Java User Groups have been active in the JCP.Next effort from the start. In recent years, JavaOne has featured a JCP Panel discussion that features JCP leaders as well as JUG leaders who are actively participating in the JCP, and working toward the objectives. Just recently, JCP.Next.4 has launched. This is JSR 364: Broadening JCP Membership.

In her recent post, And then there were four - the JCP.Next effort continues!, Heather VanCura describes the objectives of JSR 364 (aka JCP.Next.4):

This JSR was submitted for review last week to address the membership related changes started in JSR 358. We are moving forward quickly to implement changes that will increase Java developer participation, but don't require JSPA changes (ie. no lawyers involved)! ... JCP.Next 4 ... will focus only on membership changes to address Individual Membership issues and better support JUGs... This JSR will enable more participation, while ensuring we have the appropriate IP commitments. We want to simplify the ability for individuals to participate, without requiring an employer signature."

On April 17 (the day Heather published her post), there was a JUG leader conference call that included the JCP's Patrick Curran and Heather. You can actually listen to the entire call online by pointing your browser to, entering your name and email address, and clicking "Listen"; alternatively, you can call 888.899.7904 (US/Canada) or 706.679.5560 (International/Local), wait for a prompt, then enter the Playback ID 148913107 followed by the pound sign (#).

SouJava leader Bruno Souza helpfully took notes during the conference call, and posted them on the JUG Leaders email list.

Patrick led off the agenda by outlining the history of the JCP.Next effort. He noted that the easier efforts, which addressed transparency and participation (JSR 348: Towards a new version of the Java Community Process), and the merging of the Executive Committees (JSR 355: JCP Executive Committee Merge) were addressed first. These JSRs are now complete.

The third JCP.Next effort, which addresses intellectual property (IP), licensing, and Java Specification Participation Agreement (JSPA) changes (JSR 358: A major revision of the Java Community Process) is more difficult, and is ongoing. Patrick noted that the areas of JSR 358 that involve lawyers and companies, such as IP and the JSPA, are complicated. Still, Patrick believes there will be concrete progress here in the coming months.

More progress has been made on the individual membership portion of JSR 358. Patrick said that over the history of the JCP, and as Java has matured, the JCP membership mix has shifted away from corporations and toward individuals.

Unfortunately, at least one company has tried to use this fact to game the JCP system. Patrick noted that a few years ago, a corporation decide to run in an election. Lo and behold, several weeks earlier, a large number of employees who work at that corporation had joined the JCP as individual members! Just in time to vote in the election...

Heather VanCura talked about JSR 364, JCP.Next.4, providing an overview that can also be read in her "And then there were four" post. Heather notes that there is JCP.Next.4 project that provides a means to follow the progress and participate in the work if you'd like to do that. Even commenting or asking questions is valuable participation.

Heather is the Spec Lead for JSR 364, and she'd very much welcome your support. As she said in her post: "Leading a JSR is a considerable effort, and it is almost impossible for an individual to do it alone."

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-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)