The inclusion of users into the JTC should be commended as it reflects a more commercial basis. However, the list of users who have signed up is unavailable and the question one must ask is whether many users will be bothered to join the JTC, as it cannot set standards, but only refer standards to the JCP.
Any recommendations the JTC makes must still go through the JCP. Therefore, we must assume that once the recommendations are lodged, there will be the same process time for ratification, lengthening the time it takes for standards to be approved.
A secondary concern is that as IBM and Borland hold 70% of the Java integrated development environment (IDE) market, will many end-users join the JTC, or will they be guided by the IDE framework offered by the two main suppliers?
As the other suppliers in the market are left to fight for a slice of a much smaller pie, it is evidently pointless to trumpet the creation of an industry standard if the market leaders have not signed up.
A standard that only affects a small percentage of users cannot expect to succeed. If the past history of the JCP is anything to go by, the JTC will also have to combat the self interest of the different IDE providers before it can deliver meaningful products.
The JTC announcement without the endorsement of IBM and Borland revealed some problems and missed opportunities for the industry - and Sun Microsystems in particular. For all its well-meaning intentions and implementation difficulties, we have been here before.
Bola Rotiba is a senior analyst at Ovum