Sun Microsystems has taken steps to straighten out what has often been a murky and confusing path to Java standardisation by outlining plans to give its licensees a greater voice in the process.
Those licensees, which include Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and IBM, will be able to join working groups that define and maintain various non-core Java specifications. They will pay a nominal fee to participate.
PricewaterhouseCoopers will ensure that Sun and other participants follow the steps in the process being established - from specification to conformance testing of technologies, sources said.
"There has been confusion in the industry about how the process works," George Paolini, Sun's vice president of marketing, said. "The confusion has created some controversy, and we're trying to fix that."
Companies in the expert working groups will be able to participate in parts of the Java specification that interest their companies. For instance, a database vendor might like to be involved in the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) specification but not in others.
Several companies already have been involved in the process. Novell participated in the Java Naming and Directory Interface, and IBM helped shape the Java Transaction Service. But Sun's new plan will better spell out the ways that companies can join the group.
Licensee companies not involved in one of the spec groups would also be given a more formalised process for submitting input to the standardisation process, sources said.
As the company submitting Java as a standard to the International Standards Organisation, Sun must develop and maintain the Java specs under a process that allows broad participation by interested parties.
But several key licensees, including HP and IBM, have bristled at Sun's control, particu-larly as Sun juggled its dual and conflicting roles of standards shepherd and money-making vendor selling products based on those standards.
JDK 1.2 final release set to make its debut in DecemberThe final release of the long- awaited Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.2 is set for late November with a coming-out party scheduled for December 7 at the Java Business Expo in New York, according to Sun Microsystems officials. New features of JDK 1.2 will include:
A pluggable Java Virtual Machine (JVM) feature, known as the Java Plug in, so the HotSpot JVM and future upgrades can be inserted without disrupting platforms;A new security model that allows the assigning of different security levels on a component-by-component basis, known as policy-based access control, as well as certificate interfaces and x.509 v3 implementation; andAn upgraded component architecture that uses Java Foundation Classes (JFCs) as a core feature so that JVM licensees can provide JFCs in the JVM run time.