International Standards Organization Members Approve Sun's PAS Application

Approval means Sun's Java™ technologies can move from de facto to de jure standard

PALO ALTO, CA -- November 17 -- The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) today announced that the overwhelming majority of its Joint Technical Committee 1 members voted to approve Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s application to become a Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) Submitter. With this approval, Sun may now begin to submit the Java™ platform specifications for standardization.

In the final ballot, 20 countries voted `yes,' 2 countries submitted `no' votes, and 2 countries abstained.

"We are pleased that the National Bodies of JTC1 have given their approval for Sun to proceed toward standardizing the Java specifications," said Dr. Jim Mitchell, Vice President, Technology and Architecture at Sun's JavaSoft division. "This represents a great endorsement by the world's technology leaders for Sun's open development process -- the process that created the Java platform and helped to make it a de facto standard worldwide."

Countries voting yes were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom. Countries voting no were China and the United States. Abstaining were Italy and Switzerland.

"We're grateful to each member country's standards body for their careful consideration of our application over the better part of this year," said Mitchell. "As the first for profit company accepted as a PAS Submitter, we at Sun join the worldwide technology standards community in pioneering a rapid, effective means of creating relevant de jure standards."

For background on Sun's ISO application to standardize the Java platform specifications, please see

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is ISO?


A: Established in 1947, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide, non-governmental federation of the national standards bodies from over 100 countries. The deliberations that ISO oversees result in International Standards for many industrial activities. International standardization is market-driven, consensus-based and voluntary.


Q: What is JTC1?


A: ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) formed a Joint Technical Committee (JTC1) to administer the development of standards in information technology. The number one refers to the fact that it is the first and only formal collaboration between ISO and IEC.


Q: What is a PAS submitter?


A: PAS stands for Publicly Available Specification. The ISO PAS process was designed to permit information technology specifications developed by consortia and individual companies and widely accepted around the world as de facto standards to be submitted for consideration as international standards.


Q: Why should the Java technologies be standardized?


A: The Java platform is already a de facto standard for worldwide Internet computing. De facto standards are great, and are certainly what much of the industry relies on today. We believe, however, that the industry is well served if a technology of this magnitude is validated by an international standards organization of the stature of ISO/IEC. That way, governments, universities and other institutions that require use of standard technologies will be better able to deploy Java-based solutions. We believe that is the right thing to do for everyone in the industry.


Q: What happens now that Sun has been approved as a PAS Submitter?


A: Sun now has permission to submit the specifications that underlie the Java technologies for consideration as an international standard. Sun will be eligible for two years to make submissions.


Q: Which Java technologies will Sun submit through this process and when?


A: It is premature for us to outline a timetable for our submission. We have stated in our responses to the comments of the JTC1 National Bodies that we will submit the specifications for the Java platform because this is what is needed to support Write Once Run Anywhere. The specifications for the Java Virtual Machine, the Java Language, and the core Java class libraries together comprise the Java Platform specification.


Q: What does this victory mean for Sun ?


A: This strong result in favor of Sun's application shows that the worldwide standards bodies understand and approve of Sun's open development process for building the Java platform and that our stewardship has been key to the success of the Java Platform. We can move ahead with our process with confidence, knowing that there is a well defined route, the PAS process, for creating an international standard based on the Java platform specifications.


Q: Does this change the way Sun will handle Java?


A: No, it does not. Our process for evolving the platform is now and will continue to be a collaborative process guided by the industry. We will continue to work with industry leaders to define specifications for Java technologies.


Q: Did Sun change its policy re: the Java trademark or maintenace of the Java specifications to win approval?


A: No. The Java trademark defines the characteristics of the Java products and implementations -- not specifications. Specifications never carry trademarks. Products carry trademarks. As such, the member countries understood Sun's position that the company must maintain the Java trademark. Similarly, the member countries approved our application's proposal on maintenance of the specifications which was to define a working group within ISO with resources provided by Sun.


Q: What is Sun doing that is different from other companies that want their technologies to be standards?


A: Sun is the first for-profit company to be approved as a PAS Submitter. Sun has set the bar very high with our open Java specifications, our open specification development process and our commitment to open systems. We hope that we provide a model for other companies who decide to pursue the PAS process.


Q: Some developers and companies have said that they don't think Sun should put Java into a standards body. Why are you doing this?


A: There is value in having the Java platform specifications become ISO standards. Many governments, universities and other institutions require use of standard technologies in their procurement policies and requests. ISO approval will help Java platform providers and software developers sell their wares to those organizations.


Q: Won't standardization slow the development of the Java platform?


A: Not at all. Sun's process for developing Java specifications will continue to be open and involve our licensees, the industry, and developers worldwide, using the Web to develop and refine specifications at Internet speeds. Java platform development will continue at the same pace.