Sun to announce Java standards plan on Tuesday
By Deborah Gage
Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday will announce how it intends to proceed with standardizing
Java, the company said today.
According to a report on Thursday, Sun's Java Software President Alan Baratz accused
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT) of torpedoing Sun's plans to standardize Java by spending
millions of dollars lobbying for a change in the rules of the International Organization of
Sun (Nasdaq:SUNW) promised to submit Java to ISO in November of 1997, after it became
the first commercial company to be named a Publicly Approved Submitter, or PAS, to ISO.
The U.S. voted "no" -- Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Co.(NYSE:HWP) , Compaq Computer
Corp. (NYSE:CPQ) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq:INTC) were among Sun's opponents. However,
Sun won support from enough other countries to override the U.S. vote.
A spokeswoman said Baratz's comments were misinterpreted and that Sun is still committed to
standardizing Java through ISO. However, the spokeswoman acknowledged there have been
changes to the standards process that Sun "does not agree with" and that Sun is "trying to find a
way to come to an accommodation" with various standards bodies.
Sun is in talks with ISO, JTC 1 TAG (the U.S. Technical Advisory Committee to ISO that
denied Sun's request) and ECMA (the European Computer Manufacturers Association),
another standards body with ties to ISO, the spokeswoman said.
Microsoft issued a statement yesterday denying Baratz's claims. John Montgomery, director of
Microsoft's Standards Activities Group, said the time and money Microsoft has invested to
influence the Java standards process "approach[es] zero, principally so as not to allow Sun to
distract JTC 1 members by focusing on Microsoft."
Microsoft and Sun offered differing accounts of what changes were made in the ISO standards
process and how they affect Sun.
"ISO changed the rules of past submission," said the Sun spokeswoman. "Not only is the
submission itself the property of ISO, but the maintenance of the Java standard is also part of
ISO. It had to be with the standards body rather than with [Sun], and once we pass it off it's
hard to change or make improvements in the standard in a timely matter."
However, Microsoft said the changes were at the JTC 1 level and were made to "to encourage
faster submission by approved submitters. But Sun's status as a PAS submitter was
grandfathered under the rule changes, so Mr. Baratz's claims that these changes impact their
ability to proceed with JTC 1 are simply not true."
One Java licensee who asked to remain anonymous said Microsoft's account of the rules
changes is correct, although Microsoft's claims that Sun and IBM "probably spent millions on
Sun's PAS efforts" is incorrect.
The JTC 1 did not return calls seeking comment. IBM, which backed Sun throughout its fight to
become a Publicly Approved Submitter, declined comment on the controversy. An IBM
spokeswoman said IBM's involvement in supporting Sun's process "was based on the
understanding that mature portions of Java would be managed and maintained by ISO or a
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