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Why do drafts of specifications forbid talking about them to non-licensees?

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2004-05-05

It seems that all the nice specifications drafts from JSRs using the JCP 2.6 process come with a nice catch: you are not allow to discuss them with anyone who hasn't licensed the specifications. Interestingly, the final releases do not have such a clause.

What is the reasoning behind that?

Message was edited by: robilad

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Joined: 2003-08-12

Could you be more specific? A pointer to the part of the process that you think is causing your pain would help me understand what you're talking about.
To be clear, JCP 2.6 does *not* reduce the number of people that can see and talk about drafts of JSRs, it does the opposite.

Joined: 2004-05-05

I assume that JCP 2.6 is better than what was there before, thanks to ASF's & Sun's work on improving the conditions. While I still wouldn't agree to the conditions set forth in the JSPA, I applaud Sun for gradually making progress in encouraging wider participation.

What I refer to is the clause :

"This license includes
the right to discuss the Specification (including the right
to provide limited excerpts of text to the extent relevant
to the point[s] under discussion) with other licensees
(under this or a substantially similar version of this
Agreement) of the Specification. Other than this limited
license, you acquire no right, title or interest in or to
the Specification or any other Specification Lead
intellectual property, and the Specification may only be
used in accordance with the license terms set forth herein."[1]

which is used in all specifications for review as far as I can see. That makes it pointless to publicly review the JSR specifications, as one can't talk about them in public without making sure that all possible discutants have accepted the license.

My question is: What is the point of disallowing talking about a specification to non-licensees? That seems to fundamentally violate the idea of a public review.

dalibor topic

[1] For example in

Joined: 2004-05-26

Perhaps the point is that the specifications are open to change until the final release, so by discussing feaures of the spec with "non-licencees" you may misrepresent it by discussing some feature which is changed in, or removed from, the final.

Joined: 2003-07-10

I can't imagine how that would happen with any serious organization.

I suspect it's just a matter of limiting discourse so that the outside world doesn't chime in with lots of noise on some issue that catches, say, slashdot's fancy.

So take two metaphors: sausage making, smoke-filled rooms.
Mix as desired.


Joined: 2004-05-05

Thanks for the insightful replies. What has me wondering though, is that some JSRs have very active, open communities outside the official JSR infrastructure (mostly on yahoo-groups), where the actual details of specifications seem to get hammered out (at least in memory model's case, and I think for generics, too).

Given that participants to some of the fundamental modifications to the platform seem to prefer to meet outside the JCP infrastructure to discuss their ideas in the open, I'm wondering how well that reflects on JCP's current provisions to foster collaboration. Would a more liberal JCP be a better thing?