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May 2, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:55pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Redmond has put its foot down firmly on Sun Microsystems Inc’s attempt to bend the rules and push Java through the International Standards Organization (ISO) – International Elecrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards process. In a letter to ISO’s US Joint Technical Committee 1 Technical Advisory Group, otherwise known as JTC1 TAG, SVP Brad Silverberg says Microsoft opposes the application from Sun for recognition as a submitter of Publicly Available Specification for Sun’s Java technologies. It believes Sun wishes to retain full ownership and control over its Java specifications while simultaneously reaping the benefit of a ISO/IEC standard for its proprietary technology. It’s a concern voiced by many, not just Microsoft. As a recently joined-up member of JTC1 TAG – along with Intel Corp, which is not a signatory to the letter – it would seem Microsoft has every right to object to Sun’s submission. If the PAS submission were to be granted – and JTC1 TAG’s decision is supposed to come down in July – it would allow Sun to push Java through the ISO standardization process without outside comment or alterations. Traditionally a would-be standard goes first to a standards organization like X/Open or the European Computer Manufacturers Association for public airing and then to ISO. In attempting to win accreditation as a PAS submitter Sun had effectively tried to bypass normal procedure – ISO has previously accorded only to consortia – and submit Java to ISO. Microsoft warns that if accepted, Sun’s proposal would seriously compromise the stature and credibility of ISO/IEC. Sun should correct the numerous process and intellectual property rights deficiencies in its proposal by first securing initial consensus with an open standards forum such as ECMA or X/Open… before it uses the PAS or fast track JTC1 process. It accuses Sun of dictating when and how its competitors refer to products that comply with Sun- defined standards for Java, by insisting it retain control of the Java name, copyright and trademark, and says Sun should relinquish control of the Java name. Sun’s Java technology is proprietary and not the product if an open process… in essence Sun’s [PAS] proposal is that it alone should serve as a standards body unto itself for evolving specifications… and …. wishes to continue exercising an exclusive veto right over all proposed changes and extensions to the specifications without any democratic process. Even if the PAS route to Java standardization is eventually blocked – and Sun says we shouldn’t write off the PAS submission just yet – it has other irons in the fire, including a proposal that JTC1 SC22’s Java Study Group could act upon.

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