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Here's something that may come as a surpise: Did you know that there hasn't been a JVM spec put out since 1999? If you want to build a modern JVM, you need to start with that decade-old document and then work your way through the various JSRs that have been approved since then. Sun's Alex Buckley has put out a draft version of a new edition of the JVM spec, though he notes that "certain JCP procedures are required to produce an official Third Edition of the Java Virtual Machine Specification." Whether this machinery is lurching into action, he does not say.
This was on my mind when I read this lengthy InfoQ piece on the OpenJDK's governance. Basically, there's an OpenJDK Governance Board that's been working for two years on creating a "Constitution" for the OpenJDK community; it hasn't happened yet, and Sun has, according to some emails on the OpenJDK list, been fine with that. It strikes me that the absence of specs, or of governing boards that can produce guidance in open source areas of Java, are to Java's owner's advantage, since such institutions create alternate sources of information and centers of power. The interesting thing about the InfoQ piece is that the OpenJDK governance board seems to be getting itself more motivated -- perhaps spurred on by the Oracle takeover. I'm wondering if this is the beginning of serious community pushback -- not hostility, exactly, but suspicion that community will need to take a more active hand if they want to see Java remain relatively open.