Standards group mulls over Java protocols

Standards group mulls over Java protocols

A Swiss-based standards consortium's management committee has asked its Java technical committee to explore ways to go forward and standardise Java without contributions from Sun Microsystems.

ECMA's management committee, which consists of representatives from Xerox UK and IBM, made the formal request after Sun failed to respond to a December 1 deadline set by an ECMA coordinating committee, said Jan van den Beld, secretary general of the Geneva-based industry consortium. The group, formerly known as the European Computer Manufacturers Association, turns over its standards to the International Standards Organization (ISO) after they're finalised.

"Honestly, I don't know what the outcome of this will be," said van den Beld. "Of course, ECMA will do everything to avoid [impinging] on any property rights of Sun."

Sun's ECMA standards effort hit a snag in late October when the company declined to turn over Java documentation, citing concerns that ECMA had no written policies on trademark and copyright issues. ECMA's coordinating committee then issued a December 1 deadline for Sun to turn over the Java specification. If not, the committee said it would consider writing the Java standards based on information that is publicly available or stop the standards effort.

Sun vice president George Paolini said the company didn't consider the deadline to be valid, since a subcommittee drafted it. Instead, he said the company plans to respond at a December 16 meeting of the ECMA general assembly.

Meanwhile, Sun issued a press release announcing the reorganisation of its Software Products and Platforms group, headed by former IBM executive Patricia Sueltz.

James Gosling, regarded as Java's inventor, will move over to Sun Laboratories to focus on developing new technology; Jim Mitchell, who was instrumental in Java standards efforts, will now head Sun Labs; and Jon Kannegaard, former vice president and general manager of Java software, will act as liaison between the products group and Sun Labs.

Sueltz's products and platforms division created a new community development group, headed by George Paolini, to focus on "being more inclusive and cooperative'' with Java licensees and developers who help Sun evolve the technology, the company said. Rich Green will head the newly formed Java software development group.

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