Guidelines for JCP Spec Leads

The latest Java Community Process (JCP 2.8) defines the requirements for JSR specification leads. One of the main requirements is the managing the Expert Group in a transparent manner, that also preserves the obligation from the JAVA SPECIFICATION PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT (JSPA2) to license the specification output, and make certain patent grants. The relevent language from section 1.1 "EXPERT GROUP TRANSPARENCY" of the JCP document is:

 

In the initial JSR submission the Spec Lead must specify the transparency mechanisms (for example, the communication mechanisms and Issue Tracker) that the Expert Group intends to adopt, and must provide the URLs for accessing the chosen collaboration tools. The PMO shall publish this information on the JSR Page. The Spec Lead must also provide a pointer to any Terms of Use required to use the collaboration tools so that the EC and prospective EG members can judge whether they are compatible with the JSPA.


 

 

If the EG changes its collaboration tools during the life of the JSR these changes must be reported to the PMO, which shall update the relevant information on the JSR Page. Any such changes must ensure that previously-published information is incorporated into the new tools.


 

When voting to approve a JSR's transition to the next stage, EC members are expected to take into consideration the extent to which the Spec Lead is meeting the transparency requirements.


Spec Leads should be aware of their obligations under the JSPA to license the output of their JSR on Fair, Reasonable, and Non Discriminatory terms, and to make certain patent grants. Incorporating feedback provided through public email lists or forums without ensuring that the provider has signed the JSPA or an equivalent Contribution Agreement may make it impossible to meet these requirements or may expose the Spec Lead Member to legal liability.

 

The easiest way to achieve this is the ensure everyone participating in the specification has signed the JSPA as an individual, or is representing a company that has signed the JSPA. 

FAQ

Q1: Does this mean that even mailing list members have to sign some contributor agreement?

A1: Technically, no, but you still have the responsibility to manage contributions to the specification, RI and TCK such that you can license these to other spec leads and JCP members.

Q2: What about even non-contributing observers?

A2: No, observers and participants that are not contributing work do not affect your obligations.

 

Q3: I'm confused about how to handle something that may impact my obligations. Who can I talk to?

A3: Please contact Richard Fontana if you have questions.

 

Q4: What are some examples of things I need to be wary of in terms of contributions from EG members and participants?

A4: Any of the following could be problematic:

  • Code fragments
  • Code that appears to be copyrighted by someone other than that providing the contribution
  • Discussions involving patents