Brazilians to bring a strong open source voice to the JCP


News: Brazilians to bring a strong open source voice to the JCP

  1. Brazil's JUG SouJava recently joined the JCP, and the Brazilian government IT department SERPRO is also on its way in. The entry of a staunchly pro-open source government agency into the JCP, as well as a like minded and well organized Java User Group (one of the largest in the world) could have a large impact on the future of Java.

    JCP Chair Onno Kluyt recently visited Brazil and shared his thoughts about SouJava and SERPRO, and the importance of standards in addition to open source. What follows is mostly accurate transcript of an exclusive phone conversation Onno had with TSS:

    Onno: Brazil is very active from an IT perspective but not as visibly so. What is interesting about Brazil is how organized they are. There is the SouJava JUG in Sao Paulo, and SERPRO government agency. Java user groups are often very informal, meeting once a month on various topics. Soujava does that but they are also almost a political action group in the sense that they share ideas and together they pursue those ideas. One of those ideas is around IP and software patents. At 17,000 members, they are an agent for change, both in their own country and in the java community at large.

    They've been advocating and educating the Brazilian continent on standards, open source, how patents play a role there basically helping the Brazilian continent. If you look at the debate going on inside Brazil, they are formulating a policy largely to find a position and a space for Brazil in the world economy as an IT center.

    SERPRO is the IT dept of the Brazilian government. One of the applications for which they got a Dukie last year, was a cell phone based tax submission application. Another one was an application for school teachers to track attendance, they do that because school attendance is linked to social subsidy programs, so the way they do that is a J2ME app on cell phones. They choose cell phones due to the virtually zero maintenance cost of deployment vs. PC's. Almost all low income families have cell phones. [Editor: Another famous example is the Brazilian National Healthcare System.

    If you look at it from a western perspective, typically governments don't often show this level of forethought about technology, so Brazil is notably taking a significantly different approach and in their case it is working.

    SouJava joined the JCP in January, the first JUG to join. They can do that because they are unlike other groups, they are incorporated as a non-profit. This gives them the ability to speak with a unified voice.

    SERPRO also announced their intent to join the JCP, and they are working out remaining issues.

    Both SouJava and SERPRO have opinions about the broad world of IP, especially patents. Brazilian gov has a different view of patents and IP and want to use their membership in the JCP to express them.

    On the high level, there is a close alignment between the three parties.

    In a more technical area, we expect both SouJava and SERPRO to be active in the J2SE and J2EE spaces. The Java LIVRE project, shortened to Javali is an open source project to create an independent, open source, compatible version of J2SE. [See Bruno Souza's explanation for why] This is made possible by JCP 2.5, which allows you to create open source versions of JSRs. They are doing the VM as well as the class libraries.

    It appears to me that the debates in Brazil about open source weren’t so much about which license is better than the other, but it was more a higher level about open source. One of the primary pro's given to open source is to be unencumbered by someone else's IP. But that is part of the protection/safe guards that some one needs. It's not enough to see the code but you also need to be ensured about the standards and protocols to which the program is written. One party could take it in different directions from what you’re interested in. It's not enough to have the ability to implement something under a license of your choosing, there has to be a common set of principles that will be followed.. You need standards too. You can continue along the line of 'well I care about IP' and that means open source, but if you continue the line of thought then you will care about the principles and standards around it too. So the finding of the discussions in Brazil which is illustrated by the government is that it's beneficial to join the JCP. It speaks to their concerns about the directions of the open source projects as well. You have to have a communal understanding of what the project is, where it going, what it's doing.

    Open source projects are finding that they are not that different from proprietary implementations in that you need to have assurances of what you're implementing. Open standards become very important to control that.

    A couple of the principles we've captured in the JCP well is that you have to have a clear agreement upon what the standard is, and how it is maintained. The process has to be above the table. One is that a standard is only as good as its validation. Saying you've implemented something is not good enough regardless of the license. So you need a commonly agreed upon API, test suite, and reference implementation.

    TSS Question: SERPRO, as a consumer of Java technology, positions it in potential conflict of interest with the traditional members of the JCP and the executive committee, who are vendors of Java technology. How do you see things unfolding?

    It makes me happy to have a person on the receiving end of the platform, as well as vendors, on the JCP. The voice of the customer, or the end user better represented in the JCP I think is really good. I'd like to see more of that. We do have more typical customer organizations such as a number of banks, air plane manufacturers, etc. Sometimes they can play counter point to competitive challenges in the JCP and that is a benefit to us.
    -End of Interview-

    SERPRO and SouJava's entry into the JCP will bring a strong pro-open source voice into the JCP, especially SERPRO, which is part of a government which is mandating the use of open source instead of proprietary tools. What impact will this have on the future of Java?

    Threaded Messages (26)

  2. A lot of respect goes to Brazil government and its developer community for a very strong support (and understanding, and participation in) open-source.

    Yet, is JCP a place for political debates? Nothing implied (especially doubt of professionalism of those new members) but, generally, I would rather have bodies, in JCP, that can come up with better, more practical specifications than people who can talk nicely.

    I think, right now, JCP's main problem is technical, not political.

    Also, I do not understand how can somebody push Java to open-source from within the JCP. My understanding of JCP was that it comes up with open specifications, not products (OSS or not). Neither does JCP has a ruling power over Sun Java policies and the license type of Sun JDK implementation.

    Is there something we are missing? What does politics have to do with JCP?
  3. Hi Irakli,

    With your reply to this post I definitely think this interesting story is going to wind up in people expressing their views on how great OSS is, how OSS is so sexy, how OSS will save the world from wars, how OSS will eliminate hunger from the developing world, how OSS will suddenly turn John Lennon's Imagine lyrics into a sudden reality and so Sun should open source Java. I'm tired of this.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm also a strong proponet of OSS but I hate it when people dilute the quality of posts by turning any post containig the keyword JCP to open vs closed source. Can't we learn to grow up, man?

    Having said that, I want to draw your attention to the fact that there exist already an open-source JVM called Kaffe. You can download it and disect it, mutilate it, or wash it under your shower to make ik look even more clean. Point your browser NOW to google and you could get it on your hard disk within minutes!

  4. Francis,

    I don't think Irakli led the post in any different direction than the first article. Onno himself said that that "Brazilian gov has a different view of patents and IP and want to use their membership in the JCP to express them."

    Politics do play in bigh with the JCP, just look at all the ballot votes. I do not know how the politics of open source could cause change from within the JCP, but part of it might be in the licensing areas.

  5. Don't get me wrong, I'm also a strong proponet of OSS but I hate it when people dilute the quality of posts by turning any post containig the keyword JCP to open vs closed source.
    My post was exactly the same idea, just put in different words :) The article was pressing, what seemed to me, too much on how Brazil is a great supporter of OSS and I tried to say that, while I respect that from Brazil, I do not think that it is a characteristic most important for participation in JCP. So, IMHO, we pretty much said the same :)
    Politics do play in bigh with the JCP, just look at all the ballot votes. I do not know how the politics of open source could cause change from within the JCP, but part of it might be in the licensing areas.
    Right, at least, big corporations, at least, do the "business politics" and since they are rivals, theoretically balance each-other. When a Government joins JCP, with a clear aim to push purely political ideas - that scares me.
    "Brazilian gov has a different view of patents and IP and want to use their membership in the JCP to express them."
    I never thought JCP was a place for discussing IP rights and patterns, and if they claim this is why they have joined JCP - I am worried.

    Now, let's be honest - what is, arguably, the biggest problem of Java/J2EE vs. ,NET? By popular opinion - it is too much politics and fighting in JCP and JCP ending up with standards that nobody wants to use and people using alternative, non-standard tools instead. That - while MS is the only vendor of .NET and pretty much drives it solely.

    Having a lot of choices indicates two things: 1) freedom of choice 2) Somebody was not able to come up with a good-enough one solution, so we ended up with many - none of which is good enough, generally.

    This problem is so serious, that a lot of problem think it can bring Java to death, so frustrated users will become.

    Whether that extreme conclusion is true or not - it has some ground and I would be happier to see professionals that have technical agenda rather than political, in JCP.

  6. I disagree with the statement that SERPRO will join te JCP with a purely political agenda. They are a customer of Java as much as any big corporate IT dept., and have a technical agenda just as much. Their "political" push for open source could likely be weaker than JBoss' or Apache's, for example.
  7. I disagree with the statement that SERPRO will join te JCP with a purely political agenda. They are a customer of Java as much as any big corporate IT dept., and have a technical agenda just as much. Their "political" push for open source could likely be weaker than JBoss' or Apache's, for example.

    I was trying to keep away from this thread but you changed it, Henrique. Do you really believe Serpro will not be 100% political ? I mean, our current government is pure rhetorical.

    Everything is political for them. They even aggressively tried to take political control of fields like press/journalism (!) and also movies production so how can you imagine they will not prioritize political over technical concerns anywhere ? They even prefer to "make business" with "friends" like Mr Chaves from Venezuela and Castro from Cuba instead of working for a real commercial pact which could give give us more access to USA market. This is ridiculous...

    Another example: they are not willinig to give some IT projects to selected companies anymore. Instead, they are hiring lot of people to work inside Serpro, for example. This is NOT a good solution to fight against corruption in government contracts. Although they can have some very talented people there in Serpro, you know, the single fact of hiring hudreds of people (as they did in past year) give then more political power than ever. Do you think this can be better than having lot of small brazilian or even foreign companies competing for these government contracts ? I dont think so.

    This government politic will against every good example of building a strong IT industry in countries around the world. And we brazilians know talent and good performance are not usually related to public sector workers, you know.

    So yes, if Serpro join JCP, despite the fact Serpro has very skilled people there, I am sure we would see another example of our government very questionable political agenda working for them.

  8. Hi Rodolfo.

    I partially disagree with what you've said. Ok, our government has taken some dubious political decisions. But I doubt much of that political agenda would have influence when it comes down to technical discussions. What you have described can be relegated to the "top management" of the government, with very little relation when it comes to the technical people who actually get their hands wet. These are the people I imagine will participate in JCP, the "lower" level highly technical people, not the politics-driven bureaucratic manager, which I doubt has much technical knowledge to participate in the JCP. That's why I doubt politics will have much influence in JCP. The farther it may go is about IP and licensing discussions, at most, but even these would be restrained to political decisions regarding our country, not regarding the whole world, differently from JBoss' and Apache's interest in open source adoption. But this is just my POV over the whole thing.

    Henrique Steckelberg
  9. Best. Comment. Ever.[ Go to top ]


       Do you believe that they will open source government projects and host them in, for the individual access?

       Do you believe that such *pseudo* communist government will add something that really makes global difference in tech issues?

       There will be no tech coordination in their efforts at all! Just pollitics, as usual. And an exposure to the world in how to do things in a corrupt way!

       Want make difference? Do it in tech way!

       Just my thoughts...

  10. Best. Comment. Ever.[ Go to top ]

    Heh. No need to get too political about it! :)
  11. Best. Comment. Ever.[ Go to top ]

    Ok, who is your employer? SERPRO?

    Do SERPRO have a tech action plan? Or it'll keep it internal only, just for make more and more(and more!) ilicit procurements? Common, let's make things transparent!

    I know how government works in Brazil, I worked in Brasilia(Brazil's capital) for almost 3 years. In that period, ITERLEGIS fsck'd with our project, just using power. It's just disgusting.. Mafia style... Yes, it's ALL ABOUT POLITICS!

    I'm going to say to you that it'll never, ever, go work! You can't use *Brazil's way* in a so large scope, involving JCP and a global audience...

    Real OSS developers aren't stupids... Show something that will create a community, that will envolve developers, and I'll start to believe... Tech forces will always bypass political ones. Do you want an example? Spring, Hibernate...

    And, to finish, no, I'm not your enemy! I'm only PRAGMATIC and REALISTIC! Hellloooooooooo?

  12. Best. Comment. Ever.[ Go to top ]

    Wow, no need to get touchy, I am not you enemy either, cool down, I was just joking in case you missed it.

    I don't work for any government dept, but I just happen to know people who does (Rio de Janeiro's Federal Justice TI dept), and I can assure you they do work correctly, although not as much as others ;) . Besides, I've worked in the past for a long time with a big telecom company owned by the government, and I can assure you they do work fine too. Of course there are problems, corruption, power and money misuse and etc as in any govt. company or dept, but I don't think we must generalize that too much. There are very nice examples of projects that do work very successfully (see this example), so I think we can at least have some confidence on the technical people, which I believe (hope) will be the ones involved in JCP. As you said it yourself, technical people will bypass political ones, even when they work for the government.

    Henrique Steckelberg
  13. Best. Comment. Ever.[ Go to top ]

    Ok, let's trust that major interests, money, etc, will not influence the main purpose... But, remember that in Brazil there's always that govt. man who will be *highly corruptable*, despite all the tech efforts of SOUJAVA, or any other influent JUG...

    Another point: Brazil needs to conquer world confidence in IP field... Want to talk about IP? So, have you done your home work? I don't think so...

    And I don't think that a *Brazilian Flag Cap* will help much this time... Maybe we give them all our expertise in samba, beauty chicks, caipirinha, well, all our *banana's know-how*...

    More about Java IP: it's the only gold egg chicken remainding in Sun... Sorry, it'll not work, don't spend time and create more conflicts... Let the Brazil's image as good as it is.
  14. Hey kids, don’t fight, everybody here are friends :D

    Well, I already worked for a lot of companies and government departments in Brazil; today I work for the biggest Brazilian government bank (Caixa Econômica Federal).

    What I can say is, about SOUJAVA is about the guys in the direction, I already worked with some of directors, they are really nice people and I'm do know about what this means for them and to the Brazilian java Community. They will do a good job for sure!

    But, about SERPRO, is not the same. The problem with it is who is in charge! I don’t know who is in charge today, but I know that a lot of people, who is not really working for that, will want to be in the photo!

    In another words, what I want to say is, the politicians will not get to involved with the tech subject, they don’t know how to program a VCR! I think they will just want the Brazilian audience know them as “the responsible for the success”.

    Today in Brazil, a lot of politicians want the migration to open source inside the divisions where they are in charge just because this subject is in the news and they can obtain some votes in next election!

    So, I think inside SEPRO will happens just the same.

    About the Java Open Source, to me this it is a joke, why change java license if the source is open since the first distribution, and we don’t pay to use it!!! If java came to be open source software a lot of geeks who do not have girlfriends (so, a lot of time free) will create new distributions of java as happened to Linux! So imagine a world with a lot of different Javas, ones with some things better than others, and between them: all incompatible!!


    Claudio Teixeira
  15. You should be really more careful about your generalizations.

    There's is corruption here? For sure. Just like anywhere else in the world.
    Gerson's law still applies? In some places, yes.
    Is this the behavior of the majority of people here? Hell no!

    I've been in fckd up by politics projects myself and just because you couldn't get over it it doesnt mean you have the right to spread the myth and give Brazil a bad name.

    So shut it up about it, will you?
  16. Julio just told us his experience. I had my bad / scary experiece in Brasilia too, together with dozen other guys and probally you know someone too.

    If you read just an overview about our history, since century 1500, you will come to a conclusion that it is not a myth, this is a very serious problem all our previous generations had too and our generation supposedly should be able (since we currently live in a internet time) to find a definitive solution to this problem and the very first step to do this is by recognizing the problem.

    So let people talk about it. I much better than all those lenient people out there, ok ?

  17. I much...

    Sure, I meant "Is much..." instead.
  18. Well, being extreme (either way) or emotional doesn't help much. Let's keep this at a friendly tone, although I know how excited we brazilians can get whenever politics or soccer are discussed. ;)
  19. Where I was emotional ? Was I extreme in any way ? I disagree.

    "Nao ha testemunhas. Ha desatentos. Curiosos, muitos," diz o poeta.

    Someone have to stop this mess, but speaking from myself, right now I have to work a bit.

    See you,
  20. Where I was emotional ? Was I extreme in any way ? I disagree."Nao ha testemunhas. Ha desatentos. Curiosos, muitos," diz o poeta.Someone have to stop this mess, but speaking from myself, right now I have to work a bit. See you,Rodolfo
    Sorry, I wasn't talking about you, but about others in this thread, and about the general tone regarding the subject. Never mind, people seem to be a bit too touchy about all these matters, so I'll leave it at that.

    Henrique Steckelberg
  21. Hi folks,

       I think we are missing the point. Everybody, in every country, become scared when a government agency enters in the debate. "We will have only politics", everyone says. Well, the government is supposed to talk about politics. The problem is HOW they do that.
       Despite all the problems in the country, Brazil is one of the best places to find a good developer, specially if we are talking about the Java Community. And it has NOTHING to do with ANY government policy. It is related to our effort, as professionals. And we will see the same picture, if we replace the word "Brazil" in this discussion by almost any other country in the world.
       When I hear that the SOUJava group is joining the JCP, I have to celebrate. They are very organized and despite they are a JUG from São Paulo, they have members from all around the country. Perhaps other JUGs call follow the path.
       Talking about SERPRO, they have, like other companies in Brazil, very talented people working there. Let's give them a chance to show this. I don't know if it this JCP participation is a government movement. If we think carefully, it doesn't smell like a coordinated effort by the administration in Brasilia to participate in the JCP. I would bet that it is a idea from some guy or girl in the SERPRO staff. And this idea somehow could reach the some upper manager that bought the idea.

       I don't know the SERPRO's case but my "theory" could be applied to many companies in Brazil. Perhaps, in other countries as well :)

       As one of the biggest Java communities in the world, we must have other players in the JCP. If we are talking about Java, the Brazilian way could be the good way ;)
  22. Hi Joao,

    I completely agree with you.
    I’ve been working closer with SOUJAVA responsible persons and I know well all effort spent in so many meetings, discussions, conferences and so forth. Thus, I must say that we really need to celebrate it. Moreover, all JUGs around the world are welcome to participate in JCP, IMHO, BUT please take care with this because it’s only possible if you’re incorporated as an organization (non-profit or another one). Just a remark, you should also have "the ability to speak with a unified voice". :)
    Concerning SERPRO supposed suspicious intentions membership in the JCP and their participation in a government movement, definitely we need to keep in mind that JCP has its own policies and procedures ( Besides, JCP aims to define Java standard specifications and the whole technical aspects of it (RIs, TCKs and so on). So, neither good political discussions nor inflamed open source discussions are the main focus. It doesn’t mean they have to keep quiet, but at least they need to shout and complain in an organized way.
  23. You should be really more careful about your generalizations.There's is corruption here? For sure...

    Brasilia: it's almost all about corruption... Specially govt. agencies and this current *pseudo communist* govt...

    I just take the common(majority) behavior of our politicians... The statistics(for sure, more than 50%) confirms my point of view...

    Blah, blah, blah...

    In what country you usually live?
    you couldn't get over it it doesnt mean you have the right to spread the myth and give Brazil a bad name.

    Ok, I can think this way until a *SERPRO tank* go smash with your project. So then, I can wellcome you to my team!
    So shut it up about it, will you?

    Wow, how patriotic! :) Did you sleep with our flag also? Or use it as a cap, like our *javaman*? Common man, face things like they are! Want respect? first: let people do it *free speech* and second: show me why the statistics don't express the truth to you!

  24. Is it possible for us, JUG Indonesia to become part of JCP?

    Frans Thamura
    JUG Indonesia
  25. Glad it happens[ Go to top ]

    1)Brazil use Java in a large scale in so many different areas. Government, Financial, Telecom and so on.
    I think we need this partnership with JCP to make java realy FREE and EASY to install, use and update on all Operational Systems.
    2) We don´t want just one or two companies saying what the world will use, we just want to choose what we will use, and the next step, not worry if it will work here or there, and I think only open source could do that.
    3) I can´t wait to see my daugther earning Linux, open office, and using firefox at school. ;)
  26. Glad it happens[ Go to top ]

    3) I can´t wait to see my daugther earning Linux, open office, and using firefox at school. ;)

  27. The JCP is heavily dominated by producers of Java technologies for sale to the Java community, instead of by users of Java technology. IBM, Oracle, BEA, Sun, etc all make money out of producing implementations of various specs.

    So it's good to see more involvement from groups representing people who consume Java technologies.

    To pick a non-random example: I'd love to see the EJB spec get more involvement from groups who build EJB applications as a counterbalance to the involvement from those who build EJB app servers.