The Eclipse Foundation last week joined the JCP, the Sun-sponsored Java standards body. Artima spoke with Eclipse Foundation executive director Mike Milinkovich on what motivated Eclipse's JCP membership.
Last week the Eclipse Foundation announced that it joined the Java Community Process (JCP), as a member. Artima spoke with Eclipse Foundation executive director Mike Milinkovich about what Eclipse hopes to achieve from this move.
Frank Sommers: What does the Eclipse Foundation hope to achieve from joining the JCP?
Mike Milinkovich: We announced that we recently joined three organizations: the Object Management Group [OMG], the Open Services Gateway Initiative [OSGi] Alliance, and the JCP. Our motivations were the same in all three cases: Recognizing that we’ve been working with them, and that we have been relying on specifications from them, for some time. We felt that it was time to recognize that and make it clear that we support their activities.
As to what benefits we hope to achieve for Eclipse members by joining the JCP, that’s something still to be decided. There is a vast overlap between membership in Eclipse and membership in the JCP. Many Eclipse members have been long-term contributors to the JCP. Any changes we would be proposing to the JCP would center around making the process more open and transparent.
In that connection, I will say that Apache’s leadership in working with the JCP and making the changes that have happened over the last couple of years, were the pre-requisites for us joining. If Apache hadn’t worked with the JCP to make it more open and transparent and approachable, we probably would not be members. Kudos to Apache for doing that.
Frank Sommers: Do you foresee Eclipse proposing JSRs around IDE standardization or around Eclipse technologies, such as SWT?
Mike Milinkovich: I am not sure that standardization of IDEs makes sense, because a lot of innovation goes on in that space. Note, however, that our plug-in model for Eclipse is based on work already going on JSR 291 [Dynamic Component Support for Java SE], and that’s an area we care about most deeply.
When you start talking about specific APIs that are inside of Eclipse now and [are] not part of the JCP, you start getting into some of the nuances of how the Eclipse Foundation is set up [with regard to] licensing.
When people make contributions to Eclipse projects, they don’t actually give any copyright assignment or copyright licensing to the Eclipse Foundation itself. The Foundation as an entity doesn’t hold intellectual property. This is one thing that differentiates us from Apache.
In the case of SWT, or any other API within Eclipse, it’s up to the companies that own that intellectual property to bring it forward to a JSR. That could certainly happen. But that’s not something the Eclipse Foundation can do by itself.
There are lots of areas where companies are working in both Eclipse and the JCP. For example, several companies deeply involved with Eclipse are also currently involved with JSR 291. Then there are areas such as JPA [Java Persistence Architecture] and tooling for JPA, where Oracle has been very involved with JCP initiatives, and is also leading the tooling project at Eclipse. [Editor's note: See the Eclipse Dali project.]
Frank Sommers: Do you see Sun reciprocating your JCP membership by joining the Eclipse Foundation?
Mike Milinkovich: No. It would be wonderful if they did. We’ve always welcomed their participation at Eclipse, but we certain did not join the JCP expecting any kind of quid pro quo. If they decide that it’s in their interest to join Eclipse, I’m sure they would find it a very welcoming community.