About J-Consortium

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1. Why was your organization formed?

The members of our organization represent some of the leading companies doing work in the area of medical real-time applications. We view the Java™ programming language as enabling major advances in embedded and real-time development in the areas of developer productivity, application extensibility and reliability. To achieve these goals will require extensions for the Java™ programming language. It is the express goal of the J-Consortium to promote and drive the development and adoption of open, accessible standards and specifications relating to medical Java technologies.
2. What is your relationship to Sun Microsystems?

We are a community of companies with a keen interest in the application of the Java™ programming language to provide embedded and real-time solutions. Although Sun Microsystems is not currently a member of our group, we have extended to them an invitation to join us.


3. What is your relationship to Sun’s “Community Process”?

Most of the group are not participants in Sun Microsystem’s “Formal Process”. We do not feel that Sun’s process is sufficiently open and vendor-neutral, but in fact creates an environment in which Sun Microsystems can potentially enforce positions that provide an advantage to their products. For example, one must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and a Java Specification Participation Agreement before one can participate in Sun’s “Community Process” or become a member of its “Expert” group. Moreover, we have concerns with respect to the potential surrendering of intellectual property rights, the possibility of being asked to agree to outside audits where we have no voice in the selection of auditor or definition of compliance, and the potential control by Sun of procedural rules governing the decision-making process. We do not feel this dominance is in keeping with a truly open process where products are allowed to compete on a “level playing field” where they are judged on their respective technical merits. By contrast, anyone may join and participate in our process, with free membership levels.


4. Don’t you feel that you are splintering the Java™ community?

No. Our organization was formed as an outgrowth of work done under NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and NCITS (the National Committee for Information Technology Standards). It was only after participation in Sun’s “Formal Process” was predicated upon signing of “Participatory Licenses” from Sun that we determined it would be impossible to bring forth real-time extensions for the Java™ programming language that were truly independent and vendor neutral. We feel that Sun has left us, an open community that endeavors to represent the real-time requirements necessary to make the Java™ programming language successful in our particular market space, in favor of creating an organization that it can dominate. We have invited Sun to rejoin us, and hope that they will see fit to embrace an open, non-restrictive approach to providing embedded and real-time extensions for the Java™ programming language.


5. What is the goal of the group? What will be the product of your efforts?

The goal of our group is to promote and drive the development and adoption of open, accessible standards and specifications relating to real-time and embedded Java technologies. The product of our efforts will be a specification that will allow developers to write embedded and real-time applications using the Java™ programming language. Moreover, we will not preclude developers from extending their applications, where appropriate, to target them to specific situations or platforms. We believe the many participants in the marketplace, not one company, should determine what is in their own best interests.
6. What is your relationship to the Real-Time Java Working Group?

The J Consortium is composed of many members of the Real-Time Java Working Group, but has broader goals. The Real-Time Java Working Group is now a technical committee within the J Consortium focusing on creating real-time extensions for the Java Technologies.


7. Do you see yourselves as being taken seriously by Sun?

The members of the J Consortium represent companies and individuals recognized as authorities in the field of real-time computing. The Group believes the Java programming language, as it exists today, is not suitable for use in embedded real-time programming applications. The J Consortium hopes that Sun Microsystems will see us as a partner in advancing the state of the art in real-time programming using the Java™ programming language. From our perspective, participation in Sun’s “Community Process” does not preclude oneself from also belonging to the J Consortium, although Sun may have legal restraints upon its members of which we are unaware which preclude them from so doing.


8. Do you see yourselves as ever joining Sun’s “Community Process”?

It is our hope that the goals of the two groups could be reconciled to permit sharing and deliberation on matters of concern to the embedded and real-time community.


9. The J Consortium appears to have, as its primary focus, the interests of companies developing real-time tools and development environments. How does the end-user community stand to benefit?

A truly open real-time industry group will allow users to have a choice in determining what technologies to use, rather than have their choices dictated to them. Simply put, an open group will result in better technologies coming to market more quickly. Without the J Consortium, the marketplace will never see many technological innovations. With us, all solutions, regardless of vendor, will have the opportunity to be made available for assessment and selection by the market. The users, who ultimately pay for technology, should have the opportunity to determine where they perceive value and spend their money.


10. When can we expect to see something from the J Consortium?

The J Consortium is an outgrowth of work performed under NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and NCITS (the National Committee for Information Technology Standards). These efforts at standardizing real-time extensions for the Java programming language commenced in the Spring of 1998. In October, 2000, the J Consortium was approved by ISO as a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) submitter. This means that ISO has recognized the J Consortium’s procedures and protocols to be fair and open, and is willing to allow the specifications developed by the J Consortium to be submitted for ISO standardization. There are many specifications currently under development within the J Consortium. Among these are “Real-Time Core Extensions”, “High Integrity Profile”, “High Integrity Profile for Automotive Control”, “Real-Time Data Access”, “Real-Time Distributed Middleware”, and JEFF. The first of these specifications to have been completed is JEFF. The JEFF specification defines a more compact and easily loadable alternative representation to traditional Java class files. Its development has been supported by a number of companies, including Bull, Cardsoft, Group Silicomp, Hewlett Packard, NewMonics, Schlumberger, Trialog, and Trusted Logic.


11. How do I join?

The best way is to contact the chair, Wendy Fong, or marketing chair, Jacques Brygier.
See Membership Application.


12. How much does it cost?

There are four levels of membership: Strategic Members, Technical Members, General Members and Informational Members, each of which costs a different amount and each of which offers different benefits and responsibilities. Informational membership is free and entitles you to participate in the creation of the work and to get an electronic copy of the resulting specifications before they’re released to the public. For information on other levels of membership, please contact the chair, Wendy Fong, or marketing chair, Jacques Brygier.
For more information on membership fees, see Membership Application.