Friday, September 07, 2007

How to run a JSR Expert Group

The modus operandum of the JSR 277 Expert Group is fascinating.

Strawman proposals are developed in private by the spec. lead, colleagues from Sun, and occasionally one or two others from elsewhere. These are then presented to the Expert Group for comment. After more or less debate, the spec. lead asserts the consensus and the strawman goes forward for inclusion in the draft spec. Typically, there can be a change of position when something small is clearly broken, but significant design changes and smaller tweaks tend to be resisted.

On the whole, the real JSR 277 contributors are working in private and the so-called Expert Group acts as a sounding board without any significant influence on the outcome. Some would call this rubber-stamping.

I'm trying to change this on one crucial front - that of interoperation between JSR 277 and JSR 291. But progress is dreadfully slow.

Apparently, interoperation prototypes are being developed and thinking is going on, but none of this is visible to the Expert Group or the broader community. This is a bit odd as a modules project has been set up on OpenJDK, so I would have expected that kind of prototyping to go on in a branch or subdirectory for early feedback from others.

It's worrying because the OSGi experts, Richard Hall and myself, in the JSR 277 Expert Group and the others in the JSR 291 Expert Group are not currently able to help. By the time we see a strawman, it may be too late to make any significant changes.

Clearly my experience of Apache and Eclipse is no guide to the way things happen in OpenJDK. Similarly, my experience of other standards bodies is also no guide to how a JSR Expert Group is necessarily run.


Chris Aniszczyk (zx) said...

Looks like you aren't having a good day either Glynn, how about some to cheer you up, it works for me ;)

Glyn said...

Thanks. Fortunately, my happiness doesn't depend on JSR 277.

Glyn said...

I'm surprised Jey Burrows didn't spot my British sense of humour.

jey said...

My puzzle for today ... how did my name get into this thread, which I'd never tagged or commented ...

Someone called mreinhold is in my network, and his/her bookmarks get picked up by my subscription and subsequently does something with them

Googling for mreinhold turns up Mark Reinhold, "Chief Engineer for the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition at Sun".



Glyn said...

Sorry jey! I missed the subscription and thought the comment was yours. Isn't useless?


I'm surprised Mark Reinhold didn't spot my British sense of humour.


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