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12 October 2010, 07:30

Oracle and IBM to collaborate on OpenJDK

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Oracle and IBM have announced that they are to collaborate on the development of the OpenJDK reference implementation of the Java language. The two companies say they will make the OpenJDK community "the primary location for open source Java SE development" and have affirmed their intention to retain the JCP (Java Community Process) as the primary standards body for Java specification work. There is also a commitment to "enhance the JCP" from the two companies.

Both Oracle and IBM will support the recently announced OpenJDK/Java 7 development roadmap, known as "plan B", which was detailed earlier this week by Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle. Reinhold said the plan had been presented to the JCP Executive Committee at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, and there was a "constructive and generally positive" response to the technical content of the presented plan.

IBM's Bob Sutor pointed out in a blog posting that the decision to collaborate with Oracle was "the pragmatic choice" and said that IBM would be shifting it's development work on the Apache Harmony project and would move to working on OpenJDK. The change came about after it became clear to IBM that " Oracle were never planning to make the important test and certification tests for Java, the Java SE TCK, available to Apache. We disagreed with this choice, but it was not ours to make". Sutor added that IBM expect to take a leadership role in the development and also expected to see "some long needed reforms in the JCP, the Java Community Process, to make it more democratic, transparent, and open".

Mark Reinhold, commenting in his blog on the collaboration plan, says he primarily expected to see IBM's contributions to OpenJDK in the class libraries, while the companies would continue to compete with their implementations of the Java Virtual Machine; both have their own implementations of the JVM aimed at the enterprise market. In response to a query from former Sun Microsystems Chief Open Source Officer about the governance of OpenJDK, Reinhold would only say that "We're still working through the governance issue, but we should be able to say more shortly".


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