Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Total attendance: 20 of 24 voting members
|Since 75% of the EC's 24 voting members were present, the EC was quorate for this meeting|
The EC Standing Rules state the following penalties for non-attendance at EC meetings (note that those who participate in face-to-face meetings by phone are officially counted as absent):
Stefano Andreani and Google lost their voting privileges as a result of non-attendance at this meeting.
There were no personnel changes to report this month.
Heather presented the usual EC stats. She noted that there is a great deal of activity during the final weeks before Java EE 7 is released, and encouraged all members to vote.
See the Action Item tracking file.
Patrick led a follow-up discussion on the Java ecosystem (see Ed Lynch's presentation and the minutes from our February discussion. Steve Harris expressed the opinion that progress in this area will be dependent on progress on JSR 358. He argued that if we commit to open-source licensing for RIs and TCKs that will encourage participation by members of the open-source community and if not, they will be discouraged.
Bruno Souza asked what the goals should be? He suggested that we should try to understand how many JCP members are interested in leading JSRs. Patrick asked why people are not interested. Ben Evans responded that it depends on when we want to standardize. He noted that the recent submission of the Social Media JSR was rejected on the grounds that it was premature. He asked if we have technical leaders, what would encourage them to participate in the JCP. Patrick asked whether they see any value in standardization. Bruno responded that users must ask for this (governments do have a standards focus.) Anish Karmarkar noted that much work does happen in open-source communities but they typically don't have an interest in standards - we must educate them about the benefits.
Mike Milinkovich stated that users get what they need from open-source projects and often don't need standards. If they get high-quality software with good documentation and liberal licensing terms then there may be no added value in standards. Steve Harris responded that the added value is in formal specifications and test suites. Gil Tene suggested that compatibility and patent licensing provide added value. Mike responded that most open-source licenses grant patent rights. He reiterated that if multiple, supported commercial products are available from different vendors then users have what they need - open-source has fundamentally changed the value proposition.
Anish argued that while some open-source projects would not benefit from standardization, others would. Steve Harris suggested that we look at some example: RedHat and Hibernate, or Sprin/Guice and dependency injection. Mark Little noted that standardization encourages adoption. Mike responded that standardization encourages interoperability and portability, and the development of multiple implementations. Open Source provides some of the same benefits. We should focus on the delta between the two. The values of standardization are a formal spec, a formal test suite, compatibility, the Reference Implementation, and compromises between competing interests. Steve Harris responded that in the open-source world "code talks" whereas in the standards world "people (committees) talk."
Patrick asked where we should go from here. Mike Milinkovich responded that Oracle needs to let us know where they want to steer the ship. Patrick asked whether we should take some action on incubators. Werner asked whether this topic would be covered by the JSR Review template that is being discussed. Patrick said no. Steve Harris responded that this is the same as the other question - why would anybody be interested in participating? We must generate interest first.
Patrick informed EC members that Oracle is still discussing the licensing proposal. He said that there is much sympathy for the proposal to open-source RIs but that many are wary of open-sourcing TCKs, being concerned that this would undermine the compatibility regime.
Gil Tene interjected (in response to his AI) that Azul is sympathetic to the RedHat proposal for more widespread adoption of open-source. He said that he doesn't agree with the concerns about open-sourcing TCKs since the only TCK that could e used for certification would be the official TCK. Protecting the source of the TCK has no effect. Bruno Souza and Steve Harris agreed. Mike Milinkovich suggested that Oracle's real concerns are about the revenue they gain from licensing TCKs.
Bruno Souza noted that today people can make comparative compatibility claims ("80% compatible") while Steve Harris noted that the persistence provider used by Google App Engine makes compatibility claims about its implementation of the Java Persistence Architecture (JPA), and they don't even have access to the TCK. Gil Tene agreed that such claims can be made without having access to the TCK while Steve responded that those who do license the TCK are prohibited by its license from making such claims. Gil responded that we must strongly enforce compatibility, but argued that releasing the source doesn't hurt that goal.
Patrick reviewed the compatibility section in the summary presentation and noted the response that Oracle had given on this subject: “Oracle continues to believes that strong compatibility requirements are essential to the success of the Java platform and that the integrity of the platform is best maintained if these requirements are absolute and unambiguous – all implementations must be compatible at all times and under all circumstances.” He stated that when we discussed this at the Prague face-to-face meeting in 2012 members seemed to agree with this position. Steve Wolfe responded that it depends on how you implement the compatibility requirements. He argued that a restrictive business model will inhibit participation. We need a vibrant model. Does Oracle want people who are committed to active participation or do they just want a Users's Group?
Bruno Souza noted that Java SE and EE have been open-sourced and we don't see fragmentation as a result. He noted that open-source licenses by definition cannot enforce compatibility.
Patrick reviewed the rest of the topics listed in the presentation and asked where we should go from here - should we wait for Oracle's response on licensing or move ahead on other topics? Gil Tene said that on IP matters we should wait. Bruno agreed that we need to wait but suggested that if we continue to discuss this might influence Oracle. The consensus was that we should wait until the next EC meeting.
Bruno Souza then led a brief discussion of the individual membership topic. He reviewed a spreadsheet he had put together that reviewed the various membership roles and associated benefits. He asked whether this reflected how we wanted things to be, and noted that most benefits are available to everyone with many available even to non-members. Patrick reminded him that the goal is to define two classes of membership. Bruno responded that we could do this either by defining new benefits for "1st-class members" or by reducing the benefits for individuals. Ben Evans pointed out that it wouldn't be easy to define new rights meaning that we would probably have to restrict the rights of individuals which would send a bad message. Bruno agreed. He asked whether we might change the voting process in some way.
Patrick noted that obviously the two JUG representatives would have a position sympathetic to individual members. He asked what the corporate EC members had to say.
Gil Tene responded that the IP obligations of individual members are important, but that this topic is off the table for the moment. He argued that whatever we do we must ensure that technically-qualified individuals such as Doug Lea must be able to participate. Mike DeNicola said that the main concern is having employees join as individuals rather than as representatives of their corporation. Patrick asked whether we should permit individuals who are employed to participate as individuals and to make IP contributions. Gil responded that we must make sure that everyone who contributes has the right to do so and that if a company puts forward an individual who effectively acts as their agent there must be appropriate disclosure of IP.
Bruno agreed to form a Working Group to continue the discussion.