Mark Reinhold is a busy man. As chief architect of the Java platform group, he’s been busily directing the course of the language and platform for over five years now. By the time Oracle OpenWorld opens in September, he and his team are expected to have completed work on OpenJDK 8. But on July 17, he announced that Java 8 would not be modular, thanks to a decision to leave Project Jigsaw out of this release.

Project Jigsaw is a long-running attempt to turn Java into a modular platform, where pieces can be selected and used. Currently, the Java platform requires a lot of additional software and libraries beyond what is needed to run a simple POJO (plain old Java object). Instead, Java has remained a fairly large platform to work with, by modern standards. Languages like Python and Ruby aren’t nearly as restrictive in their environment requirements, and can both be installed in pieces according to what’s needed.

And this was the goal of Project Jigsaw. Originally scheduled for Java SE 6, Jigsaw was pushed back to OpenJDK 7, but schedules did not allow for the project to be completed for that release either. Reinhold, in a blog post, {} wrote that Jigsaw is a massive undertaking, requiring a complete re-architecting of Java, and that expecting this work to be done by the end of the summer was unreasonable.

Wrote Reinhold, “Modularizing the Java SE Platform and the JDK while maintaining compatibility for existing code is an incredibly delicate task which requires careful changes throughout both the specification and the implementation. We have, moreover, yet to design and prototype an approach to supporting containers such as IDEs, Java EE application servers, and applet containers, all of which require some amount of reflective dynamism. We’re reasonably confident that we can work through these issues, but doing so will most likely take us past May 2013.”

Commenters on Reinhold’s blog ranged from irate to excited. Generally, the discussions around this change focused on the merits of frequent releases versus the need for Java to shed some weight. One commenter lamented the constant pushing back of the project, while others praised Reinhold for not sacrificing the now-yearly release schedule.

At the center of all of this work on the next Java is the newly invigorated Java Community Process. After some shaky years and a seriously nasty fight with the Apache Foundation over Technology Compatibility Kit licensing issues, the JCP has turned its focus inward rather than outward.

Gil Tene, CTO of Azul Systems, said that the JCP is currently working on fixing its own internal process problems. “The effort has been broken into three parts,” he said. “JSR 348 was approved a year ago. It started off with adding transparency to the process and making sure there are no hidden meetings. That would seem an important step.

“The harder things are being built under an effort called JSR 358. It’s about licensing and IP rights and things of that sort. That’s still being worked on. We have very lively discussions about it. I do think we’re going to make some very good progress, but I don’t think it’ll be something that will satisfy everyone. I don’t think Apache will be satisfied with the results. I do think there’s room for improvement for TCK access. There’s clarification needed in what rules are allowed and not allowed with licensing, so we don’t end up with people voting in protest on a single subject.”

To that end, JSR 358 is addressing licensing issues from the JSR up. Some of the questions being answered in this JSR are focused on who and what can use Java, and where. Along the way, the TCK issue may be brushed up against, but as Tene said, it’s unlikely to be solved in a manner agreeable to Apache.

JSR 358 is not the only JCP process specification being worked on right now. JSR 355 is up for final vote in August. This JSR will merge the two Executive Committees into a single entity. Previously, the JCP had been divided into mobile and standard Java.

Tene believed that the JCP is on the right track to make the changes needed to keep Java competitive. As one of the only remaining non-Oracle companies to offer JVMs, Azul sees itself as an entity that can keep a watchful eye from with in the JCP for the community, he said.

“I think Oracle is doing the right things. I think it has the right intentions. We are seeing movement in the right direction, but we’re not there yet,” said Tene.

“We decided to join the Executive Committee to be part of leading it that way, and making sure it’s not a one-company thing. I think Oracle is not mistreating Java. I think they’re doing a very good thing with Java.”