Sun Microsystems is set to announce a new process that allows non-Java licensees to help define new Java APIs across the spectrum of Java classes.
The move to open Java comes amid several budding initiatives designed to hold the Java movement together, placate fractious partners, and prevent segmentation of Java, while easing the ability to deliver write-once, run-anywhere functionality.
"We're making it possible for anyone who wants to be involved in early development to get in," Jim Mitchell, vice president of architecture and technology at Sun, said. "They just need to sign a participation agreement that they will work in Java's best interests, and pay an annual fee."
The process could start in December, and annual fees should be no more than $US5000, with discounts for non-profit organisations, Mitchell added.
Sun's broadening of the process behind the standardisation of Java APIs and classes comes as a group of embedded systems developers have splintered away from Sun over Java issues.
While Sun is opening the creation process on a range of specifications, it is also keeping tight control over the definition of the Java programming language and the emergence of various Java virtual machines (JVMs).
The new process will prevent parties from bringing patented technology into the Java milieu, so as to block the possibility of an avalanche of royalty payments that would stymie Java's use, Mitchell said.
Among the new initiatives, Sun in coming weeks will redefine how licensed partners create and test JVMs, he said.
Sun will also announce the Java Platform for the Enterprise (JPE), which consists of reference implementations such as Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), compatibility testing, and programming guidelines for building around Java, according to Jon Kannegaard, Sun's vice president and general manager of Java platforms.
JPE forms a collection of the dozen or so existing APIs, such as EJB, that form the enterprise computing infrastructure around Java, Mitchell added.
Separately, Sun, in further defining the EJB specification, plans to deliver a fix release to EJB 1.0 in either January or February.