104 (XML Trust Service) and JSR 106 (XML Digital Encryption). "The JCP program has definitely become much more mature in its nature over the last 5 years," Thomas says. "JSR 215 (JCP 2.6) has focused strongly on improving the visibility into, and accountability of, expert groups. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes that it introduces take effect." He noted that contributing to a JSR, whether as leader or as a member expert, offers individuals, and the enterprises they may represent, the chance to influence and direct the evolution of the technology. "We all know that in this business time is a critical success factor, and having the inside track on the definition of a technology can sometimes make the difference between success and failure for an implementation," he said. In the future, Thomas says the more that Java technology is associated with a coordinated, strong, industry-wide effort, the more value it offers to enterprises and software vendors who require an industrial strength, stable application platform that works consistently well across a broad selection of computing systems.

Don Deutsch
Don Deutsch, Oracle
A 25-year veteran of the Information Technology industry, Don Deutsch is currently Vice President, Standards Strategy and Architecture for Oracle Corporation. For over 20 years Don has chaired the committee charged with defining the standard that all Relational database management system products support, the INCITS H2 Technical Committee on Database (a.k.a., the ANSI SQL Committee). The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recognized Dr. Deutsch for his leadership of national and international information technology standardization as the 2002 recipient of the Edward Lohse Information Technology Medal. He says that one of the most important aspects of the evolution of the JCP program has been the new uniform JSPA, (Java Specification Participation Agreement) which significantly levels the playing field for all participants in the JCP program. All participants in an Expert Group for a new JSR are now operating under the same JSPA and therefore all have the same rights and responsibilities. And he says the JCP program can give companies access to evolving specifications and reference implementations, so they can bring their own products and services to market faster. "Developers can take advantage of excellent networking opportunities and can learn from others' experiences," he said. Looking ahead, Deutsch says athe ECs are "working hard to continue opening the JCP program up to the broadest possible audience and levelling the playing field so that all parties have the same rights and responsibilities when they participate."

Elected members:

Doug Lea
Doug Lea
Doug Lea was the top votegetter among candidates for election and thus receives a three-year term. He is a professor of Computer Science at the State University of New York at Oswego, is the author of the book "Concurrent Programming in Java.'' Lea says the JCP program has become more inclusive. He says the JCP program is giving developers and companies an edge by putting out first-rate standardized technology in a timely manner "and then leveraging this technology to more productively create high-quality software." Challenges the JCP program faces include issues such as increased support for system-level programming and for aspect-oriented programming, and improved web service support. Also in the offing: "Dissolving most differences between J2ME vs J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition)." And farther down the road, look for changes in the process. "I think that it is inevitable that parts of the platform (like core J2SE) will adopt a fully open-source model of development," he said.

Richard Monson- Haefel
Richard Monson-Haefel
Richard Monson-Haefel placed second among candidates for election and claims a two-year term. He is an author of Java-related publications and founder of the Apache Geronimo and the OpenEJB open source projects. He serves on the J2EE 1.4 (JSR-151), EJB 2.1 (JSR-153) and EJB 3.0 (JSR 220) expert groups. "The JCP program has come a long way. It's a lot more open to the community and more supportive of noncommercial endeavors such as open source software," Monson-Haefel said. He said he hopes the committee can "tweak" the process so specifications are developed more quickly. And he says the future of the J2SE and J2EE platforms are ease-of-use. "We need to simply the J2EE APIs and create a more unified programming model," he said.

J2ME
Ratified Members:

Ikuo Minakata, Matsushita
Ikuo Minakata is responsible for strategic promotion in the field of technical alliance and standardization at Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd, best known for its Panasonic brand. Minakata says Matsushita's experience in leading the development of four JSRs has provided invaluable insight into the needs of other developers and companies. Key issues now facing the ECs, he says, include increasing the relevance of and relationship between JSRs and other emerging standards and establishing "best practices" guidelines for Reference Implementations and Technology Compatibility Kits that address predictability of costs. Further down the road, Minakata says that a key change will be the convergence of Java and networking technologies in consumer electronics (CE). Java technology already plays a highly visible role in emerging standard interactive DTV technology, such as the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) and the Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP). Java technology also plays a key role in mobile CE devices, as exemplified by the recent JSR 185, Java for the Wireless Industry (JTWI), standard created under the JCP program. Minakata envisions a future where standard Java technology will be inserted into a variety of other CE devices. "The availability of standard Java APIs will not only allow third-party developers to extend CE devices with rich and lifestyle-enhancing applications, but will also facilitate the interoperation of devices from different manufacturers," he said. That will dramatically improve consumer experience." He also said to look for a "blurring" of the differences between the work of the J2EE/SE EC and the J2ME EC.

Sanjay Gupta
Sanjay Gupta, Motorola
Sanjay Gupta is Director of Services and Applications for Motorola. Being involved with the JCP program gives developers a crucial edge by having the opportunity to participate in the definition of future APIs, he said. "The JCP program is recognized worldwide as the primary Java API specification body," he said. Gupta said that companies also benefit because standardized solutions strengthen the marketplace by reducing fragmentation. "Now that the JCP program has grown significantly in size and Java technology has become an established software platform, the JCP program must consolidate its position as a key standards setting body, building bridges with other leading standards organizations and thereby further strengthening the Java community," he said. He added that Motorola sees the wireless space becoming an increasingly important area for Java technologies. "J2ME is still in its relative infancy but we expect that to change over the next few years," he said. "The major change will be a shift from a static and relatively brittle grouping of APIs to a more dynamic downloadable services framework."

Marquart Franz, Siemens
Marquart Franz is vice chair of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Game Services working group and principal engineer at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). Franz says early concerns about speed and openness have been replaced by good compromises and collaboration. He said the JCP program has been stellar in terms of defining a new broad technology base and raising the line of compatibility and competition. "Developers and companies involved with the JCP program have the advantage of know-how gained by engaging and contributing to a new technology while it is being shaped," he says. He notes that the number of JSRs which influence or have impact on Big and Small Java (J2EE/SE and J2ME) is ascending (e.g. JSR 232 and JSR 233). "The JCP executive committees have to oversee these broader implications and have to move the process by itself to support this technology linking," he said. "To be a competitive technology in the future we have to evolve the process to reach a stage where quick technology development and adoption is possible from both sides, technology and business."

Jochen Hertle
Jochen Hertle, Vodafone
Jochen Hertle is director of Research and Development (Germany) for Vodafone group, the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world. Hertle said the JCP program evolution has been smooth. "The major step from JCP 1.X to 2.X, which was a great challenge, was completed successfully." Hertle said. "Especially in case of licensing, it was and will be a major step in the right direction." From the carrier perspective, the involvment in the JCP program enables developers to create a new kind of content and allows new business models and companies an opportunity to have major influence in the design of a common end-to-end architecture, such as JSR 209, JSR 184, JSR 233. "One of the biggest challenges for the ECs is to ensure that all involved parties feel confortable and supportive," he said. Another will be the synchronisation between different communities like OMA, OSGi and W3C. From the technology perspective one of the biggest challenges of the EC will be to keep the balance between the different groups such as JSR 185 (JTWI), JSR 232, JSR 233, he said.

Elected Members:

Angana Ghosh, Ericsson Mobile Platforms
Angana Ghosh was the top votegetter in the open election and wins a three-year term. She has worked in various standardization forums for Ericsson Mobile Platforms. "Ericsson and Ericsson Mobile Platforms have watched with interest the evolution of Java Community Process program, particularly JCP 2.5 and JCP 2.6 (JSR 215)," she says. "We feel that the process is evolving in the right direction to provide a level playing field for all participants." She said that EC involvement provides an opportunity to influence and contribute in the development of new Java standards. "As a believer in the technology, we would like to show our commitment and deliver competitive Java-ready platforms, and hence enable our customers to bring advanced mobile devices and Java applications to the market," she said. Ghosh said Ericsson is very supportive of the work done in JSR 185 (JTWI), which specifies configuration, profiles and APIs to bring predictability to the J2ME execution space. She said she and Ericsson would like to be involved in its subsequent releases to work towards a defragmented market. "Such harmonization will be a key in boosting the application development for mobile devices," she says. Another component in wider market acceptance is open and fair licensing models, she adds.

Tony Baker
Tony Baker, Intel Corporation
Intel placed second in the open election and gains a one-year term. Tony Baker is director of the Programming Systems Lab. He is a big fan of the new process (JCP 2.6). He says it encourages the creation of early public drafts and moves the Executive Committee vote to the second draft. Both changes will foster early feedback. "This increased transparency by the JCP program will result in a stronger and more efficient process for creating compelling new specifications," he says. He believes it is important that Java technology is a key enabling technology for many market segments. "Instead of passively waiting to see what new APIs become available, JCP Members can actively shape the future capabilities and specifications of Java technology," he says. One key issue facing the J2ME space, he says, is being able to deal with the wide variety of devices that use the specs. "Optional Java specifications are very important to expose new capabilities, but along with that, there must be ways to match up capabilities of devices with application requirements before applications are downloaded," he says. The pace of innovation will likely increase over the near term, and this will yield many opportunities for Java technology, Baker says. "An important development could be allowing applications to be more aware of the resources available to them and to have more say in how those resources are utilized," Baker says.

Sun Microsystems