Java Champions are a group of influential members of the Java community. The program is sponsored by Oracle. However, the Java Champions are self-organized and autonomous. The full list of current Java Champions is available on their page.
In 2005, Sun Microsystems recognized that Java developers had self organized into Java User Groups (JUGs). Sun set out to build a program to reach out to these groups and in doing so, recognized that there were many more Java developers not involved in JUGs. Sun then looked to develop a program that would tap into the industries "thought leaders" in order to reach these other developers. From this effort sprung the Java Champions program.
Sun observed that JUGs' structures were very organic and they operated very autonomously from Sun and each other. Sun decided that it was to their advantage to incorporate some of these characteristics into the Java Champions program. Java Champions should operate independently from Sun. Java Champions should select other Java Champions under the premise that they would have better reach into the overall community.
In addition to providing valuable feedback to Sun and then Oracle, the program has had notable moments[neutrality is disputed] such as getting Microsoft to withdraw a patent application that threatened BlueJ. They also convinced Sun that is was not in their best interest to have their lawyers threaten the community for their use of Java trademarks as they helped Sun strengthen the brand. There were other more subtle effects on decision making in Sun and Oracle as a result of Java Champion’s discussions on their mailing list.
Oracle continued to operate the Java Champions program after acquiring Sun Microsystems in 2010.
For a candidate to become a Java Champion, an existing Java Champion needs to nominate the candidate as well as submit a document describing how the candidate complies with the five principles listed below. All Java Champions are invited to discuss and then vote on the candidates application. Three no votes would veto a nomination.
The criteria of evaluation are the following:
- Java Champions are leaders; ideal candidates are leading Java-related projects, JUG communities, and so on.
- Java Champions are technical luminaries; the candidate should be a Java engineer or architect who is relatively senior and has lots of experience.
- Java Champions are independent-minded and credible; Java Champions may author or publish content that is pro, neutral, or negative toward Oracle.
- Java Champions are involved with some really cool applications of Java Technology or some humanitarian or educational effort. The application must be openly available to the Java community (vs. a company-proprietary or government-classified project).
- Java Champions are able to evangelize or influence other developers through their own professional activities (via consulting, teaching, writing, speaking, etc.)
Most Java Champions fall in one of these categories:
- Well-known open source developers
- Renowned conference speakers, bloggers and teachers
- Community leaders organising developer conferences or JUGs
- Well-known technical experts
Notable Java Champions
- James Gosling, for the obvious reason that he invented Java
- Doug Lea, for his work in the Java memory model and the
java.util.concurrent package in the JDK
- Joshua Bloch, for his work on many[specify] Java features and best-seller books
- Daniel deOliveira (2016), Founding Member of the Java Champion program
- Felipe Gaúcho (2010), awarded posthumously
- Frans Thamura (2017)
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