If you believe press releases, Sun has hit all the right notes in its latest revision of the JSR that defines the procedures for the Java Community Process. (The fact that the JCP is defined by a JSR strikes me as delightfully self-referential.) According to a press release on the subject, the JCP has been "enhanced" with "greater openness and transparency, as well as more agility in the JCP program process of JSR development." The release is slim on details, but all that sounds pretty good, right?
Well, maybe not, if you believe the (admittedly always cynical) Register. There are some genuinely good things in the revision: observers will be allowed into the expert groups, and spec leads will be posting regular updates to a public Web site. The whole point of the changes are to woo individuals, and not just big corporate players, into the JSR working groups, something that would bring much of the energy of genuine open source projects into Java.
But one of the biggest hurdles for individual members -- the fact that they'll have to wade through a a 20-page legal document just to sign up, presumably without the help of a corporate attorney -- remains in place, and many of the folks who might be inclined to participate would probably be deterred by the fact that they won't be able to blog or otherwise talk publicly about their experience.
The revision also doesn't seem to solve the TCK problem that has kept Sun and the Apache Software Foundation at odds for years -- and that's probably the number one thing that open source advocates want solved about the JCP. Until that happens, it doesn't seem like real radical changes will be in the works.