Sun Microsystems has been in what it hoped would be secret talks with Java licensees to clarify the roles they will play in the standards process.
In the wake of growing confusion among its licensees over how creating the Java standards will work in practice, Sun Microsystems is working on how developers can play a part.
A company spokesperson acknowledged that Sun held a conference call with its licensees to make the process more easily understood and said that Sun will continue to work toward that goal. She added that this is something the company had hoped to keep confidential, but one of the licensees "spilled the beans".
In the past, Sun has enabled its licensees to be part of the working groups that determine the structure of different aspects of the Java platform, such as Java Beans, for example. They have also been allowed to submit their own recommendations for final application programming interfaces (APIs).
"We're not changing the process," the spokesperson said. "But we are in the midst of setting up very formalised steps to clarify it for our licensees. We'll be using the next few weeks to get feedback from them."
The company plans to introduce the entire programme within the next month. Sun is also expected to appoint an accounting firm, reportedly Pricewaterhouse Coopers, to audit its procedures.
"Once we set down the steps, we're planning on having an auditor come in to make sure the steps are followed," the spokesperson said.
It has been rumoured that Sun is thinking about charging its licensees to participate in the programme to eliminate participants that are less than serious and avoid being hit with a glut of APIs.
The spokesperson confirmed that the company is considering fees, but said, if implemented, they would be nominal and only to cover the costs of the audit.
Last year, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) approved Sun to submit Java as an international standard and the company is in the process of putting the language into an ISO format. The company hopes to submit the specification for approval by ISO early next year, the spokesperson said.
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