Antonio Goncalves writes that Everybody should be able to easily observe JSRs.
Yes, I agree. But it really is more than just being able to observe. I was an Observer for the MSA 1.0 Expert Group (EG) and other EGs; but not all spec-leads are created equal. I quickly realized that for certain EGs, in this case MSA 1.0, being an Observer didn’t mean much as Observer’s input was not really taken into consideration and not followed up. A number of Observers were not happy about this, and I personally kind of gave up. Too bad, as it was their loss.
Part of the reason the EGs are closed is due to the Intellectual Property (IP) and related legal issues. That is the first thing that needs to be addressed, so that EGs can really become open. A true open process will have a common license and companies must be willing to give up the IP, otherwise, those companies unwilling to do that should remain on the proprietary business and not allowed to participate.
The other legal-related issue that needs to be addressed is that even though many people and companies contribute to a specific Java Specification (JSR), as I have, at the end the owner of the JSR is the company that led the JSR (i.e. Specification Lead); meaning that company will own all related IP created by all EG members, and that the company defines the licensing terms. I always found this totally unfair and this needs to changed as well.
As I predict, 2009 should be a big turning point year for Java, the JCP, and mobile Java…