Rod Johnson compares JCP with USSR Commissar during QCon talk

Just a few hours ago the second day of the main QCon schedule ended. This day was even more captivating than the first and there where many interesting points which I will mention on my summarizing post, after the end of the conference.


Although there were several important presentations by people that were either well-known at their field or even considered pioneers/gurus, it was one session that I was eagerly expecting from the moment I first read the schedule. This was the presentation from Rod Johnson and it absolutely lived up to my expectations.


Usually Rod is being introduced as the father of the Spring framework. I find that this does not do him justice. Even though Spring has been adopted by several developers, I believe that Rod has influenced a much larger portion of today’s enterprise Java developers with his first book. For me this was one of the most influential publications I had the luck of coming across and it has played a great part in the path I chose as a professional developer.

On the lighter side of things, I urge you to visit and see that the main negative points that people had in 2002 about this book was that Rod was demonstrating his concepts using his “own proprietary framework”… which turned out to be Spring 🙂


Returning back to today’s events, Rod gave the talk “The Cathedral, the Bazaar and the Commissar: The Evolution of Innovation in Enterprise Java” as part of the “Evolving Java” track. This presentation built upon Eric Raymond’s seminal paper that analyses why open source works so well, which was named “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”.

The addition was the Commissar, a role coming from the Soviet Union that was Rod’s perception of the actual role that the Java Community Process plays in the evolution of the Java ecosystem. This was a rough metaphor and he tried to back it up with several examples from the fall of the USSR.

In the past many of his preachings, like the lightweight approach of POJOs instead of EJB, have managed to influence the progress of Java. This is more evident than ever in Java EE 5 and the roadmap for the proposed Java EE 6. It will be interesting to see if his views on how the JCP should alter its modus operandi, will actually convince Sun to fundamentally reorganize the process which drives the Java future.



3 thoughts on “Rod Johnson compares JCP with USSR Commissar during QCon talk

  1. Basically he implied that the JCP tries to control the way that Java evolves in an authoritarian manner similar to the way that the communist party ruled the USSR, diminishing freedom of choice and innovation. That led to the collapse of this system.

    Rod is a *very* skillful speaker, so trying to elaborate more on his presentation would be like trying to describe an artistic performance with words.

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