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   Re: Java Specification Request for XML

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: David Brownell <db@eng.sun.com>, Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 09:57:03 -0500

David Brownell wrote:
>> >The Java Community Process is an open, inclusive process and we
>> >look forward to the active particpation of all interested parties.

If I just had to take _your_ word for it, David, I'd definitely believe it.
 Your continued participation on these lists and your contributions to
projects like SAX and ModSAX clearly indicate that you, at least, have an
open mind when it comes to open source/open process models.

Unfortunately, when I visit Sun's site, and read the documentation
surrounding the JCP, I'm decidedly unconvinced.  Elliotte may have put Sun
too deeply in the process in his description, but there's no getting around
the pay to play principle that is deeply enshrined in this so-called open
process.  I'm glad to hear you say that it can be waived for the expert
group, though it certainly wasn't clear from the Web site.  (It looks like
it can be waived for the first year only.)

If Sun's approach involved only royalties-after-a-product-ships, I'd be a
lot quieter.  (I don't, after all, charge for the software I produce.)
It's not, though.  There are upfront fees ($5000 for non-educational
entities, $2000 for non-profit or educational.  (See
http://developer.java.sun.com/developer/jcp/java_community_process.html for
details.  Most of the kickers are in the agreement,

The JCP may feel like an 'open' process if you're a mammoth, or even if
you're a reasonably well-off sabre-toothed tiger, but to us small mammals,
it's the same old s***, different day, that we get from standards
organizations.  We get to run around among the mammoths and sabre-toothed
tigers wearing funny lenses that blur our vision and working with tools
that may not have been created with our needs in mind.

The price of _joining_ the process (as a partner, where it appears you do
have more influence) is even more irritating because Sun is, after all, a
vendor.  If I really wanted to give Sun Microsystems a sizable check, I'd
expect at least a Sparc 5 with a huge monitor to show up in return.  Giving
Sun $5000 so this poor company can manage a not-so-open process ('Process
Cost Sharing') is ridiculous.  

Given that $5000 pays all my expenses for a few months, the cost to small
business and self-employed folks is outrageous.  I'd love to participate in
the process as a 'full' member, contributing time (which costs me something
too), the standard currency for open source and open process participation,
rather than a large sum of money that goes nowhere.

I'll participate - as much as I'm allowed - but remember that the JCP is
_far_ less open than the current ModSAX discussion, and I think the results
of the JSR for XML are going to suffer as a result.

Enough of the populist ranting.  We now return to the extremely open ModSAX

(p.s. It looks like David will be giving a presentation on this JSR at
XTech.  I'll be there, I assume he'll be there, and anyone else who's
around and would like to take a close look at this thing should come by at
2:45 on Wednesday.  Oh, and did I mention the price of conferences?  Never
mind, forget I said that.)

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Building XML Applications (April)
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