Canonical backtracks on deleting Oracle's Sun Java
Canonical has announced that it has decided not to push empty versions of the Oracle's Sun Java JDK packages into their partner repositories for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, 10.10 and 11.04. The company will now only remove the packages from the repository. The original plan announced in December 2011 would have seen the empty packages downloaded by users' systems as part of the software update process, deleting any installation of the Oracle binary release of Sun Java and leaving only OpenJDK as an option.
Canonical had said that it felt this was necessary as it would not be able to supply security updates in future because Oracle retired its "Operating System Distributor License for Java" (DLJ) in August 2011. As Oracle has been releasing regular critical updates to the Java package, the decision was taken at the time to remove Java software from systems to ensure systems were secure. The company knew that for some users this would involve breaking existing installations and applications that use the Sun Java 6 packages.
The community reaction to this move was not positive, with many complaining that they still needed the Java 6 packages, that they understood the risks and were unhappy with Canonical's decision to change their systems' configuration. Despite progress made with OpenJDK, there are still packages which rely on Oracle's Sun Java implementation. Now, Canonical will only be removing the packages from the repository, which will leave existing installations of Sun Java 6 in place; the packages will be removed from the partner archive on 16 February.
The company is urging users to migrate to an alternative solution and offers a wiki page of alternatives and how to install them. At the time of writing, the wiki page still referred to the pushing of empty packages. It should be noted that it is possible to manually install the packages, and any later updates from Oracle, by downloading it directly from Oracle; the licence change only affected operating system distributors and not the availability of Oracle's Sun Java for Linux.