Voting on ISO Java standard ends - but a decision is months away

Voting on whether or not the International Standards Organisation (ISO) will let Sun Microsystems' Java technology be standardised through its Joint Technical Committee (JTC-1) has ended, but a yes or no decision on Java's fate with the ISO appears months away. Microsoft is already telling the press that Sun's bid for ISO respectability has failed.

Voting on whether or not the International Standards Organisation (ISO) will let Sun Microsystems' Java technology be standardised through its Joint Technical Committee (JTC-1) has ended, but a yes or no decision on Java's fate with the ISO appears months away.

For one thing, according to the American National Standards Institute's director for international secretariats, Lisa Radchel, not all of the approximately 30 voting members will have submitted their votes. These countries will be given another week to do so.

But Radchel says that no matter what happens, Sun will be given 60 days to "address all comments" (international standard parlance meaning "change its proposal"). According to her, the vote to standardise "would be black and white [only] if there weren't any comments" - and the US has already submitted comments.

Apparently, the criticisms of the JTC-1's other voting members (including those in New Zealand) do not differ greatly from those of the US committee, which center around Sun's control of the Java trademark, the scope of the proposed submission, control over revisions of the Java specification, and the openness of the standardisation process.

The latecomers' comments will be compiled over the next week. Sun will then have 60 days to address these and whatever other issues have been raised internationally. After that, voting members will have 45 days to decide whether or not to accept Java. How exactly that will occur is unclear. Radchel says "our requirement is consensus, not unanimity."

According to Microsoft program manager Charles Fitzgerald, the vote's outcome is "not in doubt. Sun's proposal will be rejected." He adds, "It will be interesting to see how Sun comes back after this. They have really painted themselves into a corner on this one - either their openness rhetoric or their proposal is going to have to give."

How Microsoft knows the vote's outcome when it could still be as far as 112 days away is unclear.

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