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Jakarta EE spec process paves way for enterprise Java

Eclipse will govern the future direction of enterprise Java for developers through the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process, and it pledges vendor-neutral support and IP protection.

The Eclipse Foundation has set plans for the future of enterprise Java with a rewritten process to evolve the platform and guide developers.

A draft of the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process, published ahead of this week's Oracle Code One conference -- formerly JavaOne -- will govern the process of evolving enterprise Java, which is now known as Jakarta EE and formerly known as Java EE.

It replaces the Java Community Process (JCP), which previously guided Java EE and still governs the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE).

Many companies and developers viewed the JCP as biased toward Oracle's wishes; for instance, the Apache Software Foundation quit the JCP in the past over what the organization considered as Oracle's abuse of power.

When Eclipse assumed stewardship of Jakarta EE from Oracle in September 2017, the organization vowed to implement a new process and replace the JCP.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director of EclipseMike Milinkovich

A key goal of the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process is to be as lightweight as possible, said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of Eclipse, based in Ottawa.

"Migrating the Java EE platform to the Eclipse Foundation is a complex process, with many moving parts," Milinkovich said. "One of the major steps is to establish a new, vendor-neutral community specification process for Jakarta EE."

Open source as inspiration

Bringing the [Jakarta EE] spec process into an open source organization should make it easier and faster to evolve and innovate on new technologies for the Java community.
Ian Skerrettindependent consultant

Goals for the specification process are to be as close to open source development as possible, promote code-first development to allow experimentation and reuse the existing Eclipse Development Process where possible. The process also introduces the notion of participants -- committers that represent companies working on a project to ensure that intellectual property contributed by companies is properly identified in the process, Milinkovich said.

While currently only in draft form, the Jakarta EE spec process is a significant step for the Java and Eclipse communities. Eclipse has asked the community to help shape the specification process.

"Open source and open standards have always had a symbiotic relationship, since the two help propel adoption of technology," said Ian Skerrett, an independent industry consultant in Ottawa. "Bringing the spec process into an open source organization should make it easier and faster to evolve and innovate on new technologies for the Java community."

Java milestones at Oracle Code One

Meanwhile, Java leaders at the Oracle Code One event in San Francisco this week touted several milestones of the Java SE platform, such as the release of Java Development Kit 10 in March and JDK 11 in September in line with Oracle's commitment to a six-month release schedule for Java. Oracle saw the most outside developer involvement building JDK 11 as it has with any other release, said George Saab, vice president of development for the Java Platform at Oracle, during a keynote.

Key features in Java SE 11 include Flight Recorder, a data collection framework for troubleshooting Java apps and the HotSpot Java Virtual Machine; the Launch single-file source-code programs, an update to the Java launcher to help new Java developers run a program as a single file of Java source code; and the Z Garbage Collector, known as ZGC, which can handle terabyte-sized data structures without pause for more than 10 milliseconds.

In addition, Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, provided updates on four future Java projects: Project Valhalla, Project Panama, Project Amber and Project Loom. These projects aim to improve the performance of Java and the productivity of Java developers.

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